Why Hire a Motorhome Before You Buy

Why Hire a Motorhome Before You Buy

Are you considering buying a motorhome or campervan? If so, we highly recommend you hire one before you buy one, and here’s why…

Motorhomes are a huge investment, even when buying a used vehicle. Therefore, you need to know that it is definitely for you, and also to help you to choose the best motorhome for you.

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Driving a Large Vehicle

Many people will not be used to driving such a large vehicle, whether in terms of length, width or height. Some vans also have a really long overhang at the rear, which is an additional consideration when driving.

Motorhome at Col de la Croix de Fer

It’s not just the general driving either, it’s manoevering, parking and being aware of potential limitations as to where you might be able to go.

You need to be sure that you feel happy and confident driving such a large vehicle, otherwise it just won’t get any use, or you could end up damaging your van, which could be very costly.

Hiring a motorhome or campervan can either give you that confidence, or actually help you to decide it’s not for you after all.

Driving Position and Comfort

You want to make sure you find the motorhome comfortable to drive for long distances, so it’s a good idea to hire a motorhome that has the same base vehicle as the one you’re thinking of buying where possible.

Most base vehicles for motorhomes are either the Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer or Ford Transit. 

West Lake District in late August

Motorhome Lifestyle

Having a motorhome is much more than a vehicle to go on holiday in, it is actually a lifestyle in and of itself.

There is a huge community of people who live the motorhome lifestyle, whether that’s your weekend warriors, people who go away for a few weeks or a few months at a time, to people on long-term tours, and even those who live and travel in their vans full-time.

Swift Edge 486

You might prefer to travel and stay on one campsite, or part of the appeal of a motorhome might be the freedom it brings – being able to park up and have a different view every morning.

Either way, it is good to have an idea how you intend to use your motorhome, and also ensure that you enjoy the lifestyle itself.

You won’t really know this until you have stayed in a van for a few days or more and had the experience of finding park ups, connecting to electric, filling up your fresh water and emptying your waste water, emptying your loo, keeping your devices charged etc. 

It can require more planning than you might think. If you’re used to staying in a caravan and just being in the one place all the time, or even camping or staying in a hotel, travelling in a motorhome can be a very different experience.

We have had customers who had looked forward to buying a motorhome for years, and then 3 days into hiring one realised it wasn’t for them after all. It is definitely much better to realise that with a hire vehicle than one you have just forked out your hard-earned savings on.

Motorhome Layout

It is often not until you have spent some time in a motorhome that you truly come to know what you want from one, in terms of layout, bed type, storage, bathroom etc.

For example, would you prefer a fixed rear bed that you don’t have to make up every day?

Cumbria Motorhome Hire Auto Trail F74

If so, would you want an island bed, or are you happy with a French bed (a fixed double bed going across one corner).

Some motorhomes even have twin or bunk bed options, much like you might find in a caravan.

Rollerteam Autoroller 74 rear lounge

Alternatively, would you prefer a seating area at the back, that gives you extra space during the day and evening (ideal if you have a large family or several adults), but then converts into a large double bed at night?

Until you’ve had to make the bed up every night for a week, you might not know whether this layout would work for you or not.

With regards to your shower and toilet facilities, many motorhomes have a combined shower and toilet – some are more open like a wet room, others have an actual shower cubicle inside.

Whereas, some motorhomes have a separate toilet on one side of the van and a shower cubicle on the other.

Whilst that may sound a good option, the individual shower cubicles can be quite compact, so make sure there’s enough room for you to shut the doors, if that’s your preferred choice.

Rollerteam Autoroller 746 shower room

Other things to discover during your motorhome hire are fridge/freezer size, amount and location of storage, overall comfort and general ease of use. 

External Storage

Rollerteam Zefiro 675 garage

Not all motorhomes have externally accessed storage compartments, otherwise known as your ‘garage’ in motorhoming terms. This is particularly so in some motorhome models with a rear seating area, where all of the storage is under the seats, and not accessible from the outside.

