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!
Audrey & Michael
Two of the most exclusive Rolls-Royces of modern times have joined new display The Luxury of Motoring at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu with a Wraith built in tribute to Beatles record producer Sir George Martin and a brand new Dawn Black Badge.
The 2017 Rolls-Royce Wraith is a one-off tribute to the legendary Sir George Martin, known as ‘the fifth Beatle’. Commissioned by Sir George’s son, songwriter and producer Giles Martin, the beautifully hand-crafted Wraith is packed with details that pay homage to this giant of the music world.
The titles of Sir George’s 30 number-one hit singles are embroidered into the upholstery between the rear seats, with his signature stitched on each head-rest. Other details include Sir George’s name engraved into the base of the Spirit of Ectsasy mascot. Joining the display courtesy of Rodger Dudding classic vehicle collection at Studio 434, this unique Rolls-Royce is one of nine Wraiths ‘Inspired by British Music’, built to celebrate some of Britain’s most remarkable musical artists, including The Who frontman Roger Daltrey CBE, Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks, Dame Shirley Bassey and Status Quo.
Fresh from the Rolls-Royce factory is the 2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge. The bespoke and contemporary Black Badge range has attracted a new generation to the Rolls-Royce marque. Already a huge hit with Beaulieu visitors, the glamorous open-top on display has a deeply intense and hand-polished black paintwork, with threads of aircraft grade aluminium woven and bonded in carbon fibre, a high-gloss vamp Spirit of Ecstasy with black chrome finish and bold mandarin orange interior highlights.
Though what really makes the car special is beneath its skin. Tighter and more responsive thanks to revisions to its steering, suspension and eight-speed gearbox, the Dawn Black Badge’s 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine is even more powerful than that of the original Dawn, producing 593bhp. An entirely new exhaust system announces the car’s arrival with a menacing bass baritone.
Beaulieu has an unparalleled collection of Rolls-Royces by virtue of the Montagu family connection with its founders. Motoring pioneer John, 2nd Baron Montagu opened the first Rolls-Royce factory and his personal secretary and secret mistress Eleanor Thornton was a muse for Charles Sykes, who designed the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy mascot.
A third car has also joined The Luxury of Motoring display. Just back from Retromobile in Paris is the 1913 Argyll 15/30hp. Although over a century older than the Rolls-Royces, it was just as cutting-edge in its heyday. An exceptionally well-engineered machine, the Scottish-built Argyll was notable for sophisticated features such as brakes on all four wheels and its 4084cc sleeve-valve engine. Inside, its sumptuous interior ensured that rear seat passengers rode in comfort as they were chauffeured to their destination.
This privately-owned car was originally a wedding gift from a husband to his wife and has remained in the same family ever since. Many decades later, it became one of the first historic vehicles to be restored in the National Motor Museum’s restoration workshop.
The Luxury of Motoring not only showcases a selection of the most luxurious cars ever built but tells the story of their design, the people who owned them and the chauffeurs who drove them. Spanning the golden age of luxury motoring to today’s aspirational cars, perceptions of taste and class are themes that are explored through a range of fascinating objects, films and rarely seen images from the National Motor Museum Trust’s archives.
At the glittering heart of the display is a centrepiece of 28 Lalique glass car mascots on show together for the first time. The owner of the private collection chose the National Motor Museum as the home of motoring and therefore the perfect setting to showcase his treasures. From the light radiating, delicate veined wings of a dragonfly to the heartiest falcon mascot with its thick, tapered neck which fits tightly into the mount, the collection includes majestic animals and human forms that bring art into everyday life. The collection is on loan courtesy of Dawson’s Auctioneers & Valuers at Maidenhead.
To celebrate the new gallery, why not enter a competition to say What makes your car luxury? Whether it’s fluffy dice and cushions or a must-have Mercedes, share pictures of what makes your car special. To enter, share your pictures and suggestions on Twitter @Beaulieu_Hants, Facebook at /nationalmotormuseum, Instagram @national_motor_museum or on email to email@example.com. See www.beaulieu.co.uk/the-luxury-of-motoring/ for more details. The winner will be invited for a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of Beaulieu with exclusive access to areas of the National Motor Museum not usually open to visitors.
The Luxury of Motoring display can be seen as part of a visit to Beaulieu. A ticket to Beaulieu includes entry to the National Motor Museum with its collection of more than 250 vehicles from throughout motoring history, the new-look World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the ancestral Montagu family home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the stunning grounds and gardens. Tickets can be bought in advance online. For tickets or more information see www.beaulieu.co.uk or call 01590 612345.
Like so many motorhomers I am continually looking for places to park and my latest successes have been around Starbucks outlets – mostly their drive through outlets which understandably have extra parking. Needless to say the drive through bit is no good but the rest is fine.
