Ever heard of Brit Stops– the book of free motorhome parking spots around Britain? I'll be honest, we'd heard of it, but never really looked into it until very recently. Turns out, that was a big mistake!
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Our introduction to Brit Stops
The other day, we were wild camping in the motorhome in Wales and looking for more free camper parking spots near us. At least, we were trying to.
The problem was, we had no internet. Not a stitch. Not even the phone had a signal. We were in the middle of nowhere and thus, had no way of finding a new place to go!
After a few minutes of doing the ‘hunt for a signal' dance, our friends reached beneath their seat and pulled out… a book.
Like, an actual book. On paper and everything. It was the 2019 edition of Brit Stops.
What is BRITSTOPS?
Brit Stops offer FREE motorhome and camper parking stops around the UK and Ireland.
Yes, you read that right- FREE MOTORHOME AND CAMPER PARKING SPOTS– all over the UK!
Brit Stops was created in 2011 as a way to try and emulate the France Passion scheme, which is a scheme throughout France where vineyards (and other locations) offer parking to motorhomes in the hopes of selling some of their produce.
Brit Stops is actually part of a scheme called FEFI (Fédération Européenne de la Formule Invitations) which includes France Passion and other similar schemes across Europe.
It's a way of promoting the local produce and beautiful areas of the country, both to UK residents and visitors from abroad. The UK is notorious for not being very welcoming to motorhomers used to French aires or wild camping- the motorhome and campervan parking laws are strict. Brit Stops might just be making that easier!
How does it work?
The 2022 edition has over 1100 places listed where you can stop for the night. There are country pubs, vineyards, farms, shops, local breweries and even a llama park!?!
All these places offer free overnight parking for motorhomes or campers- with no obligation to buy. However, if you're going to go for a meal or a drink anyway, it makes perfect sense that you would buy from the pub, or get your milk/ eggs the next day from the shop, or sample the local ales… all things we enjoy doing as part of our motorhome travels.
Free camper parking in the UK and Ireland
Obviously, if you're stopping for free you can't expect any services. There is usually no water, waste disposal or electric and there are unlikely to be showers or toilets for your use.
Basically, you're staying on someone's land for free. There are a few rules (most of which are exactly the same as motorhome wild camping):
- No awnings, outdoor furniture or pup tents
- Only stay for 24 hours and don't leave your van unattended (unless given special permission by the host)
- No generators or noise at night- it's someone's house.
- No fires or BBQs, except with approval from the host.
- Arrive during working hours- again, it's someone's home.
- Be mindful of your children, especially if you're staying somewhere like a farm. There's a lot of trouble for unsupervised kids to get into.
Aires in the UK
There are now several Britstops which are almost like UK aires. I LOVE this idea. I have been moaning about the lack of aires in the UK for ages- and it seems that there are slowly becoming more options; especially in England where wild camping is becoming notoriously difficult.
Heck, there are even Brit Stops near ferries or the tunnel for you to use before you head off to Europe.
Are dogs allowed at Brit Stops?
Each location has a full breakdown of what is allowed. Dogs are allowed to stay at many Brit Stop places, but not necessarily allowed inside the pub/ shop/ llama park. If in doubt, phone ahead and ask.
Is Britstops for caravans?
Sadly, at the moment, Brit Stops is just for motorhomes or anything marked as a motor caravan on the logbook. So no caravans, no unconverted vans, no cars and no tents. Which is exactly how it is at most of the aires in France.
Is there Motorhome parking near me?
One of the hardest things in motorhoming is finding overnight motorhome parking spots near you. But just look at that map- there is almost guaranteed to be a Brit Stop nearby! What's even nicer, some of the locations will allow you to leave your camper there for the day while you go explore the local town or area, so you can sometimes get free parking too!
Is there a Brit Stops app?
Yep! New for 2022, they have now released an app! Of course, if you rely just on the app, you'll need internet access/ phone signal, so you'll probably want to carry the book as well.
One thing to note is that ‘hosts' are allowed to close their site whenever they like (for personal or business reasons), so it's always advisable to phone ahead before setting out.
Have you ever used Brit Stops? We'd love to hear your experiences- drop them in the comments below.