How to set up a campsite - The Camping and Caravanning Club
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How to Start a Campsite

Are you a landowner that’s considering setting up your own campsite? Here we’ve listed some things you need to know before considering setting up a campsite in the UK.

Once you’ve read this, you can learn more about Certificated Sites and apply to set up your own campsite directly with us.

Certificated Site

Is your land suitable to be used as a campsite?

Not all land can be turned into a campsite. Decide whether your land would be suitable by reading the bullet points below:

  • It would be at least half an acre in size
  • Your land would need to be fairly level
  • You would have safe access based on an unrestricted view either side of your egress point, and ideally suitable for all unit types, including appropriate passing places for single track lanes

If you still think your land could make an ideal camping spot, read on for information on planning permission and more.

Setting up a campsite: planning permission

Certificated Site Sign

The phrase “planning permission” can be off-putting, making most people picture paperwork and long delays. Here we’ve tried to make things really clear, and it’s important to digest this information to understand your options. If at any point you don’t understand something or want advice, you can contact our dedicated Exempted Camping Team on 024 7647 5131 or at exemptions@campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk.

The Camping and Caravanning Club holds exemptions to the site licensing requirements of the 1936 Public Health Act and 1960 Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act. That sounds very technical but means that small private campsites can be set up by us and operated without planning permission. There are a few caveats to this, mainly that you’ll be able to accept up to five caravans or motorhomes and 10 tents for up to 28 consecutive days at any one time. If you set your campsite up with us, we’d then refer to your site as a Certificated Site.

If you weren’t to set up your campsite through us, you would need to start a planning application to your local authority for the use of land as a campsite or for any related development unless you qualify for permitted development or lawful use.

Facilities you’ll need on your campsite

It’s up to you whether you plan to have a campsite with all of the bells and whistles for tent campers or whether you just want to provide the basic necessities of life. At a minimum, you’ll need to ensure your campers basic needs are met during their stay on your land. To become a Certificated Site, we would require you to have a fresh drinking water tap, a sealed chemical disposal tank, a rinsing water tap with a non-return valve, and dry waste disposal.

Many campsites start with the basics above and later add facilities like toilets and dishwashing areas to attract a wider range of people.

Do you need insurance to start a campsite?

In short, public liability insurance covers you if a customer or member of the public claims they’ve been injured or that their property has been damaged because of your business activities. We require you to have this in place to achieve certification with us and would highly recommend anyone starting a campsite to have it.

Finding people to stay on your campsite

Family playing games on a Certificated Site

Setting up a campsite is just the first step. It can take a while to build a reputation and discover your best advertising streams. All Certificated Sites are automatically advertised across our website and to over 787,000 members of the Club. If you set up your campsite with us, the campers staying on your site must be members of the Club (and you’ll get a commission for signing new members up!).

When can I operate my campsite?

As a Certificated Site owner, you can stay open for campers year-round if you want to. You’d be surprised how many of our members love camping in the colder months!

How do I apply to set up a campsite through the Club?

For full details read our All You Need To Know guide before applying online which takes just a few minutes.

Hopefully, that answers some questions and solidifies your ambitions to set up your own site. Looking for some inspiration? View some of the Certificated Sites we already have on offer to our membership base.