On the subject of coffee outlets (not parking!) keep an eye on Tim Hortons. It is Canada’s – I used to live in Canada so have a soft spot for that wonderful country – most successful coffee chain and it has started opening outlets in the UK. Well worth a try.
Tim Hortons was founded by its namesake, a top professional ice hockey player, who wanted to create a space where everyone would feel at home. Now one of Canada’s most iconic brands, nearly eight out of 10 cups of coffee sold across Canada are served at Tim Hortons and more than 5.3 million Canadians – approximately 15 per cent of the population – visit the café daily.
On the subject of parking (not coffee!) I find the majority of garden centres welcome me – and these days most of them have a café offering Andrew J Ditton style outrageous cakes and things I should resist.
One of my daughters recently hired a motorhome so that she and her husband could attend a music festival in some comfort. After talking with a couple of companies and discussing what they wanted, why and for how long they settled on a Midlands based outfit, paid the £800 hire and £1250 deposit.
All went well; they had a great time at the festival and the motorhome was returned to the hire company where it was checked over for any mishaps or damage and there was none. Some days later my daughter chased them up for the return of their deposit. She was told the contract she had signed specified a deposit return in 28 days. She was a tad surprised and at the 28 day mark she called again.
Only to be told this time it was actually 28 working days (effectively six weeks) “at which point you can write to us to apply to have the deposit returned.”
“To apply to have my own deposit returned?” she said incredulously.
These terms seem utterly oppressive and unreasonable to the point my daughter thinks it highly likely there will be a huge battle to get the money returned in full. I hope she’s wrong.
It’s got me thinking in the meantime. I often say to friends who are thinking of buying a motorhome and particularly caravanners who are thinking of going over to the Dark Side that a one week hire really would be an excellent idea before taking the plunge. Now I am thinking that I need to add they need to find a reputable hire company with a more friendly attitude and less oppressive terms.
by Tom Leaning of Caravan Times
CaravanTimes recently caught up with Harvey Alexander, Director of Marketing at the Caravan and Motorhome Club, who has just returned from participating in the JustGo motorhome re-location programme with his family.
Mr Alexander also discussed what he attributes the Club’s record year (2016) to, in terms of member retention and acquisition, what he believes clubs and organisations can do to continue this growth and how the Club is attracting younger members.
Here’s the interview transcript below:
“We picked up a motorhome from a company called JustGo, and drove it back through Italy, Switzerland and France, stopping at 4-5 of our sites along the way, and brought it to the UK where it will spend another year touring the UK.”
On how long the holiday took and what the highlights were:
“So, you can take anywhere from up to 14 days. We took 5 days. Some of the highlights were just the driving through Italy and Switzerland, which was inspiring. It wasn’t a chore at all. When you think of driving around the M25 on a bank holiday, it sends a shiver down your spine. But when you’re out there in a motorhome, you’re high up and you’re touring and you’re really stopping wherever you feel you want to. It was just amazing. We stayed at some really stunning sites: one on the edge of Lake Como, where you’re literally by the water, lovely surroundings, there’s mountains in the background, the kids were playing football outside the motorhome, as they do. And then, from there we went on through Switzerland and ended up in the Morvan forest in France – again, one of the most stunning landscapes you’ll see. And we stayed at this tiny little site, with probably 20 or more pitches; just a really lovely setting in the forest, a fishing lake at the bottom of the site. [It just us] the ability to escape the pace of everyday life, to simplify things and get back to nature – it was just incredible, a real treat.
On the JustGo motorhome re-location programme:
“JustGo offer this to anyone who wants to try and drive a motorhome across Europe. They do it every year to bring their new fleet back to the UK, and we did it as a bit of a trial for our members to really see how we can make that the best experience it can be, in terms of getting the right routes for people, and giving them the opportunity to build their memories.”
On what he attributes the CAMC’s record year (2016) to, in terms of member retention and the acquisition of new members:
“It’s really interesting. We’ve seen record amounts of new members joining. Also, we’ve seen 90 per cent of existing members staying with The Club. And I suppose what’s most important to us is the fact that we’ve had a record amount of members touring our sites network across the UK. So I think it really comes down to our members loving what they’re doing, and enjoying it so much that they’re extending their season. Our last quarter of 2016 – October, November, December – was one of our best last quarters ever. So, it’s just incredible. We’ve got 40 per cent of members coming in who own a motorhome now, which is really interesting because they’re changing the dynamic and we’re seeing that motorhomers tour later into the season, which is great. So, we need to make sure that our sites are ready for the caravanners and the motorhomers, trailer-tents, whoever wants to come, but making sure we’re always staying relevant for that touring member.”
