Interest in camper vans surges says the Daily Mail’s Ray Massey.

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SOURCE: thisismoney.co.uk and Ray Massey of the Daily Mail.

Boris Johnson this week urged the nation to enjoy a ‘staycation’ in Britain, as part of the Government’s plans to ease the lockdown in England from next weekend. 

With campsites and hotels able to reopen from July 4, there has already been a surge in interest in campervans that provide flexible, mobile and self-contained accommodation. 

Manufacturers say they are getting calls from both stir-crazy couples and families wanting to explore the country safely and avoid the hassle of travelling overseas and quarantine on return. 

Campervans are ideal for creating self-contained hotels-on-wheels — ‘bubbles’ with beds, fridges, cookers, kitchen and often a shower on board. 

And there’s a good choice on the market to buy or rent. 

Volkswagen is a leading player with its recently launched, and refreshed, California 6.1. It costs from £55,339 in Coast trim, up to £69,889 for Ocean. Based on the Transporter van, the 2.5-ton 2m-tall model sleeps four and has a raised roof. It comes with a table, cupboards, double gas hob, kitchen sink, a side awning and a sleeping space. 

Powered by a 2-litre 148 hp diesel, with seven- speed automatic gearbox, it averages 33.6 mpg with CO2 emissions of 221g/km. 

The larger Grand California, from £72,745 to £82,258, based on the Crafter van, sleeps two or four, and has a wet room with a toilet and showerIn March and April, online requests for quotes went up 250 per cent for the California. Nearly 1,500 were sold in Britain last year. They are factory built — not conversions — and can be serviced at VW’s 97 UK van centres and authorised repairers. 

To be truly authentic, a secondhand hippy-trail VW ‘bus’ will cost from around £10,000 to £40,000. 

Other new options include: the Mercedes-Benz V Class Marco Polo, from £37,980 to £69,800 and the oddly-named Ford Transit Custom Nugget, from £59,608 to £63,334. 

Horsham-based converter Sussex Campervans turns a Renault Trafic or Nissan NV300 into its Manhattan and Paradise ranges, from £41,995 to £51,995. 

If ‘glamping’ is more your style, then bespoke luxury motor home firm GlamperRV.co.uk offers an office-hotel on wheels, from £75,000 plus VAT.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

CAMC England sites to re-open.

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Most of the CAMC sites in England look set to re-open on July 4th barring unforeseen changes in direction by the government.

I have to say this is really good news of course for the Club and its members and particularly good news for me as I was showing the early signs of going stir crazy in this lockdown. I am well aware there are many people far worse off than I am and I feel for them. But it was all getting a bit difficult for me – possibly because the motorhome sits on the drive glowering at me!

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Jittery holidaymakers are reassured.

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  • 68% of people surveyed expressed uncertainty about travel changes after Jan 31 
  • 24% have consciously delayed 2020 holiday decisions
  • 46% of respondents expressed desire for more reassurance on travel requirements

(24 January 2020) With Brexit just one week away, new research for the ferry sector has revealed mass confusion among potential travellers. Industry body Discover Ferries, is seeking to clarify and reassure holiday makers that there will be no change in requirements for people wanting to travel via ferry between the UK and the EU post January 31. This will be the situation for at least the rest of 2020, during the transition period, now the UK government has passed the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

The research* indicates widespread confusion about travel to EU countries and even ferry travel within the British Isles. Of 2,000 survey respondents, 68% admitted they were not sure what changes will apply for travel to EU countries from February 1, 30% said they thought they would need a visa to enter any EU country and almost a fifth (19%) thought they would need a passport to travel to Jersey and Guernsey, which are part of the British Isles. Neither of which is true.

There was similar uncertainty over pet travel. Over a quarter of respondents (27%) said they will need to take extra steps to take their pets abroad, while 44% fear that their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid, which is also untrue

The effect on consumer confidence was also clear in the results. Almost a quarter (24%) of people have been consciously delaying their 2020 holiday plans until after January 31 this year. Almost half (46%), expressed their desire for more reassurance. 

“It is clear that there is a lot of confusion around travel to EU countries this year, resulting in many people delaying their holiday plans,” said Emma Batchelor, director of Discover Ferries. “I would therefore like to reassure anyone looking to travel by ferry this year that there are no changes; all valid passports, EHIC cards and pet passports will still be authorised for travel to the EU and there will not be any new requirement for visas to Europe or passports to travel to the British Isles. 

“I also encourage the government and the wider travel sector to support the message that nothing changes this year, and that people should book their 2020 summer holiday with confidence,” added Mrs Batchelor. 

