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TravelHow to Start House Sitting in the UK (Free Accommodation)

How to Start House Sitting in the UK (Free Accommodation)

This article will give you all the information you need to become a house sitter in the UK. There are a ton of UK listings just waiting for applications, and within this post, I’ll outline here exactly where to find them and how to secure them!

I have years of experience house sitting in the UK and beyond. I’m originally from England and built up my house sitting profile in the UK before embarking on a digital nomad lifestyle. I use house sitting websites almost exclusively for accommodation. It saves a fortune and expands my traveling experience on the whole.

For me, the UK will always be my home base, and house sitting has allowed me to explore more of my own beautiful country. There are so many fantastic places to visit, and the UK is a place with a high demand for house sitters. I’ve stayed in areas that may not have ever entered my radar had it not been for house sitting opportunities.

From the Highlands of Scotland to the beaches of Cornwall, let’s get you on the road to becoming a house sitter in the UK.

How to Become a House Sitter in the UK

There are some excellent websites available for house and pet sitting in the UK. They all come with different features, price tags, and membership options. Finding the right one for you is an important first step and I’ve outlined all the info you need here;

1. Trusted Housesitters

A woman caring about dogs. They are all ready on leash to go for walk.A woman caring about dogs. They are all ready on leash to go for walk.

Trusted Housesitters has been my go-to site since becoming a house sitter almost 5 years ago. The web and app-based platform is by far the most popular house sitting site available. With a quick scan of the app, I can see almost 7,000 listings currently accepting applications for house sitters – almost 2,000 of these are in the UK.

Based on these numbers alone Trusted Housesitters should be a top consideration when contemplating becoming a house sitter in the UK. The app and website are easy to use with some great features that make the whole process smooth and secure. Something I love about this site is that if you can’t see the right sit for you straight away, you can save your criteria and receive alerts when a matching option becomes available.

Being the top website out there means Trusted Housesitters is also the most expensive. But priced at $260/year it’s the same as a couple of nights in a modest hotel. I recommend the premium membership which includes, among other benefits, cancellation insurance and enhanced customer service. However, the basic membership at $129/year may be a more affordable starting point.

Save some money when you sign up by using GOATS20 for 20% off any membership option, or join now by clicking here.

2. Mind My House

house sittinghouse sitting

Having more than one house sitting site in your arsenal is a great idea. And while Trusted Housesitters should be the go-to, Mind My House is a great contender for that second spot. They have a nice and easy platform, plenty of listings, and a low yearly membership price of just $29.

Mind My House has been around since 2005, making it one of the oldest house sitting websites on the market. With experience comes plenty of handy features like the stats page which shows exactly where in the world hosts are looking for sitters. The company owners personally oversee the excellent customer service department.

Homeowners post their listings for free which means there are always many posts available. Over 40 people in the UK were looking for sitters at the time of writing this article. I like Mind My House a lot, and with such a low annual fee it’s a great website to consider.

3. Nomador

A close-up of a hand of a woman holding a key with the kitchain of a wooden ho use giving to a couple. A close-up of a hand of a woman holding a key with the kitchain of a wooden ho use giving to a couple.

An important point to remember is that hosts generally only list their homes on one website. Therefore, the perfect house sit for you may be posted elsewhere. Nomador is another very popular house sitting site with a strong lean towards Europe. They have hundreds of active users in the UK.

The website is very easy to use with many features akin to those of Trusted Housesitters. Searching with precise criteria is easy to do and saving your searches is again a nice feature to have. Although Nomador lacks an app, the number of listings makes them a very popular option for finding UK house sits.

Nomador has 3 membership options with a variety of different benefits the higher up you go. Their top-tier membership is just $190/year. If you want to get the full Nomador experience without the annual outlay, they also offer a 3-month ‘Discovery’ option. At $85 this is a great way to get started without a significant financial cost.

4. Workaway

A young couple views a property guided by the home owner. they standing in the hallway of the house and chatting about the house contract that they are holding. A young couple views a property guided by the home owner. they standing in the hallway of the house and chatting about the house contract that they are holding.

