Can I drive a motorhome with a car license?


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You’re probably here because you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and are considering a motorhome for your next adventure. Or maybe you’re curious about the possibilities of taking your UK car license to the open road. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. So, can you drive a motorhome with a car license? Let’s embark on this journey to find the answer.

The Basics: What is a Motorhome?

The Freedom and Flexibility of Motorhome Travel

Picture this: you’re driving down a winding road, the world outside your window changing from a bustling cityscape to serene countryside. Your home on wheels allows you to take in every beautiful vista, without having to worry about hotel bookings or flight schedules. That’s the freedom and flexibility a motorhome offers.

Different Types of Motorhomes

Motorhomes come in various shapes and sizes, from compact campervans to larger A Class motorhomes. Each type serves different travel needs, so your choice would depend on factors like the size of your travel group and your desired level of comfort.

Understanding UK Driving Licences

The Categorisation of UK Driving Licences

Understanding the categorisation of UK driving licenses is essential to ensuring legal compliance while getting behind the wheel. Licenses are divided into various categories based on the type and weight of the vehicles they permit the holder to drive.

The most common license is the ‘Category B’ license, typically referred to as a car license. This license permits the holder to drive vehicles with a Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) not exceeding 3,500 kg, equipped to transport no more than eight passengers in addition to the driver. With this license, you can also tow a trailer weighing up to 750 kg.

For vehicles between 3,500 and 7,500 kg, you need a ‘Category C1’ license. This category also allows you to drive vehicles with more than eight passenger seats, providing they fall within the weight limits. If you’re looking to tow a trailer over 750 kg with such a vehicle, you’ll need a ‘C1+E’ license.

‘Category C’ licenses are for drivers of vehicles over 3,500 kg (with a trailer up to 750 kg). If you plan on towing a trailer over 750 kg, you’ll need a ‘Category C+E’ license.

It’s important to note that drivers who obtained their ‘Category B’ license before 1st January 1997 have grandfather rights. This means they can also drive vehicles in ‘Category C1’ without needing an additional test, albeit with certain restrictions.

Apart from these, there are other specialised categories such as ‘D’ for buses and ‘A’ for motorcycles. Understanding these categories and their restrictions is crucial to ensuring you’re legally covered to drive your chosen vehicle, including motorhomes.

Remember, driving a vehicle without the correct license can result in fines, points on your license, or even disqualification from driving. Therefore, always make sure you hold the correct category of license for the vehicle you are driving.

The Validity and Restrictions of UK Driving Licences

The validity of a UK driving license depends on several factors such as the type of vehicle, its weight, and in some cases, the driver’s age. Let’s take a deeper look at these aspects.

As previously mentioned, a ‘Category B’ car license permits you to drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and tow a trailer weighing up to 750 kg. However, the rules change if you wish to tow a heavier trailer. In this case, the combined weight of the vehicle and trailer must not exceed 3.5 tonnes, and the trailer’s weight must not surpass that of the vehicle.

The rules extend to different types of vehicles. For example, you can drive a minibus with a ‘Category B’ license under specific conditions, such as using it for social purposes rather than for hire or reward.

Certain licenses come with age restrictions. For instance, you can only apply for a ‘Category C1’ or ‘Category C’ license (which cover larger, heavier vehicles) when you turn 18 or 21, respectively. Furthermore, ‘Category B’ license holders over 70 may need to renew their licenses more frequently and might face additional medical checks.

Driving licenses obtained before 1st January 1997 carry additional entitlements due to grandfather rights. These drivers can handle vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes (Category C1) and even tow a trailer up to 750 kg. However, if the total combined weight exceeds 8.25 tonnes, you will need to take an additional test to gain a ‘Category C1+E’ entitlement.

While these entitlements and restrictions seem complex, they are crucial to understanding which vehicles you can legally drive on UK roads. Always ensure your license is valid for your motorhome or any other vehicle to avoid legal complications. And remember, keeping updated with changes to driving laws is equally important.

Can a UK Car License Holder Drive a Motorhome?

The Weight Consideration

When considering whether you can drive a motorhome with a UK car license, the weight of the motorhome is a paramount factor. The weight consideration often proves to be a deal-breaker for many aspiring motorhome drivers due to the specific rules set by the UK’s driving regulations.

A standard UK car driving license, also known as a Category B license, permits the holder to drive vehicles with a Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) not exceeding 3.5 tonnes, also equivalent to 3,500 kg. The MAM refers to the weight of a vehicle or trailer, including the maximum load that can be carried safely while on public roads. In addition, you can tow a trailer weighing up to 750 kg.

