The Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show is the UK’s second largest motorhome and caravanning event. It is also an excellent opportunity for the public to see all of the new 2017 caravan, motorhome, holiday home, folding camper and trailer tent models from the leading UK and European manufacturers.
The show was first launched as a National Caravan Council (NCC) event, in 2011, and is supported by industry members, as well as the Caravan Club and The Camping & Caravanning Club.
Along with its sister show; The Motorhome & Caravan Show, it accounts for some 20% of total UK sales of caravans and motorhomes each year. With over 350 exhibitors, across 11 halls, it offers the widest possible choice, all under the one roof.
The show was opened, at 10am, by broadcaster, author and TV presenter, Ben Fogle, who also did a talk, in the Discovery centre, on his various adventures. There are a number of other celebrities attending the show, through its duration. Full details of these are available on the Show’s Web Site.
The caravan and motorhome industry is responsible for generating £6bn each year, for the national economy. In Britain, there are currently:
- 550,000 touring caravans
- 350,000 ‘static’ caravan holiday homes
- 205,000 motorhomes
Each year there are:
- 20,000 new touring caravans registered
- 7,400 new motorhomes registered
- 15,000 caravan holiday homes registered
Based on average values, that equates to:
- £325 million, per annum – new tourer market in the UK
- £464 million per annum – new motorhome market in the UK
- £600 million per annum – new caravan holiday home market in the UK
The caravan industry employs more than 100,000 people in the UK, including seasonal staff. 95% of caravans and 75% of motorhomes seen on UK roads are actually manufactured in the UK.
Whilst on holiday, caravanners, generally, spend £2 billion in the UK alone, thereby helping to support local businesses and attractions.
Double Digit Increase In New Caravan & Motorhome Sales During 2014
- Dealers reported strong 2016 activity
- Younger buyers with families are now entering the market
- Positive industry news before the current show
- More than 80,000 visitors expected to this show between 21 -26 Feb
Figures released by industry trade body the National Caravan Council (NCC) reveal that sales of new touring caravans and motor home registrations increased significantly, again, in 2016, indicating that more buyers are entering the leisure vehicle market.
- New motorhome registrations increased by 16.6%, year on year
- Sales of new touring caravans increased by 11.1% year on year
- Sales of caravan holiday homes, also, increased, by 8.8%
Across the board, sales of all new units increased by 11.4% in 2016
According to NCC data, in total, 54,680 new touring caravans and motorhomes were sold in 2016, compared to 49,092, in 2015. Anecdotal evidence suggests that buyers are increasingly younger families, and the NCC is working with the Caravan Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club on a new industry promotional campaign, freedomtogo.co.uk to attract new entrants to the market.
Camping remains a British manufacturing success story. More than 95% of touring caravans in the UK are made here, and approximately 60% in the case of motorhomes. Over £2.4 billion was spent on caravan holidays across Great Britain, with more than 51 million nights spent in caravans each year. The industry as a whole contributes more than £6 billion a year to the UK economy.
Of course, there are bound to be a lot of similarities to the, larger, October show, however, the Spring show takes part in a different area of the NEC, filling only the 5 larger halls, as opposed to 11 smaller ones in Autumn.
This means, in many ways, that the show is even more organised than in October, insofar as each particular aspect of the industry was grouped together in one or more halls, even more so than its larger sister show.
Obviously, there is bound to be a degree of overlap, but the main halls can be summarised as follows:
- Holiday Homes & Lodges
- Campsites & Destinations
- Tents & Camping
- Trailer Tents & Folding Campers
Generally speaking, you tend to find that the main exhibitors are in the centre of each hall, with a large number of smaller stands dotted around the outside, selling all manner of items and services, both camping and non camping related. You can, also, view / download a Full Show Floorplan.
In addition to all of the ‘standard’ exhibitors, there is the usual array of attractions and events, including;
Discovery Theatre. Featuring an array of live shows and talks, running from 11am to 5.15pm, daily. The talks will cover many aspects of caravanning, camping and motorhomes, and are designed to be both informative and entertaining.
Celebrity Guests & Experts. The Experts’ Theatre offers an array of live shows covering many aspects of the Motorhome and Caravan industry. There will be a packed timetable of events including live cookery shows, product launches and Q & A sessions with leading experts in the field. Checkout the timetable using the link above.
Live Cookery. The clue is, very much, in the name! Click on the link to check out the various chefs and timetables.
Dog Agility. Back by popular demand, apparently, and, this year, for weekend attendees, with the added attraction of Ashley and Pudsey of Britain’s Got Talent fame. A new feature, this year, is the introduction of the ‘Canine Travel Clinic’, a drop in area where you can discuss any concerns you may have about travelling with a dog, and taking them on holiday, generally. You’ll have to be quick, though, as the service is only available from 10.45 – 11.15, daily.
Towing Experience. Free one to one sessions are being offered by The Camping and Caravanning Club where you can learn to tow a touring caravan safely. This session will help you whether you’re a newcomer or an old hand. The specially trained tutors are all experts and will show you how to get the most out of your vehicle and your travels. In addition to the normal towing experience, this show now offers a New To Caravanning option, provided by Freedom to Go, who are offering us the chance to practice our hitching and reversing skills. Again, this is a free service.
Motorhome Manoeuvring. Become a motor caravan manoeuvring master! The Caravan Club is offering free expert tuition at the show. These sessions will improve your skills and help build confidence. You’ll be driving a motorhome alongside a fully qualified Caravan Club instructor.
On-Site Campsite. As usual, the show are providing a 200 pitch camp site, including electric hook up. These aren’t cheap, at £36 a night, but evening entertainment is available, for those making use of the site.
Various other attractions, including Bushcraft Workshop, Bounce Zone, for kids, Visit Wales Area, Creche and Woodland Trust Assault Course.
