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Iceni Magazine | May 30, 2024

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What You Need to Know Before Driving a Motorhome in the UK

What You Need to Know Before Driving a Motorhome in the UK

The UK is an incredibly beautiful country with some truly breath-taking scenery.

This is what attracts so many tourists every year and is why we’re seeing an increasing number of people decide to take staycations in the UK.

If you’re looking for a way to travel around the UK that offers you a combination of both luxury and convenience, then a motorhome could be exactly what you’re looking for. However, there are a number of things you need to know before driving a motorhome in the UK. Let’s find out more.

What is a Motorhome?

A motorhome, also sometimes referred to as an RV (recreational vehicle), is a large vehicle that contains self-contained living quarters. Modern motorhomes are well-equipped and offer a range of home comforts, including a bed, sofa, bathroom, and kitchen area.

It’s important to clarify the distinction between motorhomes and caravans. Caravans are living units that need to be towed by a car or another motor vehicle, while motorhomes are fully self-contained and feature both living and driving capabilities.

A motorhome can be the perfect way to tour the UK and take in the incredible countryside. Don’t assume you need to splash out and buy one yourself. Motorhomes can be rented from a company like www.ariescape.co.uk, ideal for an adventure staycation in the UK.

What Licence Do You Need?

In the UK, certain types of driving licence qualify the holder to drive certain types of vehicles. Standard issue driving licences allow for the operation of vehicles classed as AM, B, and BE. These categories include mopeds, as well as vehicles and trailers with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of 3,500 kg. Of course, if you have already completed your HGV training, you’ll be well qualified to drive one.

Many modern motorhomes are incredibly lightweight and made using advanced manufacturing techniques. As a result, many of them fall below the 3,500 kg MAM threshold, meaning you will be able to legally drive them using a standard UK driving licence.

If you passed your driving test before 1st January 1997, you will also be permitted to operate larger vehicles with a MAM of 7,500 kg. However, driving tests issued after this date do not permit the operation of these larger vehicles. If you want to drive a big motorhome that fits lots of people and you do not have the relevant permit, you will have to take additional driving tests.

Passing a Class 2 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test will upgrade your licence and permit you to drive vehicles with a MAM of over 3,500 kg. If you want to drive one of the biggest motorhomes that weigh in with a MAM of over 7,500 kg, you will need to pass a Class 1 HGV test.

The Rules of the Road

Depending on the weight of the motorhome you are driving, it could be subject to different speed limits. Motorhomes that weigh 3,050 kg and under can travel at the same speed as regular cars. However, motorhomes that are over this threshold must drive slower. They can do a maximum of 50 mph on single carriageways and a maximum of 60 mph on dual carriageways.

Driving a motorhome is permitted on all UK roads. However, it’s important to use common sense here. Don’t drive down country roads that are too narrow for your vehicle to fit and pay attention to maximum height restrictions when driving through tunnels and under bridges. 

When driving your motorhome, all passengers should be in their seats with their seatbelts securely fastened. It’s illegal, not to mention extremely dangerous, to have passengers freely walking around inside the motorhome while it is in motion.

Parking Your Motorhome

The beauty of the motorhome is the fact you can, in theory, go wherever you want and park up to sleep or rest whenever you feel like it. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. While there are plenty of places in the UK for you to park your motorhome, there are certain areas where it is not permitted.

Most wild space in the UK is technically owned by someone, so you should technically have to seek permission from the landowner before parking. In England and Wales, so-called ‘wild camping’ is strictly forbidden without the express permission of the landowner. Thankfully, the rules are slightly different in Scotland. However, while Scotland’s 2003 Land Reform Act allows for wild camping on unenclosed land, this doesn’t necessarily include motorhomes, so it’s probably best to ask permission anyway.

Conclusion

A motorhome adventure can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Use this guide to learn all there is to know about driving a motorhome in the UK.


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