Can you camp on UK beaches? These are the rules to follow

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UK beaches are great places to spend family time, have fun and relax plus, if you get some nice weather, it gets even better.

But if you’re looking for your next staycation spot with a place to pitch your tent, you might be surprised to know there are rules to abide by.

To help you understand what you can and can’t do, The Expert Camper website has laid out the rules – let’s take a look.

Best beaches in the UK

Can you camp on UK beaches?

The Expert Camper explains: “The short answer for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is sadly, yes, it’s pretty much illegal. Exceptions to the rule are very few and far between and effectively boil down to the whim of private landowners.”

In Scotland, rules are different with beachgoers given rights to access most land thanks to the Land Reform Act of 2003.

The website adds: “This includes more than 6,000 miles of coastline, give or take a thousand miles or so as nobody can seem to agree”.

If you do camp on a beach in Scotland though, you’ll need to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

There are three principles which are:

  • Respect the interest of others
  • Care for the environment
  • Take responsibility for your own actions

Wild camping rules in Scotland are different to the rest of the UKWild camping rules in Scotland are different to the rest of the UK (Image: Getty)

While you might think beaches aren’t owned by anyone, they do have owners so it’s important to remember that a day at the beach is a day on someone’s property.

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The website explains that beaches are owned by a group of bodies, including:

  • The Crown Estate
  • The Ministry of Defence
  • The National Trust
  • Local Authorities
  • Private landowners

You can find out more about camping on beaches in the UK and who owns them via The Expert Camper’s website.

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