Beep, beep, beep… it’s silly o’clock and my alarm is bouncing around the bedroom. Trying to get up and look pretty at this time of the day is hard, at my age it’s hard at any time of the day! We’re off to the NEC for a little bit of caravan porn. The Caravan & Motorhome Show is my idea of heaven. Comfy shoes on, there’s going to be a lot of walking. Rucksack packed, purse and butties stashed. It’s still dark outside, time to hit the road. The M3 beckons, crazily busy and it’s not yet 6am.
We arrive nice and early and get in early doors, ahead of the crowds all stuck in the Birmingham traffic.
Parking is ample and spread over a huge area. A free shuttle bus is on hand to get you to and from the show.
Upon entering you aren’t really aware of the size of the show. It is huge and you are guaranteed to do lots of walking. Mobility scooters are available for those who need them. We did the show in a day but it could easily be spread out over a leisurely couple of days. The aisles between stalls are spacious with plenty of room for pushchairs and scooters. A welcome pack upon entry contains a show guide and a handy map to help you navigate your way around.
Toilets are everywhere and are very clean and well stocked. There are also plenty of places to grab a bite to eat and a drink. Be aware though that this can work out costly. We normally choose to take our own food and drink.
Campervans galore. Old Volkswagens in all their glory stand proudly boasting bunting and pretty picnic baskets. Kept safe behind a white picket fence you can stand and gaze and dream of balmy summers. Just feet away new campers boast the latest technology in a bright array of colours.
Motorhomes seem more abundant this year. Big ones small ones. Ones with pop out sides. Motorhomes worth more than your house. Most you can enter freely and view at your leisure. The more expensive ones are protected and only available to view by appointment only.
Brand new caravans that come in all shapes, sizes and layouts. Make your own bed up, island beds, you name it they’ve got it. Layouts to suit everyone. Teardrops, the beautiful Barefoot, even a Lego one. All the manufacturers that you have heard of are here, maybe even a couple you haven’t heard of. Caravans to suit all tastes and budgets, if you are in the market for a new one.
There is even an accessible caravan, complete with a wider door, ramp and clamping points for a wheelchair. An onboard hoist goes from the bathroom to the bed which is also adjustable to suit the needs of the individual.
The beautiful Airstream twinkles under the spot lights, beckoning you to enter up its wooden walkway. Bedecked with bunting and pink flamingo accessories including a pink flamingo fluorescent light, it really is a sight to savour, behold and dream about.
There are accessory shops everywhere. Awnings, inflatable furniture, pots and pans. Dog beds, LED lights, vacuum cleaners, flag poles, TV’s, the list is endless. There’s even a cheese stall. If you can think of something you may want or could use in your leisure vehicle then it will be here…somewhere, you’ve just got to find it.
Insurance companies, holiday in Europe, static caravans, outdoor clothing, Wi-fi, bags and covers, Sat Navs and much, much more all under one very big roof. Outside you can sign yourself up to practice towing. It’s all here, Caravan heaven.
For those of you planning to spend a few days there, they turn some of their car park into a temporary caravan site. This does have to be booked in advance.
My advice, get there early. If you are only doing one day there is an awful lot to see. Wear comfortable footwear, you will thank me for it. Wear cool clothes, it can get very warm. Take your own food and drink, unless you want to splash out and eat there, be warned, it is pricey. Be prepared to wait to view units, on busy days you may have to hang about for a minute or so to get inside. To avoid the traffic at the end of the day we have chosen to eat at the on site Wetherspoons. The show closes at 6pm. Get into Wetherspoons just before 6pm as a lot of the traders gather in there at the end of the show. It may look busy from the entrance, venture inside, it’s bigger than it appears. The menu is smaller than their usual menu but the prices are very similar. We found that by the time we had eaten the traffic had cleared.
Above all else, just enjoy. Whether it’s your first show or you’ve been before, it really is a grand day out.