Perhaps the greatest reason for owning a motorhome is the spirit of adventure. The ability to simply drop everything, load up your clothes and provisions, and strike out to explore new regions, nations – even Continents – and enrich your life with your discoveries.
But I think that maybe its most unsung quality, and one that we here at Practical Motorhome don’t always appreciate to the full, is the downright usefulness of having a portable home sitting on your driveway (if you’re lucky enough to own a big enough driveway, of course).
This was reinforced to me once again at the weekend, when wife Emma and I were invited to the wedding of Helen and Alex, to be held in the spectacular setting of Cardiff Castle, in south Wales. It sounded fabulous but, having scouted around to check the cost of hotels in the city centre, and added on the cost of fuel plus the obligatory new outfits, it was looking like being a horrendously expensive couple of days. But then Emma had a quick search online and discovered Cardiff Caravan and Camping Park. It’s situated right in the heart of the city, just a short walk from the wedding venue, and at just £30 per night including hook-up, it was just a fraction of the cost of a hotel.
So we loaded up our new Benimar Mileo 243, on loan from Marquis Motorhomes, filled the water tank (once we’d blocked up the drain hose!) and hit the road with the two kids strapped into the rear travel seats. The first stop was the pretty hamlet of Thornbury, near Bristol, to drop the children with their Auntie Jo and Uncle Danny, where we were grateful for the Benimar’s relatively narrow 2.3m width as we negotiated the country lanes. We then struck out for Wales, delighted to be only charged £6.50 to cross the Severn Bridge – but slightly less delighted by the crosswinds on the bridge itself, which made the Benimar feel rather nervous.
As we neared Cardiff city centre, we once again rejoiced in having brought such a compact and wieldy motorhome, and within minutes we were pitching at the incredibly friendly and scenic site. It’s a real pocket of nature in the city, located alongside Glamorgan cricket ground and with hundreds of acres of parkland on the doorstep. The staff walked us to our pitch and we immediately got chatting to our neighbours, whose Beagle had just had a litter of tiny puppies who were taking refuge in their 2004 Benimar. The facilities on site are basic but clean, and you can hire bikes to explore the city plus there’s a café on site that serves fantastic bacon sarnies – ideal, as we were to discover, for that post-wedding breakfast hangover…
Our grasscrete pitch had water and 16A electric hook-ups, and the Benimar proved ideal for our pre-wedding preparations, with its large separate shower and spacious lounge. Best of all, its rear double bed must be a match for any hotel room – it’s enormous, and hugely comfortable, too.
Never mind the bride’s gown, our motorhome was the talk of the reception, as all the guests who had forked out hundreds of pounds for a night out turned green with envy when they learned that it had cost us just £30 plus a tankful of diesel.
The Benimar's rear double bed must be a match for any hotel room