The Ultimate Guide to Free Overnight Motorhome Camping in Scotland

January 5, 2024 in Destinations, Tips for Travellers, Wild camping & overnight parking, Scotland & United Kingdom

Many of us who travel by motorhome are in search of that feeling of freedom. Being able to go and spend the night in the middle of nature, anywhere at any time. But wild camping or free overnight parking spots for campervans can be hard to find, even in Scotland. This is where our ultimate guide to free motorhome camping comes in!

One of the main perks of free motorhome camping in the UK is that helps towards a budget-friendly campervan trip. You may worry about how much campervan hire costs, but if you organise cheap campervan hire and use our guide to finding free motorhome camping spots you’ll quickly realise a road trip doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think.
free overnight parking motorhome wild camping scotland

Wild camping vs free overnight parking

There are numerous resources for finding wild camping spots or free campervan parking, but before we get into these it's important to know the difference between the two. Wild camping refers to spending a night in the 'wild' amidst nature, where you can enjoy and fully submerge yourself in the outdoors and your surroundings. Free campervan parking more often refers to stopping somewhere in a motorhome just to spend the night for free, usually in more urban areas such as parking lots. Overnight parking spots serve the purpose of spending the night for free before you set off on an adventure again the next day.
free overnight parking motorhome wild camping scotlandIs wild camping allowed in Scotland? 

Yes, Scotland is the only country in the UK that still allows wild camping, as long as it's done responsibly and in line with the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. The code requires anyone who uses the land to act responsibly and respectfully. Whilst it’s generally common sense, such as not disrupting wildlife or leaving litter behind, we recommend that if you plan to go wild camping in Scotland you read up on the concept.
free overnight parking motorhome wild camping scotland

Free overnight parking vs staying at a campsite

When you're weighing the options of staying at an overnight parking spot or a campsite, there are a couple of things to consider.

The first and obvious is the price. Overnight parking options are often free or very cheap, whereas campsites usually cost a couple of tenners, depending our the size of your vehicle, travel party and the use of amenities you require.

Second are of course these amenities, which you’ll find a lot more of at a campsite. Official and unofficial overnight parking spots are often very basic, which means you’ll need a motorhome that’s as self-contained as possible. If there are some amenities, they're often limited to a toilet, water station and maybe a shower. Campsites usually offer way more amenities, such as electricity hookups, washing machines, greywater waste drainage and wifi.
free overnight parking motorhome wild camping scotlandThe last thing to consider is privacy. Free overnight parking provides limited privacy, as you may be close to other vehicles or near busy roads with the possibility of strangers walking right up to your vehicle. The level of privacy on campsites depends on the type of site and its layout. You’re likely to have neighbours, but most campsites assign a pitch to each camping party, so you have a little spot to yourself.

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Tips for successful wild camping &  free overnight parking

-Arrive late, leave early. Spend as little time as possible at the parking spot, simply show up (preferably in the dark), sleep and head off the minute the sun rises again.

-Pack enough supplies! If you’re going somewhere remote, you’ll need food, water and other resources. Expect the unexpected (like shops being closed) and prepare for the worst (like shops not being around at all).

-Take only photographs and leave only footprints. That means don’t leave litter, don’t leave traces of a campfire, and don’t ruin the foliage.

-Find the ultimate wild camping spots via  Wild With Consent, a platform which strives towards making wild and off-grid camping more accessible while remaining responsible and legal.

-Be prepared for the fact that you may be asked to move, even in the middle of the night. So try not to unpack too much and ensure you’re always in a fit state to drive.
free overnight parking motorhome wild camping scotland

Best places for overnight parking in Scotland

Given that wild camping and overnight parking are not permitted everywhere, it can be quite daunting when trying it for the first time. Luckily, there are many resources to help you find the perfect spot where you can rest your weary head in peace. Here are some of our top picks:

CamperContact: Search through hundreds of campsites, service areas and motorhome parking spots. Each option has the price, GPS, amount of parking spots and more listed. There are also reviews from people who have parked there.

Park4Night: Very similar to CamperContact. Also has a map function which allows you to plan your route exactly as you wish to drive it.
free overnight parking motorhome wild camping scotlandTo get you on the road and to give you an idea of the types of overnight parking spots you’ll find on platforms like these, we’ve selected a few of our favourites for you:

Parking Stoer Lighthouse, Clashmore

N 58.23783, W 5.40086

Climb the lighthouse, take in the view, and then settle down for the night at this great motorhome-free parking spot. Limited facilities, but dolphin spotting for breakfast.

Parkview Terrace, Latheronwheel

N 58.27045, W 3.38093

Enjoy a sea view at this harbour car park, within walking distance of restaurants with fresh seafood.

Parking Callop, Glenfinnan

N 56.5128, W 5.2424

An idyllic location by the river. No facilities and space for up to five campervans. Ideal if you wish to visit the Glennfinnan Viaduct and want to get there early.
free overnight parking motorhome wild camping scotlandFind your ideal budget-friendly campervan to enjoy an affordable holiday in Scotland. 

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