There are some good reasons why smarter van conversions are in demand. First of all, they are ideal to use as a second vehicle. In fact, they are very appealing to anyone wanting to downsize from a larger coach built motorhome.

In addition, they have become smarter because the motorhome manufacturers see them as being the driving force of the future. Yes, and that is what is happening right now, growing demand is causing growing van conversions. With more independent van converters getting in on the act, the whole area of smarter van conversions is growing.

So, let’s take a closer look at the principles behind a smart van conversion and see how those ideas and concepts have been incorporated into the latest (2020) van conversions from Auto-Sleepers.

Leisure conversions – changing ideas

The market for all types of motorhome is growing and, in many ways, that growth has been born out of campervan conversions. And that boom has been driven by the ability to pack more into a larger van size. So, from a short-wheelbase to a long-wheelbase and even to an extra-long wheel-base. 

Smarter buyers

Not only have they got longer, but they have also got smarter, too. It’s been great to see.

With leisure and back to the outdoors being the driving force, the average van conversion is now even more flexible in what is being fitted as standard stuff. They have now adopted many great extras and cab features – from cruise control to air conditioning and those Bluetooth devices you are itching to plugin. Van conversions are built to include all the latest technology working for the better.

The driving force

More innovative looks different styles and looks – with plenty of scope to “pimp my van conversion”. The layouts and flexible berth spaces are taking the smarter van conversions to even greater heights.

Whenever a good thing comes along, everyone just seems to want one – and we’ve got to admit that van conversions are a great thing for the leisure industry. Not too big, but not too small, they’re ideal for long and short holiday breaks – which sounds like a smart idea to us.

A quick look at the 2020 Auto-Sleepers’ van conversions

So, let’s take a brief look at some of the van conversions from leading British manufacturer Auto-Sleepers and their latest range of models launched for 2020:

Kingham

  • aptly described as the “King of the Road”, the Kingham sets the standards for others in the same class and from the rest of the Auto-Sleepers stable to strive for;
  • it’s been upgraded to feature a fixed French double bed which slides back in order to offer backrest support. It also lifts to reveal a large storage facility underneath;
  • the featured kitchen with bespoke sofa seating helps to make this a fantastic and quite unique luxury 2-berth accommodation motorhome;

Symbol and Symbol Plus

  • the Symbol is the iconic van conversion from Auto-Sleepers with its sleek design, compact yet roomy and highly versatile interior;
  • a host of new features were added for the 2020 model;
  • it has also seen the addition of a new stable-mate the Symbol Plus – an extended version of its ever-popular cousin;
  • that extra space allows considerably greater comfort, including a well-equipped rear kitchen, a washroom – also located in the rear of the van – and a generous lounge providing luxury relaxation on the move or at rest;

Warwick Duo

  • similarly well-established and loved by past and present owners is the Warwick Duo – a firm Auto-Sleepers favourite;
  • it offers spacious comfort during the daytime and then full-size single beds (or a very spacious double bed) for the nights. Many couples love this motorhome;

Warwick XL

  • just as the name suggests, the Warwick XL takes the Duo as its starting point – and just makes it a whole lot better in terms of space and luxury;
  • it offers a sumptuously comfortable lounge, within which you can quickly and easily draw down the pair of single beds or a good-sized double bed;
  • it also comes with a good-sized bathroom which includes a separate shower- and that still leaves adequate space for a large and well-equipped kitchen;

Fairford and Fairford Plus

  • launched in 2016, the Fairford rapidly became one of the most popular Auto-Sleepers’ models – so popular, in fact, that it was soon joined by an extended, long wheel-base model, the Fairford Plus;
  • space and luxury are the watchwords for both these van conversions, which are especially flexible in their use and one of the few layouts in vehicles of this size to offer four berths;

Kemerton XL

  • this van conversion is designed with one purpose in mind – to offer you the ultimate in luxurious living – and the Kemerton XL is granted a “Classic Ensuite” tagline by Auto-Sleepers;
  • it now comes with a full-width washroom which includes a separate shower;
  • added to that are a fully-featured kitchen, spacious lounge and an important additional rear travelling seat – and you have a specification that’s hard to match;
  • it’s the ideal van for wonderfully comfortable long and short breaks.

Come and look

In a simple blog of this nature, we clearly can’t do justice to the full range of these vehicles or their luxurious configurations. You can read the detailed specifications of each model on Auto-Sleepers’ website.

Better yet, we are especially keen to try and encourage you to come along for a look around and to inspect some of our vehicles at your leisure. It’s really only by getting up close and personal, checking out the interiors for yourself and weighing up the many options and specifications that you’ll get a feeling for just how much flexibility and comfort they offer.

We’re also regularly asked about the pros and cons of Auto-Sleepers van conversions versus coach-built motorhomes. Well, that is a big subject! It’s also one which we’d much prefer to discuss with you whilst showing you examples of both types of vehicle.

So, don’t hesitate – please come along and see us at your earliest convenience.

Have motorhome, will travel.

And thanks to the variety and contrasts packed into these British Isles, you’ll rarely need to drive all that far to experience all the joys of the open road likely to stretch out before you.

Motorhomes, of course, are made for just these kinds of road trips – every journey an adventure unto itself, exciting and fascinating, experience-rich, and mind-expanding. Few of us are likely to turn down the opportunity of embarking on the great road trip.

Britain has them aplenty – so, let’s take a closer look as we suggest some of the greatest road trips in the UK.

The far north

We’ll start our catalogue of great road trips with what might be considered the most dramatic scenically and furthest from the gentle English countryside many of us may know.

This is a journey that will take you from a starting point at Inverness on the northwest coast of Scotland, pass along the coast and many Highland towns, through Applecross, Durness, to the most northerly point of mainland Britain at John O’Groats, and Dunrobin Castle beyond.

With everything from mountains, lochs, pristine beaches, brooding castles emerging from the mists, and historic landmarks dotted everywhere along your route, this surely qualifies as one of the great British road trips.

It’s a very satisfying 516 miles in length, and you might want to take as long as seven days – or more – to enjoy the trip. Little wonder that a blog on the Winfields website describes the route – which sticks to the North Coast NC500 – as Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66.

The New Forest

From the far north, let’s now point the compass to central southern England, where the New Forest offers a complete contrast and altogether different – but no less satisfying – road trip in your motorhome.

Because the New Forest is so easy to get to – just take the M3 or the M27 – and lies in a densely populated part of the country, it might not immediately spring to mind when planning a road trip. In fact, the area covered by the National Park – more than 218 square miles (566 square kilometres) – that many a winding journey can be made along its wooded roads and lanes.

The New Forest is unlikely to make an exhausting road trip – rather one in which you spend lazy days strolling through the woodland trails, striking out across the heathland, or visiting the surrounding places of interest. The Gap Decaders website highlight the towns of Brockenhurst, in the centre of the Forest, and Lymington, on the coast – and a gateway to the Isle of Wight – as spots worth visiting.

The Norfolk Coast

A great road trip under big, big skies awaits you along the windswept coast of Norfolk.

It’s an English coastline that is little visited these days – those steeped in an illustrious past. Indeed, your journey might well start in the historic city of Norwich and its landmark 11th-century cathedral.

Indeed, as your road trip progresses, you’re likely to encounter a hundred or so churches from the 11th century or so, built with the round towers that reflect the traditional designs from the North Sea and Baltic nations with long-standing trading links to this part of the UK.

As you head east out of Norwich, you enter the Norfolk Broads – a whole world unto itself, boasting more than 125 miles of navigable waterways winding through picturesque villages and towns. The Broads are a man-made wonder of the east coast.

Leaving the Broads, you’ll head along the coast to Cromer, Brancaster Beach and Blakeney Point (where you’ll also find England’s largest colony of seals).

