If you're thinking of buying a new motorhome for next year, the very best place to do your research is the Motorhome & Caravan Show 2015. This annual show takes place in Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and takes over Halls 6 – 12 and 17 – 20.
If you've never been to the NEC show before, you're sure to find it an impressive sight. Now's your chance to look inside new motorhomes of every size and layout and buy camping accessories, gadgets and motorhome essentials on colourful stands throughout the 11 halls of the show. There's no need to take a picnic: there are food outlets within the halls and more just outside, along the NEC's wide walkways.
With hundreds of new motorhomes for 2016 to choose from and thousands of great new camping accessories, where will you go first? In a separate blog we've chosen our best accessories to see at the NEC, and now we'll give you our top picks of the best new motorhomes for 2016.
Adria is now the biggest, single-branded motorhome manufacturer in Europe, and this Slovenian company has a comprehensive offer encompassing panel-van conversions, coachbuilts and A-classes. The new Compact SP is worth keeping an eye out for if you’re in the market for a small coachbuilt motorhome, and the Coral XL is a new overcab coachbuilt line-up pitched at large touring families. Visit Adria's stands 75 and 77 in Hall 20.
As shown by the Auto-Campers Day Van and Leisure Van, Roy Wood Transits of Berkshire knows a thing or two about conceiving flexible campers that can adapt to the needs of the user. Its latest model, the MRV, takes this one step further, offering fixed furniture and a suspended bed system in lieu of a rock’n’roll bed to increase storage space inside. You can see the latest Auto-Campers range on Stand 110 in Hall 11.
Swift Group’s panel van conversion range goes into the 2016 season with the four best-selling models from 2015. Based on the Peugeot Boxer, Autocruise ’vans range from two- to four-berths and all have received incremental improvements for the new model year. See the 2016 Autocruise range of campervans for yourself on Stands 31,33,34 and 39 in Hall 6.
A new model joins the van conversions segment for 2016, and you can see it at the NEC show. The 2016 Auto-Sleeper Fairford has two lounges – one in the midships and one at the rear – which both convert into double beds to offer a total of four berths. To see this, and the other changes to the portfolio, head for Stands 49 and 55 in Hall 6.
The big news for the iconic British marque is a new range of van conversions: the V-Line SE. This complements the original Auto-Trail V-Line range, now called V-Line Sport. In addition, the entry-level Imala range, introduced last year, gets a new floorplan: the island-bed 730. See Auto-Trail's 2016 'vans on Stand 20 in Hall 7.
The Bristol-based brand launched a new range of affordable low-profiles in February 2015. You can see the four-strong Bailey Approach Advance range alongside their six bigger siblings, Bailey Approach Autograph, at the NEC in October 2015. Visit Bailey on Stands 28 and 29 in Hall 19.
Now back in the UK after a short hiatus, these Spanish-made low-profiles have proved very popular, offering a great spec for the price. Two new layouts join the Benimar motorhome range for 2016: the rear twin-single-beds 264, and the 286, which has a drop-down bed over the front lounge. See them, and the other five models, exclusively on Marquis Motorhomes' Stands 49 and 55 in Hall 6.
Now sporting improvements after a very successful 2015, the mid-market coachbuilt offering from the Swift Group goes into the new season in fine shape. Two- to six- berth models are included; they come in low-line or mid-profile flavours, delivered on a selection of popular floorplans. Visit Bessacarr on Stands 31, 33, 34 and 39 in Hall 6.
This Sussex-based company has been synonymous with high-quality VW van conversions for over 30 years. You can find out more about forthcoming conversions on the new VW T6 base at the NEC. Enjoy seeing Bilbo's campervans on Stand 140 in Hall 11.
The desirable and reliable German motorhome brand Bürstner could have one of the hits of the NEC show on its hands. The 2016 Ixeo IT 680 G is a mid-profile coachbuilt with a huge midships lounge and a longitudinal drop-down bed that’s integrated into the roof. There are also revisions to the Bürstner Brevio compacts and Bürstner Elegance A-classes for 2016. See the new 2016 Bürstner motorhomes on Stand 40 in Hall 8.
Hymer’s entry-level brand recently celebrated 10 years of continuous production. You can get a good flavour of the 13-strong range at the NEC. You can see 2016 Carado motorhomes on Stand 60 in Hall 10.
The upmarket German marque will have 11 models on display in Birmingham, showcasing updates to the Cathargo chic e-line, Cathargo chic s-plus and Cathargo c-tourer sport. There’s also a new model for the Malibu range of upmarket panel-van conversions, the 2016 Cathargo Malibu 600 DB 2, which sports a low-set rear double bed. Take a look at 2016 Cathargo motorhomes on Stand 5 in Hall 9.
