I can’t say I had ever considered a motorhome holiday before, writes Jon. Being the hotel snob that I am, it’s not really something I thought would be up my street. But seeing it as an option through my Azure X membership, and being an outdoor lover, I thought, OK, let’s give this a go. Here’s what I learned from my very first motorhome adventure.
Gadgets and gizmos aplenty
I consider myself a good driver and can’t say I was phased about the prospect of driving such a large bit of kit. That was until I arrived at the motorhome HQ in Bury, and got up close and personal with my motorhome. Then the nerves started to kick in, which of course I didn’t want to admit to the very friendly chap who greeted me for the handover. And never mind the actual driving, how do the rest of the appliances and gizmo-bottery actually work? Where does the water come from? Did I need to hook the vehicle up to some magical electrical point? And I guess my biggest fear, does the dunny need emptying?
Help is on hand
Thankfully, Melvin the friendly motorhome man was on hand to help. Ever the professional, and with years of experience dealing with newbs like me, he seemed to graciously understand my position and guided me through everything without calling me out on my ignorance. To my delight, all of my concerns really were non-concerns. Everything just worked! There are a few bits and bobs you need to know, but a short introductory video covered everything, and was always available should a refresher be needed. Perhaps best of all—and I did feel a bit silly—was when I asked how the beds are put together. Melvin simply pressed a button and a fully made-up double bed descended from the cabin ceiling, all ready to jump into. Bliss!
Ready, steady, go!
I crammed in as much motorhoming factoids as I could and was all ready to leave in less than an hour (and that’s coming from a complete novice). Then it was time for the fun to begin. I slipped into the super comfy seat (which incidentally can spin round to be used as an armchair in the living area … very clever) and I must say, I was feeling surprisingly confident. Aware that I could have lured myself into a false sense of security, I took it easy exiting motorhome HQ, easing myself onto the narrow village roads. All in all, it was really … fine. Two important things struck me. One, the motorhome is a lot longer than my little hatchback, so the corners needed to be taken a little wider. But the huge wing mirrors and high-up seating position didn’t let me forget. And two, I always needed to double-check the height of a tunnel before going under. Other than that, easy peasy lemon squeezy.
A drive down memory lane
As soon as I settled into the drive and began to relax, I was flooded with sudden memories of my childhood family caravan holidays - getting to camp, riding off exploring with my brothers (we always took the bikes), and returning a few hours later feeling like experts of the local area to very grumpy parents. I particularly remember all the unpacking, hooking up of the water and electrics, building the awning and generally setting everything up, only to have to pull it all down again a few days later. Definitely bicker material for my parents. I have some very fond memories of those holidays, but as I was making my way up the M6, I couldn’t help but think we’d have all been a bit more relaxed and enjoyed the moment more with the convenience of a modern motorhome.
Here comes the sun
My first port of call was Lake Windermere. Being from the south, I’d never quite made it past the Peak District, and this area proved to be a truly beautiful part of the world, especially ideal for motorhomers. Being the UK, and despite it being August, we were mostly blessed with clouds and showers. But upon an opening in the heavens, and with the sun finally coming out to say hello, the motorhome experience really came into its own. We simply pulled over nearby a nice patch of grass, got the table out, dug out some cheese, crackers and a bottle of wine, and sat admiring the glorious views for as long as we could. We were at one with nature with all the conveniences and luxuries of modern life parked right behind us. For the rest of the trip, we continued to move around quite a lot, exploring all the twisty, narrow lanes around the Lake District. Every stop was another postcard-perfect port of call.
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The whole experience definitely broke the ice for me, and I am looking forward to doing it again and again. Next time I think I’ll be venturing further and doing the 500 route around Scotland. The scenery is said to be absolutely stunning with plenty of camp sites along route. Who knows, I may even opt for a continental road trip around Europe. I definitely feel more comfortable to undergo a longer journey now. It really is like having a five-star hotel room that just moves about with you.