There’s nothing like personal recommendation for finding good campsites, and especially for free places to stop in a campervan or motorhome.
We’re building a list of the best camping apps (Android and iOS) to help you find a place for the night while you’re on the road.
Please bear in mind Covid restrictions, be sensitive to the local area and to the people who live there. Check ahead, stay safe and keep others safe too.
We haven’t included web inks where it makes more sense to use your iOS or Android app store .
What3words – a miraculous navigation tool
What3words isn’t a campsite-finding app, but it’s an amazing way to share detailed locations without the hassle of grid reference numbers. Basically, every 3m square on the planet has three random words to identify it.
For example, here was our wild camping spot a while ago – hark.loads.symphony. Anyone we give those three words to will now be able to drive directly to our lovely spot under the trees.
We keep a list of everywhere we camp and you can also save locations in lists – so, good restaurants, lovely places to swim and so on.
Naturally, it’s a fantastic tool for the emergency services. People have also used it to pinpoint friends at festivals or in areas where landmarks are few and far between. And it’s free! You can find it on the web and in phone app stores.
If you prefer something a bit more traditional, OS Locate takes details from your mobile and converts your location to grid references that you can then share.
It’s astonishingly accurate and works without a phone signal. There’s a built-in compass and useful mapping information. A brilliant tool alongside a paper map.
With searchable map, an ‘around me’ locator and more. Places added by users. Free version with subscription option for more features. More limited than Searchforsites, but better free version.
Works offline, providing you download before you set off. Places added by users. 5,000+ UK sites. 99p. In-app purchases.
ACSI Campsites Europe
8,500 sites across 32 European countries. Works offline. Filter by facility. Packages for each country/region. €1.99 for the UK (580+ campsites). In-app purchases. Filtering can be a bit frustrating.
Wild Camping POI
Covers the UK and France, with listings of wild camping spots, aires and motorhome-friendly pubs and water taps etc. Available to members of the Wild Camping website, but you can get a free demo to test if it’s for you.
Find and book camping holidays, with filters for facility, pictures and directions. Free, but slightly limited in what you can find. Doesn’t seem to be available on Android?
Campr Beautiful Camping
Focusing on lovely places with video and lots of images. Regions and sites are limited, and the app hasn’t been updated for a year.
The website and app lists motorhome parking spots throughout Europe (nearly 700 in the UK), and claims to be Europe’s biggest. Add details and reviews and search by best rated or free stopovers. There’s a free trial version, but otherwise costs £5.99 a year
Camping and Caravanning Club SiteSeeker
Filter your results by location, price and on-site facilities. Available offline. Membership number unlocks certificated sites. Free, but not very popular!
A searchable guide to campsites, aires and stopovers with nearly 30,000 places listed in Western Europe (though some major omissions) and 15,000 members adding reviews and updates. Includes a five-day weather map for the locations too.
App available, which is great BUT no mention of cost or subscription. There should be no need to trick people with a seemingly free service that turns out to be two-day evaluation only. Pinches Britstop copyright info too.
One to avoid on Android but decent on iOS. Requires membership.
Please let us know if you’ve used one of these apps – with good or bad experiences! And if we’ve missed an app we should include, please share! There’s a comment box below.
A brilliant series of guides that help you discover lovely landscapes, places to swim and camp, unusual and special places to eat and more. Look where the French one took us!! See the full list below.
The vast majority of England is out-of-bounds. By law of trespass, we are excluded from 92 per cent of its land and 97 per cent of its waterways, blocked by walls whose legitimacy is rarely questioned.
In The Book of Trespass, we follow lifelong trespasser and campaigner for access, Nick Hayes, over the barbed wire fences of the aristocrats, politicians, media magnates, and corporations that own England to reveal the real story behind its KEEP OUT signs.
From the historical enclosure of the commons that began in 1066, to modern-day acts of resistance such as the Greenham Common Peace camp and the Kinder Trespass, Nick questions the English orthodoxy that the ownership of land should come with the right to exclude everyone else, and argues that the root of social inequality – across class, gender and race – is the uneven distribution of land.
Part polemic, part passionate defence of our access to the natural world, this is nature writing for 2020.