Our staycation summer has seen tent-filled campsites up and down the land as many people have turned to holidays in the great outdoors to avoid extortionate cottage rental prices and hotel rates.
Another change has been taking place, too, among those who want something a bit more comfortable, without the bother of hooking up and towing a caravan. Motorhome holidays have boomed, with Volkswagen alone reporting a 621 per cent year-on-year increase in sales of its highly popular VW California vans (from £52,000).
Dealers in second-hand vehicles are just about sold out — and motorhome sales as a whole are said to be up by about 40 per cent annually, with rentals leaping by a similar percentage. But who wants a plain shoebox on wheels? Why not go for one of the slightly more eccentric motorhome offerings on the market? As our guide shows, they come in all shapes and sizes . . .
Creative living: The converted horsebox Juniper
Juniper has a kitchen and a small bathroom with a toilet and basin, plus beds for six
Hoof it off on holiday by climbing aboard and driving a wooden horsebox named Juniper, which has been converted into a rustic cottage on wheels, complete with log burner, sofas and old wooden floorboards. Trot up the ramp to find beds for six.
There is also a kitchen with an oven, hob and fridge (all cutlery, crockery and pans are provided) — plus a small bathroom with a toilet and a basin, but no shower.
Juniper was a custom-built horse lorry made by George Smith, renowned horsebox builders of 30 years’ standing, based in Wiltshire. It was originally used to transport Shetland ponies and was converted into a home in 2017, after which it was lived in by a family for three years.
All yours: From £129 a night (quirkycampers.com).
A GREEN ESCAPE
Take an emission-free camping tour with the latest green holiday machine. It claims to be ‘the nation’s only all-electric campervan available to rent’. The converted Nissan — called Spoot — drives silently between campsites without upsetting your eco-conscience and has a plug-in range of 120 miles. It sleeps two.
All yours: From £120 a night (camplify.co.uk).
THE MEGA MOTORHOME
Dembell’s £1.3 million luxury motorhome is ‘the size of a National Express coach’
The monster RV has plush yacht-style interiors. Pictured is the dining area
It’s the size of a National Express coach and filled with hand-crafted wood-and-glass suites, mimicking a luxury yacht. The world’s swankiest motorhome launched at a European caravan show this month.
The German-made monster RV (short for recreational vehicle) includes a giant six-and-a-half-foot-square bed and a mobile garage designed to house a Ferrari (if you happen to have one).
All yours: On sale for £1.3 million (dembell.com).
SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
A tiny converted van could be the UK’s smallest motorhome. The Wheelhome is the size of a normal family hatchback but cleverly squeezes in a compact kitchen and two beds.
It might not suit bigger-boned campers very well, but the micro-motorhome could be just what you are looking for.
All yours: On sale for £23,995 (somersetmotorhomecentre.co.uk).
A 141mph super-campervan is the world’s fastest motorhome, according to Guinness World Records. There’s a double bed, toilet and kitchen, making it perfect for an extremely quick trip away. Orders can be placed for similar super-vans. The one that broke the record was a souped-up, cherry-red Fiat Doblo.
All yours: Prices vary (creationcampers.co.uk).
WOOD YOU DARE?
The 2008 Fiat Ducato was turned into a ‘chaletvan’ by designer and artist Barry Stimson
The head-turning home sleeps two and includes a table, stove, shower
Designed for the eccentric camper, the ‘chalet on wheels’ was formerly an art classroom for a special school.
It is now a head-turning home that sleeps two and includes a table, stove, shower and Heidi-style looks that will certainly be the talk of the campsite.
The 2008 Fiat Ducato was turned into a ‘chaletvan’ by designer and artist Barry Stimson as a ‘one-off functional piece of art’ and has already been taken on a six-week adventure across Europe by its current owner.
All yours: From £65 a day (camplify.co.uk).
Get off the beaten track in a rugged converted Land Rover 4×4 Defender called Blue Belle.
The camping version of the Queen’s favourite off-roader sleeps four and has a fridge, shower, outdoor furniture and an awning, plus it’s pet-friendly. It’s just the thing to take the whole family far from the madding crowd.
All yours: From £100 a night (camplify.co.uk).
- For further information, see the Caravan and Motorhome Club (caravanclub.co.uk) and National Caravan Council (thencc.org.uk).