That’s not very practical if you have large sporting equipment, a barbecue, kids gear and so on. It’s OK for a couple of folding chairs, your walking boots, and a few extra bits and bobs.

However, if you have a lot of sports equipment, a push chair, or a large barbecue, sun loungers etc, you will need a motorhome with a decent sized garage, ideally accessed from both sides.

Many garages come with power points, lights and heating inside, so are perfect for drying wet equipment, charging your e-bike or inflating your SUP board.

With some motorhomes, like the Rollerteam Zefiro 675, the rear garage even has a fold down bed, which can make an extra bunk if you wish, giving you even more flexibility in your living space. Hire one from Cumbria Motorhome Hire (Lily – 6 berth), if you’re looking for a really versatile van, for multiple uses.

Do bear in mind though, motorhomes with large garages often have a higher rear bed inside, so make sure you’re happy with slightly less headroom than you might have otherwise – another good reason to hire a motorhome before you buy.

Gross Vehicle Weight

Depending on your driving licence, you may be restricted to driving a motorhome with a maximum weight of 3500KG (3.5 tons), which fortunately most motorhomes are.

However, some weigh more than that, which you wouldn’t be able to drive on a more recent driving licence. Therefore, it’s always important to check this when choosing a motorhome, either for hire or to buy.

Cumbria Motorhome Hire Auto Trail F74

All motorhomes at Cumbria Motorhome Hire are under 3500KG, so can be driven on a standard driving licence.

To Conclude…

As mentioned, you might initially think something will be fine, but once you have done it repeatedly for several days – such as making/taking down the bed, constantly shifting stuff around in storage to get to what you want, or dragging stuff from inside the van to use outside – you might soon find yourself getting fed up.

That’s why making sure you get the right motorhome layout for you is so important. We want you to love every minute of your motorhome experience!

West Lake District in late August

However, until you have spent at least several days in a motorhome or campervan, you’re really not going to know what might work for you and what really doesn’t, so hiring before you buy a motorhome really does make sense!

If you have been on the fence about getting a motorhome of your own, and would like to try the experience for yourself, then do get in touch!

How to Get Your Motorhome Hire for Free!

If you hire a motorhome from Cumbria Motorhome Hire, then go on to purchase a new or used motorhome from our sister company, Bardsea Leisure, also located in Ulverston just a couple of miles from our hire base – you will receive the cost of your motorhome hire (up to a maximum of £1500) off your motorhome purchase.

So what have you got to lose!

Sunset over Duddon Bay Cumbria

Give us a call today on 01229 58843 or email us at enquiries@cumbriamotorhomehire.co.uk

We look forward to helping you to make your motorhome dreams a reality!

12 Reasons to go on an Autumn Road Trip in a Motorhome

12 Reasons to go on an Autumn Road Trip in a Motorhome

A holiday in a motorhome can be an experience of a lifetime any time of the year.

However, there is something really special about going on a motorhome road trip in the autumn, as the kids are back at school, it can often still quite warm and sunny well into October, and of course there’s the stunning changing colours of autumn from early September onwards.

Glencoe Scotland in autumn

With the freedom a motorhome brings, this is the time to be enjoying the spectacular autumn foliage on scenic drives up through the Lake District, Scotland, the Yorkshire Dales, or wherever you dream of going. It’s also the perfect time of year to venture across the Channel, and explore further afield as well.

So here are 12 reasons why we think autumn is the ideal time of year to go on a motorhome road trip…

1. Spectacular autumn colours and stunning scenery

Mountains of Scotland in autumn

This has to be the number one reason for going on a road trip in the autumn! To fully appreciate the ever-changing colours at this time of year, you need to get out into nature. As the leaves on the trees turn to those deep red, gold and amber shades, the hillsides also come alive with bright pink heathers and burnished bronze ferns, and the soft, golden light bathes everything in a warm glow.

