London on a Sunday.

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Once a month I have to be in London on a Sunday for a meeting. 

And there is something very attractive about London on a Sunday that I really like. Here in Waterloo Place it’s quieter, less people and you can get around so much more easily. It assumes in my opinion a completely different character and is all the better for that. 

I worked in central London for twenty years and loved it; but I was rarely here on a Sunday. I seem to now be putting that right.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

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WIGGO’S McLAREN SPORTHOME AT BCA

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BCA offers a unique opportunity for buyers later this month when Sir Bradley Wiggins’ Sporthome is offered for sale at BCA Blackbushe on 21 September.

 
The coachbuilt Sporthome by McLaren is based on a long-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 316 2.1 with manual transmission. It was commissioned by Sir Bradley in 2014 and while finished in white, has been vinyl wrapped in Team Wiggins colours of blue with chromed wing mirrors and bull bar and 8-spoke alloy wheels. It has covered 5,500 miles.
 
The Sporthome features bespoke red, white and blue leather seating with ‘Wiggo’ detail on the headrests. The custom GB-inspired interior includes a double bed, combined shower/toilet, integrated kitchen area with fridge, cooker and wash basin, overhead lockers and a storage area/repair bay for cycles. 
 
There is a seating area with two swivel seats and fold down table and five television screens (two with Sky). The driver’s area has two leather seats and a custom GB dashboard with integrated Kenwood satellite navigation and CD unit. The vehicle is fitted with privacy blinds throughout for overnight stays and there is air conditioning throughout.
 
The Sporthome has five doors, including a sliding side door and barn doors to access the storage and workshop area. It is fitted with two roof windows and a pull-out awning for camping and overnight stays. 
 
The Sporthome will be offered for sale at BCA Blackbushe on Thursday 21 September from 11.00 am. See the full catalogue listing and images online HERE

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

A delightful weekend in Liverpool.

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Faye and I have spent a delightful weekend in Liverpool.

Getting there was a nightmare because of the unexpected closure of the M6 at junctions 18 and 19 but being there was great. The Merseyside Maritime Museum is a must. We were there with Faye’s sister and brother in law; John spent a chunk of his career in the shipping industry and was based in Liverpool for a while so this was a major trip down memory lane for him. 

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Win tickets to the October Show at theNEC.

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Win tickets to the UK’s largest leisure vehicle event.

From 17 to 22 October, the Motorhome and Caravan Show 2017 at Birmingham’s NEC showcases all the new-for-2018 products from the motorhome and caravan industry. We have five pairs of tickets to give away for the biggest launch event of its kind featuring more than 700 motorhomes and caravans from major manufacturers including Adria, Auto-Sleepers, Bailey and Hymer. The show will also host a number of celebrity chefs such as Antonio Carluccio and Rustie Lee who will be giving cooking demonstrations from newly-launched leisure vehicles in the LIVE Theatre.

Launches at the show include the return of the iconic Airstream. Be inspired and explore the latest models from all major motorhome manufacturers and dealers under one roof and discover the perfect home-from-home for you.

For your chance to win tickets to the show (children 15 and under enter free), simply answer the following question:

Which iconic American brand relaunches back into the UK at this year’s show?

A – Airways

B – Airstream

C – Airmobile

Motorhomenews has five pairs of tickets to give away to the first five correct answers I receive. Please send me an email with your answer to the question and enclose your email address as well. Contact me on motorhomenews@gmx.com   Winners will be informed by me and will collect their tickets from the NEC on the day you travel to the show. See terms and conditions below.

(For more information or show tickets visit http://www.mcshow.co.uk or telephone 0844 873 7333)

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

 
Competition Terms and Conditions

 Tickets to be collected at the press office at the NEC, the press office is located outside Hall 18, suites 18.1 and 18.2. It is accessible from the NEC main atrium and from within the hall during the following hours.