The popular French manufacturer Chausson goes into 2016 with incremental improvements, but there is one exciting new model you must check out: the Flash or Welcome 620. This features a forward-facing island sofa in the front lounge. Just above is a longitudinal drop-down double bed. It’s clever stuff. Less is more for Chausson's 2016 motorhomes. Take French leave at the NEC and visit Chausson's Stand 30 in Hall 8.
Super-premium liners from Germany don’t come much better than this. Southdowns Motorcaravans will have the colossal new Concorde Liner Plus 990 G and Credo 841L on display. You'll feel as if you've arrived in the land of giants when you visit the Concorde motorhomes on Stand 16 in Hall 8.
The Bristol camper converter aims to have a 2016 Danbury Surf campervan, built on a VW T6, to check out at the show. It also hopes to display three Ford Transit Connect van conversions. Go surfing, Bristol fashion, on Danbury's Stand 60 in Hall 12.
This German marque aims its motorhomes at buyers who like contemporary styling. A selection of 2016 Dethleffs motorhomes – both coachbuilts and A-classes – will be on display, including models from the revised Trend and Esprit ranges. You can see 2016 Dethleffs motorhomes on Stand 65 in Hall 9.
The new Ford Transit Custom-based 2016 Devon Firefly will share stand space with other popular Devon van conversions at the show, including the rear-lounge Mayflower, based on the Transit XLWB, which joined Devon’s expanding range in the summer of 2015. Visit Devon on Stand 90 in Hall 11.
The panel-van conversions (PVCs) formerly known as Campérêve now go under the Dreamer name, in an attempt to broaden their appeal outside France. The three-strong range has models that follow the floorplans of parent company Rapido’s PVCs, incorporating the same clever design thinking. Follow your 2016 Dreamer campervan to Stand 155 in Hall 12.
The County Durham-based manufacturer Elddis is back up to three ranges following last season’s launch of the Encore line-up. For 2016, two new models have been added: the island-bed Elddis Encore 254 and the twin-single-beds Elddis Encore 285. See these, plus the new Accordo 120 rear-lounge compact coachbuilt and its siblings, at the NEC. There are also two new Autoquests: the twin-single-beds 185 and rear-lounge 195. Read our launch story, Elddis excites with new 2016 motorhomes before the show, then see them yourself on Stands 19, 39 and 43 in Hall 20.
This budget range has been a huge success for Swift Group, and it is currently the manufacturer’s biggest seller. The whole 2016 Escape range of motorhomes will be available to view at the NEC, including the new low-line 622, a new rear lounge two-berth. See the Escape range on Stands 31, 33, 34 and 39 in Hall 6.
Fleurette & Florium
Now available again in the UK thanks to an exclusive deal with Webbs Motor Caravans, French brands Fleurette and Florium will be on display together at the NEC. See them on Stand 85 in Hall 9.
Derby-based Hillside excels at conversions on small base vehicles, turning its hands to VW, Renault and Nissan vehicles. The big news for the NEC show is the 2016 Hillside Leisure Birchover, now riding on the VW T6. Head to Stand 10 in Hall 11 to see the 2016 Hillside Leisure campervans.
The Hobby Vantana range of van conversions receives a facelift for 2016, and a choice of optional colours is introduced. The 2016 Hobby Siesta is now an overcab coachbuilt range, while the 2016 Hobby Optima range has ‘De Luxe’ appended to it and comprises two PVCs and eight coachbuilt models. Visit Hobby on Stand 30 in Hall 9.
Hymer and Hymercar
Hymer’s comprehensive line-up will be well represented, but the new 2016 Van 314 could attract most of the attention – it’s an ultra-compact coachbuilt motorhome with a rear transverse bed. Flexibility is the thinking behind the new HymerCar Ayers Rock, which has a rear bed that folds out of the way to store leisure gear, plus a fridge that opens into the sliding door cavity rather than the lounge. Take a look at 2016 Hymer motorhomes on Stand 60 in Hall 10.
The seven-berth 2015 Itineo SB 740 was one of the hits of last autumn’s NEC (the show ’van was snapped up on the spot) and one of the four new models could reprise the feat for 2016. Itineo is a subsidiary of Rapido and it offers A-class luxury in most cases for well below £50,000. For affordable luxury head over to see 2016 Itineo A-class motorhomes on Stand 40a in Hall 7.
