Camping Chat: April 2011

This article appeared in the April 2011 issue of the ‘Caravan and Outdoor Life’ magazine:

I always wanted to try camping with a motorhome, so was keen to hire one when we went to the UK in 2007.  It was the most economical way for four adults to see as much of the country as possible, combining our accommodation with our touring vehicle. I hired the motorhome on-line, did research about traveling and camping in the UK on-line, too, and we had a wonderful trip.

We toured for twenty days, covering five thousand kilometers, starting with ten days in London with friends, and then collecting the motorhome and heading for Stonehenge, Cornwall, Devon, Cheddar Gorge, Bath, Stratford-on-Avon, the Peaks District, the Lakes District, and on to the south of Scotland, from Gretna Green, through Glasgow, Stirling, and Edinburgh. From Edinburgh we traveled back toLondon, to fly back home.

My husband’s comment on driving a motorhome through the UK?  Never again!  The motorhome we chose to hire was the smallest one which would sleep four adults (us and our two daughters), but the company we hired from very generously up-graded it (for free) to a bigger motorhome.  The roads in England are a nightmare – narrow as spaghetti, and bordered by either a hedgerow or a stone wall or both!  Most roads date back thousands of years, when the carts using them were a whole lot narrower.  The bridges are often ancient and narrow, and the traffic in the UK has to be seen to be believed! Getting that bulky motorhome out of some very tight corners and through severe traffic jams, was a testimony to my husband’s skill as a driver, but he found it stressful.

Comfort-wise, the motorhome was ideal. The girls shared the bed over the cab, we had the double-bed at the back of  the van, the onboard shower worked as did the toilet (oh, the luxury of your own loo when traveling many hours!), and the kitchenette was perfect.  There was plenty of storage, and we were very comfortable. 

We found that as the summer days were so long, we traveled each day from about 9 a.m. until about 9 p.m.  Then a quick supper cooked in the kitchenette and to bed.  Food shopping in the UK is a pleasure – anything you can imagine is available, at a price, of course. 

I loved the motorhome way of camping – I can just imagine what an ideal country South Africa would be for touring this way, with our wide open roads.  And of course – it’s the perfect game-viewing vehicle!

Just one draw-back:  when you want to go to the shops, all your stuff has to go with you, and all you can do is hope no-one nicks your camp-site while you’re gone!

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10 responses to “Camping Chat: April 2011

  1. Wow – you saw so much! I can understand though about taking the motorhome either through crowded cities or small lanes. Must have been tough. I´ve seen people towing small electric cars!

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  2. There’s always the option of buying a little scooter for the shops?

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  3. we saw a lot of motorhomes in the UK and Europe – some people even tow their cars with them 🙂

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  4. Well done!
    We visited Bath in 2007, luckily not with a caravan.

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    • Bath was a nightmare with the motorhome – eventually we just left, couldn’t find a parking lot which would take the van! But then as we left we found the site of a Roman villa which was an awesome – and quiet! 🙂

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  5. have you been away camping lately. i have not heard from you in ages! or did my connection break for a bit! c

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