Choosing the right motorhome is likely to involve several different angles of approach – not least your own research on the designs and layouts available, plus the advice you might get from your friendly motorhome dealer to ways of funding the purchase, including the possibility of part-exchange.

Choosing the right motorhome

In the world of motorhomes, it is often not just a case of how much space is on offer but what’s done with it that counts.

Simply changing the positioning of some of the essential elements inside the motorhome or by applying especially ingenious solutions of design, the usable area and interior appearance may be altered considerably. And that’s what makes the motorhome layout such a critical factor in choosing one make and model over another – to suit the particular needs of you and your family.

The designer’s challenge

For any motorhome designer, the challenge is fitting quite so much into the relative confines of your second home on wheels. There are the driver’s and passenger seats up front in the cockpit, of course, but behind that there need to be spaces in which to relax, to cook, take a shower, a place for the toilet, and to sleep.

Much of that layout is likely to be occupied by the beds – the most extensive single feature that needs to be fitted inside your motorhome –, and that’s where the designer’s ingenuity and imagination are most called for and reflected in the following standard configurations:

Rear lounge layout

  • this is a layout you might have noticed when following a motorhome along the motorway – a lounge area situated at the back of the vehicle, typically to make the most of the panoramic view you are likely to get from a big window at the rear;

Front lounge layout

  • but the lounge area might also be immediately behind the driver and passenger seats in the cab – and is probably nowadays the most popular layout;
  • it means that your galley or kitchen area, washroom and – in the case of larger motorhomes – the bedroom, too, are all situated towards the rear of the vehicle;

Fixed double bed

  • the bed you sleep in at home is likely to have enough space around it to climb in from either side, and this is also possible with a motorhome’s fixed double bed as an “island” with access from both side, and fixed, so you don’t need to fold it down and make it up from scratch every night;

Fixed single bed

  • on the same principle – but for those who prefer to sleep alone – fixed single beds are also available;
  • as an article in AutoTrader Motorhomes points out, a fixed bed is one which you don’t have to convert from the seating area in the lounge – for that reason, fixed beds are normally situated at the back of a motorhome, ready and waiting, already made up for when you want to turn in for the night;

French bed layout

  • the so-called French bed is a layout designed to make the most of the space in a smaller motorhome since it is usually fitted against the wall and the corners at the foot of the bed may be cut off and rounded, so it is easier to get around them;
  • for some of the arguments in favour of and against this type of arrangement, take a look at the article on the website Out and About Live;

Bunk beds

  • not so many motorhomes feature bunk beds, but they tend to be a favourite with children, so if you have a young family travelling with you on holidays, you might want to give a thought to this space-saving arrangement.

Motorhome layouts are many and varied – typically masterpieces in design and ingenuity. You can even get drop-down beds, so you can really maximise the space!

The layout that suits you is likely to be determined by your family’s own particular needs and the way you intend to use your motorhome. Whatever those needs may be, you are almost certain to find a layout that suits you.

Questions to ask your motorhome dealer

Once you’ve researched the possibilities of layout and design, it’s probably time to get down to the serious business of questioning your dealer. Top of the possible questions is likely to be the make and model of motorhome most likely to suit you

Here at Derby Motorhomes, we make no bones about it – Auto-Sleepers are challenging to beat!

We are champions and committed supporters of what we believe, without doubt, to be the leading manufacturer of first-rate motorhomes in the UK. On the strength of that endorsement, of course, we look forward to all of your questions about any aspect of the especially wide range of Auto-Sleepers – including this year’s latest models and award-winning vehicles to buy second-hand or in part-exchange.

Which is the right Auto-Sleeper for my family and me?

There are so many possible answers to this question that you might be glad of our expertise, experience, and guidance. The Auto-Sleeper for you and your family, of course, depends on the way you plan to use it, the size of motorhome you want to buy, and whether you are buying new or second hand.

Since we have such a wide range of new and pre-loved Auto-Sleepers on display, you may try out our suggestions for yourself first-hand, even taking those in which you have a particular interest for a test drive.

For innovative design, layout and spaciousness and through the use of proven chassis and powertrains, it’s no accident that Auto-Sleepers is our flagship range:

Van conversion or coachbuilt?

  • just ask us about some of the differences between van conversions and coachbuilt motorhomes;
  • as the terms suggest, a van conversion takes a standard chassis type and powertrain – in the case of Auto-Sleepers, a Peugeot or Fiat Ducato engine and transmission – with the superstructure skilfully converted to create a spacious and well-appointed interior;
  • a coachbuilt motorhome is specially crafted, lovingly built from the chassis up and, in the case of an Auto-Sleeper, powered by a 160bhp Peugeot engine or a 163bhp Mercedes;
  • as you might imagine, therefore, coachbuilt motorhomes tend to be in a luxury class of their own – and come with a price ticket to match;

What after-sales service and warranties are offered?

  • if you have to wait at all for delivery of your Auto-Sleeper from Derby Motorhomes, that’s because we put every aspect of the vehicle through rigorous and stringent pre-delivery tests, before giving your model a finishing valet service;
  • on the rare occasion that anything should go wrong after that, of course, you expect the reassurance that it will be put right;
  • that’s where our long history in dealing with Auto-Sleepers, and our fully-trained and experienced team of technicians who are familiar with every model in the range, comes into its own – we have the expertise and well-stocked parts stores to ensure any replacements are fitted speedily and professionally;

Can you arrange finance?

  • buying an Auto-Sleeper is likely to represent a significant investment and one for which you may need finance;
  • we are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to offer three principal motorhome finance options – personal loans, hire purchase and even Personal Contract Purchase – giving you the widest choice of finance options (depending on your credit history, of course).

Part-exchange with Derby Motorhomes

Once bitten by the motorhome bug, the majority of owners progress from one vehicle to another, replacing an old favourite with a new model, based on their changing needs and preferences.

And that means that Derby Motorhomes can offer what we consider is a roaring trade in part-exchange motorhomes.

Here we’d like to run through how we operate our part-exchange system and some of the basic principles behind it.

The basic approach

To give you an initial part-exchange estimate, we will need to have certain key information relating to the vehicle you are considering putting forward. Those details typically include:

  • a precise description of what it is, including things such as its make, model, and year;
  • an accurate indication of its current mileage;
  • how many previous owners it has had;
  • a fairly objective review of its condition – any major problems or damage should be highlighted at this stage to avoid wasting time later on;
  • a statement of any enhancements you might have made to it, such as anything that might affect its registration details and insurance; and
  • a statement relating to whether or not there is any outstanding finance on it.

Once we have those details, we will contact our trusted associates in whatever the vehicle field concerned is, to seek the best possible trade-in price we can on your behalf.

Assuming the figure we indicate is acceptable, we will then proceed with you to the next stage.

Confirmation and engagement

Almost inevitably, the amount you are offered in part-exchange will require the person offering the figure (or their intermediaries) being able to see the vehicle in person before agreeing a definitive and final sum.

There is absolutely no suggestion here that the part-exchange specialist believes you might have misrepresented the vehicle. It is simply a question of them trying to make sure that there is nothing associated with it that you might have failed to spot.

Sometimes those things can be very technical and not immediately apparent to anyone other than a skilled mechanic and one who is an expert in the type of vehicle concerned.

However, in many cases, this is simply routine, and the final figures are confirmed. In some cases, it may be necessary for you to take steps to settle any outstanding finance on the vehicle before offering it as part of the deal or it can be settled as part of the overall transaction.

Do please keep in mind that if you are purchasing a vehicle under hire purchase terms, it is an offence to offer it for sale or part-exchange unless your HP funds provider has agreed to it in advance, with any outstanding sums being settled as part of the final transaction.

As we have said on our website, part-exchange  may typically be an excellent way to offset some of the costs associated with purchasing a new motorhome (depending on your own, unique, financial circumstances).

Our partners and we can be extremely helpful in finding ways to make your part-exchange happen and in a cost-effective way for you. This can all be explained in much more detail and far more quickly if you contact us for an initial discussion. That will be entirely non-committal on your part, but it will give you an excellent idea of how the process works and some of the financial advantages that it might offer you.


