COVID-19 camping: when will campsites and caravan parks open in the UK?
Holidays in England are allowed from 12th April.
There are two opening dates for the camping, glamping and caravan sector: most campsites will be opening on the later date, 17th May, because shared shower blocks are provided.
According to the government's Reopening businesses and venues guide:
Step 2 - 12 April
Self-contained holiday accommodation in which all facilities (including for sleeping, catering, bathing, and indoor lobbies and corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble will reopen. A reception for check-in as well indoor public toilets, baby changing rooms, breastfeeding rooms and facilities for laundering clothes may also reopen.
While shared public toilets can open on 12 April, showers must be either private or reserved by each household and then cleaned. More information.
Gyms, indoor swiming pools and outdoor areas at cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. These venues may allow customers to use toilets located inside. Most types of outdoor attraction will also be able to reopen.
Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May
Remaining holiday accommodation can reopen, as can saunas and steam rooms.
Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage - in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors; or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors.
Indoor areas of hospitality venues will reopen, and indoor entertainment and visitor attractions will reopen.
(full guide: COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 [PDF])
Self-contained accommodation was allowed to reopen on 27th March to single households/support bubbles. Self-contained "will include any accommodation which does not require guests to share washing facilities, toilets or kitchens" (source).
It is expected that other accommodation (such as campsites with shared facilities) can reopen on 17th May.
Tourist accommodation will open on 26th April.
For self-catering accommodation, the rules on indoor meetings will still apply meaning that, until 17 May, two households cannot stay in the same accommodation. Cafés, pubs and restaurants can resume full outdoor service, subject to local licensing, and serve food indoors without alcohol until 8pm.
Until 26th April, mainland Scotland and some islands are at Level 4. Other island areas remain at Level 3.
Until 26th April, you cannot travel to Scotland from England, Wales or Northern Ireland without a reasonable excuse (which does not include a holiday). Tourists should not travel into, or out of, a Level 3/4 area (except for work, education, health or weddings/funerals requiring an overnight stay). Those living in a Level 3 area can still use holiday accommodation in their area but should not stay in the same self-catered accommodation with another household. Accommodation in Level 4 areas is closed to tourism altogether. Find out restrictions in each area.
From 30th April, you can stay overnight in self-contained accommodation with your household or bubble. An indicative date of 24th May has been set for the reopening of indoor hospitality venues and all tourism accommodation.
Accommodation without shared facilities is in step three and other accommodation in step four of Northern Ireland's plan.
You can still book dates outside restricted periods, with deposits guaranteed transferable to a later date and many balances also transferable:
- Book 1,200 sites currently taking bookings in the UK with our transferable deposit
Ordnance Survey's GetOutside guide explain what's open in the outdoors and what you are allowed to do.
The government is encouraging all employers to implement workplace testing. Tests can be ordered by registered companies using this form or by partnerships or sole traders using this email address, quoting your organisation's name, your registration number, how many employees you have, an email address and the industry or sector of your organisation.
Specialist leisure facility advice is also available:
- swimming pool guidance collated by CIMSPA
- Swim England Return to Pools, Swim Wales and Scottish Swimming
- Hot tubs
More extensive unofficial guidance is also available from the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) and UK Hospitality. The government has previously published social-distancing and cleaning advice.
VisitEngland has partnered with the national tourist boards of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to launch We're Good to Go for businesses to demonstrate they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place.
Parks are currently adapting to these guidelines before opening. For example, staff are being trained in new cleaning processes, and pitches reconfigured if capacity is required to reduce.
Guidelines have been developed by the Visitor Economy Working Group, chaired by the tourism minister Nigel Huddleston and including representatives from key sector bodies such as the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) and B&B Association. The working group is part of DCMS’ Cultural Renewal Taskforce, in charge of defining the roadmap to recovery for recreation and leisure activities.
Many argue that holidays in outdoor environments, with more space, fresh air and your own equipment, are lower risk than enclosed spaces with ventilation systems. In the words of the government's deputy chief medical officer, “It is absolutely a biological truism that outdoor environments are much less [of a] risk than indoor environments”.
Caravan parks and campsites have already introduced measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have added around 50 Coronavirus settings, drawing on examples from around the world - these are visible in the Features and Policies tabs of Pitchup listings when selected by campsites.
- Disinfectant sprays and wipes provided
- Check-in: self check-in (unattended)
- Staggered showering times
- Minimum spacing of _ metres between pitches
- Reception is closed due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus outbreak
Are campsites open?
In general, sites without shared facilities in Wales can open for holidays now, those in England on 12th April and those in Scotland on 26th April (expected). Sites using shared facilities can open in England on 17th May and in Scotland on 26th April (expected) - there is no date yet for Wales. Northern Ireland is yet to provide dates for accommodation with or without shared facilities. In certain island areas of Scotland those who live in the same Level 3 area can use holiday accommodation at present.
When will holiday parks open?
We are in regular contact with all our campsites, which are updating dates and availability based on the latest guidance. You can view the latest expected opening dates in our search and campsite pages.
Here are opening dates of some the UK's largest groups:
- Haven has closed its parks in England and Wales for the remainder of the season.
- Parkdean Resorts closed its English parks to new arrivals from 5th November and Welsh and Scottish holiday parks are also now closed
- The Caravan and Motorhome Club (CAMC, formerly The Caravan Club) closed its English sites from 4th November, including Certificated Locations and Affiliated Sites. Club Sites in Wales and Scotland are also closed
- The Camping and Caravanning Club (The C&CC) has closed its sites in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland
- Center Parcs' UK villages are closed
- Forest Holidays ' locations are closed
- Butlin's is closed
Can I go camping abroad?
If you live in the UK, you can only travel internationally where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.
While campsites have been reopening in some countries, residents of England cannot currently travel internationally unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions.
Residents returning to the UK and visitors to the UK must self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive, with some exceptions in England.
From 10th July 2020 in England, those returning from travel corridor countries who have not stopped in other countries in the last 14 days do not need to self-isolate.
Those arriving from the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man are already exempt from the quarantine requirement.
View all of our Coronavirus FAQs