Living in a motorhome in the UK

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Living in a motorhome in the UK

Do you love the freedom of travelling in a motorhome? The ability to roam the open roads of Britain, Europe, and further afield? Has it ever crossed your mind that you would like to do this forever and live with no fixed address but gain endless possibilities?

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

How easy would it be to start full-timing yourself? Let’s explore the logistics and the 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, caravan, or motorhome. All you need is an up-to-date MOT certificate and for the vehicle to be fully taxed.

Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Parking your home 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, local authorities across the UK and Europe each have the freedom to set their own restrictions on where a motorhome can or can’t be parked. Check The Highway Code for the rules around parking a motorhome for several consecutive nights in a specific area.

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

In theory, this shouldn’t be a problem. Obviously, winter brings 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, especially if you want to travel into different regions of the world where there might be more 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 within 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 on the drive (not adjoining land) you won’t need to get planning permission. Of course, simply pulling up on your driveway raises a lot of issues with things like waste water, 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. You have no set address, everywhere can be your new neighbourhood and you are free to disappear and explore the world. Let’s explore the other positives for 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 or flat.
  • 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 new and not worry about your home.
  • 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 motorhome.
  • Never away from home
    Wherever you go, you’ll always have your home comforts with you! One of the hardest parts of travel is leaving your home behind, but living in a motorhome removes this issue.
  • No excuse not to see the world
    Because your day-to-day life can be based literally anywhere, there are few excuses not to have your breakfast in the mountains one day and by the coast the next. You will gain the freedom to see the places you always wanted to see and get more in touch with nature.
  • 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, such as legal or financial documents. In general, getting hold of you in an official capacity will be more difficult, but some may see this as a good thing!
  • A lack of space
    In most motorhomes and caravans, space can be quite limiting, especially if multiple people are living in the same home. Space is a rare commodity in motorhome living, but it depends on the vehicle you buy.
  • Difficulty setting and sticking to a budget
    Because of the ever-changing nature of life on the road and changing costs from one site to the next (and region to region), setting a budget you can stick to can be difficult. While the flexibility of living is great, some people struggle with the added flexibility needed with their finances.
  • Lack of amenities
    When you are used to having everything you need under one roof and a local shop only five minutes away, 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 more expensive than in your own home. 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 enjoy (suffer?) many different types of weather. Motorhomes can be very susceptible to cold and wet weather, which can be especially unpleasant for full-timers. Be prepared to live in layers and ride out some tough times in winter. However, when summer comes around again, you can park up at a beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere and fall in love with life all over again.

Motorhome Finance for Full-Timing

If full-timing in a motorhome is your dream, but affording your new home poses an issue, speak to our experts in Motorhome Finance today. We source the best possible deals for your specific desired motorhome model from the top financers in the UK. Apply for your motorhome today and pay back in monthly instalments that won't hurt your wallet.

Contact us to discuss this life-changing decision on 01332 300 300 and we'll get you behind that steering wheel as soon as possible.

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