The new March edition of Practical Motorhome is fizzing with fun as we take you on a tour of Somerset’s myths, legends and cider, then head to France to explore the vineyards of the Champagne region and the artisan breweries of the Ardennes, then finally head for Alsace for wine tasting in the borderlands between France, Luxembourg and Germany.
But first we enjoy the second leg of a fly-drive motorhome tour of New Zealand, as Gary and Wendy Blake explore lava-hot beaches, steaming volcanoes and iconic sights of the North Island. Join them as they take the Kelburn Cable Car for wonderful views of Wellington, meet the Maoris, visit the ‘winterless north’ and see dolphins in the Bay of Islands.
In Somerset we join Bryony Symes in the Benimar Mileo 286 on a mission to discover independent cider makers. She visits the Somerset Cider Brandy Co and admires the apple orchard at Burrow Hill Farm before driving to her pitch in the orchard at Thorney Lakes and Caravan Park. She also visits Barrington Court, the stately home used in the BBC’s Wolf Hall drama, and discovers links to the Tate & Lyle sugar dynasty.
Finding fine wine in Champagne is the task Caroline Mills set herself. It’s a tough mission, but someone has to do it! We all enjoy the ride as she explores bucolic scenery, friendly people and wine-tastings in this glorious region of France. It’s not all about the familiar ‘Champers’, though, as Caroline sees the grapes being harvested for Pinot Noir and tries a Champenois breakfast of local red wine, croissants, local cheeses and paté croute.
Harvest time on the Rhine is evidently a bountiful one, if Tony and Anne Brown’s tour of Alsace is anything to go by. They visit picturesque Little Venice in Colmar and the equally lovely Petit France. They cross the border to Luxembourg and find the best cakes in the city, then visit Germany for palaces, Black Forest gateaux and more wine tasting. Find out all the best places to go and the four campsites they used in our March issue.
Our final travel feature this month is the tour of the Ardennes, taking in mountains, forests and beer tasting at independent artisan breweries along the way. Caroline Mills quenches her thirst and finds the best routes, aires and sights to see in this splendidly isolated region of France.
We hope you’ll enjoy this month’s tipple tours – a little of what you fancy does you good. Cheers!
Win show tickets and an inspiring book
We have teamed up with Apple Tree Exhibitions to offer Practical Motorhome readers a chance to win one of 10 pairs of tickets to the West Country Caravan and Motorhome show in Exeter from 11-13 March 2016. Enter online here by midnight on 10 February 2016.
She’s also offering you a chance to win one of six books, Waltzing Matilda around Australia. It’s the inspiring tale of how life after retirement leads the authors to follow their dreams. Click here to enter by midnight on 10 February 2016.
Plus there’s a special introductory offer in this issue. To get hold of a copy of Sea View Camping in The West Country for £5.50 instead of the full price of £9.99, visit Vicarious Books right now.
New and used motorhome tests
As ever we’ve been testing the latest and best new motorhomes as they come onto the market. In this issue Alastair Clements reports the latest news of a new sweet spot in the van conversions market, fantastic Fords and the latest from Benimar.
We review the Wellhouse Evie, a brand new van conversion that you’ll want to drive as your only vehicle. The neat and versatile little camper-car is small enough to fit into a multi-storey car park, yet has a nice long double bed on board.
We test the new Marquis Majestic 135, a three-berth coachbuilt that is just one of 14 new Marquis Majestic models launched for 2016.
Then we check out the new Swift Rio 325, a more conventional model that has just been added to Swift’s Rio line-up. Can it match its innovative siblings? Find out in our March issue.
We never forget that plenty of people are looking for used motorhomes for sale in our classified ads online, so we offer plenty of advice in our used ‘van buyer’s guides. In this month’s used ‘van challenge we compare and contrast a trio of British-built end-lounge motorhomes, to suit a wide range of budgets. Then we provide an essential guide to buying a great 1992-1996 Auto-Trail Cree – a favourite among VW campervan fans.
Diamond Dave, who runs his own motorhome workshop, gives advice on how to help your ‘van sail through its MoT this month. Just a few easy adjustments you can make yourself will save you money and hassle every year.
And Ruth Bass reveals how she and her husband, Geoff, have personalised their Carthago Chic A-class motorhome to get the most out of it.
The last word in each issue goes to you, the readers. In this month’s ‘Tour that changed my life‘ Meli George and Chris Doree tell us how their experiences as motorcaravanning full-timers has inspired them to start their own publishing business and carry on touring!
We hope you’ll enjoy the new March issue – it’s on sale in the shops from 14 January 2016.
Caroline tries a Champenois breakfast of local red wine, croissants, local cheeses and paté croute