Living in a motorhome in the UK

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Living in a motorhome in the UK

Do you love the freedom of having a motorhome? The ability to spend time roaming the open roads of Britain, Europe and further afield? Has it ever entered into your mind that you would like to do this forever, live with no fixed address and endless possibilities?

Known as “full-timing” to those on the scene, living in a motorhome full-time is not for everyone, but done right can be a positive, life-changing decision. Many people appear to be choosing this alternative to living in a fixed house or flat, taking the minimalist lifestyle on board (limited space means limited belongings). What would it be life for you?

How easy would it be for you to start full-timing yourself? Let’s explore the logistics, pros and cons of living in a motorhome in the UK:

Is it legal to live in a motorhome (or caravan) in the UK?

The simple answer is “yes”. No laws specifically prohibit anyone from living in a campervan, van or motorhome. All you need is an up-to-date MOT certificated and the vehicle to be fully taxed.

Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Parking your home when not our exploring comes with some restrictions and issues that you’ll need to overcome. You can’t simply pull up in the nearest layby, or field, and call it home!

To complicate matters across the UK and Europe, local authorities each have the freedom to set their own restrictions on where you can and can’t park up. Your best bet is to check The Highway Code about the rules parking motorhome for several consecutive nights.

Is it possible to live in a motorhome all year round?

In theory, this shouldn’t be a problem at all. Obviously, in winter you will be hit with weather-related issues (not all motorhomes and caravans are intended to be lived in through sub-zero temperatures) and also, with it being out-of-season many campsites and caravan parks will be closed, making it harder to find places to park up.

Depending on where you are, and the local authority there, you might be able to find motorhome stopover sites. There are no set standards for these sites, so do your research to avoid finding yourself with no electricity or water hook-ups – these are not things to be without on a cold winter night.

What are the costs of living in a motorhome?

The costs of living in your motorhome will vary depending on a variety of factors such as how many people are living there, what your income is, the type of vehicle you have, the amount of travelling you will do and how long you intend to stay in each spot.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, so it is important to map out your estimated costs and do your research before starting full time life in a motorhome.

One large, expected cost is insurance. Insuring your motorhome for an entire year could cost you over £1,000 if you want to travel into different regions of the world where there might be challenging driving conditions and less infrastructure for motorhomes.

Can I live in a motorhome on my own property?

Legally, you can live in a motorhome on your land for 28 days in twelve months without gaining planning permission, provided that residential services like mains utilities (gas, electricity and water) and sewage are not hooked-up. To live in it permanently you would need to acquire planning permission to do so.

If the use of the motorhome is “incidental” and in conjunction with the main house, in the garden or drive (not adjoining land) you don’t need to get planning permission. Of course, simply pulling up on your driveway raises a lot of issues with things like wastewater, waste disposal, the postal address, rates and insurance.

The pros of living in a motorhome in the UK

The obvious “pro” of taking up full-timing in a motorhome is the freedom it offers. Nowhere is your set address, everywhere can be your new neighbourhood and you can explore the world. Let’s explore the positive points about taking up life on the road:

  • Upkeep is cheaper
    The general running costs, maintenance and upkeep are less of a financial burden than a traditional house.
  • No fixed address
    Whatever the circumstances you can easily choose to stay or leave at any time. With no hassle, you can head off to somewhere different.
  • Easy to clean
    You don't have as much "home" to clean. In most cases, you can clean the entire place in an hour or so. Think about all the extra time you'll have in a nice, clean home.
  • Never away from home
    Wherever you go you’ll always have all your home comforts with you! One of the hardest parts of travel is leaving your home behind, living in a motorhome this is not an issue.
  • No excuse not to see the world
    Because your day to day life can be literally anywhere, there is no excuse not to have your breakfast in the mountains one day, by the coast the next. There will be the freedom to see the places you always wanted to see, no excuses.
  • Affordable parking fees
    Parking up in campsites and caravan parks can be quite cheap, so the cost of staying in places for a few days is not likely to be a massive cash burden.

The cons of living in a motorhome in the UK

  • No fixed address
    Yes, this again. If you have no fixed address it will undoubtedly be difficult to get important post (or any post) through the mail, like legal or financial documents. In general, getting hold of you in an official capacity will be more difficult.
  • A lack of space
    In most motorhomes and caravans, space is limited especially if several people are living in the same home. Time and space are two rare commodities in motorhome living.
  • Difficulty setting and sticking to a budget
    Because of the ever-changing nature of life on the road, changing costs from one site to the next (and region to region) setting a budget can be difficult and even harder to stick to. While the flexibility of living is great, some people struggle with the added flexibility that is needed within their finances.
  • Lack of amenities

When you are used to having everything you need under one roof and a local shop at the end of the road, adapting to living on the road (often in the middle of nowhere) can be a challenge. Different campsites will have different facilities ranging in quality.

  • Expensive laundry
    The cost of laundry facilities on campsites can be expensive. But they are an essential part of life. Of course, there are cheaper alternatives you can do yourself, but this is not for everyone.
  • Changing and unpredictable weather conditions

In the UK, especially, we can enjoy (suffer?) many different weather types in a week. Motorhomes can be very susceptible to cold and wet weather. Be prepared to live in layers and ride out some tough times in winter.

If full-timing in a motorhome is your dream scenario but funding your new home is an issue, speak to our experts in Motorhome Finance today.


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