If you are thinking of buying a motorhome – or better yet, have already decided to by one from the Auto-Sleepers range – you’ll not only want your own private viewing and maybe a test drive, but also have lots of questions to ask your dealer.

You might even have a vehicle you intend to offer in part-exchange.

Here at Derby Motorhomes, we’re delighted if you ask away – and our dedicated team of salespeople will do their absolute best to provide the answers.

Owning a motorhome gives you the freedom of the open road. And if that open road begins with the short hop across the Channel to France, the open road has practically no end.

France is our closest neighbour. That’s why so many Britons visit the country – principally for holidays. They totalled more than 10.3 million in 2019, according to the latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Though it might be just a short cross-Channel journey away, however, remember that France is a foreign country, with rules of the road, laws and customs that may differ substantially to those you are used to at home.

So, if you are planning on exploring France in your motorhome, there is the little matter of getting across the stretch of water known as the English Channel.

So, how do you get to France, what are the routes, and how long does it take?

With all that in mind, the following advice is offered about taking your motorhome to France.

Ways to get to France in your motorhome

Le Shuttle

By far the quickest and probably the most convenient way to get your motorhome across the Channel is through the Euro Tunnel on the train service known as Le Shuttle.

That means first driving to Folkestone on England’s south coast – the route is well signposted from the M20, where you simply drive your motorhome onto the train. The journey lasts just 35 minutes until you disembark in Calais.

When using the tunnel, you may keep onboard any LPG tanks you use for your cooker, refrigerator or for heating provided the cylinders have a capacity of no more than 47kg and that they are less than 80% full.

The Camping and Caravanning Club currently offers its members a 10% discount when tickets for Le Shuttle are bought directly through the club.


Part of your adventure, though, might be the chance to wave a temporary goodbye to the white cliffs of Dover from the deck of a ship. In that case, you have a number of options – largely determined by where your destination in France will be:

Dover to Calais

  • the shortest – 22 miles or so – and most familiar, is likely to be the Dover to Calais ferry, operated by two companies, DFDS Seaways and P&O Ferries;
  • sea crossings with either company – who together offer a combined total of 39 sailings a day – take around an hour and a half between Dover and Calais;
  • prices are calculated according to the exact dimensions of your motorhome – which you must provide at the time of booking – and larger vehicles are typically loaded first;

Dover to Dunkirk

  • if you want to arrive a little further along the north coast of France, Dover to Dunkirk may be your choice – Dunkirk is a much less busy port than Calais, the tickets tend to be cheaper, and the journey time is still only around 2 hours;

Newhaven to Dieppe

  • DFDS Seaways also operates the ferry service between Newhaven and Dieppe;
  • this might prove an even more relaxing crossing since both Newhaven and Dieppe are quieter ports than either Dover or Calais and the four-hour crossing gives you time to enjoy the cruise and enjoy a meal onboard;

Portsmouth to Normandy and Brittany

  • if your destination is Normandy, Brittany or other points west in France, Brittany Ferries offers several routes, all starting from the port of Portsmouth;
  • the route to Le Havre is billed as a “no frills” economy passage and takes around four and a half hours;
  • sailings to the historic port of Caen in Normandy prove to be some of Brittany Ferries’ most popular crossings – though you might also want to book a cabin for the seven-hour crossing;
  • Portsmouth to Cherbourg takes just three hours on Brittany Ferries’ Normandie Express;
  • since the crossing takes 10 hours, sailings from Portsmouth to St Malo are overnight – a good time to enjoy a relaxing onboard meal as you watch the sea slip quietly by.

Whether you opt for the speed and convenience of the Channel Tunnel or choose a mini cruise across to France, therefore, our closest neighbour has never been easier to reach for your next motorhome tour.

But, so much for getting there – what are you likely to make of the driving in France and what should you know about taking your motorhome?

The driving

One of the main dangers may be the lure of the open road itself. Especially if you are chasing the sun, you might be tempted to drive much further in your motorhome in France than you are used to at home.

As a detailed study by the European E-Survey of Road Users’ Attitudes (ESRA) warned, it is essential to avoid driving fatigue, so plan your route well, and take regular breaks.


You need to remember your UK driving licence, but at the time of writing (September 2020), you do not need an international driving permit for France. Do note that this could change due to Brexit, so check with the Government website for clarification.

You must also have evidence of insurance for your motorhome since a minimum of third party cover is obligatory in France – as it is throughout the rest of Europe.

Check that your insurance covers driving in Europe and ask your insurer for a “green card” that confirms you are adequately insured for driving in France. The need for a green card is almost certain to increase once the UK has completed its departure from the EU as from the 1st of January 2021.

Also carry your registration and MOT documents too.


When driving in France, you must have onboard a warning triangle and a reflective jacket to wear in case of roadside emergencies together with a first-aid kit.

While it is no longer a legal requirement, it has been in the past and is, therefore, a good idea to continue to carry a breathalyser device.

Speed limits

Speed limits may vary, especially in rural areas, are likely to catch out the unwary and are frequently policed – with on the spot fines which vary according to the degree to which you have exceeded the limit.

That means up to €68 for a minor infraction (less than 12mph) but up to €3750 and three months in prison if you are caught for the second time speeding by more than 31mph.


The RAC warns that in some French cities you also need to display a “clean air sticker” – a Crit’Air.

This costs £3.60 and you may face an on the spot fine of nearly £120 if you fail to do so.

Please note that this information is correct at the time of writing – September 2020 – so it is advisable to check routes, the documentation needed etc. from official sources when planning your trip, as they may change.

Whether you are a newcomer to the market for buying a motorhome or a seasoned old hand, one of the exciting parts of choosing your next make and model is simply researching the many and varied types of vehicle that are available – both new and second hand.

By researching motorhomes, you may build up a picture not only of what is available but what types of motorhome, what makes and models, what sizes and layouts and what prices might begin to meet your particular, individual needs and requirements.

Although our experience of every aspect of motorhome ownership makes us expert counsellors for potential buyers, we could not hope to address every question or query in a brief article such as this.

Your own requirements and circumstances, of course, are unique to you and they will inevitably play a large part in deciding the future motorhome you purchase.

But where do you start? What goes into researching the possibilities and choosing your next motorhome – and why is that choice ultimately likely to lead you to a motorhome made by Auto-Sleepers?

The research

Researching motorhomes is by no means difficult. Literally thousands of websites are ready to visit at the click of a mouse or the touch of your tablet.

Make a start now and you are soon likely to drill down to your shortlist of motorhomes to buy, others to keep an eye on for the future, and all manner of tips and suggestions on owning your own vehicle.

The internet

While the internet may be immediately and easily accessible – just search for “UK motorhomes” – it’s likely to produce a scattergun result of more than half a million links for you to follow.

Fortunately, therefore, there are other rich sources of research material:


  • a visit to your motorhome dealer begins to focus your research and to make it altogether more meaningful;
  • a good way to start that process is to identify motorhome dealers, franchises, retailers, and manufacturers;
  • although the amount and quality of information is likely to vary quite widely from one dealer – and their website – to another, any reputable supplier probably posts well-illustrated content, which gives you the chance not only to read descriptions (in varying degrees of detail) but also to see makes and models which might pique your interest;
  • some dealers might also let you download or order catalogues of this year’s latest models of motorhome;


  • there are also online magazines which publish reviews of motorhomes – with Practical Motorhome for one offering at least one major, detailed review each week;


  • webpages and hard copy may give you many leads, but probably leave you itching to see the real thing for yourself;
  • check out the dates and places of some of the many motorhome and caravan shows that take place all around the country each year;
  • remember, too, that more permanent exhibition spaces are maintained by leading dealers – such as ourselves here at Derby Motorhomes, where our extensive indoor showrooms let you get up close and personal with a huge range of models, all under one roof which keeps out the wind and the rain for viewings on wintry days;
  • in fact, we are especially conscious of the need to provide our customers with a seamless experience between online research and browsing and the chance to see and sit in a selection of motorhomes for themselves – our website, the descriptions, illustrations and downloadable catalogues and the extensive facilities here at our site in Derby, are all designed to offer just that experience;


  • as you continue researching motorhomes, you might want to mark some of the websites you visit as favourites to visit more regularly;
  • the Caravan and Motorhome Club, which was founded more than 100 years ago, maintains regularly updated sections of its website dedicated not only to subjects such as choosing and buying a motorhome but also listings of some of the campsites you might visit;
  • the Camping and Caravanning Clubdevotes perhaps even more space and consideration to motorhomes – including an especially detailed menu of articles on everything from choosing your motorhome, buying guides, driving tips, and care for your motorhome.

Your type of motorhome

For all the research you might be doing, it helps, of course, if you have at least a rough idea of the type of motorhome you are after and just how you – and your family – may be planning to use it.

The following are the broad categories into which motorhomes, in general, might be sub-divided:


  • these are typically relatively small vehicles with basic sleeping facilities and possibly some additional catering and hygiene facilities too;
  • if you are unfamiliar with them, you may be able to picture one by thinking of those now-legendary VW camper vans of the late 1960s, which were immortalised by the Hippy Movement;
  • today’s campervans, though, are entirely different and almost sophisticated by comparison;
  • yet, they remain small vehicles and are likely to be best suited to couples who may not plan on taking children or others with them on their trips;

Van conversions

  • these are larger and much more luxuriously equipped than campervans – at least, in most cases;
  • they’re typically based around the idea of a smaller standard commercial van which has been extensively customised in order to provide sleeping and other accommodation-related facilities;
  • they are extremely popular and for many, are regarded as a sort of “entry-level motorhome”;

Coach-built motorhomes

  • certain providers manufacture luxury, coach-built motorhomes in the UK;
  • typically, these are vehicles that contain an engine, chassis and perhaps some other fundamental structural components. A coachbuilder will then take that and design and build luxury accommodation on to the chassis;
  • these are superb vehicles and offer things such as multiple berth accommodation, fully fitted kitchens and luxury shower/WC facilities;
  • by definition, these tend to be larger than van conversions and offer extremely viable holiday accommodation;

Recreational Vehicles (RVs)

  • the terminology can become confusing at times;
  • in the USA, “motorhomes” are commonly called “RVs”. In the UK, that term is starting to be used to describe motorhomes, too, but an added complication is that the term can also be exclusively applied to some of those exceptionally large motorhome vehicles that you may see on the road – with the size and appearance almost akin to a semi-articulated commercial vehicle;
  • when the vehicle described as an RV is an exceptionally large rig, it may well have been imported from the USA;
  • it is imperative, if you are considering purchasing one such, to be sure that it is fully road legal in the UK and European Union – you might also need a special licence to drive one;

Trailer tents and “collapsibles”

  • we include these here only for completeness and orientation because few would consider them to be a true “motorhome” in the context of choosing a new motorhome;
  • these vehicles are usually something along the lines of a small van or perhaps a trailer with collapsible or flexible walls packed away inside, which can be pulled out and opened up to construct what is essentially a tent.

Why you might choose Auto-Sleepers

So, you’ve done your research and you’ve homed in on the type of motorhome most likely to meet you and your family’s needs. What is it about Auto-Sleepers that is likely to make one of these models such a favourite choice?

Described on the website Out and About Live as the “mainstay” of motorhome manufacturing in the UK, there is no shortage of reasons for choosing to buy an Auto-Sleepers model.

It’s no accident – but a testament to the build quality and design of their motorhomes – that Auto-Sleepers last year won the Caravan Club’s Motorhome Design Awards in classes topped both by its Burford Duo, Nuevo ES, and Symbol Plus models.

So, let’s take a closer look at just why Auto-Sleepers make such a good buy:

Safety first


  • it is the quality of the craftsmanship that goes into every handmade model from Auto-Sleepers that probably draws most buyers – and wins the envious glances of other motorhome owners;
  • from their factory at Willersley, in the Cotswolds, the company has spent the past 50 years’ or so perfecting the art of producing custom-made motorhomes, to designs which have time and again proved to be ahead of their times – and always in a class of their own;

Derby Motorhomes

  • talk about the design and craftsmanship of Auto-Sleepers might come easily, but you don’t have to take our word for it – get up close and personal with the full range of models and see for yourself at our extensive showrooms and exhibition centre here at Derby Motorhomes in Derby;
  • as winter approaches and the wet and windy weather sets in, you can experience first-hand encounters with as many motorhomes as you like, all in the dry and heated comfort of our indoor space – and contentedly dream of those sunny summer days touring in the luxury of your own motorhome;

Your choice

  • browse the 2020 Auto-Sleeper listings now and you will get your first glimpse of the extremely wide range of new models available – including our awarding-winning panel van conversions and coach-built versions using the popular Peugeot chassis or your own bespoke form of luxury built on chassis from Mercedes;
  • the possibilities do not stop there – your choice of additional features and accessories combine to offer endless variations for personalising your Auto-Sleepers to your precise specifications;
  • a customised choice of fabrics for the furniture and furnishings, for example, or the addition of accessories such as bicycle carriers, in-vehicle entertainment systems and solar panels;

Transparent pricing

  • here at Derby Motorhomes, we are especially keen to keep things perfectly clear and straight forward when it comes to perhaps your biggest concern – pricing;
  • so, we identify every component of the total price you are likely to pay – the basic price, plus VAT, the ex-works price, the cost of delivery (if necessary), the cost of any additional features or accessories you have chosen, and the final, effective price on the road of your Auto-Sleepers.

Just as Auto-Sleepers has gained its status as the mainstay of motorhome manufacturing in the UK, so Derby Motorhomes strives to keep its place as one of the country’s leading dealerships.

Yet we recognise that choosing a new motorhome is not something to be rushed.

Even with entry-level purchases, choosing a new motorhome is going to involve spending a significant amount of money and it’s important that you get it right in terms of your requirements.

Our primary objective is to ensure you get a vehicle that you are happy with rather than simply to sell you a motorhome. We’d welcome the opportunity to prove that by discussing this entire subject with you further – just visit our showrooms in Derby or give us a call on 01332 360222.

So, it’s that time of year again – you know the one, the one where we sit down together as a family, group of friends or couple, glass of chilled sangria in hand, holiday brochures or i-pad at the ready and try to decide where we fly off to for our annual holidays this year.

Only, this year things are going to be a little different and I don’t know about you, but for me, I certainly won’t be boarding a bargain, budget or charter flight with 200 hundred other excited souls, potentially coughing and wheezing in all sections of the cabin whilst sharing the same recycled air and occupying the very same seat that, less than an hour previously, was vacated by goodness knows who!

Finally, after an hour and a half of what I like to call “sight-seeing” (which is in fact sitting on a cramped, baking hot coach with fifty other assorted families and couples, tired, frustrated, bursting for the toilet and praying that your name isn’t called out for this particularly grim looking destination you’ve just stopped at), you arrive at your hotel only to find the room isn’t ready yet and when it is, it looks out over the next-door building site or municipal dump!

As a side issue, these photographers must have amazing skills as the accommodation is never quite like the pictures in the brochure or on-line, which reminds me, I must try to track down one of those photographers some-day – my passport photo is terrible!

The water is undrinkable, the beer, cocktails and house spirits worse, the bed uncomfortable, the air conditioning doesn’t work, the neighbouring room houses a family of banshee’s who never seem to sleep; the hotel food is usually lukewarm and finally, when you take a closer look, the bedding doesn’t really seem that clean after all, the mattress doesn’t bear thinking about and the room – well, it doesn’t look to have had a thorough clean in decades!

The lifts are crammed full of holiday makers from all over Europe, all happily touching every button and surface produced by mankind while breathing and coughing across everyone within close proximity and then, while desperately trying not look anyone directly in the eyes, you’re left wondering what hygiene standards the chefs, waiters, reception, pool and bar staff apply and finally, to top it all off, social distancing is itself a very distant memory once the beer and sangria kick-in.  Happy holidays everyone!

In fact, whilst on this subject, the very last place I could reasonably consider for a well – earned vacation right now would be aboard a cruise ship for that matter – luxurious as I’m sure they are, I couldn’t possibly imagine spending all of that time in such close proximity to a couple of thousand other poor souls also with no escape and all of their associated germs to dodge for a week or more whilst most of the above likely still applies!