A mark of the exceedingly high quality of the beaches you’ll drive past – and, no doubt, stop to admire – lies in the fact that the North Norfolk coastline boasts more than any other English region with six blue-flag beaches.

Northern Ireland

When you’re planning a great road trip, you might be drawn to those routes less travelled and paths less trodden. The Causeway Coastal Route across the top of Northern Ireland, from one side of the Province to the other, meets just such a bill – and packs in its fair share of drama and history too.

If you’re not fortunate enough to live in Northern Ireland already, of course, there’s a passage by ferry across the Irish Sea to start your journey. Your road trip can then begin in Belfast, as you take the route north and along what is probably the best of Britain’s coastal drives.

From Belfast around to Derry on the west coast, the journey is around 120 miles long – but you might want to give it a full five days to lend it justice. Handily, the entire Causeway Coastal Route is broken up into nine separate scenic drives, so you can explore each one at your leisure.

The constant backdrop to your coastal road trip is the Atlantic Ocean. Stopover nights are likely to be spent stargazing into the darkest of night skies, and topping up your tumbler of Irish whiskey as you listen to or recount the tales and legends of old.

Stop over at some of Northern Ireland’s best-known locations, such as the Giant’s Causeway, Dark Hedges, the rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede, or the Glens of Antrim. To make the most of the outdoor life in stunning scenery, walk along, swim or surf at some of the island’s gorgeous beaches.

Wales

Can’t choose between North or South Wales for your road trip? Then why not plan one that covers its length, from Llandudno in the north as far as Cardiff on the south coast.

The key to your road trip is the A470, which you can follow from Llandudno to Cardiff, explains Visit Britain – but, of course, you’re almost certain to want to stray away from the main route to take in some of the highlights that just about anywhere in Wales has to offer.

In the north, you have the rugged majesty and splendour of Snowdonia National Park – and here alone, you might want to spend a day or two exploring the 823 square miles or so of its diverse landscapes.

The A470 pretty well follows the Cambrian Way or the spine of Wales from north to south. Once away from the more well-known tourist hotspots, you’ll find yourself deep in the countryside of unspoilt mid-Wales and its plethora of small villages and communities. Once again, you’re going to struggle in resisting the temptation to stray away from the main route and instead follow wherever your fancy may take you.

Eventually, however, you’ll find the Brecon Beacons National Park on your horizon, with its more rugged mountains and moorlands, before dipping down into the valleys of South Wales, the town of Merthyr Tydfil, and on to Cardiff.

From start to finish, this road trip covers 178 miles – on a mix of dual and single carriageway roads – which you could drive in as short a time as just four and a half hours. With so much to see and do along the way, however, who on earth would want to do that? For that chance to travel the length and breadth of the whole of Wales, your great road trip is likely to take at least several days.

We hope these ideas have inspired you on where to go for your next staycation. Enjoy!

Open for business again

We are pleased to advise all customers that the business will be re-opening from Monday 1st June 2020.

On the first day we will be undertaking a deep clean of the premises and installing health and safety measures for the protection of our staff and customers so, while the doors will remain locked for the day, we will be answering telephone calls and emails.

All customers who have a service or repair booking for the week commencing 1st June should assume that their booking will go ahead as planned but please, we would also like you to confirm that you will still be attending as booked.

The service team will be trying to contact all customers who had their bookings cancelled following the lockdown and will be prioritising their re-booking but please try to understand that we were forced to cancel an awful lot of work and whilst every customer is important to us, we only have so many hours in a day so, a little patience is likely to be required.

Please feel free to pre-empt a call from Stuart or Hayley and call us from Monday 1st June onwards.

We would ask that anyone wishing to visit the showroom to potentially make a purchase should make an appointment prior to visiting to ensure the safety of both you and our staff.

Service and aftersales

We will be operating a strict appointment only service for the aftersales and service department so please do not visit without a confirmed booking or appointment.