As previously, ticket prices are £8 in advance, and £10 on the door (£7 and £9, respectively for senior citizens). Children of 15 and under go free. This means that the basic cost of a day out for a family of four can be as little as £16 for two adults and two children, including parking, show guide etc. Obviously, the price ramps up pretty quickly if you start to venture anywhere near the huge selection of on site eateries dotted around the various halls.
Queues did seem to be quite a bit longer, both in terms of number of people and time spent waiting than in October, but I think this is due to the different positioning of the show within the NEC. The whole Spring show seems to be much more compact, and there appeared to be only a couple of sets of ticket kiosks this time, albeit it with quite a few in each one. As usual, though, everything seemed to be moving very smoothly, and the shuttle buses were as efficient as ever.
The main show is exactly as you would expect it to be; a vast array of caravans, motor homes, tents, accessories, holiday destinations and accommodation, and anything even remotely to do with camping (plus a few things that appear to have absolutely nothing, whatsoever to do with it)!
Those who are looking to buy a new caravan, can, comfortably, spend a couple of days here, and still not see everything, if they spend time looking at all available options in some detail. Those who are interested in tent camping will find that a day is more than enough to cover everything they need to. Those who are just going for a browse should find it is a worthwhile day out, with plenty to see and do, and more than enough things to tempt you to part with your hard earned cash!
The Folding Camper Bit
Of course, Blue Sky continues to specialise in folding campers, and, to a lesser extent, trailer tents, so, as previously, it’s only fair we cover that, particular, area in a little more detail.
As usual, all folding camper / trailer tent exhibitors are grouped together, in Hall 5, which did keep things nice and convenient, as well as saving on the shoe leather. Once again, there was an improved showing over the October event, with a couple of notable additions being the Cabanon and HoltKamper ranges.
In simple terms, Hall 5 is divided in two by the Visit North Wales Adventure feature, with tents to one side, and folding campers / trailer tents to the other.
There are, actually, seven stands, dedicated to trailer tents and folding campers, as follows:
- Camperlands (mostly Camp-let)
- Cabanon and
Each of these stands are covered, in a little more detail, below.
These innovative and stylish campers really look the part, with a huge kitchen unit, cleverly incorporated into the main tent canvas, and large comfortable beds.
On the downside, these beds do tend to be quite high, at just over 3ft off the ground, and there is only one double bed, with additional berths being in an annex tent, off the main living area.
One thing that is particularly cool about this marque is the way certain models inflate totally automatically, using their patented Windforce system
The Trigano stand is next to the Holtkamper one, and is, also, presented by BCC. All four current models are, again, represented; the Alpha, the Galleon, the Odyssee and the Olympe. These models have not changed significantly since the review we first did in 2014.
Once again, Pennine had all four current models on display, including three (the Conway Countryman, Pennine Fiesta and Pennine Pathfinder) which were set up, ready to be viewed, plus a Conway Crusader, used to demonstrate the setting up / folding away procedure.
As previously, Camperlands are displaying both the Camp-Let range, and their own Campmaster Air. The latter is an innovative trailer tent design, that can be towed by a motorcycle or small car. It is based around a modified Vango Eden 400 air beam tent. This year, it was on display with extension awning, making it a very sizeable unit, for such a tiny trailer.
The Cabanon stand is the third of the BCC offerings, and includes the usual array of current Cabanon models, including the Jaguar, Manga and Mercury, but with the addition of brand new model, the Orion, an interesting, and reasonably high spec two berth model, being, effectively, an updated version of the Cabanon Venus.
This year, Opus have two models on display (plus one folded). They have the standard Opus Camper, as well as the recently introduced Air Opus. For a more detailed summary of these, take a look at our recent Opus Camper Model Review.
With the exception of the Cabanon Orion, all models were exactly as they were last year. These are already uploaded to our You Tube Channel, if you want to check out those that are on display.
The ‘And Now For Something Completely Different’ Award
This year the NFSCD award goes to the Barefoot mini caravan. This is a miniature two berth caravan, that will, no doubt, appeal to the Go Pod fans.
Where the Barefoot really differs from the pack is that it is available as the ‘Barefoot Naked’, a finished, but empty, shell, ready for you to place your own furniture, in situe.
The display model, actually, had a small domestic settee, table and chair in it. How they expect you to travel with something like that, I’m not quite sure, but, with a price tag of almost 15 grand for an empty shell, I don’t expect too many people will be keen to find out.
The fully fitted Barefoot is a very nicely appointed model, with toilet and shower (unlike most competitors, including the Go Pod) but, again, the price tag of almost £24K is likely to be an issue for many.
As ever, the show has much to keep all family members entertained. Those looking for a new caravan, or motor home could spend days wandering around the various halls, viewing all of the available options. Tent enthusiasts are not quite so well catered for, and folding camper/ trailer tenters even less so, but, even so, there is, still, plenty to see and do, and it would be quite possible to spend a whole day just looking at the accessories and other stalls, and partaking of the various activities on offer.
You very often hear complaints as to the costs of the food on offer, however, when you bear in mind that the whole day costs, at most, £10 per person, with entrance, car parking program and loads of free activities, it’s not a bad deal, overall, and you can always take a packed lunch, if you feel the need.
Much of Hall 4 is also comprised of the ‘Campsites & Destinations’ section of the show, which includes an excellent selection of camp sites, travel companies etc, many of them outside of the UK, for those of you considering venturing a little further afield, or just looking for somewhere different within the UK.
Everything else camping is catered for as well, including clothing, cooking equipment, cleaning products, satellite TV, furniture, tow cars, solar panels, the list is endless. If you’re still undecided, I strongly recommend you give it a go. It’s excellent value, and a real full days entertainment, if you have any interest in camping or caravanning whatsoever.