And then there’s the excursions to worry about; a coach here, a taxi there, tours around the local must-see’s and snacks and drinks in lovely little tavernas and bars who’s owners and staff possibly think more about tips and profits than anything else – after all, you’re going to be a distant memory in an hour’s time!

I’m sorry if this paints a pretty awful picture and forgive me for using a few clichés, but tell me this hasn’t happened to most us at some time or another and tell me you aren’t having exactly the same misgivings – or am I just being cynical?

Anyway, enough of my hand-wringing doom and gloom, but I’m just saying, there must be an awful lot of other folks out there, also of a certain age and disposition thinking exactly the same as me – come on, I can’t be the only miserable git out there who’s really concerned about catching something incredibly nasty and shuffling off this mortal coil way too early (my opinion, not necessarily that of the current lady of the house).

So, with all of this to the fore of my reasoning, one – word springs to mind – staycation!

However, even that has some drawbacks; where to stay-cate for example, with whom and for how long are just a few of my thoughts.

But it doesn’t have to be that difficult, not when you could buy a motorhome and have as many holidays as you and your spouse could possibly ever desire.

If you think about it, it’s almost the perfect solution – your very own personal space, (or isolation pod as I like to think of them), closed to everyone but you and those lucky enough to be invited in, after thorough vetting that is!

Total freedom and flexibility, the freedom to go exactly where you want and do exactly what you want to do and the flexibility to do this whenever you wish and for as long as you want to, too.

If you really think about this, a campsite could also be the perfect place to enjoy freedom and isolation.

You don’t have to use the site’s facilities – toilets, showers, shops, bars etc. because your very own motorhome usually comes complete with its own toilet and shower, kitchen with cooker and fridge (sometimes a freezer too), tv if you fancy that and they can even be fitted with wind-out awnings for additional sun shelter. Some can even have gas BBQ points fitted for alfresco cooking.

You supply your own food and drinks so, nothing you don’t really want passes your lips and the shopping, if you don’t take it with you, can be delivered directly to your door if the need or desire’s still there to socially distance.

Your neighbours are usually several meters away from your pitch with their door on the opposite side too, so social distancing, again, isn’t going to be an issue and camp sites are usually to be found close to beautiful countryside or coastal areas – some even have fishing lakes attached and most non-motor homers would very surprised at just how good the vast majority of modern sites really are.

So, a motorhome doesn’t have to be huge, it can be and can also have every extra know to mankind too; but then there’s it’s size to consider, it can affect where you travel – too big and English country lanes could prove a challenge; too small and either you won’t have sufficient storage space for clothes and things or, more accurately, the love of your life will but you won’t or, joking apart, too small could potentially restrict the length of time spent away from home.

Well, a motorhome could be considered as “roughing it” by some I suppose but when you actually bother to take a closer look at some of them, well, nothing could be further from the truth.

Take Auto-Sleepers for example – they are the oldest UK motorhome manufacturer; every-one is hand built and quality oozes from every angle. Luxurious Belgian fabrics, quality furniture, kitchens a top chef would be proud of and space abound – even in the smallest of models.

Then there’s their fabulous standard features such as large wind-out awnings, mobile wi-fi, solar panels, re-fillable gas tanks, built-in satellite navigation systems, air conditioning – cab and habitation areas too in their Mercedes range; there’s even the option of remote, self-seeking satellite TV systems if you really don’t want to miss anything.

What could be finer than sitting under your very-own sun awning drinking wine (or gin, beer, cider or any other favourite tipple for that matter) and simply “chilling out” whilst listening to your favourite music or reading the latest novel on your kindle?

If that’s not your “thing” then how about a day exploring the local countryside or walking and cycling to places of interest; maybe visit the local beach (social distancing permitting of course) or town centre for that all-important retail therapy hit, (if the shops are open and you have a face-mask).

Then there’s galleries and museums to consider or the local country estate, farm shop or National Trust venue – really, the list of potential activities is endless as are the wonderful places one could pitch-up in the UK alone.

You never know too, the urge to go abroad could still prove too great to resist, in which case there’s always the “tunnel” for quick, easy access to France and beyond or endless ferry routes for a more relaxed trip across the water.

Imagine, a lovely warm evening, sun slowly setting, the sound of the ocean in the distance, dining al-fresco with a really great burgundy, fresh-baked French bread, a lovely cheese and a simple salad, all right on your own doorstep and for as long as you feel like it……

And don’t forget, motorhomes are welcomed throughout Europe and Europe’s an awfully big continent to explore and finding beautiful, isolated spots to call your own for a few days before moving on isn’t difficult and the driving? Well that’s all part of the holiday.

Remember too, once you have a motorhome, you also have the potential for hundreds of holidays, long or short, here, there, anywhere in fact – a long weekend or simple overnighter somewhere local or just a day out in the countryside for that matter, the choice is yours and endless!

So, I hope I’ve planted a seed of optimism for a brighter future this summer and holiday season; and one final fact, a motorhome is nothing like a car in terms of depreciation or residual value and if I’m honest, whilst they aren’t that cheap to buy initially, they should be considered more as an investment and once owned, they will retain a huge proportion of their original value and for a darned sight longer than your average family run-around or caravan and definitely longer than your two weeks package to the sun!

You’ll definitely have so very many more memories from a motorhome too so, when you sit down to consider the summer holidays, take a closer look at the motor home option and in particular Auto-Sleepers’ motor home range at Derby Motorhomes, you’re going to be very pleasantly surprised.

Staycation – happy holidays everyone.

If you’ve been bitten by the motorhome bug, then sooner or later you’ll be thinking about buying one.

Here, we offer our tips about buying a motorhome – together with some thoughts and suggestions about driving it when you’re sat behind the wheel of your very own home away from home.

Stating the obvious

Buying a motorhome is exciting! More often than not, it’s a case of a dream come true.

Without taking away one iota of that great feeling, the purchase invariably represents a major financial commitment. To state the obvious, therefore, you’ll be taking the purchase very seriously indeed – and our following tips are offered in full recognition of that fact.

Research and research again

It might be easy for your eagerness to get the better of you. That can push you into over-hasty buying decisions.

Remember that a motorhome isn’t just about price and fittings. Many other things need to be considered including:

  • fuel consumption;
  • depreciation statistics;
  • reliability; and
  • ease of re-sale.

Don’t try and do all this based upon a single motorhome solution you have in mind or in a spare 5-10 minutes. Instead, put some serious time to one side and research the market and your options thoroughly.

How are you going to use it?

It’s highly advisable to sit down and seriously think about how your motorhome will fit into your recreational plans. That might sound glaringly obvious, but a little thought might show it to be otherwise.

For example, do you see yourself:

  • taking very extended holidays in it;
  • using it overseas;
  • inviting others, such as family members, to join you on trips at times; or
  • taking a lot of home comforts with you every trip.

These deliberations are important because they might play a big part in influencing your choice of motorhome. For example, purchasing one that’s too small or incorrectly configured in terms of the number of berths might restrict how often you can invite others to join you.

Critically assess your requirements

There is a huge amount of choice available, both in terms of vehicles and their equipment.

Inevitably, each model will have its pros and cons in terms of how it fits into your requirements. Assessing that isn’t something you can easily do from a zero-knowledge base just by looking around a motorhome or two on a dealer’s site.

It’s advisable to do some serious internet research about the models you’re starting to become provisionally interested in and to take the advice of an experienced provider of motorhomes.

The size and type of motorhome you select should be heavily influenced by your own requirements and capabilities. That is likely to depend on your understanding of things such as:

  • whether you are happy driving large vehicles or would prefer a modestly-sized motorhome;
  • how often will you use it and typically over what distances/durations;
  • whether you have a driveway or garage big enough to accommodate it (remember, some local councils might have restrictions on driveway parking of motorhomes and your neighbours might object too). If not, is there a secure motorhome storage facility relatively close to you and does it have vacancies?; or
  • if it is going to be used largely by you alone, you and a partner or you and a larger family.

All these factors and many others like them need to be clear in your own mind before hitting the showroom trail.

Be cautious about buying small as a default option

Our motorhome buying tips would not be complete without a very gentle warning about buying a vehicle that is too compact – unless you’re sure that it’ll meet your needs in the medium to longer term.