Another option for finding house sitting jobs in the UK is Workaway, one of my favorite traveling sites. I’ve met so many wonderful people using this site during my years on the road. It’s primarily for finding volunteer placements in exchange for accommodation and food, but house sitting is a key search focus.

I’ve always found Workaway to have a friendly and community-orientated vibe. Hosts with active profiles are always quick to respond whether it’s a yes or no to your application. I’ve made some great lifelong friends using Workaway.

Workway has a low price of just $50 a year or $30pp when a couple joins, so it’s another affordable option. The added benefit of an app makes tracking and applying for the right listings an easy and straightforward process. With hundreds of listings currently available, it shouldn’t be overlooked as a house sitting resource.

5. Housesitters UK

A young attractive girl in rubber gloves and headphones listens to music and mops the wooden floor in the room.A young attractive girl in rubber gloves and headphones listens to music and mops the wooden floor in the room.

A great site for finding UK house sits is Housesitters UK. It’s the largest house and pet sitting platform that deals exclusively with the UK. Thousands of people have put their trust in Housesitters UK, giving them a 5-star Feefo customer service rating.

Much like Mind My House, homeowners list their properties for free which always ensures a great selection of available homes to apply for. House sitters can join for the low annual fee of just $37 which makes it an incredibly affordable service.

With over 700 active listings currently accepting applications, Housesitters UK is a serious contender as the UK’s go-to house sitting option.

Personal Experience Housesitting in the UK

I was born and raised in the UK and despite leaving a few years ago it’ll always be home. It’s where I built my profile as a house sitter whilst planning my long-term travel adventure, and it’s somewhere I continue to explore as part of my new digital nomad lifestyle.

My first 3 house sits were all based around my home in Cambridgeshire, whilst I still lived in the county. The close proximity of them to my home and office meant I was able to carry out the sits, and still go to work as normal whilst enjoying the feeling of being away. All the while, I was banking positive reviews for my profile. I highly recommend considering a few local listings to get your reviews up before you begin applying for London penthouses.

My experiences of house sitting in the UK have all been super positive. Bath was a great location to pet sit. I took care of a stunning home and a mostly outdoor Maine Coon cat called Leia. The home was situated a short walk from the city center and had stunning city views from the garden terrace. It was a pleasure to spend a month there.

Although I’ve visited London many times, house sitting there gave me a fresh perspective of the UK’s capital. Looking after 4 small dogs meant exploring parks and recreation areas that I would never have otherwise come across. With the main attractions just a few tube stops away, it was brilliant to feel both at home and on vacation at the same time.

Best Areas to House Sit in the UK

The UK encompasses England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, so there are so many wonderful places to explore. I lived there for over 30 years and although the UK is tiny compared to places like the US, I barely scratched the surface. House sitting has really opened up opportunities for me to explore further afield. Here are a few of my favorite UK places to find house sits.

1. London

Big Ben, London, UK. A view of the popular London landmark, the clock tower Big Ben. British flag flying. Big Ben, London, UK. A view of the popular London landmark, the clock tower Big Ben. British flag flying.

Well where else to start but the nation’s capital, London? One of the world’s greatest cities and a place everyone should visit at some time during their lives. I was lucky enough to live an hour away for most of my life and have enjoyed countless trips there.

It’s also the UK’s biggest city with around 9 million inhabitants. This means there’s always a lot going on and many different areas to consider. Some of my favorite areas are Camden, Covent Garden, and Leicester Square. These are all popular tourist spots and make for great for day trips, evenings out, and for ticking off a lot of London’s iconic landmarks.

Any house sit in the broader London area will undoubtedly have excellent connectivity via the London Underground. The Tube is reliable, cheap, and is a very efficient way of traversing the city. London is within easy reach of both the south and east coasts of England, so it’s an ideal base for exploring further afield.

Location: London is located in the south of England, UK. It’s around 50 (80 km) miles from the southern coast and 40 miles (64 km) to the east coast. It is one of England’s most connected cities with several international airports, train stations, and bus terminals.

