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.
Latest update: March 2021
We haven’t included web inks where it makes more sense to use your iOS or Android app store .
Giles Babbidge Camping
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.
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.
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.
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.
Web-based alternative campsite finders
We’ve used and reviewed these:
- Nearly Wild Camping – just like it says!
- CampSpace – garden camping
- HomeCamper – private and secret camp spots all over the world
- Britstops – membership gets you free spots at pubs, farmshops and more
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.
Can we walk here? Can we camp there?
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.