Keen campers launch motorhome hire company as staycation bookings surge

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A passion for camping led one entrepreneurial couple from Leicestershire to invest in a new motorhome for hire business, Hey Campers – after the COVID-pandemic accelerated their modest plans.

 

Trudi and Adam Lilley have enjoyed outdoor adventuring together for the past 11 years and for five of them, have been motor-homing. After investing in their own home on wheels and choosing to let that out when it wasn’t being used by them, they saw an opportunity to take their stock of one vehicle to six – and are now looking to order more for the booming summer season.

 

Now, the duo, who have run an accountancy consultancy together for the past seven years, have taken on new premises for Hey Campers, in Coalville. With the aim of opening their depot as a show home when COVID-restrictions ease, it’s currently home to Tillie, Beni, Lexie, Lillie, Minnie and, Tessie – its six motorhomes who, as the names suggest, are already very much part of the family.

 

Hey Campers co-founder Trudi, said: “There’s so much uncertainty around holidaying and travel restrictions at the moment, but understandably, people are desperate for something to look forward to.

 

“We’ve already seen booking for half of our summer availability this year and feedback from campsites is that they’ve seen a rise in enquiries too. If holidaymakers can’t go abroad, then the chance to take to the open road and discover something new in the UK is a popular alternative, especially as motorhomes provide self-contained living with onboard bathrooms and kitchens.”

 

While the doors to the show home remain firmly closed for now, anyone interested in booking can take a virtual tour of their chosen motorhome and is well looked after by Hey Campers’ general manager and concierge, Samantha McCaffrey. Joining Hey Campers in early 2021, Samantha worked at Avis in Leicester before her role was made redundant due to forced closure of the depot because of COVID-19.

 

With extensive experience in vehicle hire and procedural management, Samantha’s passion for the role and her personal interest in the great outdoors, makes her the ideal fit for the brand. Joining as a marketing intern is also local graphic designer, Molly Jarvis. The Sheffield University student from Market Bosworth is responsible for managing Hey Campers’ social media and design. 

 

Trudi concluded: “With Hey Campers we’ve added lots of personal touches and special extras, to make sure trips in one of our motorhomes, will be truly memorable.  These include luxury bed linen, made to order food hampers, 5G enabled WIFI fitted as standard and premium sports and movie channels.

 

“Our ambition is to also explore ‘money can’t buy’ experience stays and to get the message across to all our customers that with a Hey Campers hire they can have holidays they’ll remember for a lifetime.  Just last year, Adam and I were sitting in our motorhome Tillie in Jersey overlooking the beautiful St Ouen’s bay. As I watched the waves crashing over the rocks, Adam made us a Sunday lunch with roast lamb and all the trimmings. We sat down in this perfect location to enjoy our meal and I remember thinking, what more could you want? That’s what I want for all our holidaymakers.”

Hey Campers!

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

 

This could be the first time….

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I guess like many motorhomers and caravaners I have been booking sites ahead in the hope that one day, one of them will become a real booking and off I go! No harm in dreaming.

Anyway, things are getting close and at the end of April we have a pitch booked at the exquisite CAMC Trewethett Farm site near Tintagel. The May Bank Holiday will be a few days later on May 3rd and might I get lucky and be able to get to Trewethett at the end of April?

Fingers crossed.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Lockdown German Style

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I am grateful to Audrey and Michael of MandA Tours for this piece about a new trend sweeping through the locked down motorhome community in Germany. Please be very clear this is a story about the lockdown in Germany and must not be interpreted as being suitable for any other country. We all know we all have our own lockdown rules here in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and I would hate anyone to misunderstand this news story from Germany, about Germany. It is a sad fact that a tiny minority of motorhome owners and users have featured in some flagrant rule breaches here in the UK and it is essential we all follow the rules carefully. Christopher.

Motorhome Dinner German Lockdown Style

Since we sent out the last newsletter not a lot has happened. Most countries are again in some kind of lockdown due to the situation with the Covid-19 Virus and there are new travel restrictions which make motorhome travel pretty much impossible at the moment.

Although in Germany we are also in lockdown and all shops, restaurants etc are closed and travel for tourist reasons is not permitted, a new trend for motorhomes has emerged – the “Motorhome Dinner”. We do not know if this is also offered elsewhere, but in Germany it works like this. As restaurants now are only able to offer a take-away service, some clever person came up with the idea that people could come in their motorhomes and the restaurant could deliver a meal directly to their door. Obviously, social distancing must be adhered to and masks are worn when in contact with staff but otherwise the only condition is that the restaurant has their own car park big enough for motorhomes. 

To use this service, you must first call the restaurant and make a reservation. Some venues offer a set menu, or you can eat a la carte. When you arrive at the restaurant you park your motorhome and ring to tell them that you have arrived. You order your food and drinks, and they bring it directly to your motorhome. If you are now thinking your meal will arrive in a polystyrene box with plastic glasses, you are mistaken. Your dinner comes on china plates and your drinks served as if you were sitting in the actual restaurant. Some restaurants even offer to lay your table, while you wait outside. You can then light candles, turn on your favourite music, and enjoy a great meal safely in your own motorhome. The only negative is that you must leave the carpark and drive home after the dinner, as overnight stays are currently not allowed, so someone has to be the designated driver!

We are really looking forward to being able to get out in the motorhome again this year, as probably you are too. With vaccinations having begun there is at least a light at the end of the tunnel. We missed the company of our customers in 2020 and hope that in 2021 things will get back to some sort of normality and that we can travel with you again. Until then, we must all be patient! 

If you are interested in a specific tour for 2021 and would like more information, visit our website.

For an overview of all the dates and prices download the PDF: Touring Season 2021, Overview Tour Dates and Prices on the main page of our website.

If you have any questions, or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us by e-mail, or just give us a call! 

Stay safe.

Audrey & Michael 

Winter really has arrived.

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A brief overnight stay at Cambridge CAMC was accompanied by a snowfall overnight. All a bit of a surprise but, after all, it is December.

Why are we British always taken aback by the tiniest amount of snow with inevitable traffic disruption?

I used to live in Canada and we kind of just got on with it!

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

2021 OUTDOOR SHOW DATES

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The dates for the outdoor-only Warners Shows motorhome, campervan and caravan shows have been announced for 2021.

The tickets for all these events go on sale at 9am today (18 November) and subscribers can save £5 when booking in advance. Subscribers can also turn up on the day as day visitors and receive a £3 discount off the non-booked price (this applies to all shows except the new Scottish show). If you plan to rally with a club, there is a further £2 saving available.

There are some significant changes to next year’s show season, including the addition of the all-new Scottish Motorhome & Campervan Show in Edinburgh and, for the first time, there will be electric pitches available at the shows in Lincoln and Peterborough.

In addition, the events organiser, Warners Shows, has introduced a booking guarantee, which means that any show has to be cancelled, a full refund will be provided. Of course, as with this year’s shows, all the 2021 events will be compliant with any coronavirus restrictions in force and Warners Shows confirmed it is working closely with the relevant local councils to offer covid-compliant entertainment.

The New & Used Motorhome & Campervan Sale 

26-28 February 2021

East of England Arena, Peterborough

After the great launch of this new event in 2020, this free day visitor-only show in Peterborough will offer a range of both new and used motorhomes and campervans for sale, many with show-only discounts, for buyers to purchase before the season starts.

It will be one of the largest pop-up multi-dealer showrooms in the UK, with local and national dealers showcasing hundreds of new and used vehicles with show exclusive offers.

Tickets: Day visitor only. Free – register online for tickets in December 2020.

The Yorkshire Motorhome & Campervan Show 

19-21 March 2021

Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate 

There will be hundreds of new and used motorhomes and campervans for sale in an extensive outdoor and indoor exhibition area. There is also a series of seminars planned, details will be announced soon. There will also be industry experts on the stands.

There will also be thousands of outdoor leisure accessories on display from over 120 exhibitors.

Tickets: Day visitor only. Pre-booked £5, non-booked £8.

The National Motorhome & Campervan Show 

16-18 April 2021

East of England Arena, Peterborough 

This show is still the largest and longest-running outdoor motorhome and campervan show in the UK. And 2021 will be no different, with four nights of live entertainment including a headline performance from rock ‘n’ roll superstar, Suzi Quatro, and 70’s glam rockers, The Sweet.

There will be the largest selection of new and used motorhomes for sale from a huge range of dealers, making the show the perfect place to compare a large range of models and layouts. In addition, there will be a variety of exhibitors selling a wide range of accessories from must-have camping essentials, outdoor clothing, electric bikes, electricals, awnings, gadgets and more.

Tickets: Camping pre-booked Thursday to Monday £60 (with EHU £95) or Friday to Monday £57 (with EHU) £92. Day visitor tickets: pre-booked £6, non-booked £9. 

The Southern Motorhome & Campervan Show 

14-16 May 2021

Newbury Showground, Newbury 

Calling all sixties lovers – this show in Newbury is for you with four nights’ camping with 60s-themed live entertainment. Headlining the weekend at the ticketed Saturday night show will be The Trems, Dave Berry & The Cruisers and Spencer James from The Searchers.

Along with the music, there will a large exhibition area with local and national dealers showcasing over new and used motorhomes and campervans for sale and thousands of accessories from 200 exhibitors.

Tickets: Camping pre-booked Thursday to Monday £60 or Friday to Monday £57. Day visitor tickets: pre-booked £5, non-booked £8.

The Midsummer Motorhome & Campervan Show

25-27 June 2021

Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth 

Fast becoming one of the top shows of the year, join thousands of retro-lovers for a weekend of jive, dance and rockabilly! There will be daily free dance classes, followed by a free hair and makeup tuition from Boston Jive and 12 rock ‘n’ roll and jive bands (all included in the pitch fee). There will also be 50s-themed entertainment as well as an exhibition area with motorhomes and campervans for sale and a large range of accessories.

Tickets: Camping pre-booked Thursday to Monday £70 or Friday to Monday £67. Day visitor tickets: pre-booked £5 (for two adults), non-booked: £5 (per adult).

The Scottish Motorhome & Campervan Show

23-25 July 2021

Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh 

New for 2021, this Scottish show will bring together the largest dealers in Scotland and the north of England to showcase the largest collection of new and used motorhomes and campervans Scotland has seen all in one place.

Rally on-site (just a short tram ride from the city centre) for four nights free entertainment, plus a headline ticketed Saturday night performance from The Bag Rockers, Rod n Faces and Shang a Lang.

Why not tie visiting the show around a larger trip or as a stop-off on the way up to do the famous ‘North Coast 500’, a 516-mile scenic route along Scotland’s Northern Coast that begins and ends in the city of Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands.

Tickets: Camping pre-booked Thursday to Monday £60 or Friday to Monday £57. Day visitor tickets: pre-booked £5, non-booked £5 (parking an additional £5).

The Norfolk Motorhome & Campervan Show

6-8 August 2021

Norfolk Showground, Norwich

Famous for the beautiful Broads – over 125 miles of navigable lock-free waterways and set in beautiful countryside – the Norfolk show is perfectly placed for those looking for a great weekend away followed by a few days exploring the county.

With four nights of campers’ favourite entertainment, including – back by popular demand – Elvis Through the Years and The Kommitments. Looking for a new motorhome or campervan? Browse new & used vehicles on-site from local & National dealers.

Tickets: Camping pre-booked Thursday to Monday £60 (with EHU £95) or Friday to Monday £57 (with EHU £92). Day visitor tickets: pre-booked £5, non-booked £8.

The Western Motorhome & Campervan Show

20-22 August 2021

Three Counties Showground, Malvern

Renowned as one of the most popular country and western festivals in the UK, this will be the stand-out weekend in any country and western lover’s calendar! Known for its exciting atmosphere, join over 6,000 people camping against the backdrop of the beautiful Malvern Hills.

Not only will there be over 20 great country and western bands taking to the stage over the weekend, there will be the chance to watch authentic living history displays from the Lonestar Old West Re-enactment Group.

On top of all this, there will be one of the biggest displays of vehicles in the whole of the UK! Local & national dealers will be bringing a wide variety of brands in a range of styles and layouts.

Tickets: Camping pre-booked Thursday to Monday £70 or Friday to Monday £67. Day visitor tickets: pre-booked £6, non-booked £9.

The South West Motorhome & Campervan Show

11-12 September 2021

Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet 

Head to Somerset for this motorhome and campervan show and rally for the weekend with four nights of rock-themed entertainment, including a headline performance from Slade.

Not only will the nights be filled with exciting rock-themed entertainment, but the days will be packed in the exhibition area where there will be the biggest variety of motorhomes and campervans for sale in the South West from local & National dealers, as well as 120 exhibitors with thousands of accessories on offer. You can also attend free expert seminars from key industry speakers.

Tickets: Camping pre-booked Thursday to Monday £60 or Friday to Monday £57. Day visitor tickets: pre-booked £5, non-booked £8.

The Motorhome & Campervan Show Season Finale 

24-26 September 2021

Lincolnshire Showground, Lincoln 

Situated near the historic city of Lincoln, many refer to this show as ‘the big end-of-season rally’ and meet up with friends they’ve met over the year for one last weekend of fun before the winter. With one of the largest exhibition areas all year, visitors will discover over 500 new and used models to choose from. It is the ideal place to take advantage of the end-of-season clearance deals as well as take a first look at new 2022 models.

Known for its best of British-themed entertainment, this year’s show will see the return of much-loved Cornish comedian, Jethro, headlining Saturday night’s show, supported by Mud II and The Moondogs.

Tickets: Camping pre-booked Thursday to Monday £60 or Friday to Monday £57. Day visitor tickets: pre-booked £6, non-booked £9.

The Malvern Caravan Show

1-3 October

Three Counties Showground, Malvern 

The Three Counties Showground presents a great value autumn break below the stunning Malvern Hills. Stay on site and enjoy a weekend away with four nights of live entertainment or visit for the day and browse a selection of new and used caravans, motorhomes and campervans for sale from National and local dealers. There will also be some daytime entertainment including a charity coffee morning, bingo and the ever-popular fun dog show.

Tickets: Camping pre-booked Thursday to Monday £40 or Friday to Monday £37. Day visitor tickets: pre-booked £5, non-booked £8.