 

Tuesday 17:​​08:00 – 18:00

Wednesday 18:​09:00 – 18:00

Thursday 19:​​09:00 – 18:00

Friday 20:​​09:00 – 18:00

Saturday 21:​​09:30 – 18:00

Sunday 22:​​09:30 – 13:00

 

Advance ticket prices £8.50 Senior (over 60s), £9.50 Adult when booking before 23:59hrs 16/10/17 after which time prices revert to the on-the-door price of £12.00 Senior and £13.00 Adult. A £1.25 transaction fee applies. Car parking is included in the ticket price. No dogs (except assistance dogs). Children 15 years and under go free when accompanied by a paying Adult/Senior. Tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for a monetary value. For full terms and conditions please visit http://www.mcshow.co.uk

 

PUBLICATION TO ENTER ALL OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR COMPETITION ENTRY. ALL TICKETS ENTRIES ARE TO BE MANAGED BY THE PUBLICATION OR WEBSITE (UNLESS FACILITY NOT AVAILABLE)

 

An oasis in London SE2 that is Abbey Wood.

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Abbey Wood Caravan and Motorhome Club site to the east of London and within the M25 (and in the London Low Emission Zone so I felt very superior in my new Euro6 motorhome!) is a delight. The site is so rural and quiet and only 800m from the train station – soon to be Crossrail – and a mere 270m from the bus stop that you have to pinch yourself to remember you’re in London. 

Open All Year, 108 pitches (mostly hard standing) and 60 tent pitches it is unsurprisingly very popular and has an international visitor clientele much like Durham Grange and Edinburgh.

By way of a change I went home via the Woolwich Free Ferry and skirted Beckton and the London City Airport. This is home territory for me and just occasionally I can do without the M25 and the Dartford Crossing. The truth is I have an aversion to going home the way I came so must always have a Plan B. Faye gives me a patient, knowing look to humour me. Similarly I am not entirely certain she is convinced by the addition of a forward facing camera on the motorhome. I claim it is a sensible defensive measure but Faye thinks it may possibly be more to do with my love of gadgets and technology.

Either way, Abbey Wood is a joy and is looking loved and cared for.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

The Dusseldorf Show. Simply the Best.

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Time spent at the Dusseldorf show is time well spent I reckon.

Many new products were launched – but this concept e.home from Dethleff caught my eye. Covered in photovoltaic cells (solar panels to you and I) it also had its own dedicated Alexa which arpart from her other well known capabilities controlled all the main functions. Even changing a frosted glass door panel into a full length mirror….

“All in Caravanning 2018” is an industry wide initiative to attract a new audience – much like the Discover initiative we have in the UK.

Three or four thousand motorhomes and caravans pitch up in the grounds and it is a thoroughly social occasion with beer tents, food stalls and live music and good facilities for those who prefer them. The exhibition area with its giant halls is under the Dusseldorf airport main flight path so you wouldn’t book here for a few quiet days away from it all. I know that nearly all followers of this blog themselves travel extensively and see different standards of pitching and site administration in their travels. This is a slick and fast pitching operation which it needs to be but cautious spacing is not on the agenda. 


Some general observations which might be of interest:

1. The number of van conversions on view has reached bewildering levels. 

2. The show has a large number of bespoke vast military pedigree four wheel drive motorhomes which are far removed from the very welcome appearance of the new Fiat Ducato four wheel drive variant. Also, the show features F1 style motorhomes many of which keep a top of the range BMW Mini is the garage.

3. I noticed that more and more manufacturers this year were adopting the marketing policy of separate stands for separate product groups. So van conversions would be in one place and motorhomes in another completely different part of the show in order that potential customers can easily focus on what they want. It is not new thinking – just more of it.

4. On motorhomes, minimalist white interiors are the order of the day. Out with the wood effect….

5. One of my grandchildren thinks it incredibly cool that there is a Dexter van conversion – obviously named after him he feels!!
WIDER DUSSELDORF COVERAGE.

For much fuller video coverage by the talented journalist Andrew J Ditton do click HERE or enter this next link if clicking freaks out your computer. 

https://youtu.be/KWFfXj7sxuk  

Andrew is producing a series of video blogs from Dusseldorf of which this is the first; his manager Dougal puts in the occasional appearance much like Alfred Hitchcock did in his films. 

It truly is an enormous and stunningly informative show. Last time I went I hooked it up to a few days holiday in Germany which is a good use of time but this time it had to be a there and back affair. None the worse for that.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Wyatts Covert in Denham does it for me.

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Simples really. Open all year. Fifty hardstanding pitches. An oasis north west of London and within the M25. Immaculately maintained by wardens Marie and Paul. Bus actually comes into the site for local travel. Small private airfield adjacent if you like something to watch.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Take the kids to the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu.

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Source: http://www.theguardian.com

Written by Kari Herbert

In a nutshell

The grand family home of the motoring-mad Montagu family in the New Forest and the site of one of the finest collections of cars, motorbikes and motoring memorabilia in the world. There are more than 250 vehicles on display, from early motor carriages and 1920s “gangster” cars to legendary land-speed record breakers and motoring marvels, such as a giant orange on wheels. There’s also a full-size caravan made from Lego and familiar TV show cars, too, such as Del Boy’s Reliant Regal from Only Fools and Horses and Wallace and Gromit’s Anti-Pesto van.

There are costumes to try on, cars to climb into, knobs to turn and buttons to press and a new interactive crash-test-dummy challenge. Jack Tucker’s garage recreates the sounds and smells of the 1930s and in the “World of Top Gear” there’s all sorts of crazy contraptions created for the TV show.

Fun fact

Beaulieu was a top secret base for special agents during the second world war. More than 3,000 spies were trained here before undertaking daring missions behind enemy lines.

Best thing(s) about it.

The monorail at the museum. We loved riding the monorail high above the gardens of the abbey and, ingeniously, through the roof of the motor museum itself. But getting up close to the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was our daughter’s favourite.
The abbey and the gardens are stunning, and have a brilliant new Alice in Wonderland topiary display. There are fascinating exhibits for budding spies in the Secret Army exhibition and in Palace House costumed guides make you feel as though you are guests of the family – you may even see the cook rustling up a favourite family dish in the newly-restored Victorian kitchen.
What about lunch?

There’s a covered picnic area and benches beside the children’s Dipstick playground. Alternatively, the Brabazon Cafe serves good food using produce from the estate gardens: a kid’s picnic or hot meal, such as jacket potato or fish and chips, costs £4.75; a kids’ hot chocolate with smarties costs £1.75; adult meals, such as large salads from the deli, start at £7.50 (soup £4.60) and a cream tea is £2.50.
Exit through the gift shop?

Yes, with a huge selection of model cars, books and motor-themed gifts, as well as homeware, clothing and toys. A radio-controlled Ferrari costs £39.99 while pocket-money-priced toys, such as pencils and rubber balls start at £1.
Getting there

Travel by train, ferry or bus for all or part of your journey to Beaulieu and you get 20% off standard admission. Take the train from London Waterloo to Brockenhurst, or the Hythe Ferry across Southampton Water to Hythe. The New Forest Tour’s green route links Beaulieu with Hythe Ferry, Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst and Lymington. By car, take junction 2 off the M27 and follow signs to Beaulieu.
Value for money?

It’s pricey, but you could easily spend a full day here. Advance tickets cost £19.50 adult and £9.50 child, for entrance to The National Motor Museum, World of Top Gear, Palace House and gardens, Beaulieu Abbey, the Secret Army Exhibition and unlimited rides on the monorail and veteran bus. Under 5s are free.

Opening hours.

Open daily 10am-6pm (27 May-24 September) and 10am-5pm (25 September onwards, closed Christmas Day).

Verdict

8/10, well put together and a great family day out.

CLICK FOR THE WEBSITE

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews