Silver Award at the 2022 Owner Satisfaction Awards

We are delighted to announce that the Swindon Caravan & Motorhome Group once again picked up an award at the recent 2022 Practical Caravan/Motorhome Owner Satisfaction Awards.

The Group achieved a Silver Award for Supplying Dealer of New Caravans.  This is a great result for the company and testament to the hard work of all the staff over the last year.

We would also like to thank all of our customers who voted for us, it is very much appreciated.

Our supplying manufacturers also claimed some of the top industry prizes:

    • Adria took home the prize as winner of the ‘Best New Caravan Manufacturer’ whilst Bailey & Swift both picked up a Silver award in the same category.
    • The Bailey Pegasus Grande SE Ancona won the Best Family Caravan Award.
    • The Swift Conqueror 480 won the Best 2 Berth Caravan Award.
    • The Swift Challenger X 860 won the Best Caravan Under £30,000 Award.
    • The Swift Basecamp 6 won the Best 6 Berth Caravan Award.
    • The Adria Adora Tiber took home the prize for Best 4 Berth Caravan.

It is also worth noting that 7 out of 8 Bailey entries received the top 5 star rating at another industry awards ceremony, this time at the Caravan & Motorhome Club Caravan Design Awards Buyers Guide 2022!

Legal requirements for driving a motorhome

Our previous articles discussed both choosing the right type of motorhome to suit your requirements and choosing the correct layout.  With the recent updates on UK driving licences for those that tow caravans, our final motorhome article focuses on the current legal requirements for driving a motorhome. In a simple explanation, depending on when you gained your UK driving licence, will dictate what weight of motorhome you can drive legally.

Vehicle weight terminology

To understand motorhome weights properly we should be aware of the various terminology used. Annoyingly, many of the abbreviations and acronyms that have been used over the years sound different, but in some cases refer to the same value.

The motorhome weight plate

There are usually 2 weight plates on a motorhome. The first is usually under the bonnet, commonly referred to as the VIN plate, and the second is usually held within the bodywork of the motorhome. The second weight plate is installed by the coach builder. It will have the term “STUFE 2” printed clearly on the plate. The values on this plate will override the values on the vehicle VIN plate. So, for our purposes this is the weight plate we need to pay attention to.

MAM

The maximum authorised mass or MAM is the new designation for Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW).  This is the vehicle’s weight plus the maximum load it can carry. This is usually the first line on the weight plate.

Gross train weight

Usually the second line on a weight plate, the Gross train weight is the MAM of the motorhome plus what it is able to tow.  This may also be referred to as the Gross Combination Weight (GCW) on some older vehicles.

Axle weights

On line 3 and 4 of the weight plate will be the maximum weights allowed over the front and rear axles. Line 3 refers to the front axle and line 4 refers to the rear.  These values will be higher than the MAM of the vehicle. This is to allow various loading combinations of the vehicle. For example, if you load a 1 tonne pallet at the rear of the vehicle, the weight will weigh more on the rear axle, and very little on the front as opposed to loading the same weight through a side door that will add weight on both front and rear evenly.  In the event that a motorhome has twin rear axles, this value will be displayed on line 5 of the weight plate.

Licence categories

Motorhomes that weigh between 3,500Kg (MAM) and 7,500Kg (MAM) will require the driver to have a C1 category on their UK full driving licence.  If you passed your driving test before 1st January 1997, it’s likely you will have the C1 category on your driving licence.  Motorhomes that are over 7,500Kg will require a category C licence. Motorhomes that exceed 3,500Kg are classified as Private HGV by the DVLA and will cost more on road tax.  The good news is if the motorhome weights 3,500Kg or less a standard UK driving licence can be used.

Our range of Bailey Adamo motorhomes are a great example of motorhomes that weigh 3,500kg or less.

Up-plating

Thankfully many motorhome manufacturers these days adjust their motorhomes to be 3,500kg or less to allow drivers with a standard UK full licence to drive legally. The downside is that this can remove some of the payload allocation.  The payload is how much weight you can add into the vehicle. For example, clothes, food and accessories.  If you have category C1, or C on your licence you can have the motorhome up-plated to gain more payload allocation. In some instances, this can be as much as 700Kg.  This is a paper exercise and will require no modification to the motorhome, you will be given a new weight plate for the vehicle and a new V5 to show the new available payload.

If you do not have C, or C1 on your licence you can sit extra driving tests to gain this entitlement. To understand what you can drive check the Gov.uk site here https://www.gov.uk/vehicles-can-drive or of course please feel free to ask our sales teams at SwindonOxford or Reading who will be happy to help

Choosing the correct layout when buying a Motorhome

Touring the UK and Europe is quickly becoming a favourite way of exploring the great outdoors. Motorhomes, campervans or van conversions have everything to provide a comfortable home from home as well as being completely mobile. Indeed, modern motorhomes can be situated off grid in a rural location or as part of a campsite to take advantage of on-site facilities.  If you are considering a motorhome, there are a number of things to think about before you buy.  Our previous article discussed choosing the right type of motorhome to suit your requirements.   Over the next few articles, we will discuss some of the most common questions and queries that newcomers’ ask and this article will focus on choosing the correct layout.  Of course, if you do have any further questions, please feel free to ask our sales teams at Swindon, Oxford or Reading who will be happy to help and answer any questions you have.

Number of people

There are a few constraints involved when choosing any layout for a motorhome. Budget, driving licence restrictions, physical size and the most important element, how many people will use the motorhome.

 

Daytime vs night time

You will hear and see a term called “berths” used on motorhome reviews and listings. This is how many people can sleep comfortably in the motorhome. However, some motorhomes will have a limit on how many people can legally travel in the motorhome whilst on the road. Each travelling passenger must have a seatbelt whilst in transit, so on adverts, listings and reviews, check that the motorhome has the same number of seatbelts as berths. This may commonly be referred to as daytime / night time occupancy. Not all motorhomes provide the same number of seats for number of berths, especially with Campervans or van conversions.  Long side seating could in theory hold 2 or 3 people whilst travelling, but with no seat belts it would be illegal and incredibly dangerous to travel with loose passengers.

Children

If you are taking young children on holiday, make sure that the belted seats are ISO-FIX compatible. This is a standard that seats, seatbelts and vehicle manufacturers adhere to and also give baby seat manufacturers a working template to ensure the seat can be installed safely inside the motorhome. One thing to note, because of the natural layout of a motorhome, it is likely that the baby seats will be physically situated some distance from the cab seats.

Pets

A final point to think of is travelling with pets. It is a legal requirement that when travelling with a dog or other animals, they must be suitably restrained in the vehicle whilst in motion.  This can be tricky in a motorhome as tie down points may not exist, and ISO-FIX seats may not offer the best location for a dog. In this instance, a travelling crate that is secure between seats or tied onto a side dinette can offer a suitable place for secure transport.

We mentioned briefly some constraints when buying a motorhome, along with the number of passengers, another limitation may be driving license restrictions, and that is what we will discuss in the next article.

Choosing the right type of Motorhome

The name motorhome really only focuses on one style of touring vehicle.  In fact, there are many types of motorhomes with many layouts, options and variations and each of them will suit you differently and may also differ when it comes to price.  To understand the differences and some of the features you are likely to find, we have listed the common motorhome types available on the market today.  Here are the options:

Micro motorhomes

 

These van conversions are primarily based upon small vans or people carriers. These micro variants sleep a maximum of 2 people, usually have a pop-up style roof and host a very simple kitchen set up.

Campervans

Popularised by VW, campervans are still very popular even after 50+years since their creation. Campervans nowadays offer sleeping and living accommodation, a small galley kitchen, sometimes a pop-up roof and plenty of storage, all held within the footprint of a small van.  These are very popular with couples and young families and with the addition of a drive away awning make these an ideal touring vehicle.

Van conversions

Bigger than a campervan, large vans are a great base to create a leisure vehicle. With plenty of head space, a separate wet room, blown air heating and bigger kitchens, van conversions are a very popular combination of minimal form factor and optimal usability. These van conversions are completed by both mainstream manufacturers and hobbyists alike. Why not checkout the Adria Twin available at our Swindon branch.

Coach built motorhomes

 

With a cab and chassis from a popular van manufacturer, such as Fiat, the body is created by a leisure vehicle company such as Bailey. With extra width the choice of layouts is vast. A separate washroom, cassette toilet and fixed beds options are available. Coach built motorhomes come in 2 variations. A low-profile version provides enough living and sleeping space for a couple or small family, whereas an over cab bed option creates plenty of sleeping space for a family of up to 6 people. Larger variations of this style of motorhome also come with a separate garage, ideal for storing bikes, outside furniture and awnings.

‘A’ Class motorhomes

 

A larger style of motorhome, where the leisure vehicle manufacturer builds the living area as well as the cab area. The manufacturer takes a bare chassis and builds the entire vehicle from the chassis up.  These A Class motorhomes provide more space, more refinement and bigger storage options. A class motorhomes are nearly always heavier and more expensive than their cab / chassis counterparts.

 

 

These are some of the most common styles of motorhome here in the UK, there are of course American style RVs that offer vast amounts of space, slide out sections and fittings that make the living space a luxurious place to be, however some of the larger vehicles find it difficult to find a pitch on many UK camp sites.

Swift Showcase Weekend: 7th – 10th October

Our final showcase weekend will take place between Thursday 7th and Sunday 10th October when we will be delighted to focus on our range of Swift caravans for the 2022 season.  Our 2022 demonstration models have started to arrive on our sales forecourts and currently we have a small selection from the Basecamp, Challenger and Sprite ranges.  The first 2022 Swift Vogue demonstration models, our hugely popular dealer special which is now running into its 5th season, are due to land prior to the showcase weekend and we have managed to secure the following caravans (on loan from Swift) for the event:  the brand new Conqueror 480, 560 & 580 as well as the Elegance 845 & 850.  These 5 models will be at the Swindon branch only.

View Swift Caravan Range – Photos, Layouts & Specification

Pre-order early and secure your new vehicle.  Demand continues to remain strong and there is limited stock available so don’t miss out!

For more information please call the sales teams at any of our 3 branches:  Swindon: 01793 772096, Oxford: 01844 339566, Reading: 01189 888111.

We look forward to seeing you at the event.

Adria Showcase Weekend: 23rd – 26th Sept

We are now in a position to let you know about our next showcase weekend, this time focusing on the range of caravans from Adria.  Come and visit Swindon Caravans between Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th September to discover the revamped Alpina (Mississippi & Colorado), the hugely popular Adora (Tiber, Isonzo, Sava & Seine), the entry level Altea (we will only have the Dart on display) and finally the Action.  Unfortunately we will not have a Twin campervan to view but will update you as soon as one arrives on our showground in the not too distant future.

View Adria Caravan Range – Photos, Layouts & Specification

View Adria Twin Campervans – Photos, Layouts & Specification

Pre-order early and secure your new vehicle.  Demand continues to remain strong and there is limited stock available so don’t miss out!

For more information please call the sales teams at any of our 3 branches.  We look forward to seeing you:  Swindon: 01793 772096, Oxford: 01844 339566, Reading: 01189 888111

(Please note we only sell Adria at Swindon so the showcase weekend will only be at Swindon only).

Swift Live is back! Starts 1st September

Register for Swift Live today and you’ll be able to preview Swift’s 2022 caravan range at the start of September!  Swift Live is an online event by Swift Group, bringing you unique access to expert advice, inspiration and a virtual showroom featuring 360˚ tours of all caravan models.  All this from the comfort of your own sofa!

Make sure you are one of the first to discover the new season developments from Swift.  To register, visit https://swiftlive2021.vfairs.com/en/registration.  If you attended last year’s Swift Live event then please note you will need to re-register for this year’s event.

For further information then please visit https://swiftlive2021.vfairs.com/ or call our sales teams who will be happy to help.

Bailey Unicorn V Showcase Weekend: 3rd – 6th Sept

We are delighted to be one of the first dealers in the UK to showcase the brand new Bailey Unicorn V range.  Come and visit Swindon Caravans between Friday 3rd – Monday 6th September to discover this new stylish range from Bailey.  Unfortunately the range will not be available to view at our branches in Oxford & Reading this weekend.  If you are unable to attend then rest assured we will keep you updated when our first demonstrators begin to arrive on their respective forecourts.

View Bailey Unicorn V Photos, Layouts & Specification

We will have the full range of Bailey Unicorns available to view with the exception of the Vigo.  We will also have the new Pegasus Ancona on display which is expected to prove popular for the upcoming season.  Pre-order early and secure your new vehicle.  Demand continues to remain strong and there is limited stock available so don’t miss out!

For more information please call the sales teams at any of our 3 branches.  We look forward to seeing you:  Swindon: 01793 772096, Oxford: 01844 339566, Reading: 01189 888111

Top 10 Motorhome Accessories

After buying a new motorhome, there are a few items that still need to be purchased to get the most from your new leisure vehicle, but with an endless list of accessories and “must haves” what items should you buy? To help, we have listed our top 10 motorhome accessories that you may not have considered:

Solar Panel

 

Having uninterrupted power away from any electrical hook up is great for any off-grid holidays or day trips. A solar panel can trickle charge a vehicles leisure battery even in moderately cloudy weather. If the motorhome is stored at a secure storage compound, the charged leisure battery will keep any alarm or tracker active and fully operational. Solar panels can come as standard equipment or added on as an optional extra.

