UK Van Life Festivals, RV, Caravan, Camper, Motorhome, Overlanding & Self-Build Events

If you are thinking about buying or converting a van, I really recommend visiting shows or attending meet-ups. This is without doubt the best way to get ideas, see what options are available, meet suppliers, manufacturers, and chat with experts and other like-minded people.

If you already own a van, it’s just a fun thing to do!

In the UK, there is a full calendar of vanlife shows and get togethers. Most are annual festivals that take place over weekends, so although the actual dates change year-on-year, the monthly calendar remains much the same. Day tickets are often available.

This post includes a downloadable Vanlife Printable Festival Planner. I have divided the events roughly into two categories:

  1. Trade Shows & Self-Build Get Togethers, which are more product and information oriented. The largest shows featuring all the mainstream manufacturers are the two at the NEC (National Exhibition Centre) in Birmingham in February and October. The largest custom and self-build shows are the two joint Adventure Overland/International Campervan Shows in Stratford upon Avon in May and September.
  2. Campervan Festivals, which are more social, music, and fun, although there is obviously an overlap.

I have tried to make this the most comprehensive guide to vanlife events, but if I have missed any major annual events, please let me know and I shall add them.

Britain has hundreds of brilliant and bonkers Other Festivals, which are ideal to visit in your van, so as a bonus I have also included some links for you to search directories of music festivals, air shows, floating markets, independent and green festivals to help you find the festival for you, although do see my Note on Dog Friendliness.

If you want to try vanlife but don’t yet have a van, I’ve included Motorhome & Camper Rentals, and a link to sample Sample Virtual Vanlife Via YouTube.

One of the custom vehicles on show at the Adventure Overland/International Campervan Show, which takes place twice yearly in Stratford upon Avon
  1. Trade Shows & Self-Build Get Togethers
    1. European Festivals
    2. Self Build Forums & Meetups
  2. Campervan Festivals
  3. Vanlife Printable Festival Planner
  4. A Note on Dog Friendliness
  5. Motorhome & Camper Rentals
  6. Sample Virtual Vanlife Via YouTube
  7. Other Festivals
  8. Come Truckin’ With Us – Sign Up for Tips & Inspiration!

Trade Shows & Self-Build Get Togethers

Camping & Caravan Show by Bill Nicholls, CC BY-SA 2.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons
  • The Caravan, Camping, and Motorhome Show at the NEC in Birmingham in February is one of the largest in the UK and hosts all the major manufacturers, as well as accessories, talks, free caravan/campervan driving experiences etc.
  • The Scottish Caravan, Motorhome, & Motorhome Show at the SEC in Glasgow in February.
  • Go Explore at Farnborough in March is ‘the only show in the South where you can see a fantastic selection of caravans, motorhomes, campervans, holiday homes, lodges, tents and accessories all in one destination.’
  • Campervan & RV Show, at Excel, London in April.
  • Camp Quirky ‘the greenest handmade campervan festival run by the community for the community’ takes place in Northamptonshire in April. There is music, van conversion workshops, and ‘loads of quirky campers on show.’ Their website lists Quirky Approved Convertors, Campervan Sales, and Bespoke Campervan Hire, plus a portal to Rent Out your own camper. Dogs are welcome and there is a designated off-lead walking field. I can find no reference to it on their website, but have heard anecdotally that there is an extra charge for dogs to attend.
  • The joint Adventure Overland Show and International Campervan Show in Stratford upon Avon Racecourse (twice per year in May and September) is a great place to see a huge collection of self-build campers, 4×4 vehicles, and overland trucks like ours.
  • Camper Jumble at Stratford Upon Avon Racecourse in June is reputedly the UK’s biggest one-day ‘Boot Fair’ sale of new and second-hand camping vehicles, outdoor gear and equipment. Sell your unwanted kit or simply bag a bargain!
  • VanLoveFest at Elvington Airfield near York in June. From micro campers to overlanders, whether you’re full-time or just curious, Vanlove Fest is the ultimate celebration of life on the road.
  • The Van Life Festival in June, at Shrewsbury welcomes everyone in any vehicle to share adventures and be inspired.
  • Vanlife & Overlander Celebration in July at Newbury showground celebrates everything about the Vanlife community and the aspiration to live a life more freely. It is organised by Vanlifers and is a little different in its aim to support the vanlife community, and open up support and networking opportunities in health, well-being, work, and small business opportunities as well as encouraging and promoting Vanlife talent and skills.
  • The joint Adventure Overland Show and International Campervan Show has its late summer edition in September at Stratford upon Avon Racecourse
  • The National Motorhome and Caravan Show in Birmingham in October is set to span 11 halls at the NEC and is the biggest manufacturers’ launch show of new models for the following season. It includes talks, free ‘have a go’ driving sessions, and a whole hall of campervans.
  • Warners Group, who publish the industry magazines dedicated to Caravans, Motorhomes and Campervans, arrange Out and About Live regional shows at various show grounds in the UK throughout the year.
  • Vanlife Festivals Facebook Group
Adventure Overland Show & International Campervan Show, Stratford upon Avon

European Festivals

  • The biggest European festival for four-wheel drive and long distance travel is the Abenteuer & Allrad in Bad Kissingen, Germany, in June.
  • VW Festivals lists VW events in the UK and throughout Europe. It is searchable by month and by country.