For further information on travel requirements, visit www.discoverferries.com/FAQs.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Fife Council should be less hostile.

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Sir, – Every year a huge wealth migration in the form of European and southern Englander’s campervans takes place up to, and back from, Scotland.

These visitors are for the most part multilingual, cultured, responsible and wealthy people and are among our best customers, vital to our own survival as a Pottery Cooperative and to the likes of the Pittenweem Arts Festival and other venues.

In the rest of Europe, tourist towns and areas provide a mostly free campervan service for overnight stays; they are recognised as being an important tourist adjunct.

Crail Pottery was founded in 1965, and until 2015 campervans freely used the Marketgate for overnight stays; a summer average of five or so vans a night, with their average spend of £100 or so each, vital to the co-operative.

In the old days, jobs for young people were important. However, probably a majority of the area’s new demographic includes non-local retirees, working commuters and second homeowners who now, quite frankly, find tourism a nuisance.

Hence the community councils persuading Fife Council to erect signs originally forbidding any campervan parking in Marketgate during the day and at night, now modified to forbidding overnight stays.

So the campervans moved to the likes of Kingsbarns beach, where I go often, and now they cause very little trouble and present little danger.

My family is probably one of the biggest employers in both Crail and Anstruther. Do jobs for our young people no longer count? Why is Fife Council so hostile to campervans, resulting in them travelling to routes like the North Coast 500?

Have they never thought how many millions would be brought into Kirkcaldy High Street, Leven High Street, Burntisland and so on, by providing free campervan service areas on the sea fronts? Especially for Kirkcaldy with its rail connection with Edinburgh.

The simple facilities campervans need is an area of land, a tap, litter bins and a wastewater disposable point.

I therefore urge Fife Council to erect notices welcoming campervans to Fife as they now do in the border towns, to remove the hostile signs in Crail and provide the facilities these pleasant people require.

I served on Crail Community Council for many years, in those days tourists were cherished and jobs for our young people were paramount.

As a walker and lover of Fife countryside I visit these local ‘problem sites’ frequently and never find a problem.

The season is very short. If we could get campervans to visit in the winter, it would benefit the community greatly and mean more jobs for our young people.

We must provide our campervan visitors with what they rightly expect from a civilised European country.

Stephen Grieve.

Crail,

Fife.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

 

Third-Generation Bailey Autograph range launched.

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The third-generation Bailey Autograph motorhomes were launched this week.

Available in eight layouts including new fixed bed and fixed island bed variants, and with and without dedicated rear travel seats. They represent what you might call “the real deal” with a Peugeot drive train, AL-KO chassis, Alde heating and a policy of no hidden extras so a dedicated motorhome owner can be assured that the level of luxury will meet or exceed expectations.

The full eight-model range – which I have to say look pretty attractive to me – will be on show in Hall 19 at this year’s NEC Show October 15th to 20th.

It is interesting how time plays tricks with our memories. Back in 2011 when Bailey announced its first motorhomes it seemed a very big deal indeed – a brave move perhaps – and certainly a strong signal that the caravan-only company was prepared to innovate, change and move with the market. During the last eight years the company has continued to dominate the caravan market – so no loss of focus there – and has become a serious and successful motorhome manufacturer fighting its way with the Hymers, Rapidos and a string of other UK and continental European manufacturers. We all know that companies often struggle with change; they either don’t change or don’t do it very well and are burdened by their history.

Not so Bailey I would suggest.

The launch was held at the delightful Stanton House Hotel near Swindon and whilst obviously the launch was the all important part, I had a bit of a trip down memory lane. The original manor house was renovated and hugely improved to meet the demands of Japanese guests from the nearby Honda car factory and their suppliers. I was a fairly frequent visitor there because of my automotive background and although the hotel has for many years embraced all visitors with or without a Honda connection, the signs are bilingual, the website is in English and Japanese and the restaurant has an exceptional Japanese influence as well as catering of course for European tastes.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Norfolk Broads CAMC site does it for me!

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Located on the broads near Wroxham and not far from Great Yarmouth this is a gorgeous site and definitely a holiday destination. The Dog Inn is two hundred yards one way and the broads and a shipyard are two hundred yards the other way. Stacks to do – or just chill out.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Brighton CAMC

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As we all know, Brighton is a great town to visit with loads to do and inundated with good restaurants and pubs. The open all year 155 pitch Brighton site is outstanding and so easy to get into Brighton from it. Unsurprisingly this Caravan and Motorhome Club site is kept immaculately and gets a five star rating from the members. Top that off with sunny weather……..

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews