Hitting the road and living the dream in motorhome
PUBLISHED: 10:18 23 November 2015 | UPDATED: 10:18 23 November 2015
With people of all ages migrating to motorhomes, Shaun Lowthorpe and family enjoy the freedom of the open road for a journey of discovery.
Shaun Lowthorpe motorhome photo gallery
Shaun Lowthorpe with daughter Josephine Lowthorpe and son Nyle Lowthorpe
Shaun Lowthorpe's family in front of the Eldiss 165 Motor Home. Pictured Emily Lowthorpe, with Josephine Lowthorpe, and Nyle Lowthorpe
Shaun Lowthorpe behind the wheel of the Elddis 165 Motor Home
The Elddis 165 Motor Home at Kelling Heath
Shaun Lowthorpe tests out the oven inside the Elddis 165 Motor Home
Shaun Lowthorpe taking it easy at Kelling Heath in front of the Elddis 165 Motor Home
Shaun Lowthorpe taking it easy inside the Elddis 165 Motor Home
I never really noticed when it started but, at some point in the journey that is life, I found myself paying more and more attention to motorhomes parked in driveways or passing me by on the open road.
May be it was turning 40, (a while ago unfortunately) settling down (a good thing obviously if the wife is reading this) or moving to the suburbs, where large patio drives (and big berths parked in them) seem to be the norm.
But somewhere along the line, dreams of traversing down Route 66 had given way to thoughts of holidays in a motorhome in much more domestic locations, like Thetford Forest or Kelling Heath.
Lured by some kind of middle-aged motoring magnetism I found myself drawn to these mobile beasts of burden, the traditional tent envy I felt on camping holidays morphing into staring at the four or six berths in their pitches.
Pitch perfect at Kelling Heath
To test out the Autoquest we headed to Kelling Heath in North Norfolk.
A popular destination for families, the facilities were second to none, particularly the toilets and showers which, frankly, were the best I’ve ever seen at a holiday park.
There’s a choice of pitch styles and electric hook up points are available, too.
The park also prides itself on its green credentials and you can see why.
The site provides fully-equipped amenity buildings with hot showers, washing facilities, individual cubicles, toilets and razor points.
And there are also disabled and baby-changing facilities and dish-washing and laundry sinks.
Although we could have stayed in the motor home, we would usually wander over to the village for something to eat, or to use the heated indoor swimming pool.
And when we needed to stretch the legs we hired bikes at Huff and Puff too.
So when the chance came to get behind the wheel of one, albeit for a three-night break, I stepped up to the plate.
And so it was the family headed to Kelling Heath for three days of road-testing what it was like to holiday in one.
Picking up my borrowed four-berth from Simpsons Motorhomes in Great Yarmouth – an Elddis Autoquest 165 in fact – I was given a run through of the essentials of getting started; what to do with waste water, how to use the gas, toilet cleaning arrangements and my favourite ‘auxiliary controls’.
And then I was off.
The hardest bits for me were adjusting the wing mirrors, navigating out of a very busy Great Yarmouth, and backing out of the garden before heading out to North Norfolk.
For non-technicals, like me, there was a double bed at the rear, a shower room/toilet, four-seater dining area, kitchenette/oven, plus a connection to plug in a TV if you had one.
My son, who is two, loved climbing up and down the steps to get in and out, and my 10-year-old daughter enjoyed the fact that the driver and passenger seats can rotate.
Of course, our trip to Kelling coincided with some seasonal showers, so I struggled to hide my feelings of smug satisfaction when we could get away from the damp and simply ‘go indoors’.
And do you know the bit I really loved?
Simply unplugging the electric cable when it was time to leave and driving off while my fellow campers were struggling with their tents.
Elddis builds its motor homes on Peugeot engines and they are a popular starting point for those looking to buy, and ‘mine’ (sorry Freudian slip there) would cost just under £35,000 to buy used.
But, hold on a minute, a motorhome, that’s a luxury item isn’t it? Not the purchase of choice for those with mortgages and young kids?
Not so apparently, Mrs Lowthorpe, for it was she who mentioned this fact, as well as airing her view that our trip might be a decade too early, and one better suited to when the kids have flown the nest.
Apparently, according to Steve Sewell, from Simpsons, there is growing interest from among younger customers in owning a motorhome.
“It’s a popular model for families,” says Steve. “Over the last three or four years we have been getting a much younger fraternity coming in. We have people in their 30s and 40s coming in now.
“We have got people who have had caravans making the step up, or there are people selling up their homes who want a motorhome so that they can go around the British Isles.”
There is also another type of customer coming in too he added – the newly-retired or mortgage-free who are either using their new-found pension freedoms to buy a motorhome, or down-sizing their property.
In fact, this kind of migratory customer is frequently hitting the road for months on end, or heading over to warmer climes such as Spain to overwinter.
And who can blame them?
But for now my ambitions are much more domestically focused. It’s back to camping for me, for now. Yet who knows what the future might bring...
Family-run Simpsons Motorhomes, in Suffolk Road, Great Yarmouth, NR31 0LN, is East Anglia’s largest motorhome dealer with more than 50 years of experience. It is a major stockist of all leading converters and has an extensive array of pre-loved used motorhomes and tow caravans. It can take care of all your motorhome servicing, repair and warranty needs and accessories.
Simpsons Motorhomes is holding a product launch for new 2016 model year motorhomes at its Great Yarmouth site in Suffolk Road site on Friday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5.
The first of the 2016 products will include models from Auto-Sleeper, Auto-Trail, Bessacarr, Eldiss and Rapido.
For more information telephone 01493 601696 or visit www.simpsonsmc.com