Please note that the information on this website regarding photographers' rights and UK law must not be regarded as authoritative. It is written in general terms with a view to increasing general everyday understanding. However it is neither intended to provide authoritative advice nor to be used as guidance in specific cases. Anyone seeking authoritative advice regarding such matters, or anyone involved in a particular legal case, must seek the advice of a suitably qualified solicitor.
Owners of private property do not normally have the right to restrict photography of their property from public places such as public roads, footpaths or rights of way. However, when working on private property, photographers' activities may be restricted by whatever conditions of entry a property owner wishes to impose. If a photographer is admitted to private property on the understanding that no photography will be undertaken, and then ignores the rule and takes photographs, he or she commits a trespass and can be asked to leave. Photography at many stately homes and some National Trust properties is prohibited as a condition of entry. Owners of business premises that are in some areas open to the public also have the right to restrict or prohibit photography.
In England and Wales, the Countryside and Right of Way Act 2000 gives the public access to numerous areas of countryside and coastline classed as private land. Maps of the relevant areas and paths are available. However, such access rights are limited in various ways and exclude commercial activities. Consequently, photography for personal use is normally permitted but commercial work is prohibited without specific permission. Access to private land does not include access to buildings, structures or other facilities in the same or nearby area.