2. Cambridge

A historic university in London surrounded by green grass and trees. A historic university in London surrounded by green grass and trees.

Even closer to home for me, Cambridge was always on my doorstep. It’s another of the great UK cities to consider for house sitting opportunities. It was in the county of Cambridgeshire where I racked up my first 4 house sits, so I can confirm there are ample opportunities available around the area.

Cambridge is a beautiful city full of culture and stunning architecture, and offers a wonderful restaurant and bar scene. It’s home to the third oldest university in continuous operation in the world. The prestigious University of Cambridge is an iconic institution renowned around the world. Its influence and impact can be seen and felt throughout the city.

There are also many great towns and cities within easy reach of Cambridge; it’s another well-located and well-connected UK location. A house sit even remotely close by would allow for a few great day trips into Cambridge. Be sure to check out my previous article detailing the perfect 2-day itinerary for Cambridge.

Location: Cambridge is located toward the southeastern side of England, UK, and is well connected to most of the UK by Cambridge Train Station. Stansted International Airport is under an hour away and Central London can be reached in around 45 minutes to 1 hour via train.

3. Bath

A walkway on the right side of a canal with water gates and trees surrounding it. A walkway on the right side of a canal with water gates and trees surrounding it.

I loved my time house sitting in Bath. I’d only ever visited for the day so when I saw a listing for a 2-month stay, I jumped at the opportunity. The whole city is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the UK.

Named for the famous 2,000-year-old Roman Baths on which it was initially built, Bath is a center of historic importance, and cultural significance, and a hub for global tourism. Bath Abbey, the Pulteney Bridge, and The Circus are just a few of the architectural feats that I got to enjoy every day while staying in Bath.

With two large universities based in the city, you can also be sure of a lively and vibrant social scene. I’ve written extensively on my stay in this city so be sure to check out my previous articles including the 15 Best Pubs in Bath. It’s a fantastic place to secure a house sit.

Location: Bath is located on the southwest side of England, UK. Cardiff, the capital city of Wales is 45 miles (72 km) away. London is 115 miles (185 km) and regular direct trains take around 90 minutes to get to the capital.

4. Edinburgh

When viewed from above, the large clock tower and other historic buildings in the sunset may be seen.
When viewed from above, the large clock tower and other historic buildings in the sunset may be seen.

A city that has been on my radar for many years is Edinburgh. Sadly, I’m yet to make the trip north but have only ever heard great things about Scotland’s capital city. It’s a place that’s steeped in history and culture, known for its stunning architecture, vibrant festivals, and rich heritage.

Edinburgh is home to numerous historic landmarks, including Edinburgh Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish residence of King Charles III. The Royal Mile is a historic street that runs through the heart of the Old Town connecting Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and is lined with fantastic shops and pubs.

Edinburgh is perhaps most famous for its festivals, with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe being the world’s largest arts festival. The city comes alive with performers, artists, and visitors from around the globe during the festival season. I know that a lot of locals leave during festival season, perhaps the ideal time to secure some free house sitting accommodation?

Location: Edinburgh is located in Scotland which is the most northern country within the UK. It’s well connected with much of the UK via Waverly Train Station and Edinburgh International Airport. London is over 400 miles (643 km) south and takes around 8 hours to drive or 5 hours via train.

5. Cornwall

"Abandon Tin Mines overlooking the sea at Botallack, Penwith on the north coast of Cornwall. UK.""Abandon Tin Mines overlooking the sea at Botallack, Penwith on the north coast of Cornwall. UK."

The county of Cornwall encompasses England’s most southwestern region. It’s another area that remains one of my saved searches on Trusted Housesitters. I’m just patiently waiting for the right sit at the right time to come along!

Cornwall, notably Newquay, Truro, and St Austell, attracts tourists with its breathtaking coastlines, sandy beaches, and mild UK climate. The world-famous Cornish Pasty is a delightful local treat.