It really is a sight to behold, and in places like the Lake District and much of rural Scotland, there’s a view to take your breath away around every corner.

Why would you just want to stay in one place, when you have your home on wheels, giving you true freedom to explore!

2. Cheaper motorhome rental rates, if you need to hire

West Lake District in late August

If you are looking to rent a motorhome, autumn is a great time to do so, as rates are usually lower than in the peak summer season, plus there’s often better availability and therefore more choice. Also, if you’re thinking of buying a motorhome, we highly recommend you hire one first, both to make sure the lifestyle is something you would enjoy, and also to help determine the best layout and size you require.

3. Quieter roads

It is so much more of a pleasure to go on a motorhome road trip in September and October, because the kids are back at school and the main summer holidays are over, so the roads are much quieter.

No-one wants to be queued behind a never-ending stream of traffic, you want the joy of the open road!

Mountains of Scotland in autumn

4. Quieter (and often cheaper) campsites

Trying to find a campsite in the summer these days can be a nightmare, unless you’re willing to book up far in advance. Which kind of defeats the object of a motorhome in many ways, if you want the freedom to just stay wherever the road takes you. Also, campsite prices in the summer months can be pretty astronomical.

September and October can be much more reasonable, and have better availability, although if you have your heart set on a particular location, it is still recommended that you book in advance, or at the very least have a back-up plan in case your chosen site is full.

5. Less busy in popular tourist spots

Kelpies Falkirk Scotland

Following on the same theme, touring outside of the school holidays means it’s much less crowded in popular tourist spots, and therefore also easier to park. When you’re in a 7m motorhome, that’s a big deal! Also, queuing up at the latest Instagram hotspot, to take that all important selfie, isn’t any fun either, so it’s a much more relaxing and enjoyable holiday all round.

6. Easier to find overnight park-ups, and less crowded

If you’re more interested in ‘wild camping’ (i.e not in an official campsite), it’s also much easier to find an overnight park-up, because there isn’t every man, van and his dog in every spare space you come across. 

You’re less likely to be wedged in like sardines as well, which also makes for a more pleasant experience.

7. Less kids around

West Lake District in late August

Let’s face it, not everyone wants to be surrounded by noisy kids on their holiday, even if they have had kids of their own.

So, if you’re looking for a peaceful escape in your motorhome or campervan, September and October can be a great time to do so (though be aware of half-term holidays in the latter part of October if this and many of the points above are important to you).

8. Warm days and cooler nights

Even in the UK, we can quite often be blessed with mild weather in September and October, when it can still be sunny, with blue skies, but without the oppressive heat of the summer. Also, it is usually cooler at night, which makes for a much better night’s sleep (although all of Cumbria Motorhome Hire’s vans have aircon and heating in the main habitation area, making them ideal for any time of the year).

Sunset over Duddon Bay Cumbria

However, even if you have some damp and cold autumnal days, you can pop the heating on and still enjoy the scenery whilst being snug and warm inside your home away from home.

9. Less flies and mosquitoes

Once the weather starts to cool down, many of the flies mercifully disappear, and the mozzies diminish.

There’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy a nice cold beer or a glass of wine in the autumn sunshine, whilst being swarmed and bitten to death!

10. Higher driving position and wide panoramic windows

Of course, you can go on a road trip in a car or on a motorbike, and still have an epic adventure.

However, there’s nothing quite like the higher driving position and wide panoramic windows of a motorhome or campervan to truly benefit from the expansive views, with sights you wouldn’t normally see from a car or bike.

You may have driven down a road countless times in your car, then you suddenly realise there’s a whole new world you never knew existed, when you have a higher driving position.

11. Freedom and convenience of a motorhome

This is the biggest and most important benefit of going on a road trip in a motorhome – at any time of the year, but especially in the autumn when the weather can be relatively changeable.

Imagine you’re driving through some incredible scenery, and want to pull over to make a hot drink or have some lunch, and enjoy the view, whatever the weather. 

Mountains of Scotland in autumn

Or maybe you want to wake up every morning with a different view outside of your window. Perhaps it’s a chilly evening, so you pop the heating on and get cosy, whilst still enjoying the sunset over a Scottish loch. Or you want to enjoy the sunrise over the mountains straight from your door, without having to get up at the crack of dawn and drive to get there.

Maybe you want to experience a proper dark night sky in the middle of nowhere, with the brightest stars, the Milky Way and even the occasional shooting star. If you’re really lucky, you may even see the Northern Lights doing its merry dance, up in the north of Scotland on a clear night, then you can crawl straight into a nice warm bed with a hot chocolate for a good night’s sleep. 

A motorhome or campervan gives you so much more freedom and convenience than any other form of holiday, and helps you to do things you might not otherwise experience.

12. A dog-friendly holiday

Whether you are in your own motorhome or campervan, or you hire a motorhome from Cumbria Motorhome Hire, you can take your dog (and even cats) on holiday with you – all of our motorhomes are pet-friendly.

For most people, their pets are important members of the family, so they don’t want to leave them at home when they go away.

West Lake District in late August

A motorhome holiday is perfect if you have a dog, as they can come with you, and enjoy getting out into nature and exploring new places as much as you do.

Autumn is also a great time of year if you’re travelling with dogs, as it’s usually a bit cooler, and they cope much better in the van. Plus it has so much more ventilation for when you are parked up. It’s so much better when your fur family can join you on your epic road trip adventure.

We hope this has given you some inspiration for your own autumn road trip in a motorhome. If so, and you would like to find out more about hiring a motorhome, do get in touch.

We are located 20 minutes from junction 36 of the M6, in the attractive market town of Ulverston, right on the edge of the Lake District, which is also convenient for trips to Scotland, Yorkshire, the North East, or as a local start point for pretty much anywhere in the UK and mainland Europe.

We offer free onsite parking, so you can drive to us in your own vehicle, load up and start your holiday straight away. We even have an Aldi supermarket across the road, to stock up with those last minute supplies.

You can find our prices and availability here>>>

You can see our last minute special offers here>>>

Alternatively, give us a call for a chat on 01229 588433, or drop us an email to

enquiries@cumbriamotorhomehire.co.uk

We would love to help you make your own road trip dreams a reality!

Top Motorhome Driving Tips for First Timers

Top Motorhome Driving Tips for First Timers

If you are new to driving a motorhome or have never driven a large vehicle before, it may feel slightly daunting.

However, our motorhome driving tips should help to prepare you, so you know what to expect, and it can end up being a really fun and exciting experience.

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  • Check the route is suitable for a motorhome before you set off, including any low bridges or width-restricted roads. If you drive on any roads that are deemed unsuitable for a motorhome, your insurance will be void, and you will be liable for any damages incurred or rescue required.

 

  • There are several very steep and narrow passes in the Lake District, and also in Scotland (including on the NC500), where motorhomes are not allowed, and there are no turning spaces for a large vehicle, so do your homework first.

 

  • Get to know where all of your cab controls are before you start, so that you’re not caught out whilst driving;

 

  • Go through your Driver’s Checklist before you leave, to ensure everything is turned onto the correct settings, your cupboards are all secured and anything loose has been put away safely;

 

  • Know your speed limits – for our motorhomes the speed limits are as follows:
  • Built-up areas – 30mphSingle carriageways – 50mph
  • Dual carriageways – 60mph
  • Motorways – 70mph

 

  • We recommend you give yourself some time to get used to driving the motorhome, and how it handles on major roads, before attempting anything more challenging – fortunately Cumbria Motorhome Hire is directly on the A590, just 25 minutes from junction 36 of the M6, so you have plenty of opportunity to develop your confidence;
Cumbria Motorhome Hire Auto Trail F74
    • As the motorhome is much longer, wider and higher than a normal car, you need to read the road much further ahead than usual, to watch out for low obstructions, overhanging trees/buildings/signs, low bridges, tight spaces or sharp turns;
  • As a long vehicle, you also need to allow yourself a much wider space to turn as the back will swing out, and the longer the overhang at the back, the more space you need to allow when turning right or left, otherwise you risk hitting something with the rear of the motorhome. Always be aware of what your rear end is doing!