 

Avtex TV

A 12v Avtex TV is perfect for viewing TV even when not connected to mains hook up. With an in-built DVD player and with comprehensive connectivity, you can plug further accessories such as Sound bars and USB drives. Different models also have inbuilt Satellite receivers so, you can watch FreeSat with no additional set-top box. And if you subscribe to streaming services, such as Netflix and have WiFi, you can add Smart TV sticks via an HDMI socket, that work directly with the TV. Screen sizes from 18” to 24” mean you can have the perfect TV set up without dominating the interior space.

 

Quest Lakeland Grassmere Swivel back chair

 

This lightweight portable chair adds extra comfort due to its unique swivel back design, allowing you to sit up comfortably or laze back when required. The chair folds down and is stored in a carry bag which can be easily stowed away under a seat or in a locker.

 

 

Steering wheel lock.

 

Visible security items are always a useful deterrent, and in some cases can offer a discount on motorhome insurances, if declared on your policy. This Milenco steering wheel lock fits over the steering wheel and prevents the wheel from moving by blocking the driver’s legs or by resting against the windscreen.

 

 

Filling hose

Once on a campsite, perhaps the first thing to do is fill your motorhome with fresh water. Many service points do come with a short hose, but it’s always recommended to carry your own hose for times there is no dedicated motorhome service point available. This food-grade hose and attachment folds flat when not in use and comes with a variety of attachments to allow easy connection to any fresh water tap.

 

 

Maypole Lithium – Ion Power bank

This universal power bank can recharge any USB powered device including phones and tablets, but also can provide a boost if the vehicle battery has become flat. This power bank is small, lightweight and very useful around the motorhome.

 

 

Cadac BBQ

Outdoor eating couldn’t be easier with the Cadac range of grills and accessories. Cadac has a selection of grills that are gas-powered and in a variety of sizes to suit your own needs. For large families, the Carry Chef 2 will provide a large surface, whereas the Safari Chef can easily accommodate 2 people. The grills are easily broken down, easy to clean and can be run from an onboard gas outlet or individual gas canisters.

 

 

Torches

 

Having a torch to hand is always very useful. This Lil Larry torch with 250 lumens provides a bright white beam to light up your path or item that requires more light. This is a perfect addition to any motorhome for attending to services at night or looking in locker or cupboard corners.

 

 

Waterless wash & wax

 

Removing traffic dirt, mud or other organic deposits can be easily done using Greased Lightening waterless wash and wax. This product does not require running water instead, can be sprayed on and wiped off leaving a clean waxy surface that will repeal any further contaminants.
Use this with a microfibre cloth, to keep the motorhome looking fresh and clean.

 

Wind break

Providing a break from any light breeze can be easily achieved by erecting one of these Kampa Air windbreaks. Being an air windbreak means this can be erected quickly and easily, without the need for hammering stakes in the ground and they can be stored in a small space when not required. The Kampa Air Windbreak comes complete with pegs, guylines and a pump.

 

So, here’s our top 10 motorhome accessories. Other notable mentions include toilet chemicals, a pair of levelling ramps and a stovetop kettle. As I’m sure you can agree there is a wide variety of accessories available for anyone who owns a motorhome or caravan and for further inspiration or to purchase any of the items above, why not pop into our accessories shops at either Swindon, Oxford or Reading Caravan & Motorhome centre.

Pre-order a 2022 caravan for the same price as a 2021 model.

 

It is well documented that the ‘staycation’ remains the holiday of choice for 2021 and caravans have seen a surge in demand.  The Swindon Caravans Group’s stock levels are running low across all manufacturers and respective model ranges, unprecedented at this time of the season.

As a result, we are offering the chance to pre-order a 2022 caravan for the same price as a 2021 model.*  This will secure the best possible availability and beat the price increase on 2022 models.

A number of model ranges will remain unchanged for the 2022 season, the only difference will be an expected price increase of between 3-5%.  Where model ranges remain unchanged, each branch will have a 2021 model to view on their forecourts where possible; please check with the respective branch before travelling if you have a specific model in mind to avoid disappointment.

This offer will end on Sunday 20th June. 

Call our sales teams today for more information.

The 2022 model ranges that will remain unchanged from the 2021 season are as follows:

SwiftVogue, Sprite, Sprite Super, Basecamp, Challenger & Challenger X (only change is that Swift Command will not feature in the 2022 models)

BaileyDiscovery, Phoenix & Pegasus

AdriaAltea & Adora

* Swindon Caravans Group will honour the first 5% of any price increase on 2022 pre-orders before Sunday 20th June.  Any additional price increase over 5% will be passed on to the customer.