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Camping in England
Photograph: Cool Camping

How will camping in the UK be different this year?

New rules mean changes to campsite capacity, check-in and facilities – and campers might have to pre-book their showers

Ellie Walker-Arnott

From July 4, camping in England is officially allowed again. But this summer, the camping experience might be a little different to how you remember it, especially if the last time you slept under canvas was with four others in a two-man at a festival. 

As you dust off your ground mat and clean that four-year-old Glasto mud off your wellies, there are few things to bear in mind before you pitch your tent this summer. 

For starters, campsites are only allowed to open if social-distancing and hygiene measures can be followed. That means you can expect more deep cleans and hand-sanitising stations. There will also be fewer pitches than usual, and they’ll be spaced differently.

‘One of the most important changes campers can expect to see from sites moving forward is a regulation for pitches to be spaced much further apart, to allow plenty of room for comfortable social distancing,’ says booking website Cool Camping, which suggests pitches will be at least 10m apart this year. 

Beryl's campsite
Photograph: Cool Camping

Open-air showers are also likely to be a fixture this summer as campsites look to reduce any shared, indoor facilities. Similarly, campers will be offered outdoor taps to do their washing-up to minimise time spent inside. You might want to bring a washing-up bowl with you so you can fill it up and take it back to your pitch. 

On the same theme, check-in desks will be alfresco where possible, and the campsite shop might be more of an open-air, no-contact, honesty table, to limit interactions between campers and staff. 

Even better? No contact at all: ‘Campers will be encouraged more and more to be booking online and making payments online, with cash unlikely to be accepted at some sites. Where possible, sites will be introducing entirely contactless check-in, with no need to interact with staff members or handle any documents,’ says Cool Camping. 

Camping in England
Photograph: Shutterstock

Where facilities can’t be taken outside, there might be a one-in-one-out policy, or even a pre-booking system for wash-blocks and showers to limit capacity and avoid queuing. 

Pre-booking your morning shower might sound like a bit of a faff, but after three months of lockdown there’s very little that could put us off going camping right now. See you round the campfire... from a distance of at least one metre, of course. 

Looking for somewhere to camp? Here’s our pick of the loveliest campsites near London, the best campsites in the UK and the best campervan-friendly campsites in the country. 


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