If you purchase a motorhome that’s perhaps a tad too large for your average needs, then it might represent a marginal cost-inefficiency but having a vehicle that proves to be too small in many cases can be a near insurmountable problem, short of replacing it.

Once again, take advice.

Incline towards established brands

This is sometimes a slightly controversial point in motorhome buying tips, but it remains the case that buying certainty and a track record in areas such as build quality and power plant (engine), can reduce risks.

Look carefully at any customization

Naturally, this typically only applies to pre-used models but it’s worth noting that some previous owners might have “tweaked” things around the motorhome.

There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that – providing it was done properly and with approved fittings and parts that meet the manufacturer’s standards.

It’s worth being aware that in many cases, DIY customisation and “improvements” reduce the value of a motorhome. In fact, many dealers will remove them from the vehicle and return it to its factory specification before a re-sale. That should tell you something!

Private purchases versus dealerships

Once again, there’s no universal answer here.

Broadly speaking, buying a used vehicle privately might offer you some ticket-price cost savings. However, against that, you’ll need to keep in mind that you’ll typically have no post-sale support or service and your post-sale legal rights when dealing with a private individual are limited to non-existent.

To help protect your interests if buying privately, carefully check and confirm that:

  • the seller is who they say they are and reside at a verifiable address;
  • they own the motorhome they’re selling and are not just its registered keeper;
  • there is no outstanding finance on it;
  • it has not been previously “written off” in insurance terms following an accident or other disaster; and
  • that nothing has been “massaged” – such as the vehicle’s age, mileage, or other critical details.

You may pay a little more in terms of the price through a dealership, but you should get that legal protection of your rights and post-sales support.

Know your technical limitations

You certainly don’t need to be a qualified engineer to enjoy a motorhome! Even so, when buying, there will be technical issues that need to be taken into consideration.

If you’re mechanically and vehicle minded, then fine. If you’re not, call upon the help of either someone who is or a quality retailer of motorhomes with the experience to guide you through some of the technology and what it might mean in terms of affecting your eventual decision.

Prepare your funding options in advance

Finding the wherewithal to finance your purchase, of course, depends on your personal means and circumstances.

You might want to be a little cautious about using your cash reserves or retirement kitty. It may make sense to use one of the various motorhome finance options that might be available to you such as HP, a personal loan or lease purchase, for example.

Look into your options, potential funds providers and be sure you’re clear about your overall financial position, before starting to look at vehicles in dealers’ showrooms or on websites.

Motorhome driving tips

Now you’ve bought your motorhome, what about the challenge of driving one?

In fact, you’re likely to discover that – with a little practice and growing familiarity – it is probably no more difficult than driving your own car.

The following tips may help to explain how you may overcome any initial doubts or worries:

Look and learn

  • when you get behind the wheel of any vehicle you have not driven before, you usually spend a moment or two familiarising yourself with the controls, so that you know where everything is and know just how it all works – especially in an emergency;
  • getting behind the wheel of a motorhome is unlikely to be so different and a few minutes just making yourself comfortable, adjusting the seat, and getting familiar with all the controls is likely to pay dividends;


  • you’ve made yourself at home in the cockpit – and the spacious interior, no doubt – so you’re probably looking forward to moving off;
  • if there’s still any trepidation, though, or if you want to play it extra-safe, you might want to enrol on one of the motorhome courses run by the Caravan and Motorhome Club or the Camping and Caravanning Club;
  • these manoeuvring courses aim to teach you all about handling a larger vehicle – forwards and in reverse – simple maintenance, routine safety checks, the law, and include a feedback session;

Moving off

  • now that you’ve gained a little confidence, there are just a few things to remember – especially until you’ve become familiar with the length, width, and size of your motorhome;
  • the golden rule is to relax, slow down and enjoy the journey (likely to be at least half the enjoyment of outings in your motorhome);
  • while you are on the move, you might tend to forget some of the key dimensions – the height and length of your motorhome – so take a look in your owner’s manual and learn them off by heart, so that you are not caught out when encountering low bridges or especially narrow and winding roads along the way;
  • with the extra length of the vehicle, you may need to take corners wider than you are used to, but be careful, of course, of swinging out into oncoming traffic, slow down and look well ahead when cornering;
  • in fact, you might want to kill your speed more generally while getting used to driving your motorhome – it’s not designed to be driven as fast as the car you use for work or trips to the shops and, besides, slowing down may help you to enjoy the journey better;
  • if your motorhome is less than 3,500 kg unladen weight (as most are), then the rules of the road, including speed limits are the same as for the car you normally drive – but if it is above 3,500 kg then remember that lower speed restrictions apply;

Park and Ride

  • even though you may have become familiar with the handling of your motorhome, it is rarely a good idea to take it into already congested and sometimes narrow inner-city streets; so,
  • Park and Ride schemes are a boon to motorhome owners since they let you park easily away from all the congestion, with your vehicle waiting safely for you at the end of your visit to the city.

By following just a few simple tips and suggestions, therefore, you are likely to find that driving a motorhome presents no great challenge – and you soon take to it like a duck to water.

There are many reasons why you may want to sell your motorhome – perhaps you discover that holidays in a motorhome are not for you; you want to upgrade to a newer or better motorhome; or, you might want to downsize to a vehicle that is more economical to run.

Sooner or later, most of us need to get to grips with the idea of selling a motorhome however much we may love it! While the demand for good used motorhomes is typically high, trying to sell your motorhome might not be a particularly major challenge.

Nevertheless, there are a few things to think about if you would like to sell yours sooner rather than later. So, whatever your reasons for selling, you might find the following tips and suggestions helpful.

Where to sell

So, you’ve decided that the time has come to sell your beloved motorhome. When you do so, you’ll naturally be looking for a sales channel that is offering you the most suitable deal given your overall situation at the time.

That’s why we’ve put together here a few general options that you might wish to consider further:


  • your aim is to let as many potential buyers as possible know that you want to sell your motorhome;
  • of course, you are after the best price and want to describe it in as glowing colours as possible, but make sure that you do so as accurately as possible – remember that it is a criminal offence to sell any motor vehicle that is in an unroadworthy condition unless you make that fact crystal clear to any buyer;
  • thinking about where you advertise and assuming you are not trading-in or selling to a dealership, make sure your advertisements are in a sensible place with respect to your target marketplace;
  • for example, if you are upgrading from a campervan to a full-sized motorhome, you may find more customers online or in publications aimed at a slightly younger audience than in publications aimed at high net worth individuals;
  • it’s a simplistic example but there are plenty of helpful articles on the internet about how to identify the right sorts of publications and websites based upon the thing you are trying to sell;

Online listings

  • the good old days of paying for a notice in the classified ads section of your local newspaper or putting a card in the newsagent’s window have been overtaken by the numerous listings sites online – such as AutoTrader and Gumtree to name just two;
  • clearly, the use of the internet considerably widens the scope of potential buyers – although the same rules on accuracy and roadworthiness continue to apply.

Private sales

Whether you advertise online or through more traditional sales, there are a few things to consider when selling your motorhome this way:

  • check the identity of the buyers and their proposed method of payment. For example, identity theft might leave you exposed and the money you have received could be withdrawn from your account if your buyers are not who they said they are;
  • some potential buyers may negotiate hard and aggressively which might make some sellers feel uncomfortable;
  • deals and agreements to purchase in principle sometimes fall through at the last moment; and
  • finding buyers can take time.

Selling to a dealer

You can, of course, simply take your motorhome into a specialist dealer and ask them for a valuation and cash price for it.

Providing you choose an established and reputable company this has the big attraction of having no identity theft issues and your payment should be secure and irrevocable – if you adopt common-sense practices.

As you might expect, the dealer will need to build in their profit margin for a resale and typically also the costs of a thorough examination of the vehicle, the rectification of any problems and a full professional valeting.

So, your pricing may need to be realistic in order to reflect these factors.

It’s worth bearing in mind too that not all dealers will necessarily wish to purchase your vehicle. A lot will depend upon their purchasing policies and their own existing on-site stock levels.

Part exchange

This is a popular and easy method of selling your motorhome in a context where you are looking to replace it.

This route normally implies that a dealer is involved and typically dealers may be in a position to offer you a rather better deal through part exchange than if they are making an outright cash purchase.