Self Build Forums & Meetups

Enjoying a glass of The Wanderer wine inside The Beast

There are also lots of forums and van life meet ups, many arranged through Facebook, such as:

  • The Self Build Get Together arranges camping trips and meetings a few times a year, where people with self-built vans can come together to help each other, as well as meet like-minded people, get inspiration, advice, share tools, expertise and so on. The main group is based largely in south central England, but there are sub-groups in the North, North Wales, and the Midlands.
  • Built not Bought Campers a safe place for everyone to discuss topics, provide hints and tips, give advice, show your vans off, self built, and also coach built.
  • The Self Build Motor Caravan Club (SBMCC) has lots of resources on its website, such as information on how to find, plan, and build your van. It also arranges club meets for members via its SBMCC forum.

Campervan Festivals

Some campervan festivals are less build & more music orientated
Image Nathan, CC BY-SA 2.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons

If your thing is just chillin’ out, there are a number of more music-focussed vanlife get togethers, such as:

  • VanLifeFest – a weekend event for campervans and motorhomes only (no caravans.) Day tickets are available. Held in Malton, North Yorkshire in May.
  • Glampfest in Karesborough, North Yorkshire in May invites you to admire beautiful campervans, enjoy performances from some excellent hand-picked acoustic artists, bands and DJ’s, get involved in lots of fun activities and enjoy the Glamping life.
  • The Caravan and Motorhome Club’s ClubFest in Northamptonshire in May.
  • Mighty Dub Fest at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland in June is the north east’s family festival, celebrating VWs and live music, although you don’t need a VW to attend.
  • Vans in the Valley in June near Richmond, North Yorkshire is a chilled campout weekend in the heart of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.
  • Purple Hayze Mini Festival arranged by the FB group Living The Campervan Dream takes place in June near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.
  • Bristol Volksfest in Bristol in June promises cool cars, camping, music and VW culture.
  • Dubbed Out Festival – a weekend family friendly VW campervan festival with big top tents and live music at the Royal Cheshire Showground in July.
  • Camper Jam – a family friendly VW bus event, including tree climbing, craft workshops and the infamous Disco Shed near Telford, Shropshire, in July.
  • Vanlife Eats the original vanlife foodie festival near Basingstoke, Hampshire, in August includes music, food – and is dog friendly!
  • The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Torchlight Festival of Camping in Nottinghamshire in August
  • Volksfest Wales is a family event in Brecon in August and promises a chilled out vibe with a variety of stunning classic and modern VW vehicles on display, plus traders, children’s entertainment and live bands.
  • Dubs In t’ Dales is an end of summer VW camp out at the end of September in Bedale, North Yorkshire.
  • I have included a few VW festivals, but there are loads more! The website VW Festivals lists all VW events in the UK and throughout Europe. It is searchable by month and by country.

Vanlife Printable Festival Planner

The hyperlinks will work if you download the pdf.

A Note on Dog Friendliness

Motorhome & Camper Rentals

Smaple the lifestyle or layout by renting a camper
Image drew-bernard Unsplash

You can also rent campervans or motorhomes to see how you like the lifestyle, or the layout of a particular model. If you want to take your dog, there are dog friendly rentals. Some dealers also rent out campers or offer test drives.

The suppliers below bring together owners who want to make extra income from their vans and those wanting to rent a campervan and sample vanlife. Please note, I have never tried any of them, so these are not personal recommendations.

  • Budget Campervans – offers campervan hire in the UK, including one way rentals, as well as hire options worldwide.
  • Camplify – helps you find the perfect campervan for your next UK holiday, with comprehensive insurance and RAC breakdown cover.
  • Camperbug – lists campers for hire by county in the UK, and also offers campervan hire abroad.
  • Goboony – motorhome hire from a local owner. Goboony claims the largest fleet in the UK.
  • Indie Campervan Hire – has listings in Europe, North America & Oceana. They also offer long-term campervan hire options for those who wish to sample the lifestyle.
  • Quirky Campers brings together owners of bespoke campers and those who want to rent a unique campervan.

Sample Virtual Vanlife Via YouTube

Photo by RDNE Stock project:

I am not a big YouTube fan, but Sophie and Ryan of Liveration. have made some wonderful short documentary films about van lifers and others who have chosen an alternative lifestyle. If you want to know what full-time van life is really like, check them out via the links below.

Make sure you don’t miss their future episodes, which I GUARANTEE will be FABULOUS (because I know what’s coming up!) don’t forget to Subscribe to their Channel, @Liveration.

Other Festivals

Have camper, will travel… If festivals are your thing, there are many other food, music, craft, country fairs, carnivals, airshows, floating markets, or other festivals you could visit. Here are some resources to help you find them.

Come Truckin’ With Us – Sign Up for Tips & Inspiration!

Published by Jacqueline Lambert @WorldWideWalkies

AD (After Dogs) - We retired early to tour Europe in a caravan with four dogs. "To boldly go where no van has gone before". Since 2021, we've been at large in a 24.5-tonne self-converted ex-army truck called The Beast. BC (Before Canines) - we had adventures on every continent other than Antarctica!

4 thoughts on “UK Van Life Festivals, RV, Caravan, Camper, Motorhome, Overlanding & Self-Build Events

  1. What an absolute treat of a blogpost to wake up to on a Sunday morning! Better than settling down with the Sunday papers! I shall devour the whole of this post and make lots of future plans! Btw- I think I recognise that bottle of red wine!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a very special bottle of red wine, brought by and shared with very special people, and one that sums up vanlife beautifully…
      I’m so pleased you liked the post. I couldn’t find a really comprehensive list of festivals, so I did my best.
      Happy planning. 🙂


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