Being such a popular tourist spot, for overseas visitors and UK residents alike, accommodation can be very expensive in Cornwall. This is especially true during the late spring and summer seasons. But, much like with Edinburgh during Fringe, a lot of locals seize this opportunity to get out of town, and many house sitting opportunities await.

Location: Cornwall is a county located in the southwestern region of England, UK. The coastal town of Newquay is around 5 hours from London via both car and train. There are several daily flights connecting it to London which take around an hour.

Is the UK Safe?

The UK is considered a safe place to visit. The country has a well-established legal system, a strong police presence, and generally low levels of violent crime. Tourist destinations and major cities often have robust security measures in place to ensure the safety of visitors.

However, like any destination, the safety of specific areas within the UK can vary. While the major cities are generally safe, visitors should exercise caution in certain neighborhoods, particularly during the evening. Petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, can occur in crowded tourist areas. It’s advisable for travelers to stay vigilant and practice common-sense precautions.

Overall, with proper awareness and mindfulness, the United Kingdom is generally considered a safe and welcoming destination for tourists from around the world.

Pros and Cons of Being a House Sitter in the UK

Pros and Cons. Two binders on desk in the officePros and Cons. Two binders on desk in the office

There are a few pros and cons potential house sitters should be aware of before embarking on an assignment in the UK. I’ve outlined my top ones for you here;

Pros of House Sitting in the UK

  • Cultural Richness: The UK offers access to many diverse and rich cultural scenes. Historic landmarks, museums, theaters, and fabulous architecture are to be found all across the country.
  • Healthcare System: The National Health Service (NHS) provides UK residents with free comprehensive healthcare services. If you are a resident of the EU, you may also be entitled to free emergency healthcare whilst in the UK.
  • Cost Savings: House sitting allows you to find accommodation without the big expense of hotels or apartment rentals.
  • Public Transportation: Efficient and well-connected public transportation systems, including buses, trains, and the London Underground, make commuting and traveling within the country convenient.
  • Multicultural Society: The UK’s multicultural society is predominantly a welcoming environment for individuals from different backgrounds and cultures.
  • Social Scene: Most UK cities offer a vibrant social scene with plenty of pubs, restaurants, and cultural events, providing plenty of opportunities for entertainment and socializing.
  • Global Connectivity: As a hub for international travel and business, being in the UK will provide easy access to global destinations and a world of onward opportunities. Budget airlines often have cheap deals for European destinations.
  • Visa: Unlike much of the world which restricts visitors to a 30-90 day visit, the UK welcomes most visitors for a maximum of 6 months on a tourist visa. This allows for more exploring and opens up opportunities for longer house sits.
  • Great Food – Any rumors you’ve heard about British food are wrong! Traditional fish and chips, Sunday roast dinners, and Scottish haggis are taste sensations that must be tried.

Cons of House Sitting in the UK

  • Cost of Living: Some areas in the UK, particularly major cities like London, have a significantly higher cost of living compared to other places I’ve visited. Visitors will need to budget well for fuel, transportation, and daily expenses.
  • Weather Variability: The UK is known for its unpredictable weather, with frequent rain and overcast skies, which might not be appealing to individuals who prefer more stable climates. As a lifelong resident, I can confirm the rumors are true – the weather isn’t great.
  • Cost of Healthcare: Despite the benefits of a free NHS for residents and some visitors, many visitors will not qualify for free healthcare. Be sure to have adequate insurance in place to cover any medical incidences or risk of being hit with a big bill.
  • No Access to Hosts Car – Unlike many other countries where the car is insured for anyone to drive, the UK insures individual drivers. This will mean that many hosts are unlikely to leave a car for house sitters to use. It is possible to add people to insurance policies but this can be an expensive and arduous task the hosts may not wish to undergo.
  • Crowded Urban Areas: Urban centers, especially in London, can be very densely populated, leading to heavy traffic congestion, crowded public transportation, and very busy public areas.
  • Cost of Transport: Although the UK has a well-connected and efficient transportation system, trains can often be very expensive. Strikes are also quite frequent and can occur with minimal notice to a train you may have booked.
  • Vehicle Charges: Many major cities now have charges for things like tolls, low-emission zones, and congestion charges. London now even has an ultra-low emission zone. Not having a car, especially in London may actually be a positive as trying to avoid a fine can sometimes be trickier than it looks.