Therefore, if your motorhome’s weight, including all its contents and passengers, comes within these specifications, you are allowed to drive it with a standard UK car license.

However, the game changes if your motorhome weighs over 3.5 tonnes. For these heavier motorhomes, you will need to obtain a Category C1 license, which allows you to drive vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes.

Do keep in mind that the total weight of the motorhome includes everything that you load into it, such as fuel, water, gas, and personal belongings, which can quickly add up and exceed the weight limit. Therefore, you must regularly check the weight of your loaded motorhome to ensure you’re within legal limits and not unknowingly violating any rules.

In summary, your motorhome’s weight is a crucial determinant in understanding whether your UK car license suffices or if you’ll need an additional license category. It’s always recommended to check these details before heading out on your adventures to avoid any potential legal issues down the road.

If you’d like to know more about motorhome weight, payload and how to weigh your motorhome, you can find out more information in our blog post here – Motorhome Weight & Payload Guide

The Age Factor

When it comes to driving a motorhome with a UK driving license, age plays a significant role. The age at which you obtained your license and your current age can both affect the type of vehicles you’re permitted to drive.

Firstly, those who obtained their driving license before 1st January 1997, often referred to as ‘grandfather rights’, are generally allowed to drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes (known as Category C1 vehicles) on their existing license. This means they can drive most motorhomes without requiring an additional test or license. However, to drive a motorhome or any vehicle over 7.5 tonnes (Category C), they would need to take a separate test.

For those who obtained their standard UK car license (Category B) after 1st January 1997, they are allowed to drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and can tow a trailer up to 750 kg. If their motorhome exceeds these limits, they would need to take an additional driving test to gain a Category C1 license, which allows them to drive vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes. This test can only be taken once the driver is 18 years of age or older.

As we grow older, there are additional considerations to keep in mind. When a driver turns 70, they are required to renew their driving license every three years. Although there is no maximum age limit for driving in the UK, older drivers must ensure they are still safe on the road. This could involve regular eyesight tests and, in some cases, medical checks to ensure they can operate the vehicle safely.

The Practicalities of Driving a Motorhome

The Skills Required

Driving a motorhome requires a different skill set compared to driving a car. Maneuvering a larger vehicle, adjusting to its dimensions, and getting comfortable with a new driving style are some of the things you’d need to learn.

Motorhome Maintenance

Motorhome ownership comes with its share of maintenance duties. Regular servicing, tyre checks, and ensuring your vehicle is roadworthy are all part of the motorhome lifestyle.

Our Experiences: Travelling with a Motorhome

Stories from the Road: Ryan & Kirsty

As full-time motorhome travellers, we, Ryan & Kirsty, have had the pleasure of exploring over 25 countries in the last two years. The freedom to explore at our own pace, coupled with the comfort of our home on wheels, has made our journeys unforgettable.

The Joys and Challenges of Motorhome Travel

Driving a motorhome has its unique joys and challenges. The flexibility to change plans, the connection with nature, and the ability to carry home comforts are the upsides. The downsides? Occasionally dealing with maintenance issues and adapting to varying road conditions. But in our view, the pros far outweigh the cons!


In conclusion, yes, you can drive a motorhome with a UK car license under certain conditions. It’s a fantastic way to explore the world, offering unparalleled freedom and flexibility. Just make sure to understand the rules, enhance your driving skills, and maintain your motorhome to enjoy a safe and memorable journey.


If your motorhome weighs up to 3.5 tonnes, a Category B license will suffice. For motorhomes heavier than this, a Category C1 license is required.

What category of UK license do I need to drive a motorhome?

If your motorhome weighs up to 3.5 tonnes, a Category B license will suffice. For motorhomes heavier than this, a Category C1 license is required.

Can I drive any motorhome with a license obtained before 1997?

Yes, if you obtained your license before 1 January 1997, you can drive motorhomes up to 7.5 tonnes due to ‘grandfather rights’.

What is the maximum weight I can drive with a standard UK car license?

The maximum weight you can drive with a standard UK car license (Category B) is 3.5 tonnes.

What additional skills might I need for driving a motorhome?

Driving a motorhome may require you to adapt to its larger size and different manoeuvring techniques. You might also need to learn about specific maintenance requirements for motorhomes.

What are some of the challenges of motorhome travel?

Some challenges of motorhome travel include adjusting to the size of the vehicle, handling maintenance, and adapting to different road conditions.

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You can take a look at some of our other van life posts which include lots and lots of hints and tips on all things van life here – Van Life – Travel Information, Hints, Tips and Advice

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