We apologise in advance if this is inconvenient but in these difficult times, we have a duty of care, a legal responsibility to respect and ensure the safety of our employees and customers alike.

Upon arrival, you will be asked to use the hand sanitiser close to the entrance and place your keys in a container near the reception desk.

We will ask your permission to use a digital, contactless thermometer on you to check for a high temperature which could be a symptom of Coronavirus infection. Please do not be offended, we temperature test all our staff each day for the safety of everyone.

When we remove your keys for use, we will sanitise them prior to commencing works. We will also undertake a sanitisation of the interior and touchpoints of your motorhome to ensure that it is as safe as it can be for our team that work on it. We will show you the chemicals that will be used and ask if you have any allergies prior to their use.

Due to the increased cost’s associated with the use of additional cleaning materials and additional time associated with this performing this task, we will be making a small, additional charge on top of your service invoice or warranty repair.

Stuart or Hayley will advise you of this charge when you make your booking or present for service or repairs.

Payment for all service work undertaken is by card only, the company cannot currently accept any cash payments.

Unfortunately, we will be unable to offer any refreshments during your visit or allow waiting in our customer waiting area – these measures are for your safety and we hope you understand.

Customers will collect their keys, following service works, from a container on the service counter; your keys will be sanitised as will all areas and touchpoints of your motorhome. 

Sales Department

The sales department will operate an appointment service for face-to-face viewings and sales; unfortunately, browsing is currently not going to be practical due to the risk of contaminating vehicles and the time involved in thoroughly sanitising each vehicle following a visit.

We would like to apologise in advance though, these are challenging times for all of us and our wish is not to offend but simply to protect all visitors and our team from potentially contracting Coronavirus.

We are happy to conduct business face to face, via telephone, live video link or live chat so please chose the method that best suites you and contact us to confirm.

For visitors with an appointment, upon arrival you will be asked to use the hand sanitiser close to the entrance.

We will ask your permission to use a digital, contactless thermometer on you to check for a high temperature which could be a symptom of Coronavirus infection.

Please do not be offended, we temperature test all our staff each day for the safety of everyone.

We will offer you the use of basic PPE equipment in the form of a face mask and gloves – again these are for your protection, but you do not have to accept them.

You will then be looked after by our sales team who will confirm which motorhome you are interested in and show you to that vehicle.

The vehicle will be unlocked for you, it will be completely sanitised prior to your visit and you will be left alone inside for as long as you need to make your decision or compile questions; unfortunately, it is not currently safe for our sales staff to be inside with you at the same time.

All other motorhomes are locked and unfortunately, we will not encourage browsing inside other models at present, but you will be able to look around the showroom and observe the one-way system that is in place.

Once you are ready, our salesperson will invite you to their desk to answer any questions and complete negotiations for your purchase.

Please do not be alarmed, the sales desks do have safety screens fitted and you will be able to safely remove gloves and masks if desired to complete all conversations.

We will not currently be able to offer our usual refreshments and would advise customers to bring their own refreshments if required.

Vehicle Collections and Handovers

For any cancelled and all outstanding handovers, we will be reviewing each on a case by case basis and contacting customers affected to discuss arrangements and any revised dates.

Thank you for taking the time to read and understand the measures that we have to take to ensure the safety of all and our operational integrity – we really do look forward to welcoming everyone again and assure you all of the very best service once you are here.

Tim Lemon
Managing Director

Derby Motorhomes is closed – but still open for business while the dreaded coronavirus rages around us.

We’ve pulled off that feat by doing what most of the country is doing during these difficult times, namely working from home and conducting practically a full range of services remotely. By physically closing the shop, of course, we are helping to protect you the customer against the menace of the Covid-19 virus and safeguarding our team of dedicated staff from that exposure too.

So, how can you do all that’s involved in buying a motorhome without being able to visit us in person?

It’s business as normal online

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, paying a virtual visit to your motorhome dealer is practically as helpful and informative as the real thing.

Here at Derby Motorhomes, we have gone a step further than just uploading video clips of all our motorhomes. Visit our slot at Available Today and we can offer you fully escorted virtual tours of any of our motorhomes you care to name.

We won’t leave you in the dark, but invite you right inside our virtual showroom, where you can question our sales representatives to your heart’s content. There’s no limit to the grilling you might give the salesperson in that virtual interview – and, who knows, you might feel more confident posing the questions online rather than in person.

You ask the questions – it’s down to us to come up with the replies. So, if you want to ask about motorhome finance, part exchange, insurance, or warranties just ask away.

When you’re done with the chat and want to return to the action, simply take a tour of our virtual showroom, where you can still get up close and personal with the full range of new and used motorhomes in stock.

The beauty with that virtual tour, of course, is that you can run it again and again as often as you like. Go back and revisit those models in which you have a particular interest or refresh your mind about specific details. There’ll be no tired legs, fractious kids, queues for a snack, or the snarl-up of traffic as you try to make your way home.

Collections and servicing

If you have already ordered a motorhome from us, you are no doubt eager to collect it.

During this period of lockdown, of course, those collections are simply not possible. We ask you to bear with us and exercise just a little patience until we can arrange a mutually convenient time to handover and collect your new motorhome once the worst of the present emergency has passed.

Similarly, we are afraid that there is no one in our servicing bays to attend to your vehicle. If you have already booked a service or had one planned, our service team will be in touch to organise an alternative date – again, once everyone is back on their feet. In the meantime, if you have any urgent questions or queries to do with servicing your motorhome, please feel free to drop the team an email at service@derbymotorhomes.com.

 

Derby Motorhomes is adhering to government guidance and therefore currently closed in order to protect our amazing team and wonderful customers. Whilst very saddened at our temporary closure we accept and understand that the current measures will protect everyone and save lives

“Closed” seems quite final but we would like to assure all our friends, customers and potential new customers that we consider this as a temporary pause in business only.

The Auto-Sleepers factory is also temporarily paused while this period of national crisis continues.

We have been planning for this at Derby Motorhomes and The Auto-Sleeper Exhibition Centre is ready to meet this challenge and will emerge stronger when this is all over.

We have engaged the services of motorhomescampervans.net to assist with all enquiries so please used the following for assistance:

Collections

For any customer who has a vehicle awaiting collection, we apologise but guidance dictates that currently your handovers have been postponed but rest assured, as soon as we are able to reopen, we will re-arrange handovers. All customers who have a vehicle handover currently postponed have been contacted already.

Service customers

Should any service customer have an urgent need to contact our service team, please accept our apologies as we are currently unable to assist; however, in an emergency, you could send an email  to info@motorhomescampervans.net who may be able to assist in a very limited way.

Sales

Although our physical sales showroom is closed, our stock is available to view online with special offers, bespoke descriptions and most with bespoke video available too. So, although the sales team are unable to work and not contactable via their usual telephone numbers and email addresses, you can still contact info@motorhomescampervans.net  who will endeavour to assist where possible.

Vehicle Ordering

For those who wish to place an order against one of our new or used vehicles, please complete and submit our simple vehicle reservation form; we are unable to accept a deposit at this time but you will receive an electronic confirmation of your order and once our team are able to return to the dealership, you will be contacted to finalise all paperwork, preparation requirements and confirm collection requirements also.

Our live chat service, while still active may not be monitored by our team but again our friends at info@motorhomescampervans.net will be happy to offer whatever assistance they can.

Contact sales via info@motorhomescampervans.net  or via our live chat service (service permitting)

Please don’t be afraid to contact info@motorhomescampervans.net via email or their contact number, 07703 107293 – we’re still here (in a virtual sense at least) and really do want to help, if at all possible.

We will still issue updates, special offers, bloggs and postings via info@campervansmotorhomes.net  so, please keep an eye on our website, their website and Facebook for more information.

We have also established space in the https://availabletoday.com virtual showroom where you can also see all our videos as they go on live. This will mirror what stock we have available today; you can select the videos and read information about the actual vehicle and their details.

Our social media continues as described in our Facebook and YouTube channels displaying information about everything that is relevant and happening. 

You will also find us on Auto Trader and in the next issues of MMM, Practical Motorhome and Which Motorhome magazines.

Finally, as a business that has been operating since 1983, we’ve seen challenging times before; we are prepared for them and will survive them. Although the coronavirus pandemic is a unique situation calling for unique measures, we are confident that with the support of our customers, our friends at availabletoday.com and motorhomescampervans.net we can meet this challenge and eventually emerge stronger and wiser.

Please rest assured that our amazing team will soon be fulfilling dreams and solving problems for our wonderful customers again very soon.

Thank you all, please stay safe, keep healthy and look after each other.

Tim Lemon and the Derby Motorhomes team. 

If you managed to dodge the storms and flooding of the past few months, calmer days are just around the corner. It’s time to shift up a gear and get your motorhome back into serious work as the new season dawns.

So, what’s new on the horizon? Here are a few snippets.

Prices slashed at Derby Motorhomes

If you are looking to buy your first motorhome – or want to upgrade – we’re offering a great start to the season with some amazing price reductions on Auto-Sleepers!

The deals include £2,000 the ever-popular Burford and Burford Duo coachbuilt Auto-Sleepers, £1,500 off all of this year’s van conversion models, and massive savings on previous years’ Auto-Sleepers.

Cornish wellness retreats

If you own a motorhome, you already enjoy the outdoor life. How about combining that with a wellness retreat on Cornwall’s north coast, at Holywell Bay, near Newquay?

From the 5th until the 7th of June – and again from the 19th to the 21st of June – Trevornick Holiday Park is running wellness courses, with the price of your motorhome pitch included, writes Out and About Live.

The 5-star holiday park also boasts nature trails, a heated outdoor pool, jacuzzi and spa.

Land Rover Discovery conversion

Van conversions generally work very well – others somehow just don’t make it.

On the 1st of February, the UK’s Motor 1 magazine featured a Land Rover Discovery conversion that has been listed for sale in the United States – where else!

An interesting conversion it may be, but in terms of styling, design and general comfort, practically any other motorhome would knock the socks off it

Ladram Bay goes green

Ladram Bay Holiday Park, near Exeter in Devon is flying its green credentials as it plans to invest £300,000 on cutting edge solar energy systems in various buildings throughout its extensive grounds its grounds.

An infographic illustrates the many ways in which the park is aiming to recycle waste, avoid plastic packaging, install energy-efficient heating boilers, reduce paper usage by slimming down its brochure and relying more and more on the internet, and even investing in onsite electric vehicles to cut emissions.

Driving in Europe in 2021

Just when you thought you’d heard the last of Brexit, the BBC reminded us on the 20th of February that the UK is currently in a transition phase, during which very little will change in terms of driving your motorhome in Europe.

By the end of the year – and it might come around faster than you think – there might be a number of important changes. Preparing for them now might head off last-minute panic as you plan for next year’s holidays.

Depending on the detail of the UK’s final departure from the EU, from the 31st of December 2020, when driving in Europe you may need:

  • not only your UK driving licence but also an International Driving Permit (available from any Post Office for £5.50);
  • a “green card” showing proof of the level of insurance cover required in the European countries through which you are driving; and
  • a GB sticker on any UK-registered motorhome.

No need to panic just yet, but it may be worth keeping any changes in mind as you prepare for next year’s holidays and outings across the Channel.

 

Can’t wait to get behind the wheel of your motorhome to kick off the new season of adventures?

Here are some snippets of motorhome news that might help you along the way.

New carpark stopovers in Wales

Two Welsh towns on popular touring routes are to allow overnight stopovers for what the local council describes as “caravanettes” – motorhomes, in other words – according to UK Motorhomes.

