New to Campervans
Before booking a campervan hire vehicle, check the driving licences of all members of the hire party who wish to drive the campervan. The maximum mass of each campervan is listed on the profile found on this website. If the maximum mass is 3500kg (3.5 tonnes) or less than it can be driven with a Category B1 (standard) UK driving licence. If the maximum mass is over 3500kg then a C1 entitlement is required on UK licences. If you hold an international or non-UK driving licence, please check your driving entitlements before making a booking. You may need to prove that you are entitled to drive the campervan if mass restrictions are not clearly shown on your driving licence. In the UK, drivers who passed their tests before 1st January 1997 should have a C1 entitlement.
Campervan hire drivers need to be over 25 and less than 70 years of age. These age restrictions apply for the full hire period. Drivers must also have held a full driving licence for at least 3 full years.
Please check your driving eligibility before making a campervan hire booking. If a driver falls outside of Campervan Group's requirements, you booking may be cancelled without refund.
Driving a Campervan
The majority of campervans manufactured in the last few years have a 5-speed manual gearbox. Campervans are often based on a commercial van chassis.
Driving a campervan can be quite different to driving a car. The driving position in a campervan is elevated. This added height allows you to foresee and steer changes in the road and apply the brakes in plenty of time. The campervan driver's seat can be adjusted to obtain the ideal driving position. The height and recline of the driver's seat can be toggled to provide the most comfortable position for you.
Campervans are large vehicles. Beware of overhanging trees when driving on roads. Position your campervan on the road to avoid scraping the roof and side of the campervan. When overtaking cyclists or parked cars, ensure you give yourself more room than you would in a car. Most campervans are wider than standard cars.
Allow for the extra length when manoeuvring with a campervan. You may need to take a larger turning circle than you are used to. When reversing in a campervan, always position a passenger on the ground to give directions. Most damage occurs when people reverse campervans without someone on the ground to assist.
When driving a campervan, try to maintain a steady speed until you become more familiar with the vehicle. Remain calm and relaxed in the campervan and remember that you are on holiday.
Mirrors are essential in a campervan. You must check the mirrors constantly to spot vehicles which may be attempting to overtake you. The rear window of the campervan offers no visibility so your side mirrors must be relied on. Never totally rely on your mirrors when reversing.
There is no need to worry about driving a campervan. Just remember that they are different to cars and care must be taken. Do not exceed the speed limits, keep a constant pace, turn in plenty of time and try to anticipate braking.
Road signs in the UK are similar to those found in different countries. For a complete list of UK road signs and other laws and regulations affecting road users, read a copy of the "Highway Code". You can buy the Highway Code in many shops in the UK, especially those at airports. If you are unable to purchase a paper copy, you can read the full Highway Code online.
In the UK, road users drive on the left. This is unlike most other countries in Europe and beyond. Traffic coming from the right has priority at UK roundabouts. Overtaking on all roads can also only be done on the right.
Parking is regulated in the UK. Check the Highway Code for specific details. Certain road marking such as double yellow lines indicate that parking is banned. Beware of low barriers at some car parks. Your campervan may be too tall to enter. Parking at a public car park is usually okay for campervans unless it states otherwise. A Pay and Display parking ticket usually needs to be bought before leaving your vehicle.
Campervans have their own speed limit restrictions. All UK speed limit signs are indicated in mph (miles per hour) and no kph (kilometres per hour). On a motorway, campervans can travel a maximum speed of 60mph. On a dual-carriageway, campervans can reach a maximum speed of 50mph. Most UK villages and towns will have a speed limit of 30mph. You must always read signage when travelling and note the speed restrictions. Speed cameras operate extensively in the UK. You will receive a large fine for breaking any speed restrictions if caught by a speed camera.
The UK has a good motorway network. On a road map, motorways are often shown in blue and the motorway name begins with "M" followed by a letter. 'A' roads are also major roads in the UK. These are often shown on a map in red and the name is made up of an "A" followed by a number. Most roads in the UK can be travelled on free of charge. There are a handful of toll roads and bridges in the UK, for example the M25 Dartford Tunnel, the M4 Severn Bridge and the Humber Bridge near Hull. The M6 near Birmingham has a toll option which often experiences far less congestion.
All motorways in the UK have emergency telephones located on the roadside at 1km intervals. Arrows show the direction of the nearest emergency telephone. If you are involved in an accident or your vehicle fails on a motorway, you must pull into the hard shoulder and telephone for assistance. You can call the operator or Campervan Group directly for advice. It is illegal to stop your vehicle on a motorway for any reason other than vehicle failure. You must pull as far into the hard shoulder as possible. You and your party should leave the vehicle immediately and safely and wait on the grassy bank to the side of the motorway.
Congestion can be a problem on UK roads. This is especially true during the peak holiday season and at "rush hour" periods. Rush hour is usually between 7 and 9am and 4 and 6pm on weekdays. Small and narrow roads in rural or coastal areas can be dangerous. Ensure you drive slowly and safely. Be aware of the height of the campervan. Some car parks and bridges may have a "max. headroom" warning.