The Scottish converter will unveil a hot new product for the VW T5 and T6 at the NEC: an unzippable elevating roof canvas that can be completely removed in a matter of minutes. Pop over to Stand 55 in Hall 11 to see it.
The new 2016 Knaus Boxlife van conversion range offers three body lengths with sleeping arrangements that cleverly maximise the living space. Choose from single bunks across the rear (5.4m), a transverse double (6m) or longitudinal single beds (6.36m). See for yourself at the NEC, where you’ll also be able to view a special anniversary edition of the Knaus Sky Ti low-profile range from leading dealership Lowdhams. You can see the new Knaus motorhomes on Stand 35 in Hall 12.
This upmarket Italian brand offers refined design and innovation, accompanied by Hymer Group build quality. Luxurious Laika Kreos low-profile motorhomes will be on display at the show, including the twin-single-beds Kreos 5009. For a taste of la dolce vita see the 2016 Laika motorhomes on Stand 45 in Hall 10.
Now back in the motorhome market after a few years away, Preston-based Lunar has been wowing the crowds with its Mercedes Sprinter-based Lunar Landstar conversions. One of them – the end-washroom Lunar Landstar EW – was shortlisted for our 2015 Motorhome of the Year awards. Step on board 2016 Lunar motorhomes on Stand 39 in Hall 17.
Diversifying into motorcaravans has been a smart move for this equestrian-vehicle builder. Slide-outs are the unique selling point of Moto-Trek motorhomes – you can see this impressive technology in models in its Moto-Trek X-Cite G and Moto-Trek Euro-Treka ranges. Don't spare the horses, sprint to Stand 60 in Hall 9.
This Devon-based brand needs little introduction: it has been building highly regarded high-top motorhomes for over three decades. For the 2015 season, it started converting on the eighth-generation Ford Transit, alongside models riding on the more typical Fiat Ducato. Whichever base vehicle you choose, the habitation area will be one of the best designed and finished on the market today. See the 2016 Murvi campervans on Stand 20 in Hall 10.
Niesmann + Bischoff
This super-premium brand has favoured incremental improvements over wholesale revisions for 2016. But there are new models in both the Arto and Flair ranges, offering even more opportunities to appreciate the fabled Niesmann + Bischoff quality up close. Visit Stand 71in Hall 10.
This well-regarded French manufacturer builds van conversions, coachbuilts and A-classes. Clever design thinking is evident across the collection, and interior ambience is always pleasing. NEC visitors will also be able to see two new top-of-the-range 2016 Pilote Le Voyageur models, now more tightly integrated into the Pilote portfolio. Set a course for Pilote on Stand 10 in Hall 9 to see Le Voyageur.
Another French brand with a choice of quality finishes across van conversions and coachbuilts, Rapido has a dedicated following in the UK. With nine new models introduced for 2016, including an addition to the range-topping Distinction A-class line-up, there’ll be much for fans of the brand to enjoy at the NEC. Visit Rapido on Stand 40 in Hall 7.
These Italian-made ’vans are back on sale in the UK at eye-catchingly low prices thanks to a favourable exchange rate. The new 2016 Rimor Koala Elite range is based on the Renault Master, and takes its place alongside other offerings including Katamarano and Superbrig. If you’re shopping for an affordable coachbuilt, then Rimor is worth a look, on Stand 20 in Hall 9.
Italian design flair and quality build has helped Trigano Group subsidiary Roller Team fare well in the UK over the past couple of seasons. Three new models will be launched for the 2016 model year: two in the entry-level Zefiro range, and one in the mid-market Auto Roller line-up. Read our 2016 Roller Team motorhomes launch story and see them on Stand 30 in Hall 7.
The Yorkshire-based van converter will unveil a new model, the FL Twin, at the show. It will also be revealing its new iDesign concept, which aims to enhance and improve the motorhomes that it designs and builds. Visit Shire Conversions on Stand 50 in Hall 11.
Dethleffs spin-off Sunlight motorhomes comprises a 13-strong line-up of affordable coachbuilts that are ideal for newcomers to the pastime. There are no new models for 2016, but two new paid-for options packs allow buyers to personalise their vehicles with items including a leather gearstick knob and alloy wheels, and metallic silver sidewalls. Whatever the weather, you'll find Sunlight on Stand 70 in Hall 9.
Hull-based Swift Group is the UK’s largest motorhome manufacturer. All models from the coachbuilt ranges will be available to view at the show, from the entry-level Escape, compact Rio and mid-market Bessacarr, to the upper-mid-market Bolero and portfolio-topper Kon-tiki. All ranges receive updates and improvements, and there’s a total of five new Swift models for 2016. Get on board Swift Group's 2016 motorhomes on Stands 31, 33, 34 and 39 in Hall 6.
