The idea of staying in a log cabin is something that appeals to us all. The cosy atmosphere and the rustic character are things that cannot be gained from any other type of accommodation. But for the most part, in the UK, we use log cabins as temporary or holiday accommodation. 

If you’ve been dreaming of living a more chilled out life then you may be wondering can you live in a log cabin permanently in the UK?

It is possible to live in a log cabin full time in the United Kingdom. However, there are certain legalities that you’ll need to consider such as obtaining planning permission for a residential building and meeting building regulations.

Most people will build a log cabin for temporary use, perhaps as a garden office, a yoga studio or for use as a summer house. In these cases, the laws and regulations you have to follow are different. So if you are looking to live in a log cabin full time, there’s a few things you’ll need to consider. 

The Law Surrounding Living In A Log Cabin Permanently

In the United Kingdom, there are certain structures you can build in your back garden or on a piece of connecting land to your property that do not require planning permission. If you build a log cabin in your garden that does not take up more than 50% of the available space and whose roof doesn’t exceed 2.5 metres, you won’t need to obtain planning permission. 

If you then decide to spend the majority of your time relaxing in the log cabin, then that’s totally your prerogative. However, you have to consider the comfort of spending so much time in a backyard log cabin but we’ll cover that in more detail later on. Moreover, spending a lot of time in the cabin doesn’t constitute living it in. 

Regardless of whether the cabin is in your back garden or anywhere else, if it is going to be used as a residence then all of the laws we are about to discuss will apply. 

For people that are looking to build a log cabin on a separate piece of land (which must be owned by yourself or someone who has given you permission to build), there are a whole new set of rules that come into play. If you don’t follow these rules then you may find yourself with an order to take the log cabin down, and nobody wants that. 

In this instance, you will need to apply for planning permission. This is because certain areas cannot be built on for whatever reason. There may even be restrictions on the type of buildings that can be erected and what materials can be used. In Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and in conservation areas, you may be limited as to what and where you can build, regardless of who owns the land. 

For this reason, it is essential that you always check local restrictions. The best way to do this is by contacting your local council who will provide you with all the information you need as well as a guide on how to apply for planning.

On top of seeking planning permission, you will also be required to ensure that your log cabin adheres to UK Building Regulations. This is because residential buildings must be up to a certain standard in order to be considered habitable.

The Practicalities Of Living In A Log Cabin Full Time

If you adhere to UK Building Regulations then your log cabin should be well insulated, powered and otherwise suitable for living in. However, a lot of people get it into their heads that they can just throw up a wooden building in their backyard, call it a log cabin and move in. 

Taking the law out of the equation for a moment, you have to consider how comfortable this would be. You wouldn’t live in your garden shed permanently without all the mod cons and creature comforts that you’re used to so why would you do the same in a log cabin?

Living in a log cabin without all of these things is not going to be the most pleasant experience. In the summer months, without insulation, wooden structures can get very warm and uncomfortable. When winter rolls around, you’re going to find yourself battling chilly temperatures, especially during the night. 

While you could argue that you could install heaters and such, this would not be safe if it did not adhere to Building Regulations. With this in mind, let’s take a brief look at the things you would need in order to be comfortable and ‘at home’ in a log cabin.

Things You’ll Need To Live In A Log Cabin Full Time

Can I Build A Log Cabin In The Woods?

It is possible to build a log cabin in the woods but you probably won’t be able to live in it permanently. Permitted Development states that you can build a structure and reside in it for as many as 28 days each year; so if you want to build a holiday cabin, this is a good option. 

However, you must own the land you are building on or have express permission from the landowner to start construction. Moreover, there may still be planning laws to consider as, even on private land, there are limitations on what and where you can build. 

It’s incredibly rare to obtain planning permission to build a residential log cabin in the woods for full time living. There are cases that this has been granted but they’re few and far between. While the idea of living in a remote woodland cabin is incredibly appealing, it’s not something that many people are lucky enough to experience. 


Many of us dream of a more laid back life and what could be more relaxing than living full time in an idyllic log cabin? It sounds perfect but while it may be tempting to throw up a log cabin on your own land and move straight in, you will probably be breaking the law. 

Even when constructing on private land, residential buildings have to meet Building Regulations and do require planning permission. It is permitted to build a garden log cabin for occasional use without the need to apply for planning provided that the building doesn’t take up more than 50% of the garden and that the roof is no more than 2.5 metres. 

If you are thinking about building a log cabin for permanent use, we would highly recommend talking to someone from your local authority who will be able to offer advice on local restrictions and how to apply for planning permission. If you don’t, and just build the cabin anyway, you could be taken to court and ordered to remove the structure and what a waste of money that would be!