Finding free camper spots for wild camping in southern England can be challenging as most parking areas are either expensive, privately owned, or have no overnight parking signs. Despite this, don’t let it deter you from exploring England by camper as we have already done the work for you. We spent almost two months traveling through southern England and Wales to collect the most stunning wild camping spots suitable for campers or camper vans.
Note: it is up to you to research and determine the current (prohibition) rules regarding wild camping in England and what you want to do with them. In this blog, we simply share the exact locations where we camped with our baby and toddler.
Best wild camping spots on the south coast
#1 Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
Link Park4Night | Near the village of Rye on the English south coast, you can enjoy beautiful wild camping at the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve next to the stunning Winchelsea Beach. Although you won’t have a spectacular view directly from the parking lot, you’ll overlook the dike that separates it from the beach. You won’t get any closer to the beach than this! The parking spaces have a slight incline; you’ll be most level close to the toilet building. Yes, there are even toilets available here, although they’re not very clean. Enjoy a peaceful night and then take a walk through the nearby Rye Harbour Nature Reserve. Explore the natural beauty of this reserve while immersing yourself in the peace and serenity of the surrounding landscape.
#2 Pub bij Beachy Head
Link Park4Night | Enjoy a relaxing camper experience at Beachy Head, located on the breathtaking English south coast. Right next to this enchanting spot – Beachy Head should definitely be on your bucket list for South England! – there’s a typical English pub. You can park and stay there all night for free. All you have to do is buy a drink or some food at the pub, where you’ll be warmly welcomed by friendly people. We enjoyed a delicious cider and pint at the pub and then had a peaceful night in the parking lot.
In front of this pub is a paid parking lot, so you just need to drive a little further to the pub’s parking lot. But it’s good to know that the paid parking lot has free public toilets. Additionally, there is a small visitor center where you can learn more about the area, the cliffs, and of course Beachy Head itself. The views here are breathtaking and you will definitely enjoy your time here.
#3 The New Forest
Link Park4Night | Discover the enchanting beauty of The New Forest and enjoy a peaceful stay at The Happy Cheese. This cozy pub is located at the entrance to beautiful forests, where many people come to walk their dogs. The pub is particularly dog-friendly and even has snacks for them on the menu. You can park for free in the green parking lot next to the pub and it’s allowed to stay overnight if you just let them know. Simply register at the pub, where there is a form at the side entrance. Of course, the idea is to have a drink or a bite to eat, but that’s certainly no hardship. On sunny days, you can sit on the terrace. Our toddler had a great time in the playground.
#4 Milford on Sea in The New Forest
Link Park4Night | This camper site offers breathtaking views over a field and towards the beach. What makes this place really enjoyable is its proximity to Hurst Castle. You can easily walk there along the coast or choose to take the ferry.
The camper site remains particularly quiet throughout the night, with only a few early walkers and cyclists. Along the main road, you’ll find most campers parked, but down on the lower tidal road, vans and campers are often parked as well. However, be aware that during high tide, the water can sometimes reach this lower tidal road, so exercise caution. We didn’t take the risk and opted for the main road, although the water didn’t rise too high that night. If you’re looking for a camper site with stunning views, tranquility, and the opportunity to visit Hurst Castle, then this place near Milford on Sea in The New Forest is definitely recommended!
#5 Isle of Portland
Link Park4Night | Portland Isle, located on the breathtaking Jurassic Coast, is an absolute must-see for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience. Stay at this location on Portland Isle with spectacular views and numerous hiking trails to explore. While it’s a short walk to the town and beach, be aware that it can be quite steep. There are multiple parking areas along this road where you can park. The main parking lot no longer allows overnight stays, but fortunately, there are plenty of other parking areas along the same road without any restrictions. Visit the Everlasting Stone Circle and nearby quarries. The stunning surroundings, serene silence at night, and the opportunity for beautiful hikes are truly remarkable. Public toilets are available nearby and remain open until sunset, and you’ll find trash bins in the parking lot.