How to Start House Sitting in the UK: FAQs

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about house sitting in the UK:

Do I need insurance for house sitting in the UK?

Yes, it’s advisable to have a decent insurance policy whilst house sitting in the UK. While some house and pet sitting platforms offer an element of coverage for host cancellations, it’s essential to ensure things like healthcare are covered. Medical expenses, even for minor events, can incur significant costs for most non-UK and EU residents.

Having insurance wherever you are from will provide financial protection and peace of mind during your time house sitting in the UK.

How do I become a pet sitter in the UK?

Becoming a pet sitter in the UK involves joining a reputable house or pet sitting platform. Multiple platforms, such as Trusted Housesitters and Housesitters UK, offer a range of listings for sitters across the UK. Each platform has varying features and membership prices to accommodate different budgets.

Do I get paid to house sit in the UK?

Generally, you won’t be paid to be a house sitter in the UK. The arrangement commonly involves exchanging your house sitting services for the chance to stay in a welcoming home, offering a comfortable base for exploration and an enhanced overall experience.

Are there any house sitting jobs in the UK without pets?

Yes, you can find opportunities for house sitting in the UK without pets. Various websites feature listings where the main responsibility is simply overseeing a property. However, it’s essential to note that in most cases, house sitting arrangements often include the care of one or more pets as part of the overall agreement.

How long am I able to stay in the UK as a house sitter?

How long you can stay in the UK as a house sitter is entirely dependent on where you’re from. Whilst most visitors will be able to access a 6-month tourist visa without a fee or need for an application, some visitors will need to apply and pay a charge.

If you’re thinking of house sitting in the UK long term, be sure to check all visa information fully before applying for or accepting a house sit. It’s vital you stay within the time frame and regulations of the visa you’re entering the UK under.

What’s it like to house sit in the UK?

House sitting in the UK offers a blend of cultural immersion, scenic beauty, and social delights. From the allure and charm of cities like London and Manchester to the breathtaking landscapes of Scotland and Wales, each region provides a distinctive experience.

Taking on a house sitting placement in the UK will allow you to genuinely live in a place rather than just visiting. No matter where I have taken a placement I’ve always found this creates a deeper connection with the local lifestyle and culture.

Do you need qualifications to be a pet sitter in the UK?

You don’t need a qualification to become a house sitter in the UK. However, most websites will ask you to create a fully verified profile that lists as much experience and information about yourself as possible.

It’s advisable to include as much information as you can to ensure a prospective host feels comfortable selecting you as the right candidate to look after their home.

Can I house sit in the UK for free?

Yes, you can house sit in the UK for free, as most postings typically don’t involve an exchange of money. However, this is contingent on users having signed up and paid a modest membership fee on a house sitting website. While some sites offer a free profile option, accessing and applying for house sits usually always requires becoming a full-paying member.

Membership prices start as low as $29/year (Mind My House), and even Trusted Housesitters, with over 7,000 active listings, offers an all-inclusive yearly membership that’s cheaper than a comfortable weekend city break.

In Conclusion

Having lived in the UK for most of my life, it’s been a pleasure to write about it for you here. It’s reminded me of the many wonderful elements the UK has to offer that once were readily available on my doorstep. I never took them for granted but it’s perhaps only once leaving the UK that I’ve begun to appreciate all the aspects of home that I miss.

It’s a great location to find a house sitting posting. Not only because literally thousands of people are currently accepting applications, but because of the true breadth of culture and enjoyment I personally have experienced whilst house sitting in different cities around the UK.

House sitting was a game-changer for my life and dreams of traveling extensively. I wish you luck in becoming a house sitter yourself and landing some amazing UK house sits in the near future.

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