Just be sure that the price you are paying for your new motorhome and the cost allowance being allocated to your existing one, balance off in terms of realistic market values for each.


Some individuals and companies offer intermediary brokerage services to people looking to sell their motorhome.

In principle, asking somebody else to sell your vehicle for you is fine. If they know of buyers looking for certain vehicles and you don’t, they may be able to offer a valuable service.

The things to consider here are as you might expect:

  • be sure that the broker is a reputable organisation and not selling you short in terms of the price they are advising you to look for;
  • in some cases, their advice as to realistically achievable prices might be influenced by the fact that they are looking for the fastest possible sales and biggest turnover; and
  • in many cases, their services will invariably involve costs or a percentage of the final sale figure.

Preparing your motorhome for sale

Whether you are hoping for a private sale, selling to a dealer, looking for part exchange, or using a broker, it is important to show your motorhome to its best advantage. And that means spending some time on its preparation:

Visual appearance

  • to show off your motorhome at its best, make sure to give it a thorough clean inside and out;
  • for a motorhome, particular attention needs to be paid to the interior and making sure that you have cleared out all the rubbish, clutter, debris from the fridge and personal effects;
  • motorhomes that look tired, that show exterior damage, or are simply dirty are likely to put off many potential buyers on a first photographic inspection – it’s particularly important that everything looks spick and span, internally and externally, before you invite people round for a viewing;
  • if you are taking it to a professional dealer for trade-in or sale, first appearances may be slightly less important but they’re still a factor – but even the most hardened of dealers can be influenced, positively or negatively, by the initial impression of the outside of your motorhome and again when they take their first glance inside;
  • So be prepared to invest a little time, effort and perhaps money in making sure that your motorhome looks attractive at the outset;

Be sure to correct faults

  • it’s always poor sales psychology to be showing someone around your vehicle whilst at the same time going through a catalogue of things that are wrong with it – even if problems are relatively minor, buyers who spot them or who you describe them to can start to have doubts;
  • there is a balance to be struck here of course. At Derby Motorhomes, we wouldn’t necessarily advocate spending a fortune trying to restore your motorhome to factory-delivery condition. However, it might be a very smart move to fix as many of those little niggles as is economically sensible;

Make sure it has been serviced and is running well

  • unless you are selling your vehicle under the category of “requiring repair”, keep in mind that buyers will expect to see it running and riding reasonably well;
  • if your servicing isn’t up to date, it might be worth investing a modest sum in a mechanical service before taking people for a test drive. Make sure there are no embarrassing rattles or shakes coming out of the engine that you have to somehow explain;
  • since you want to impress upon any buyer that everything is in working order, check that the gas cylinder is full enough, fill the water tank and test the electrics;
  • obviously, you need to ensure that the toilet cassette has been emptied and that the recommended chemicals have been added;
  • your motorhome is designed to offer living space, so a critical part of preparation before selling it is a “habitation service”, a professional check of all the household elements;
  • check that the greywater outlets drain properly, that all the locks are in good working order and, that any covers for the main services are in place;
  • meticulous preparation may be less important in situations where you are offering your motorhome to a dealership as part of a trade-in or cash purchase – typically, they will normally attend to their own post-purchase full servicing and mechanical checks;


  • clearly, you need to have the logbook, or V5C, to hand so that any buyer may check the details against the vehicle itself – but beware anyone trying to copy or photograph it, since it might be the first step in stealing your identity;
  • if your motorhome is more than three years old, you also need a valid MOT – consider getting it done well in advance of any advertisement, since anything close to a full year’s MOT goes down well, whereas one that has only weeks to go certainly does not.


Typically, good pre-used motorhomes are in high demand. You shouldn’t have too much difficulty in selling yours through any of the channels above but remember to be cautious in terms of protecting your financial interests.

This list of tips and suggestions may help to make the process of selling your motorhome more straight forward, but it may still seem like a daunting task.

In that case, you might want to let us take on all the hard work. So, don’t forget that here at Derby Motorhomes, we can buy your used Auto-Sleeper or any other motorhome and that we are also always interested in second-hand motorhomes to take in part exchange too.

Selling any motor vehicle is often a chore and something of a hassle.

Selling your motorhome may prove still more of a headache. Buyers may be few and far between. There is likely to be more money at stake, and viewers are likely to take much longer poring over every inch of the vehicle (and that’s not even counting the time-wasters who say they are coming and then fail to turn up).

When you part exchange your motorhome, on the other hand, you get two essential benefits for the price of one – you avoid the time, hassle and general inconvenience of having to sell your current motorhome. And you are also likely to gain more than enough of a deposit on your new one.

So, let’s take a closer look at part exchanging your motorhome.

At the time of writing, all the news is good news in terms of that “PX” deal! Why?

Second-hand motorhome values

Motorhomes depreciate far less than the typical car. That means they hold their value well, assuming all other things are equal.

Add to that the fact that there’s currently something of a shortage of good quality second-hand motorhomes and you have all the ingredients for great deals if you’re part-exchanging your motorhome.

Part exchange with Derby Motorhomes

If you are selling your motorhome to buy another, we aim to give you a top part exchange price – without your having to go through any of the hassles of advertising, etc.

All we ask is you give us a full and accurate description of your motorhome as possible, including whether it has been involved in any accidents and if there is any outstanding finance on the vehicle.

Even if you prefer to go down the route of selling your motorhome privately, we may still be able to help. Your buyer may be looking for a part exchange deal, for example, or even looking for the finance to purchase your motorhome – both are issues over which we may be able to help.

Choosing a dealer

When you are looking to part exchange, a lot may hinge on your choice of dealer.

Naturally, you want the best possible price for any motorhome you trade-in, based on a fair and realistic valuation of its current market value.

Specialist, reputable dealers are likely to be in the best position to make just such an offer. They know about motorhomes, they know who is in the market to buy a used one, and they are at the cutting edge of the business.

Most dealers specialise in a particular make of motorhome and, if you are lucky enough to already own one of the top-rated brands such as an Auto-Sleeper, you may be likely to be offered an especially attractive deal in part exchange.

Indeed, some dealers are so interested in buying such desirable brands as Auto-Sleeper, that, if you have yet to make up your mind about purchasing a new motorhome, you may be offered an immediate cash price on the one you want to sell.

Some dealers may even agree to take your motorhome on a sale or return basis.

Preparing your motorhome for part-exchange

You might be tempted into thinking that a vehicle you offer in part exchange does not need much in the way of special presentation – if it is dirty or needs minor exterior or interior blemishes ironing out, then the dealer is well able to provide the necessary service.

But dealers are people, too, and just like any other buyer, first impressions count.

In other words, if you are looking to part exchange, it is worth spending some of your own time cleaning the outside of the vehicle, attending to any scrapes and dings, and giving the interior a thorough spring clean. It is all likely to put any dealer in the right frame of mind for offering you a more attractive deal on a motorhome which has clearly been looked after by a responsible and careful owner.

Try to make sure your vehicle is as clean and well-presented as possible. True, a professional dealer will be able to “see-through” certain surface-level presentation problems, but psychologically even the most seasoned professional can be affected by things such as interior dirt, grime, and foul smells etc.

These things can suggest you’ve not really cared for your motorhome and that might imply to the dealer that far worse problems are lurking unseen under the surface so to speak. So – a good spring clean beforehand is a good idea.

Avoid last-second cosmetic improvements like cushions, wall decorations and so on. These will cost you money for no benefit – most dealers will remove them before any sale to restore your motorhome or campervan to its original specification and appearance (as far as possible).

Some motorhome owners, for example, add large numbers of accessories and make other customisations and enhancements to their vehicles.

It’s sometimes disappointing for them to note that many of these will be considered to have zero value by the dealer or indeed a future buyer. That’s because many buyers prefer second-hand motorhomes that are close to the original manufacturer’s specification. They may have little or no use for your gadgetry or accessories.

So, you might have a dish on the roof capable of bouncing a signal off Mars – but a new buyer might value that at zero if they have no interest in doing so! Be pragmatic and assume you may get little or nothing for most of them.

As people are inclined to be fussy about where they sleep and use the bathroom, try to keep these areas particularly spic, span and in good working order. A shower/WC that’s a bit of a mess or poorly maintained will be a big turn off to dealers.


Research a very rough price for your vehicle and also the one you have in mind for acquisition. Do some rough sums in your head for the sort of total deal you’re looking for and be flexible and ready to negotiate.

Try to be realistic in your pricing, though. Remember, the dealer has to make a profit on both sides of the transaction, and that can’t be pennies. Give them some breathing room.

You will be very unlikely to get as much as a trade-in, as you would if you sold privately. If it appears you would remember to look at the whole deal, including what the dealer is asking you to pay as the balance for the new vehicle. However, keep in mind that selling privately comes with its particular potential pitfalls. Think carefully before you make your final decision on that one.

It is also important to gather together, ready to hand over to the dealer, the documents and owner’s manual you received when you bought your motorhome, along with its maintenance records and service history.

Selling privately

If you are going down the road of selling your motorhome privately, rather than looking to part exchange, there are a few precautions you need to take to prevent scams, theft or even worse:

  • never give out details such as the vehicle registration number (technically known as its Vehicle Registration Mark, or VRM), the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), logbook details or your own personal information – which may be used criminally for identity theft;
  • always offer viewings at your home address, rather than somewhere unfamiliar that is suggested by someone claiming to be an interested buyer, but where you may be vulnerable to an assault or theft;
  • if a viewer asks to hear the engine running, make sure you are in the driving seat and do not leave the keys in the ignition, suggests the listings magazine Exchange and Mart;
  • if a potential buyer asks to test drive your motorhome, only hand over the keys once you are sat behind the wheel and after you have checked that their insurance certificate allows them to drive;
  • it is reasonable to allow any potential buyer to inspect the vehicle’s documents, but do not let them make copies of them – and beware any attempt they make to take photos of the documents using their smartphone;
  • if you manage to agree on a sale, have prepared a simple document to that effect which both you and the buyer sign;
  • wait until you have been paid the agreed price – and any bank transfer or cheque has actually been cleared – before handing over your motorhome to the buyer.

With the prospect of so many do’s, don’ts and precautions involved in any private sale, you might already have decided that the easier and safer solution may be to offer us your motorhome in part exchange.

If you are thinking of buying an Auto-Sleeper motorhome, you are unlikely to find anything better when it comes to your choice of large or small, luxuriously spacious or nimbly manoeuvrable. Nor, for want of options when it comes to the layout of your ultimate leisure vehicle.

Indeed, you are likely to be so spoiled for choice that making a final decision seems overwhelming. So, why choose an Auto-Sleeper, and what do you need to consider when buying one?

Why choose an Auto-Sleeper?

This might be summed up in just three words – quality, design, and variety:


  • the whole point of a motorhome is to provide comfortable accommodation while you are out and about exploring the world at large;
  • as a result, you will typically want the accommodation component of your motorhome to offer the height of comfort, and be well equipped and spacious;
  • while no motorhome is likely to offer the same space and luxury as a penthouse suite in a top-class hotel, even so, Auto-Sleepers come close to achieving this in the vehicles they have constructed or customised;
  • this is partly about the quality of the materials used internally, partly about the design approach and most importantly, about the overall build quality;
  • it’s perfectly possible to have a great design using superb materials, but if they are poorly put together, the end result will be sub-optimal – that is not a mistake made by Auto-Sleepers, who consistently turn out widely praised interiors;


  • there are certainly cases where it is evident the design of a motorhome has perhaps not been entirely well thought-through;
  • although the materials and build quality may be fine, that doesn’t count for much if you have to climb over a table to reach the WC or can’t easily open a cupboard door when sitting in the lounge because it jams against a piece of furniture;
  • Auto-Sleepers have clearly been impeccably designed with an emphasis on practical functionality – and the importance of that often becomes crystal clear during the first 24 hours of using your new motorhome;


  • not only do they vary based on chassis and engine but also in terms of their internal configuration – you could, for example, have near identical chassis and engines but with the accommodation configured for two, three or four-berth use;
  • the company also doesn’t restrict its activities to larger flagship motorhomes;
  • the manufacturer’s van conversions are innovative and display genius in terms of the utilisation of available space;
  • this means that recreational vehicle users of all types and budgets can usually find an Auto-Sleeper to meet their needs.

Meeting your needs and requirements

These three excellent reasons for choosing an Auto-Sleeper come to nothing, of course, unless the motorhome can meet your particular needs and requirements. However brilliant the motorhomes are, you will still want to exercise personal tastes and preferences to your own specification.

Whether you will be happy with a van conversion or a full-sized motorhome is very much a matter of personal choice. The same is true in terms of things such as the size of the shower room and the total number of berths. For example, some people may prefer to trade a berth if it means they have a larger shower and WC area.

These things need to be considered, and a general requirements list produced before you start searching the Auto-Sleepers range. It will help focus your attention on what’s important to you.

So, let’s take a closer look at what might appear on your list of sought-after qualities and features.


Who is likely to be travelling with you on your adventures in an Auto-Sleeper motorhome? Is it just you and your partner or do you have children or maybe an extended family to think of?

The answer governs the number of beds you need in your motorhome and, of course, this determines, in turn, the overall size of the vehicle that may comfortably accommodate your travelling companions.


Closely related to the question of size is the overall weight and laden weight of your motorhome.

This may become more critical as you consider the largest of the motorhomes you might have an eye on. For the great majority of motorhomes, your standard driving licence allows you to drive vehicles of up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), explains the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). For motorhomes above this weigh, however, you may need to pass and hold a supplementary Category C1 licence.

To complicate things a little further, your precise driving licence qualifications also depend on whether you took your test before or after the 1st of January 1997.

Where are you going?

Your choice of the size and weight of your motorhome might also be influenced by where it is you are likely to be going and how you intend to use the vehicle:

  • if you are planning to use it mainly for touring, with just overnight stops along the way, a smaller vehicle is likely to be more manoeuvrable along narrow winding lanes or congested city streets;
  • if you have a particular destination in mind and plan to use your Auto-Sleeper as a – somewhat luxurious – home away from home, then the extra spaciousness and higher standard of fittings and furniture of a larger, heavier vehicle may be more appropriate.

Seeing is believing

As you begin to lock onto the motorhome of your choice, there is nothing to beat the experience of ditching the brochures and magazines and getting up close and personal to the real thing.

Why not stop by our Auto-Sleeper exhibition centre and view the whole range on offer? Settle down in one of the comfortable seats in the cockpit or lounge area, bounce up and down on a bed or two, and get hands-on with the galley.

Your budget

As with so many things, your final decision may come down to the hard realities of your bank balance.

Once again, though, Auto-Sleeper build motorhomes to suit many a pocket – and reputable dealers such as ourselves here at Derby Motorhomes offer access to finance specialists who may advise on the ways to finance your purchase – including the Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) similar to the deal with which you might have bought your last motor car.

What’s the most important feature of a motorhome? It’s one of the frequently asked questions we’re asked at Derby Motorhomes.

It’s also one of the most difficult questions to answer, of course, since so much about choosing your motorhome is down to personal taste and preference. There may be many different aspects of a motorhome that might lead you to decide either for or against a given model.

In fact, there are so many things to consider that a single article of this nature just cannot cover them all. So, here we will concentrate on just one of the features we are asked about most often – the internal layout.

Think numbers

The optimal motorhome layout might depend upon just how many people there will be on your trips.

In situations where there are four adults (or grown-up children) regularly aboard, you may really appreciate fold-away beds and much more dining space in the living area.  On the other hand, if you are a couple with perhaps the odd trip involving your grandchildren for example, then your motorhome layout thinking might be quite different.

True, you shouldn’t size your motorhome and select configurations based on perhaps one trip every 12 or 18 months with others aboard. But if you’re planning to invite other people with you on a regular basis, it should be taken into account in your configuration design and selection.

Your home on wheels

The precise layout of your motorhome will go a long way to maximising the usable space within the vehicle, the way you intend to use it, and the number of people you expect to accommodate.

A motorhome is your home on wheels, says the Camping and Caravanning Club, so there is an inevitable trade-off or compromise between interior spaciousness and the need to negotiate the vehicle on the roads – which might often be narrow, twisting, or occasionally congested city streets.