Almost all campervans use diesel fuel. Campervans can be refuelled at petrol stations in the UK. Please remember that there are several different fuel types available. If you fill the campervan with the wrong fuel type you will cause serious damage to the vehicle. Check twice before filling up the campervan hire vehicle with fuel. Make sure it is clear which tank the fuel needs to be added to before pumping. Filling the water tank with diesel is also an expensive mistake.
Campervan fuel is offered across the UK at service stations and supermarkets. Supermarkets tend to be cheaper so try and fill up when you do your grocery shopping. There are several major supermarkets in the UK, including Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrison's, Waitrose, and Tesco. Supermarkets are usually located on the edge of towns and cities. Parking your campervan hire vehicle at a supermarket should be relatively easy. Try to park at the rear to avoid damage from other vehicles as your campervan is longer than a normal car park space. Diesel prices are always changing. If you are interested in keeping costs down, check an online fuel price site to find the best value diesel in your area.
UK service stations are situated along every motorway and most major A roads. Sometimes service stations can be widely spaced, with over 50 miles between each one. Most motorways, however, have service stations positioned every 25 miles. Check your fuel levels before driving past a service station to ensure you have enough in the tank to last the journey. If your campervan hire vehicle comes with a satellite navigation device you can search for nearby supermarkets and service stations to help you find fuel.
It is extremely difficult to park a campervan in a town or city centre. You should avoid attempting to take a campervan into these areas. Campervans are also not suitable for multi-storey car parks. You can still enjoy a sight-seeing trip of a city during your campervan hire holiday. Simply use a local "Park and Ride" service, or park on the outskirts and use public transport to reach the centre of the town or city. London is especially difficult to drive in. There is a high congestion charge in place which will cost campervan users if they choose to drive within the congestion zone. Parking a campervan in central London is impossible and best avoided. London boasts an impressive network of public transport. The London Underground extends to the outskirts of London and many campsites even lie close to Underground stations. Travel on the Underground is also very cost-effective. Purchase a travelcard or use an Oyster Card to travel in central London for just a few pounds each day.
If you need to park your campervan, choose a suitable location such as a large supermarket or train station. You can often walk into a town centre from its train station.
Choosing Site Pitches
The only suitable pitch for a campervan is a hard-standing pitch. This is a pitch which allows all four campervan wheels to be parked on solid ground such as concrete or tarmac. A soft-pitch, which will often be on grass, can be dangerous, especially in wet weather. Campervans that have been parked on grass are often difficult or impossible to drive if the grass has become wet. If you cannot secure a completely hard-standing pitch, you must ensure that at least the front two wheels are parked on a hard surface. Campervans are front-wheel driven and the front wheels require a hard surface in order to gain momentum when starting.
Campervans come with an on-board fresh water tank which will be full when you collect the vehicle. A gauge inside the campervan will indCampervans have two water tanks: a fresh water tank and a waste water tank. The waste water tank is sometimes called the grey water tank. When you collect the campervan, the fresh water tank will be full. The campervan control panel will display a gauge indicating the fresh and waste water levels. The fresh water tank must always be kept at least 1/4 full to prevent the water pump from burning out. Campervan water tanks can be filled up easily. Campsites, service stations and petrol stations often have water filling services available. Your campervan hire vehicle will come complete with a water-filling hose. When you fill up with fresh water, you must also empty the waste water. Waste water tanks can be emptied in designated areas, usually found at campsites.
Most campervans are fitted with cassette toilets. These toilets flush using water and are filled with chemicals. Due to the presence of chemicals, campervan toilets must be emptied at designated chemical disposal points, or into a conventional flushing toilet. The formaldehyde-based fluid, usually referred to as green fluid, must be added to the cassette toilet to protect from odours. You must not use any other additional chemicals as these may damage the toilet cassette or lead to sewage problems. You will be supplied with a bottle of toilet fluid when you arrive to collect the campervan. Don't forget to purchase a new bottle of toilet fluid before returning the campervan.
Campervan fridges work like standard kitchen fridges, keeping fresh food items at the required temperature. When the campervan engine is running, the fridge will be powered by the vehicle alternator. When you are hooked up to a mains electricity supply, the fridge will be powered by the 240v supply. At all other times, the campervan battery can only be powered by the gas supply. There is a manual selector switch which allows you to select the power source for the fridge depending on your circumstances. The fridge will not automatically select power options. You must remember to manually switch your fridge to different power sources to avoid inoperation. The campervan fridge cannot run from the vehicle or leisure batteries.
You may need to switch your fridge off when you are on a ferry crossing. Gas cannot be used on ferries and the campervan engine must also be switched off. Your campervan fridge will stay cool for a few hours when not being powered. A campervan fridge is highly insulated; ensure the door remains shut during the ferry crossing to keep it cool.