Best wild camping spots in the Cotswolds
#6 Snowhill in the Cotswolds
Link Park4Night | Snowhill, located in the enchanting Cotswolds, is an absolute gem among villages in England. Did you know that scenes from Bridget Jones’ Diary were filmed here? On the outskirts of the village, you can stay overnight at a free car park, not far from the main attraction of the village, Snowshill Manor. It is a tranquil place where you wake up in the morning under the canopy of trees. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, it is an ideal location for nature lovers seeking peace and nature. Snowshill village itself is absolutely enchanting, with its picturesque appearance and charming atmosphere. Within a short walk from the car park, you’ll find the cozy Snowshill Arms in the village. The car park is safe and relatively quiet, making it a great place to spend the night. For a wonderfully peaceful and relaxing stopover, Snowhill in the Cotswolds is highly recommended.
#7 Tewkesbury vlakbij de Cotswolds
Link Park4Night | We would also like to recommend this lovely camper spot near the picturesque village of Tewkesbury. This place is a relaxing spot for wild campers in a small, free parking lot. Only locals who come here to walk their dogs use the parking lot, making it a nice and quiet spot. Its location by the water gives it an idyllic atmosphere. There are benches and waste bins that are regularly emptied. The camper spot is within walking distance of Tewkesbury, making it easy to explore the village. Enjoy the picturesque view of the river from the parking lot and take a stroll in the surrounding area.
Best wild camping spots in Cornwall
Link Park4Night | We also had a fantastic stay at this camper site near the picturesque village of Porthleven in Cornwall. This beautiful location, situated next to a playground and with a sea view, offers a gravel parking lot with a breathtaking panorama of the coastline. From the parking lot, it’s easy to walk to the beach and the unique rocky coast that Cornwall is known for. You can also walk down through the village to the charming harbor, where you’ll find plenty of restaurants and shops. A must-try there is Origin Coffee. However, keep in mind that the uphill return requires some effort, but the stunning view makes it well worth it.
#9 Bij Porthcurno Beach
Link Park4Night | While not the most picturesque camping location we’ve visited in England, options for pleasant spots without prohibitive signage are scarce in southern Cornwall. Nevertheless, we had a restful night at this cozy little parking lot situated adjacent to a picnic area complete with a table. Across the street are playgrounds and public restrooms. While larger campers may not fit, our van easily parked here. What makes this location particularly appealing is its proximity to Porthcurno Beach, which can be reached on foot via a pleasant stroll. Although paid parking is available at the beach, this is a great base from which to explore the renowned Minack Theatre, as well as one of Cornwall’s most stunning beaches.
#10 Bodmin Moor
Link Park4Night | One of our favourite wild camping sites in Southern England is located in the Bodmin Moor nature reserve. This location provides not only a peaceful place to spend the night, but also an unparalleled experience that will stay with you for a long time. The terrain is flat and tranquil, ensuring a comfortable night’s rest. Additionally, wild ponies graze in the surrounding area, allowing you to connect with nature. During the night, you will only hear the soothing sound of horses walking past your camper. In the morning, you will awaken to a herd of wild horses or cows outside your window. We spent two nights here and found it to be the ultimate relaxation destination!
#11 Bodmin Moor Reservoir
Link Park4Night | We spent a third night at this wild camping spot on Bodmin Moor that offers a breathtaking view of the reservoir and vast landscape dotted with sheep. It’s a serene location that provides plenty of tranquility. Additionally, there are diverse hiking trails around the reservoir for those who enjoy walking. What distinguishes this place is the lack of light pollution, making it ideal for stargazing. While there is an abandoned airbase nearby where numerous vans and campers park and stay overnight, we’ve heard of campers being sent away by park rangers. That’s why we opted not to stay there. Luckily, this spot is a perfect alternative and just a short distance away.
Extra: campsite near Polperro
Link Park4Night | This might not be a free camping site, but we wanted to share this great spot with you. For only £5 per adult (without electricity), this is a fantastic and affordable campground in a beautiful location near the picturesque harbor village of Polperro. There is a large grassy area for children to play, and a slide which our toddler enjoyed. On weekends, there is a food truck offering delicious food.