On what clubs and organisations can do to make sure these positive results continue:
“Well, I suppose the key thing, in this digital age, is we’ve got to keep inspiring people to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s about recharging. We attribute quite a lot of the increase down to shorter breaks. We have members who love their summer holidays with the Club or their Easter breaks, but it’s also down to the members who decide on a Friday night who say “d’you know what? Let’s just go away for a few days this weekend. Let’s recharge. Let’s get back to nature, and enjoy ourselves” rather than getting caught in that daily grind. We all feel that it all goes too quick and you’ve never got enough time to do anything, but I find myself if you just put that bit of effort in to just stop, go away – it doesn’t even have to be that far – I live in Rochester and we’ve got some wonderful sites around Kent. I go to Daleacres in Hythe or Bearsted – they’re literally 45 minutes away. But what it means is we can go and we can be in the middle of a lovely countryside park, within for 40 mins to an hour, where we’re just enjoying time as a family.”
On attracting younger members:
“I think that if you go around any of the shows and you look at these caravans and motorhomes, they’re anything but basic. They are homes from home. Some of them offer more luxury than their own homes. And I think that the fact is with all the latest mod-cons where you’ve got the proper heating in there, you’ve got cooking facilities, you’ve got digital [equipment] in there. It just helps people enjoy the great outdoors without feeling compromise. We’ve just come off the back of sponsoring the UK surfing championships down in Cornwall. The age group there is obviously not a typical age group for the Club, but they all love Club sites, they all love being part of the Club because we’ve got 40-odd locations that are near the greatest surfing resorts across the UK. So, I think it’s about being relevant for members and those people thinking of joining and creating that relevancy for them because there has been a stigma attached in the past that [the Club] was just for retired people, but I’m 40+ with a young family, and I guarantee you the best holidays we have are when we get the motorhome out or the caravan and we go down to the coast and we just have a great weekend.”
On falling back in love with the UK:
“We have recognised that people are starting to enjoy the UK more. They’re falling back in love with the UK. And that’s really the spirit of the Club in terms of touring. So, I think it’s important to recognise that, that they’re so much on our doorstep to explore.”
For more information about the JustGo motorhome relocation programme, visit:
UNITED KINGDOM — The Caravan Club has been awarded first place in the ‘Top 50 Companies for Customer Service 2016’ awards in the travel and hospitality category. The touring specialist also came second in the ‘Best Email’ category across all UK companies that entered the awards.
The Caravan Club’s customer service team is made up of over 140 employees at its East Grinstead head office as well as a network of sites staff across The Caravan Club’s 200 Club sites and 2,500 privately owned places to stay in the UK.
Commenting on the win, Peter Martin, head of operations, membership services at The Caravan Club, said, “This award is testament to the strength of our customer service team, both at head office and across our site network. We pride ourselves on offering the best possible touring experience for our members, from the first enquiry right through to when they are on holiday. This award win is incredibly well deserved by all involved and we will continue to develop, and evolve our customer service channels to meet the needs of our members.”
The Top 50 companies for Customer Service 2016 were announced on Oct. 27, at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange as over 700 leaders in customer service turned out in force for an evening of industry celebration.
The Top 50 is the largest benchmarking exercise for customer service in the UK and run in partnership with GfK Mystery Shopping, one of the UK’s leading independent market research organizations, a release from the company stated. It is the only benchmarking service to use real customers to provide analysis across calls, email, live chat and social media, the release continued. The report is based on an extensive program of mystery shopping. Assessors, who are both actual and potential customers, engage with member contact centers and then record what happens during their phone conversation, email, live chat and social media channels.
For more information, visit http://www.caravanclub.co.uk
Everywhere I go pods are appearing.
Staying at Run Cottage near Woodbridge Suffolk this weekend http://www.runcottage.co.uk there are a couple of the best I have seen in terms of the way they are sited next to a lovely and beautifully looked after pond, the comprehensive specification of what is on offer – and a competitive price around £50.
Described here rightly as luxury glamping pods they include TV, DVD, fridge freezer,tea and coffee making stuff, crockery and cutlery, BBQ, heater, pillows sheets and duvets.
Both pods were rented out and the occupants seemed entirely happy sharing other facilities such as the loo block with motorhome owners like me and other caravaners even though they themselves were on a glamping experience and in no way part of the camping or caravanning fraternity. Much as I love my motorhome lifestyle I am the first to acknowledge that one person’s lifestyle choice is another person’s anathema and the extent you can successfully mix it all together is up for question.
But here it seems to work just fine presumably giving the site owners an additional income stream which I am sure they are monitoring closely to see if additional pods might be justified and viable. On an entirely unscientific basis, it was interesting to see the glampers this weekend were young people; a title which could scarcely be applied to me or my near neighbours on site.
Is this the future then?!