Living in your van feels like an appealing prospect. You get to travel in the comfort of your own home, you can park next to some amazing views and wake up ready to explore some of the UK’s most wonderful drives. However the big question you’re probably asking yourself before you embark on this venture is “is it legal to live in a van in the UK?”
The simple answer is to say, yes; it is legal to live in your van in the UK. The longer answer is that while it is legal there are some restrictions which you need to both be aware of and be careful if you are going to successfully navigate the UK in your campervan.
The first thing you need to be aware of is the fact that is not legal to sleep in your vehicle everywhere. Restrictions on certain car parks, lay-bys and national parks/forests by the local government mean that it is illegal to sleep there. Generally these restrictions are sign posted clearly and so if you find yourself parking up for the night in one of these places you are better off moving on, there are plenty of other spots after all.
One further law you must abide by is to ensure that you are not over the legal limit for alcohol consumption in your vehicle. If you plan to be drinking alcohol and sleeping over night in your campervan it’s key that you follow some basic principals in order to protect yourself from potential charges of being drunk in charge of your vehicle. Ensure your van is parked safely and not obstructing the road before you begin drinking. If possible be able to provide evidence that you intend on sleeping in your campervan that evening where it is located and not move it to a new location. Do not return and put the key in the ignition, start up the engine or sit behind the wheel as these can easily be seen as an indication of an intention to drive the van. If you follow these guidelines and act sensibly then you should not have any issues however if you are unsure it is best to be cautious and have a designated driver for that evening who doesn’t drink.
While it is legal to live in a van in the UK the tenants of vanlife still remain, be considerate and leave the place better than you found it. Be respectful of the people and world around you and be safe in your van.