The pay and display carparks are at Quay Street in Cardigan and New Promenade in Aberystwyth where overnight stopovers are being introduced this season on a trial basis. No other public carparks in the county currently allow such use.

Campervan refusals by DVLA

The DVLA has announced a massive increase in the number of refusals it has made of applications to reregister vehicles converted into campervans, reported Out and About Live on the 21st of January.

In just the first 11 months of 2019, the DVLA refused 9,488 such applications. This compares with 2,266 rejections in the whole of 2018 and just 622 in 2017.

The DVLA is unable to give any explanation for such a huge increase in rejections and insists that any vehicle meeting the required criteria would be passed. Nevertheless, some van converters protest that their vehicles met the necessary standards but still failed to gain registration by the DVLA.

Auto-Sleeper takes the laurels – again!

For the second year in a row, Auto-Sleeper walked away with the Best Motorhome Manufacturer award for 2020 at an annual dinner hosted by the Camping and Caravanning Club on the 17th of January.

Organised in collaboration with Practical Motorhome and Practical Caravan magazines, the awards made on the basis of owner satisfaction surveys which were run between April and October 2019.

Concerns about “smart” motorways

January saw considerable media speculation about the safety of so-called smart motorways – where the hard shoulder is effectively turned into an operational lane of the motorway and safety laybys can be as far a mile to a mile and a half apart.

Drivers of motorhomes are likely to have a particular interest – if not concern – about the debate since they are among the most frequent users of such slower lanes of traffic.

You might want to read the discussion on the subject published in Practical Motorhome magazine on the 30th of January.

Pet-friendly pubs

If you’ve braved the elements and continued outings in your motorhome this winter, you’re also likely to have taken along the family dog.

Since any bracing winter’s walk always ends best at the local pub, it can nevertheless cause frustration if the beloved pet has to be left in the vehicle – or even worse tethered outside.

For a dog-friendlier welcome, therefore, you might want to browse the top ten list of pubs suggested by the online pet food supplier Webbox.

Have motorhome will travel

If you thought you’ve spent the winter months hatching an adventurous trip in your motorhome, you might want to cast an envious eye on a family from Derbyshire who are doing just that.

Mum and Dad quit their jobs, sold the house, and together with their children aged eight and five, invested in a 23ft motorhome. They are already in northern Africa on the first leg of their worldwide travels, recounted the Mirror newspaper on the 11th of January.

The whole family enjoyed a relaxing Christmas on the road and everyone is enjoying meeting new friends from different cultures in amazing places, they told the newspaper.

Although the best of the season for outings may be coming to an end, motorhome news never sleeps – there is always something to whet the appetite for next Spring’s adventures.

Here are some of the key events and news we’ve gathered:

Motorhome and Caravan Show

If there’s one event in the year you simply cannot afford to miss, it’s the Motorhome and Caravan Show held at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC) from the 15th until the 20th of October.

It’s the place to go for an early preview of new motorhome launches for 2020 and, of course, for any advice you may need on buying your first motorhome or upgrading to your next one.

As the website Out and About Live also points out, you can even get help here in planning your next motorhome holiday – in this country or abroad.

Cannot make it?

If you cannot make it to the Motorhome and Caravan Show, there are two Caravan and Motorhome Shows at opposite ends of the country just around the corner in the New Year.

The first is held from the 16th to the 19th of January at Manchester’s EventCity, where you can view all the latest models, motorhome accessories and enjoy the day out test-driving your model of choice or even letting children as young as 3 to 10 get behind the wheel of a towing vehicle.

Just a week later, another Caravan and Motorhome Show opens from the 24th until the 26th of January at Westpoint Exeter.

Owner Satisfaction Survey 2020

It’s become one of the most important yardsticks for manufacturers and dealers – and a measure likely to feature prominently in any buyer’s decision – so Practical Motorhome’s Owner Satisfaction Survey has rightly earned its place in the market for sellers and buyers alike.