 

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

CAMC National 2021

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The Director General of the Caravan and Motorhome Club,  Nick Lomas, has today announced that The National 2021 is cancelled.

The logistics of organising such a huge event are significant and the risk of forced cancellation – possibly at short notice – because of Covid-19 are simply too great.

Sad but understandable.

Bearing in mind that I witnessed last month the Southampton Boat Show being cancelled at 4pm the day before it was opening I am pretty sensitive to the cancellation risk. Equally I and many members will sorely miss this annual gathering.

Christopher Macgowan
@motorhomenews

The Adria range at Brownhills, Newark.

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Adria is showing 2020 and 2021 models through a series of dealer events and I popped in to Brownhills Newark to take a look. With sales of new and used motorhomes running at extremely healthy levels I wasn’t too sure how many models would be on display but in the event it was a very healthy line-up.

The new generation Coral and Matrix models were on show and, like so many manufacturers, it is obvious that van conversions are becoming increasingly popular and the layouts are evolving with increasing sophistication. In my personal view, they are popular for a number of reasons but drivability is a key one where both partners in a relationship feel equally comfortable doing the driving. The Fiat Ducati with an automatic transmission is hugely popular in this sector.

A good example is the new for 2021 Twin Supreme 640SPB Family with an “any licence” 3500kg maximum authorised weight, a great layout and a transverse bed. It could be one of their star performers for 2021.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

RAC’s new preparation standard means motorhomes can be sold by Approved Dealers for the first time

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A new 78 step preparation standard designed to provide a high level of consumer reassurance has been introduced to allow used motorhomes to be sold by RAC Approved Dealers for the first time.

The document has been created by the RAC working in conjunction with Assurant, its partner in the aftersales sector, and East Sussex-based dealer AMC Motor Caravans, who have become the first retailer to hold the accreditation.

Sean Kent, RAC director of sales at Assurant, said: “The used motorhome sector has been booming in recent years and we have been receiving more and more requests from dealers who wanted to include them in the RAC Approved Dealer programme. This is especially the case as caution around international travel remains, creating  a potential trend towards an increasing number of UK holidays.

“The preparation standard, which has been designed by experts in this market, is extremely detailed and designed to cover the many different key points that are specific to this type of vehicle. We are confident that it will play an important part in helping dealers retail high quality, used motorhomes that will meet the needs of a large number of discerning buyers in this market.”

Geoff Takashi, sales manager at AMC Motor Caravans, said: “For a long time, buying a motorhome was very much the preserve of older people, perhaps something that happened as they approached retirement, but we’ve seen quite a shift in recent years. There’s been a whole new sector opening up of customers in their 40s and younger.

“For these buyers, a used motorhome represents a significant financial outlay, probably between £25,000-£40,000, and the presence of the RAC Approved Dealer programme within our showroom and online makes a significant difference to how we are perceived. Buyers know that the RAC would only put its name to an initiative – and to a dealer – that meets the highest standards. It is a genuine advantage for our business.”

There are now 1,500 existing members of the RAC Approved Dealer programmes selling cars and vans. Their proposition is based around preparation standards specifically designed for different vehicle types, a minimum three-month RAC warranty, 12 months of breakdown cover, a vehicle data check and enrolment to RAC Accident Care.  

Sean added: “The Approved Dealer programme has been performing very well in the post-lockdown used vehicle market. Buyers are looking for peace of mind and post-purchase support, and that is very much what the proposition was created to deliver.”

SOURCE: RAC Press release.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

The Peterborough Show.

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Congratulations to Warners MMM staging the show under difficult Covid-19 conditions.

I popped in to the Peterborough East of England Showground to see the Warners Show. There was a comprehensive range of new and used motorhomes on show via the many dealers exhibiting. Plus all the usual accessory stores – so much on display it would be hard to leave the show without making a few purchases.

The show was of course Covid compliant with lots of one way systems but being an outside show visitors were able to roam pretty much at will. There was a sanitiser outside each motorhome, only two people were allowed in the motorhome at any one time and your mask had to be used inside. So all good common sense stuff implemented very professionally by Warners events team and, mostly, visitors were complying with the rules. In fact everyone seemed delighted to have a show to go to although it does amuse me there is a certain section of society who seem congenitally unable to follow arrows!

So, in my opinion, 10 out of 10 to Warners for organising it and sticking with it. Sadly no evening entertainment so less of an all embracing event but the on-site temporary campsite was in action nonetheless.

Ferry Meadows CAMC

For my part I wanted to stay at the CAMC Ferry Meadows site about half a mile from the show ground. It is one of my favourites located next to a 500 acre country park, next to the Nene Valley railway and a ten minute stroll from a pub.Happiness? I think so.

Oh, and as all readers know, it hit 34 degrees C on Friday!

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews