Caravanning for beginners in the UK 

Written by Grant Ellis on 29th April 2021

Restrictions are easing, temperatures are rising, and campsites are opening up. In short, if you’re the proud owner of your very first tourer, everything’s finally coming into place for an amazing UK caravanning holiday. 

How do I prepare for a caravan holiday? What should I bring? How can I make my caravan easier to handle? Our experts are seeing a big increase in caravan advice queries from UK vehicle owners who want to know what to expect from their first trip. 

So from site bookings to insurance and more, read our up-to-date tips for making this year’s staycation an epic one.

What caravan parks are open? 

Each nation of the UK has their own roadmaps in place for the removal of Covid restrictions. The dates are not set in stone, so you should check the regulations often for the area you intend to visit just before you travel. 

Here’s a rundown of the situation for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with links to official advice for each nation: 


Self-contained holiday accommodation is now allowed to open, but you must stick within your single household or support bubble. Currently, many campsites are open to self-sufficient caravanners. Shared facilities such as showers, laundries and dishwashing areas are expected to open on 17th May. For further information click here


Self-contained accommodation was allowed to open on 27th March 2021, so many sites are currently open for self-sufficient caravanning. You can also visit Wales for a holiday if you live outside Wales. At the moment, 17th May is the earliest date shared facilities are expected to open. Further information

Tip: for ideas on where to visit, check out our top caravan and camping sites in Wales.    


Scotland is now reopen to visitors from outside of the UK. You should have one household per caravan. Shared facilities are also open. Further information.  

Northern Ireland 

From 30th April, you can stay overnight in self-contained accommodation with your household or bubble. A lot of caravan parks will be delaying opening until 24th May, also for the reopening of shared facilities and tourism accommodation. For further guidance look here.

What caravan park rules can I expect?

As well as being a great way to soak up the beauty of the UK, caravanning is also ideal for a self-contained, covid-safe holiday. As such, expect particularly high demand for sites this year. The best caravan advice is to check availability and book as early as you can. 

At least until later in the summer, you can expect hygiene rules to be in place, so this might mean a longer wait than normal for things like the laundry room and on-site shop. For family-friendly sites with facilities such as pools and games rooms, you might come across measures that limit capacities and allocate time slots. 

To avoid disappointment, you should always plan ahead and often, the campsite’s Facebook page is the best source of up-to-date information. 

Caravanning in the UK

If it’s your first time behind the wheel on a caravan holiday, here are our tips for safe, stress-free touring… 

Caravan laws and towing tips

  • Before your first trip away, use this time to practice driving with the caravan in tow. This will help you to get used to the car and van’s handling. 
  • Also, practice hitching and unhitching, making sure detachable towbars are firmly in place. 
  • For help with moving the caravan into awkward spaces, fit a caravan motor mover. 
  • Give plenty of time for your journey and choose your route carefully. 
  • Be aware of the towing speed limits: 60mph for motorways and dual carriageways, and 50mph on B roads.

How do I prepare for a caravan holiday?

Getting organised… 

With walking boots, wet jackets, kids’ bikes, camp chairs, sandy towels and a host of other items to keep track of, staying organised can be a challenge. It can certainly take some getting used to if it’s your first family caravan holiday. 

Caravan awning

So how can I make my caravan easier to stay in? Our number one tip for newbies is to get an awning. Simple porch canopies are great for storing outdoor clothing and for keeping the living area clutter-free. A full-size awning can instantly increase your space, which is ideal if you want to invite a couple of extra guests (Covid restrictions permitting, of course). Camping enthusiasts, ‘Clueless in a Caravan’ gave some interesting insights on this, which you can read about in our blog, here.

Caravan insurance 

In 2021, we want something to look forward to: a break from the norm, new places to explore – but definitely without any drama!

This is why the right caravan insurance is so useful. Not only does it cover the essentials (e.g. damage and theft), but also things like repatriation, i.e. getting you home if the driver becomes ill. In short, it helps ensure a worry-free caravanning experience, so you can get on with enjoying your holiday. Want to know more? Read our caravan insurance guide for all the necessary tips. 

Electric vehicles

Over the last lockdown, we know that many motorists have been thinking seriously about making the switch to electric vehicles. If you are switching cars before your holiday, will you still be able to tow your caravan? Find out more in our EV towing guide

Excited about your first caravanning trip away? Make sure you secure essential protection before your trip. Take a closer look at our award-winning caravan insurance here and for more details on how to protect your caravan from theft click here.

Contact our Shield Total Insurance expert helpline today at 0800 393 966 or connect with us online to find out more about caravan insurance quotes.

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