After successfully catering for seven at Glastonbury, maybe one of the toughest tests for any ‘van, Practical Motorhome’s long-term Bailey had an easier task with us this time around: a couple of days in the New Forest catering for two.
We had a wedding to attend in Beaulieu, and with the weather for the weekend looking superb, we decided to book ourselves into Roundhill Campsite, a Camping in the Forest site, located between Beaulieu and Brockenhurst.
At £26 a night, including showers and toilets, but no electric hook-up, Roundhill was about average for the New Forest during the high season in terms of price. The Bailey Approach Advance 665 had already proved its battery was capable of five days worth of use, so we weren’t concerned about the lack of power.
To be honest, London to the New Forest in August isn’t a drive I like doing, but we had an unusually traffic-free Friday night dash. The M3’s seemingly endless stretches of 50mph average speed limit were made bearable by the Bailey’s cruise control, and its front seats are actually pretty comfortable.
Our trip to Glastonbury had seen the wardrobe door and toilet roll holder work themselves loose on the move, but this time around nothing tried to escape, despite this trip having a far bumpier final stretch across New Forest roads. Being able to charge your phone and play music via USB was welcome, too.
The guys on the gate at Roundhill were still smiling by the time we arrived at 8pm, and we were advised we could park anywhere we liked – fantastic! The site is open moorland, with the iconic New Forest ponies (and the odd cow) walking freely. Three toilet and shower blocks are dotted about the site.
We picked a block, parked nearby and after my better half had checked the coin-operated hair dryers were operational – a wedding demands pristine hair, don’t forget – we hot-footed it to the local pub to meet friends and order from the menu before chef switched off the oven for the night.
The next morning, after a very comfy kip on the Bailey’s main lounge double, we woke to blue skies and 20-odd degree heat. On went the saucepan to boil the morning coffee water, while toast with jam as well as bacon sandwiches were quickly rustled up using the oven’s grill.
With just the two of us to sleep, we had the Bailey’s side dinette free to use, which made a huge difference compared with our Glastonbury trip. It was all rather civilised as we read the morning paper accompanied by a steaming coffee, rather unlike our previous experience, which required a sit-anywhere-possible approach.
A couple of hours of sunbathing later, it was time to don our glad-rags and head to our appointment that afternoon. I have to admit, it’d never occurred to me on the trip, but I’m told the Bailey’s bathroom mirror proved more than adept for applying make-up. All I can comment on is its wardrobe accepted my one suit and her two wedding outfit options with ease.
Our second morning was just as hot and sunny, and as our 12pm kick-out time drew closer, we both agreed we’d happily have spent another couple of days in the Bailey at Roundhill. Despite it being extremely busy, we still had plenty of space on site, and the Bailey had once again shown that it’s a genuinely comfortable, convenient motorhome.
The M3's seemingly endless stretches of 50mph average speed limit were made bearable by the Bailey's cruise control