Just remember that even motorhomes that are a similar overall length – points out an article in AutoTrader Motorhomes – may differ in both height and width to allow a layout which offers more in the way of usable space inside.

So, whether you are looking for a sufficiently agile and manoeuvrable motorhome to use for touring off the beaten track or a sufficiently spacious and luxurious second home which to which you return as your base each day, there are plenty of layout options from which to choose.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the considerations involved.

The overall size of your motorhome

Remember that the smaller the motorhome you select, by and large, the more compromises you might have to make on internal living space. That’s something that might affect aspects of your motorhome layout.

For example, some motorhome owners prefer lots of living room and kitchen space but are more than willing to compromise on sleeping area dimensions. That’s fine but in the case of say over-cab sleeping accommodation, keep in mind that headroom will be restricted and also one partner will have to climb over the other if they need to get up in the middle of the night.

Sleeping arrangements

The degree of flexibility that now exists in terms of choosing sleeping layouts is phenomenal. Even so, not all of them will necessarily appeal to everyone.

For example, if you have two smaller children or grandchildren you take on trips, then you may be very attracted by the idea of bunk beds. If you don’t, then that type of sleeping accommodation may be largely irrelevant in terms of your requirements.

Things you may wish to consider might include:

  • how many berths;
  • single or double beds;
  • where the sleeping areas will sit in your motorhome (at the rear, central areas etc.).

Some options may allow you to keep the bed permanently in place whereas others will allow it to be converted into additional seating accommodation in your living area.

Although tastes and preferences obviously differ, it’s probably fair to say that many people would suggest that fixed beds are more comfortable than those which fold away.

If you are someone or a couple who really values the ultimate in comfort for a great night’s sleep, then it might be better to opt for fixed beds. On the other hand, if you can sleep on the head of a pin, then folding beds may give you much more legroom during the day.


The size and configuration of kitchen areas may also vary considerably between models.

The equipment level contained in many motorhome kitchens is now staggering.

There are often quality appliances and ones which would grace even a conventional kitchen in a main home, as well as specially-designed motorhome gadgets that are economical in their use of space.

If you are someone who really enjoys cooking, wherever you are, then you may be prepared to sacrifice something like fixed beds or larger sized shower facilities in order to have a substantial kitchen.

On the other hand, not everyone goes on a motorhome holiday with the intention of cooking cordon bleu cuisine. It may be that you prefer eating out or preparing basic meals on minimalist kitchen equipment. If that’s the case, picking the right motorhome for you might involve deciding to reduce the amount of floor space allocated to your kitchen and deploying it instead to living or sleeping areas.

You might also want to think about where the kitchen sits in your motorhome. Some people like it at the very back, well out of the way of everything else, whilst others prefer it conveniently located mid-vehicle near the main sitting area.

WC’s and showers

This is one of the areas where individual requirements are most likely to vary. It’s not unusual to hear people say they’ll go for the smallest option possible and use the space saved elsewhere. In practice though, that doesn’t necessarily suit everybody in real life.

Some people just don’t like cramped spaces when they are trying to take a shower and very restricted spaces in these areas can be an issue for larger people. It’s certainly possible to opt for smaller solutions but think it through first and be sure that it’ll result in something you’ll be comfortable with.

It’s entirely possible to have a fully functioning WC contained within your motorhome. What is less commonly known, though, is that it’s also possible to have a normal shower too.

Some people prefer to have the WC and shower room as two separate units. That takes up more space, of course, but it does mean that the two can be used simultaneously.

Still others are less concerned about having a full-sized shower and would prefer instead to use that space for other purposes within the motorhome, being happy to use the communal shower facilities on the campsite.

Once again, your individual requirements can almost always be accommodated providing you select a motorhome provider who is able to offer the appropriate design flexibility.

Popular layouts

With some of these design and configuration considerations firmly in mind, therefore, let’s see how it all translate into practice, so that you are ready to pick your way through some of the most popular types of motorhome layout. And, once again, it is worth stressing that the imagination and ingenuity of contemporary designers, gives you an amazing selection of different motorhome layouts to suit a variety of personal preferences and uses:


  • as the smallest in the stable of motorhomes, campervans are perhaps the most challenging for layout designers;
  • typically, the forward driver’s and passenger seats swivel around to face the interior, there is a bench seat at the rear – which converts into the bed – and a small galley and cupboards arranged along the side;
  • yet even within the relative confines of a campervan, there are variations on the theme – explains a guide produced by Out and About Live – and you have a wide choice when it comes to selecting the layout that suits your purposes;

French bed layout

  • also designed to maximise space in smaller motorhomes is the so-called French bed layout;
  • it is smaller than a regular, fixed double bed because the corner is rounded off to allow greater access around it – it is also an alternative to an island bed when space is at a premium;

Fixed bed layouts

  • as you move up in the overall size of your motorhome, it becomes possible to have fixed beds rather than those which pull down or convert and which you have to make up at the end of each day;
  • fixed bed layouts may feature a double bed or two singles – depending on the layout – and are prized for the comfort and convenience they bring to life in your motorhome;

End kitchen layout

  • if you are looking for a motorhome that serves as a home away from home, you might want to consider the luxury of a spacious end kitchen layout;
  • by putting the kitchen across the rear of the vehicle, you may achieve a fully-fitted kitchen – with an oven, multiple hobs, workspace and room for a fridge;

End bathroom layout

  • perhaps even more luxury can be found in having the bathroom at the rear of your motorhome;
  • it makes room for the toilet, hand basin and walk-in shower – all creature comforts that are likely to make your motorhome a comfortable yet mobile second home.

With layouts for all occasions, uses and personal tastes, choosing the one that suits you may be as important as picking the motorhome itself.

There’s nothing quite like spring cleaning. The very term conjures up the excitement and enthusiasm of a new season and all the adventures that lie in the offing.

When it’s a question of giving your motorhome a spring clean, of course, you’ll be looking forward to those upcoming days and nights of touring the country – and abroad – from the comfort of your second home on wheels. You’ll want to make sure that it is up to the task, looking, smelling and feeling renewed and refreshed both inside and out.

The exterior

While it has been laid up over winter, the bodywork of your motorhome will have attracted its share of dust, dirt and grime – including grit and birdlime.

Liberally hose down the exterior of your motorhome using plenty of fresh water – this washes off the looser dirt and softens more persistent patches for removal later. When adding cleaning products to the next wash, choose those that are specially formulated for motorhomes, so that you avoid any which are too harsh.

An article in Out and About Live on the 9th of March 2020, suggests that you avoid washing down the outside of your motorhome on a windy or hot day since the water will dry too quickly before you’ve had the chance to rinse it down, and so leave unsightly streaks.

Pay particular attention to any acrylic windows, which may be sensitive to some chemicals and will scratch easily from abrasives. Use plenty of warm water to wash them, therefore, and make sure to remove the residue from any cleaning products.

Tackling the inside

If you took some care to clean your motorhome before its winter layover, tackling the interior is likely to be a simple question of airing it thoroughly and removing the dust and debris that might have built up.

Open all the windows and doors and get your duster out to tackle every surface and the inside of cupboards and storage units. When that’s been done, take a vacuum cleaner to the floor – or a mop if it’s a laminate covering – and keep the doors and windows open so that the interior remains well ventilated for at least the next few hours or so.

Upholstery and soft furnishings can be cleaned with shampoo or specialist cleaning products but remember to keep the interior well ventilated until everything has dried out thoroughly – wet cushions are only going to encourage damp and mould.


Spring cleaning also gives you the chance to check that everything is working as it should. There is nothing worse than discovering a malfunction when you have already set off from home.

Sit behind the wheel and operate each of the switches at your fingertips. Check that the headlights come on and that no bulbs need replacing. Do the same for the brake lights and indicators. Ensure that the handbrake works smoothly and effectively.

Check the controls for the air conditioning, together with other gadgets and devices such as the radio, TV, CD player, sat-nav and any onboard WiFi system. Test any fire alarms and smoke detectors, ensuring that each one has enough battery life.

Once you’ve given your motorhome a clean, you can start planning your next journey!