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Coronavirus travel advice for campers

Thinking of going camping this summer? Or maybe a family glamping holiday? In the era of coronavirus (COVID-19) it's important to plan your holiday accordingly and consider your safety before you book a trip. To help you find the information you need, we’ve put together this comprehensive travel advice for campers, so that you can plan with confidence and return to the world of camping as soon as you're confident to do so.

Our absolute priority at Cool Camping is the health of campers and campsite owners. It’s important that we all work together to keep everyone safe and well. We’re doing our utmost to ensure the information below is as up-to-date as possible but do refer to the UK government website for further guidance.

This page was last updated on 19th July 2021.

Are campsites and glamping sites open in the UK?

ENGLAND:

Yes, all holiday accommodation in England is now open, including campsites, glamping sites and self-catering accommodation. As of 19th July, there are no longer restrictions on group sizes for your booking. You can find out more about what you can and cannot do in England here.

BROWSE ACCOMMODATION IN ENGLAND

WALES:

Yes, all holiday accommodation in Wales is now open, including campsites and glamping accommodation. As of 17th July, there are no restrictions on the number of people that can gather outdoors. Two households or a maximum of six people from up to six households (not including children under 11) can meet indoors and stay overnight in holiday accommodation. You can find out more about what you can and cannot do in Wales here.

BROWSE ACCOMMODATION IN WALES

SCOTLAND:

Yes, campsites, glamping sites and holiday accommodation are now open in all of Scotland. Up to 15 people from up to 15 households can meet outdoors, while up to eight people from up to four households can meet indoors (not including children under the age of 12). To find out more about what you can or cannot do in Scotland click here.

BROWSE ACCOMMODATION IN SCOTLAND

NORTHERN IRELAND:

Yes. The 'stay local' advice was relaxed on 24th May and holiday accommodation, including campsites and glamping sites, is now open. Some limits on wider social contact remain in place – you can only meet with up to six people from two households indoors, for example (or up to 10 people if one household is larger than six people). Children under the age of 12 do not count towards this total. More information on what you can and cannot do in Northern Ireland can be found here.


What about wild camping?

Staying overnight away from your primary residence in Scotland is now permitted and holiday accommodation is now opening (see above). In line with these guidelines, responsible wild camping is now able to resume in Scotland, with the usual respect required and wild camping code followed.

Holidays in England and Wales are also now permitted. Particular guidance for wild camping has not been issued, largely due to the fact that wild camping is not seen as a legal right in England and Wales (in fact, granted you have the land-owners permission and behave responsibly, wild camping is okay). We urge all campers to consider very carefully their impact on others, their impact on the perception of wild camping as a practice and their overall need to go wild camping given the current circumstances.


I'm unable to go on the summer holiday I booked due to lockdown measures. What should I do?

If, due to current lockdown measures, you cannot take the holiday you planned, then you will need to contact the campsite in order to rearrange your booking. Their contact details are provided in your booking confirmation email. If you booked with our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee you will be able to re-book your stay up until the end of 2021. If you did not book with our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee, you should check the cancellation terms under which you booked (these will be displayed in your booking confirmation email) and discuss your arrangements with the campsite directly.


What happens if I book a holiday for later this year, but, when the time comes, a lockdown prevents me from travelling?

The outlook for the rest of this summer remains positive and the roll out of vaccines means that we are extremely hopeful holidaymakers in the UK will be able to go camping uninterrupted throughout this summer. We appreciate, however, that there is still a degree of uncertainty and, as such, still a risk that holiday restrictions or self isolation may affect your plans at the last minute. For this reason, we offer our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee, which ensures you only have to pay a 30% deposit when you make your reservation. The remaining balance will not be due until 30 days before your holiday starts, ensuring you know the lay of the land before you spend the full amount of money. Every campsite and glamping site offering this policy is very clearly marked on our website, so you can book with total confidence. If a campsite does not offer our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee, you will need to read their independent cancellation policy, which will be displayed when you start to make a booking.

What happens if I’ve booked a camping holiday but, when the time comes, I’m ill or need to self isolate?

We understand that, even after a holiday is booked in good faith, you may still find you are unable to take your holiday due to the coronavirus – for example, if you fall ill or if a member of your household falls ill and you have to self isolate. For this reason, we offer our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee, which ensures you only pay a 30% deposit when you make a reservation and the remaining balance isn’t due until 30 days before your holiday starts. If you find that you’re unable to take your holiday due to coronavirus, you’ll be able to move your holiday by up until the end of 2021 to provide the maximum flexibility. Every campsite and glamping site offering this guarantee is very clearly marked on our website, so you can book with total confidence. If a campsite does not offer our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee, you will need to read their independent cancellation policy, which will be displayed when you start to make a booking.