Visit Practical Motorhome’s website and complete the 10-minute survey to let the rest of the world know just how happy – or otherwise – you’ve been with the motorhome you own.

Pick a reputable dealer

It really does pay to pick a reputable and well-established dealer if you’re in the business of buying a new motorhome.

On the 8th of September 2019, the BBC relayed the misfortune of a young woman who had paid over £10,000 for a motorhome which simply failed to materialise when the company All Classics UK Ltd went into liquidation.

The Leicester-based company specialised in restoring campervans in South Africa and shipping them to hopeful buyers in different parts of the world. When it went bankrupt, it left owing many thousands of pounds to its customers.

Motorhome road tax increased by 705%

From 1st September 2019, the tax payable on first registration of a new motorhome with a WLTP Euro 6D/2 engine was increased from £265 up to £2,135. Due to legislative changes, WLTP Euro 6D/2 engines are no longer subject to a commercial vehicle tax band – Private/Light Goods (PLG/PHG) – when they are first registered.

Instead, they are, for the purposes of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), now taxed as a car. This reclassification means the registration tax for a new motorhome with a WLTP Euro 6D/2 engine has increased from £265 (PLG rate) up to £2,135 – a 705% increase – plus there is significant higher ongoing yearly tax costs for a further five years.

The UK motorhome industry is asking for an urgent minor amendment to the Finance Bill to reclassify motorhomes as commercial vehicles for VED. You can join the campaign and have your say here: http://fairmotorhometax.org/

Have you been enjoying your summer out and about in your motorhome? Weather-wise it’s had its ups and downs – depending on where you happen to have been, of course.

In all the excitement of outings in your motorhome, you might have fallen behind with some of the upcoming motorhome news and events. To refresh your mind and curiosity, here are some details of a new motorhome site opening and forthcoming shows …

A new site for your motorhome in Sherwood Forest

  • called Sherwood Pines, the extensive site covers some 20 acres and will offer around 150 pitches for motorhomes, caravans, other leisure vehicles, and tents on all-weather, fully serviced plots, with electric hook-ups;
  • it is intended to keep the site open throughout the year;

The South West Motorhome Show

  • time to get your skates on if you are planning to visit the major motorhome show for this year at the Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, from the 6th to the 8th of September;

The Motorhome Show Season Finale, Lincoln

  • the historic city of Lincoln is host to the Motorhome Show Season Finale, for one of your last chances to view the pick of 2019’s models, pick up some great bargains on motorhomes and accessories, or simply exchange tales with your fellow motorhome owners;
  • the event is held from the 20th to the 22nd of September and is expected to draw around 5,500 visitors a day;

South Coast Caravan and Motorhome Show, New Forest

  • incorporated into the New Forest Show from the 27th to the 29th of September, the South Coast Caravan and Motorhome Show lets you view some of the latest makes and models of motorhome while giving you the chance to meet and grill their manufacturers and dealers;

Malvern Caravan Show, Malvern

  • held from the 4th to the 6th of October, the Malvern Caravan Show is a must not only for owners and would-be owners of motorhomes but for anyone interested in holidays outdoors – not to mention the urge to enjoy a whole weekend of fun and entertainment;
  • the show is held at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern;

The Motorhome and Caravan Show, NEC, Birmingham

  • the jewel in the crown of motorhome shows in this as in any year is likely to be the Motorhome and Caravan Show held at the spacious National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham, from the 15th to the 20th of October;

Caravan and Motorhome Show, Manchester

  • with more than 200 exhibitors and a full range of the new year’s motorhome models to view up close and personal, the event is sure to attract its usual huge crowds.

So, enjoy the Indian summer that invariably wrings out the last golden days of outings in your motorhome this year while visiting the many shows and events heralding all that next year might bring.

We are all setup and ready to see you at Warners Stoneleigh Show on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week with a selection of new and used Auto-Sleepers.

Come and meet Tim, Richard, Mike and Dan