Kate Taylor
Digital Content Manager

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We name your favourite new 'vans, go skiing in the French Alps, then tour Winchester, France, Belgium and 10 more UK sites in our motorhome cycling special

Don't even think about buying a motorhome until you've read the April issue of Practical Motorhome. The Practical Motorhome Owner Satisfaction Awards 2016 results make essential reading and offer the best way to find out what fellow motorhome owners really think about their own 'vans.

Over the past year we've asked readers who bought a new or pre-owned motorhome since January 2010 to share their experiences. We asked how you got on with the dealership that supplied your 'van, and whether their after-sales care was as good as you'd hoped. Then we asked you what you thought of your motorhome, in the light of your experiences. In this issue we bring you part one – our seven-page report focusing just on new motorhomes. 

We follow it up in this issue with our 2016 new motorhome buyer's guide, listing every new model on sale in the UK, with its crucial data.

Spring into action with our travel features

We're eagerly anticipating spring in our new April issue – offering the spectacular views of the Alps, the Pyrenees and our own beautiful island as inspiration for this month's motorhome tours with an active, freewheeling spin.

First, Bryony Symes dusts off her bike, loads it onto an Auto Campers Day Van and drives to Winchester. We share her adventures as she revisits the haunts of her student days and meets up with pals on a pedal tour of Hampshire. 

Matt Lamy chooses 10 great campsites that make an ideal base for cycling adventures in Britain, from beautiful Bala Lake in North Wales to the Scottish Borders, Dorset's lovely Lyme Regis and more. Then he selects four promising pedal tours you can do while you're touring in your motorhome abroad.

As he's such a keen cyclist, we also asked Matt to work on our hybrid bicycle tests this month. In this issue he reviews eight bikes and selects the best all-rounder for easy cycling on roads and firm towpaths and bridleways during motorhome holidays. 

Our motorhome-based cycling special continues with Bob McDowell's tour of France and Belgium, using a Bailey Approach Advance 665 to provide a comfortable berth as he tackles challenging Alpine bike routes and gasps at the breathtaking views.

Next Bob and his family take a Swift Kon-Tiki to the Pyrenees, exploring the spectacular mountains that separate France from the Iberian peninsula. While Bob pushes himself to the limit on his bike, his family enjoy the Kon-Tiki's home comforts and appreciate the idyllic views in a far more leisurely fashion – on foot!

While we're in the mood for mountains, we join Ruth and Geoff Bass on their skiing holiday in the French Alps. Having taken early retirement, the couple have time for longer adventures. So this month Ruth recommends money-saving ways to enjoy the entire ski season abroad by staying in your own motorhome. 

Benimars and a new Swift

We test one Benimar motorhome and give our running report on another in the April edition – these are the Spanish 'vans imported to the UK exclusively by Marquis Motorhomes. First up is the 2016 Benimar Mileo 286, an attractive 6.99m four-berth coachbuilt with an L-shaped lounge and a drop-down bed bed.

We've also had a chance to use the 6m long Benimar Mileo 313, and you can see how we've been getting on in our running report in the magazine. There's also a quick update on our loaned Bailey Approach Advance 665, now fully repaired after suffering a bit of a mishap a couple of months ago. 

Niall Hampton tests the 2016 Swift Escape 622 and also takes the opportunity to examine all the 2016 updates to this popular entry-level range of motorhomes. 

Used 'vans to suit your budget

If you're looking for good used motorhomes for sale, don't miss this month's used 'van challenge. Our bargain-hunter Nick Harding finds three 'vans with full-width end washrooms. Compare his finds, ranging from a super saver costing less than £30,000 to a 'value for money' option costing less than £36,000 and a stunning 'good as new' motorhome that cost £65,000 when new and is now £48,000. 

If you're looking for used motorhomes for sale costing £10,000 to £14,000, check out our used 'van buyer's guide to the Bessacarr E300 Series, made from 1997 to 2002. We identify the best models in the range, what to look out for and what you can expect to pay for each.

That way you can browse for used motorhomes for sale with some fresh background knowledge in mind!

Projects and practical tips

Diamond Dave, who runs his own motorhome workshop, has noticed a worrying trend with 'van tyres. Take his advice and check you're not rolling on car wheels that just can't take the weight. 

Plus – for those who love a project, reader Alan Jenkins tells us how he designed a 360° camera for his 'van and installed it himself.

And our eternal optimist Nigel Donnelly takes his VW T25 project 'van Wilma on its first proper outing – after a very big tidy-up to decide which of the previous owner's precious belongings he should keep, and which to chuck.

Win show tickets!

Finally, don't forget to enter our new competitions online! We have ten pairs of day tickets for Camperex in Somerset to give away, and five pairs of tickets for The Harrogate Flower Show in Yorkshire. Enter both prize draws before 9 March 2016 for a chance to win. Good luck!

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