How do I know if a campsite is part of the Cool Camping Coronavirus Booking Guarantee?

Any campsite or glamping site that offers our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee will be clearly marked in searches with a red tick icon. On our campsite review pages, sites with the guarantee are clearly marked with a red banner. You will also be shown the guarantee when you begin to finalise your booking details. Please note, while we recommend hundreds of campsites on coolcamping.com, not all of them offer our guarantee so do look out for these icons for our safest booking recommendations. For a comprehensive collection, you can find all of the campsites that offer the guarantee here.

View campsites with Coronavirus Booking Guarantee

Will I have to wear a face mask when I go camping?

For the most part, no. You won't be expected to wear a face covering while camping, such as around your tent, around the campfire or outdoors for example. But, in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland you will still be required to wear a face covering in indoor settings and in circumstances where it is difficult to easily social distance from others. In England, this is not a legal requirement, but it is still considered good manners and many campsites may still require this within their own on-site rules. This means that you should wear a face covering when inside wash-block buildings, campsite shops, reception buildings and indoor communal areas. It's also worth keeping a face covering in your pocket when leaving the campsite and heading out to explore – you never know if you'll want to pop into a busy shop or café to buy something and you might need to wear face coverings in those settings this summer too.


What safety measures do campsites have in place?

In order to re-open last year and earlier this year, campsites across the UK had to comply with up-to-date ‘COVID-19 Secure’ guidelines, which were specifically published for each nation – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As rules have eased over the last few months, these guidelines have changed, however, the core hygiene improvements campsites have made still remain in place.

On many UK campsites, these changes include things like:

  • Publishing an NHS QR code in order to collect NHS Track & Trace information.
  • Printing distance markers in shared facilities to aid social distancing.
  • Additional space in communal seating areas.
  • Reducing the overall capacity of the campsite in order to maximise space for guests.
  • Allocated showering times booked via campsite apps.
  • Contactless check in or unattended check in.
  • More frequent cleaning, more frequent emptying of bins and more thorough 'deep cleaning' regimes.
  • Improved ventilation in communal areas and indoor spaces.
  • Increasing the number of toilets and showers on site and, in some cases, providing private toilet and shower facilities for each pitch.

While all campsites are working to ensure they follow the governments COVID-19 Secure guidelines, the huge variety of camping experiences on offer means there is no one-size fits all approach to how things will be. One campsite, for example, might have outdoor showers, so additional ventilation isn’t needed, while other campsites might have modern, purpose-built wash-blocks, where a one-way system will need to be implemented and extra ventilation provided. Whatever the case, you can be confident that every campsite open is currently operating with the latest guidelines in mind and is working to ensure that campers are safe and well informed this summer.

For additional assurance, last year VisitEngland partnered with the national tourist boards of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to launch We're Good to Go for businesses to demonstrate they are adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and checked that they have the required processes in place. You can view all campsites on the Cool Camping website that are Good to Go accredited here.


Will you be refunding the VAT on bookings?

From 15th July 2020, the government reduced the rate of VAT on the hospitality industry. At Cool Camping we recommend hundreds of independent camping and glamping sites, but each determine their own prices and discounts, as well as their refund policies. Any refunds given should be issued by the campsite. Many of the small, independent campsites we represent do not meet the threshold for VAT and are therefore not VAT registered. As a result, most bookings on coolcamping.com will not have had VAT added. For further information, you can read our full statement on VAT refunds here.

Can I go on a camping holiday in France and Europe?

Yes, it is possible and campsites in France and on the continent are open. However, the UK Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to the whole of France and you will currently have to self-isolate or quarantine on your return, along with taking PCR tests.

This spring, the UK government categorised countries within its 'traffic lights' system, which sets out how and whether you need to isolate on your return from a foreign country. There is only a very limited number of countries on the 'green list' (meaning you do not have to self isolate on return).

Which countries are in which list is set to be reviewed every three weeks, so there is still plenty of time for things to change and many people remain hopeful that, by August and the height of summer, fluid tourism between France and the UK may resume. We are currently taking bookings for summer holidays in France on coolcamping.com and many campsites choose to offer our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee to provided added security for campers.

The UK government's Foreign Travel Advice pages are the most reliable source of information regarding whether or not you should travel to other countries. In particular, their travel advice for France can be found here.


Should I buy travel insurance?

Yes. We always recommend that you have comprehensive travel insurance for any holiday you take. We recommend you take out a policy which covers you in the event of cancellation, even if you book a holiday with our Coronavirus Booking Guarantee. This will provide extra cover in circumstances where you have to cancel due to reasons not related to Coronavirus too. For foreign holidays, we recommend you take out a policy that has good medical coverage for international trips. Please contact your insurer directly if you have questions about what they cover.