Best wild camping spots in Devon
#12 Boringdon Hill, south of Dartmoor
Link Park4Night | Discover the enchanting camper spot in Devon, a relatively unknown parking spot for which we could find little prior information. This beautiful free parking area is located in a forest at the start of a particularly lovely hiking path and is not far from Dartmoor National Park. Embrace the tranquility and peacefulness of this natural location and be sure to take a long walk through the stunning forest. The spacious grounds provide ample room so as not to inconvenience anyone, even those with larger campers. During the spring season, the forest transforms into a magical display with fields of bluebells that create a unique atmosphere.
Extra: Beardown Farm in Dartmoor National Park
Link Park4Night | Free camping in Dartmoor National Park has been strictly prohibited since 2022, making places like this one a great alternative. Beardown Farm provides a beautiful place to stay among the sheep. Since this is private property and you have permission from the farmer, staying overnight here is permitted. The camping area for vans and motorhomes is located on a gently sloping piece of grass next to a small stream. The sheep graze nearby and you can walk directly into the beautiful Dartmoor area. At the entrance, you can leave £2.50 per adult in an honesty box. You can also find a water source there if needed. The access road is a bit bumpy and steep.
#13 Hartland Devon Heritage Coast
Link Park4Night | Normally, we wouldn’t choose a parking spot this close to the road, but our friends recommended it and they were absolutely right! The road is very quiet and the parking area is spacious enough that you’re not parked right next to another vehicle. Most importantly, you can spend the night here in your camper surrounded by a stunning environment. You have an expansive view of the beautiful landscape and the sunset is breathtaking. With a bit of luck, you might even see wild cows wandering past your camper.
#14 Exmoor National Park near Lynton
Link Park4Night | Located near the picturesque and popular village of Lynton, you’ll find this wild camping spot in Exmoor National Park that you don’t want to miss. With breathtaking scenery and beautiful hiking trails, it’s a true treat for nature enthusiasts. Whether you want to spend a quiet evening under the stars or stay active on the hiking trails, this place is highly recommended. Toilet facilities are available at the bus stop located at the edge of the parking lot. With ample parking space and enough room for larger campers, there’s almost always a spot available. However, please note that it can be windy at times.
#15 Webbers Post in Exmoor NP
Link Park4Night | Our favorite camper spot in Southern England is Webber’s Post lookout! Situated in a stunning and tranquil location, this place provides ample space and breathtaking views of Exmoor National Park’s landscape. As an added bonus, you may even encounter wild horses near your camper. An information board provides insight into the impressive mountains and scenery you can admire from here. Although a suggested donation of £1 is recommended, it is not mandatory. Keep in mind that the road leading up to the lookout may be challenging for larger campers due to limited passing areas. Additionally, mobile reception is scarce in this area. This pristine and free camping spot offers absolutely incredible views that you won’t want to miss!
Best wild camping spots in Somerset
#16 Steart Marshes
Link Park4Night | This link is not entirely accurate because we were not at this specific inlet, but rather in the parking lot a little further down at the beach. What a beautiful location it is! You are surrounded by nature with stunning views all around and can easily walk onto the beach. It is wonderfully peaceful, and you can sleep undisturbed at night. Don’t forget to take a walk through the stunning nature reserve. During an evening walk, we saw a beautiful sunset and playful foxes. A real treat!
#17 Blagdon vlakbij de Cheddar Gorge
Link Park4Night | At the outskirts of the town of Blagdon, you can enjoy a pleasant overnight stay with stunning views. The parking lot is small, so please park considerately to allow others to use it as well. There are benches available where you can sit and take in the beautiful view of Blagdon and the lake. This camper site is conveniently located near the famous Cheddar Gorge, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Southern England. We visited early in the morning and were able to appreciate the tranquil canyon, which is normally crowded with tourists during the day.
#18 Portishead near Bristol
Link Park4Night | In Portishead, a town near the more well-known city of Bristol, you can enjoy a pleasant stay. It’s highly recommended for families with children or travelers with dogs. There are two parking spots available: one directly alongside the park, and another (suitable for camper vans that fit in a regular parking spot) on the coastal side. We stayed at both spots and found them both to be excellent. Along the coast, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the coastline. During the weekends, especially on sunny days, the park is lively with locals and provides a fun atmosphere. Additionally, there is a fantastic playground where children can play to their hearts’ content. Although we didn’t visit it ourselves, we’ve heard many positive stories about the heated outdoor pool that’s nearby.