The Caravan and Motorhome Show and Destinations Holiday and Travel Show is in town and I’m not going to turn down a chance to mess about in campervans and learn about new places to visit at an event that is right on my doorstep. This event has marked the start of the motorhome show season in Manchester for a number of years and this was my third visit and I have seen it grow into a busy and lively show. This year I found old favourites like Leather Genie, who buffed up my shoes for me beautifully and new ideas like the Moskito Guard Insect Repellent; a deet-free repellant that smells pleasant and is non-greasy. Time will tell if the latter works but with a trip to Scotland’s West Coast planned this summer it seemed a good idea to be prepared.
At the Caravan Club stand Matt Allwright was running question and answer sessions with members of staff responsible for different areas of the Caravan Club’s work. It was great to hear these experts in specific areas of the Club’s business speak; I had certainly never considered the complexities of running a club campsite before. I was interested to learn that around 50% of their sites are leased, rather than the land being owned by the Club, and how this can affect the club’s ability to invest in improvements. I also learnt about the complexities of acquiring planning permission for a new campsite. More information on the Caravan Club membership discounts was also useful as we’re always keen to save money. We’ve saved with the discount on the M6 Toll Road when we are travelling south and booked our ferries through the club but there are other benefits that had passed me by and there are future offers planned that sounded very exciting.
Watching Julia Bradbury, the Camping and Caravanning Club President, on the Food and Travel Stage was entertaining, Julia’s enthusiasm for walking in the British countryside and camping is infectious and she is a great ambassador for the outdoor life. I heard about her latest venture, The Outdoor Guide, a website where routes Julia has followed on her TV shows can be downloaded as well as other information about places to eat, stay and gear to wear.
There weren’t many campervan converters at the show, which was disappointing as what we hear is that it is van conversions that are leading the way in the increase in motorhoming in the UK. Our local converter, Leisure Drive, had a stand and I looked at their ‘vans nostalgically remembering the Leisure Drive campervan we owned. Leisure Drive make great campervans, the quality of their current conversions looked first-rate and in addition everyone at Leisure Drive is always friendly and helpful; I think they really do build their ‘vans with love.
It was a grey day in Manchester so spending so much time indoors wasn’t a hardship but after over four hours at the show I was footsore and desperate to see the outside world again. I came home with leaflets about campsites I wanted to try, places I wanted to visit and clean shoes; I think that all adds up to a successful day!