These luxury vehicles are more popular than ever, writes Ruth Brindle…
There’s something about motorhomes that is so much fun.
Not only are they well designed and comfortable, a scaled down home from home, they are easier to drive than you’d think and you can visit and park up in some amazing places both in the UK and in Europe and beyond. This is where being a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club can make things easier with so much advice, site access and holiday ideas.
While I have taken extremely enjoyable motorhome holidays in the past with friends and family, my latest outing was to be a more static experience in beautiful Sussex. The Club’s east Brighton site proved to be a fabulous find and an ideal base for exploring the area.
Just outside town the site nestles in a sheltered valley with pitches for 155 touring caravans and motorhomes and 55 tents. There are also two pretty and practical wooden ‘pods’ to stay in with more planned. I thought these would be ideal for extended families. Perhaps nan and granddad in their motorhome and children and grandchildren in the pod with everyone meeting up to eat.
There’s a friendly welcome from the staff when you arrive and the essentials of food available in the shop as well as things you might have forgotten or feel you need make the stay more relaxed are very welcome. While my sister and I had our own loo and shower in our gorgeous motorhome, the dedicated shower and toilet blocks on site are scrupulously clean and well maintained. This is where you can get water and wash your dishes too.
Next door is the visitors’ centre with a wealth of information and leaflets about what to do in the area.
But before we set off to explore we were keen to relax in our comfy home for the weekend, kindly dropped off by Bailey of Bristol for our delight. The magnificent Autograph 75-4 is 24ft long and 8ft wide with a Peugeot cab. While we didn’t have to manoeuvre it into our spacious there are some great driving classes you can book into around the country.
Inside there are two double beds – one already in place and one that can be made up each night easily by moving the seat cushions and pulling out the wooden base.
I always marvel at the cleverness of the designs that allow so much to fit in the space available. Home comforts are not scrimped with both cooking facilities and a decent size fridge/freezer.
The two seats at the driving end of the motorhome can swivel to be used as dining chairs – ingenious! When you are hooked up to electricity there’s no stress in charging phones or watching TV. But sometimes when enjoying some outdoor living it’s nice to get away from the screens and just enjoy the surroundings and the quiet. Just sitting on our camp chairs enjoying a cuppa and reading was heaven. Our fellow campers nod a friendly hello as they walk by and there is no shortage of advice for rookie motorhomers who can’t find a necessary switch or piece of equipment. But when it comes down to it, everything is logical and not difficult.
Our first adventure out was to the busy Brighton Marina, just minutes away by car from the site. There’s a major supermarket here and other small shops but it’s best as a destination to eat. There are restaurants for all tastes all overlooking the boats in the marina. Perfect. Our favourite was a fish restaurant and we were delighted to find a packed flea/antique market at the marina car park over the weekend.
There is also a small café within walking distance of the site where you can have breakfast or lunch, but somehow a full English cooked in your motorhome with the door open to the countryside is so much more delicious.
From east Brighton you can take the bus into town or drive to enjoy all it has to offer, including the beach and attractions of the pier, the quirky shops in the winding Lanes, the historic Brighton Pavilion and much more.
Further inland there are pretty towns to discover such as Lewes, a great place to wander and browse the many antique shops. There is a castle and Anne of Cleves House to visit.
This is the joy of a motorhome holiday – you can tour and stay in some of the most beautiful locations in the UK. It’s a feeling of freedom that you’ll want to try again and again.
Visit the show
If you’d like to find out more information about owning or hiring a motorhome for a super holiday, why not visit the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show next week, February 20-25 at Birmingham’s NEC. Tickets are £8 for adults and £7 for seniors, children are free. Book at www.ccmshow.co.uk or call 0844 873 7333.
You can look around all the vehicles and tents, even take a motorhome driving lesson. There are many demonstrations including cooking and bush craft and lots of activities for youngsters too.
A stay at the Brighton Club Site starts from £21.70 per night, based on two adults sharing one pitch.
For more information and to book visit: camc.com or call 01342 318 813.
Champions of the great outdoors, the Caravan and Motorhome Club represents the interests of over one million caravanners, motorhomers and trailer tent owners across the UK and has been inspiring holiday makers to have adventures for over 110 years. The Caravan and Motorhome Club membership is just £49 per year and provides members with access to over 200 Club sites and 2,500 privately owned places to stay in the UK. It also offers a choice of over 300 sites across Europe including France, Spain and Germany amongst other destinations, as well as worldwide holiday tours. All members can take advantage of expert advice, overseas travel services, insurance services, exclusive member offers and discounts.
The Caravan and Motorhome Club
The first purpose-built touring caravan, The Wanderer, was built to the design of Dr William Gordon Stables in 1885, becoming the inspiration behind the founding of The Caravan Club in 1907.
Champions of the great outdoors, the Caravan and Motorhome Club represents the interests of over one million caravanners, motorhomers and trailer tent owners across the UK.
In the century that has passed since then the club has continuously renovated its approach to worldwide travel, continuing to draw in new members.
They are Europe’s biggest touring organisations, representing more than one million caravan, motorhome and trailer tent users, and offering more than 3,000 destinations here in the UK and abroad.
For those who don’t want to stray too far from home they have curated more than 20 tours across Europe, from a cycling holiday in the Netherlands or taste the local produce in the South of France.
If you want to get really far away, they can even assist with tours across America, Canada and New Zealand – both escorted and independent.
As with many changes of times gone by, modern day has seen a resurgence of interest in this independent from of travel and adventure.
In 2016 the newly renamed Caravan and Motorhome Club enjoyed a successful year of both retaining and attracting new members, with almost two thousand more UK motorhomes than the year before, 12,332 in total. The start of 2017 set the club on the right path for continued growth and popularity with a record number of holidays taken in the first quarter.
The number of members, owners and caravan, motorhome or camping trips is expected to continue to rise this year and touring holidays are set to enjoy a boom over the next decade.
Brits are forecast to spend some £3.6 billion on touring holidays by 2030 – a rise of 37 per cent on current levels of £2.6 million – either in their own vehicles or rentals according to research commissioned by the Caravan and Motorhome Club.
The number of touring trips is expected to rise by 6 per cent and almost one million from 15.59 in 2017 to 16.56 million by 2030 according to the new data. 2018 is expected to see a particular jump in the number of trips in the great outdoors as a slowing UK economy, elevated inflation and a weak sterling encourage a shift towards UK holidays. This was observed during the 2008/09 economic downturn and the squeeze on incomes that followed it.
Membership starts at as little as £51 per year, and considering all the perks it is no wonder interest is peaking. All members can take advantage of expert advice, overseas travel services, insurance services and exclusive member offers and discounts. There is no membership requirement for campers who want to pitch up at over 40 Caravan and Motorhome Club sites.
Members gain access to a huge amount of deals, from discounts on vehicle maintenance, outfit inspections, car Wi-Fi and excursions from Go Ape, Glamping and Historic Houses.
If you’re completely new to this type of travel, the club understands it can be tricky to make sense of all the information you are presented with. That’s why they have dedicated a whole section of our website to help first-timers get a handle on the world of touring.
Find out everything you need to know at caravanclub.co.uk