Built at the Auto-Trail factory in Grimsby, Tribute coachbuilts are affordable entry-level motorhomes that offer tried and tested floorplans popular in the UK. The line-up has been augmented by a new, top-of-the-range six-berth, the T-736. Elsewhere, there are tweaks to the Italian-built T-669 and T-670 van conversions. To see Tribute motorhomes visit Auto-Trail on Stand 30 in Hall 7.
Leeds-based Vantage took top spot for the Manufacturer of New Motorhomes category in our Owner Satisfaction Awards 2015 – and not for the first time. The NEC show will see Vantage launch its 2016 range of van conversions and you can expect to see some clever design thinking, and the inherent build quality that comes as standard at Vantage. See the new 2016 Vantage motorhomes an Stand 60 in Hall 11.
Look out for some exciting new models in Birmingham: the Wellhouse Terrier Lux is an affordable entry-level version of the wildly popular Terrier, while the M-Sport Camper takes the concept to the next level, featuring full body kit, alloy wheels and Italian furniture. Cementing the luxury offer is the new Moselle, based on the latest Mercedes Vito. Check out the 2016 Wellhouse Leisure motorhomes on Stand 85 in Hall 12.
These stylish Italian motorhomes featuring monocoque habitation-area construction are certainly eye-catching inside and out. The Wingamm Micros is the first coachbuilt conversion on the new VW T6, and it’ll be at the NEC on Stand 8 in Hall 8.
T6 takes a bow...
Be a Transporter spotter at the show. Looking for a Volkswagen T6 conversion? Well, you’re in the right place. The 2016 version of VW’s trusty Transporter has just landed and four exhibitors at the NEC will debut their latest offerings to rival the new 2016 VW California campervan.
Concept Multi-Car will launch its new 2016 Reimo Free Van and hopes to have another T6-based model on display on Stand 145 in Hall 11.
For 2016 Nomad Campervans unveils its Ranger conversion, which takes advantage of the T6’s new variable seating layout options in the rear passenger area to offer seating for five people on full-size seats. Visit Nomad on Stand 165 in Hall 11.
Italy’s Wingamm (Hall 8 Stand 08) offers something quite different, with the show’s only T6 coachbuilt conversion, the new T6 Micros, on display in the entrances to Hall 9 and 12.
In addition, iconic VW campervan converter Westfalia will debut its new T6 Club Joker City pop-top in Birmingham. This features innovative sleeping arrangements, water boiler and heating, plus a cassette toilet in the rear. Take a look, on Stand 160 in Hall 12.
Other converters hope to exhibit VW T6 campers at the show, subject to receiving the base vehicles in time. They include AutoHaus on Stand 86 in Hall 12, Danbury and Vanworx on Stand 160 in Hall 11.
Brush up your manoeuvring skills!
Motorhome manoeuvring sessions will again be available at the show, in partnership with the Caravan Club. Participation is free and sessions can be booked on The Caravan Club stand in Hall 20. Each slot is 20 minutes long; those wishing to take part must bring their driving licence with them.
Motorhome model tours
Have you seen a model you like but have some pressing questions about the layout and specification? Wouldn’t it be great if the manufacturer could show you round the ’van? Now you can find out everything you need to know about a particular model, at one of the daily product showcases.
Brands taking part include Adria (Matrix SL), Auto-Trail (V-Line SE), Hymer (Van 314 SL and HymerCar Yellowstone), Hillside Leisure (Birchover on VW T6), Knaus (model to be confirmed), Roller Team (Zefiro 695 low-line) and Swift (Rio 325).
Sessions are scheduled for every day in Hall 9, at either 12.30pm or 2.30pm.
Buy tickets in advance
The Motorhome & Caravan Show 2015 is nearly all under cover at the NEC, so it's not affected by the weather. It makes a great day out and if you buy advance tickets online they cost just £8.50 (adults) or £7.50 (senior citizens, 60+). That price drops by another 50p per ticket if you use the Practical Motorhome NEC discount code 'PMH3' online. There's a small admin charge for advance bookings.
The walk-up price is £12 (adults) and £11 (seniors). Children 15 years and under go free when accompanied by a paying adult or senior. Car parking is included in the ticket price and the free show guide is subject to availability. No dogs are admitted (except assistance dogs). Group ticket discounts available in advance for bookings of 10 or more – call 0800 358 0058 for details.
Don't forget to get there early – doors open at 10am and close at 6pm every day from 13-18 October. Enjoy the show!