 

  • When turning right, you are advised to stay in the centre of your lane, to give you enough room to swing out and to prevent other traffic from trying to squeeze past you on the left;

 

  • As a heavy vehicle, it will take you much longer to brake than usual, especially in wet weather, so pre-empt that by starting to brake earlier;

 

  • If another vehicle is approaching on a narrow section of road, slow to a stop. If the other vehicle hits you it is their fault if you are stationary;

 

  • Slow right down to 10mph or less for sleeping policemen or speed bumps;

 

  • As a large vehicle, you will get buffeted by the wind, especially on open roads. If you are passing another large vehicle, such as a lorry, you may get sucked in towards the other vehicle, and you may also experience a ‘wobble’ as you pass by the vehicle which can throw you slightly off course, so take it slow, hold the steering wheel firmly and give them as wide a berth as you are able;
    • Even though you have a reversing camera, these can be deceptive, and won’t always show what is low down or higher up. So if you have a passenger, it is worth them getting out to guide you, as they can keep an eye out for low/high obstacles that you might hit without realising, which can do a lot of damage to the motorhome;
  • Parking for long vehicles can be very limited in villages, towns and busy tourist areas, and they often have very narrow roads with vehicles parked on both sides, so where possible we recommend you find somewhere safe to park up on the outskirts (such as a park n ride), then either walk, cycle or use public transport to access the main areas.

 

  • The Lake District has an excellent network of buses, including an open-top double decker in high season, which gives you a fantastic view. You can also take a boat on some of the larger lakes. This is a much more environmentally friendly option too.

We hope you found our tips helpful, but essentially it’s all about relaxing and enjoying the ride.

Have a fantastic trip!

Places to Visit in the Lake District

Places to Visit in the Lake District

Popular Places to Visit in the Lake District

Coniston Water

Coniston Water

Coniston Water is the third largest water in the Lake District at around 5 miles long by half a mile wide, situated half a mile from the village of Coniston and beneath the towering mountain of Coniston Old Man it really is the perfect place to enjoy any number of outdoor activities both on land and water. Boats and Bikes can be hired from Coniston Boating Centre, situated in the village, which also boasts some very nice pubs, shops and eateries.  Other attractions that may be of interest in the Coniston area are Brantwood, the residence of artist John Ruskin with its’ fabulous gardens and views to enjoy, with many exhibitions detailing the history of Coniston the Ruskin Museum is also a very interesting place to visit.

Coniston – Useful Links
Coniston Boating Centre Tel – 015394 41366
Brantwood – The World of John Ruskin Tel – 015394 41396
Ruskin Museum Tel – 01539 441164

Windermere

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere is a ribbon lake, situated just over a mile from the town of Windermere and is the largest natural lake in England at around 11 miles long and 219 feet deep. A large range of water sports are enjoyed on the lake including waterskiing, sailing, canoeing and kayaking and many more, for a perhaps more relaxing experience you can take a cruise of the lake with Windermere Lake Cruises who offer a number of fantastic packages. The town of Windermere although quite small is a busy place with  a variety of local shops as well as a Booths supermarket.

Windermere – Useful Links
Windermere Lake Cruises Tel – 015394 43360
Places to Stay
Park Cliffe Holiday Park Tel – 015395 31344

Keswick

Keswick

The market town of Keswick is an award winning destination, featured as the ninth best destination in the Travelers Choice awards. Keswick is surrounded by six lakes including the island studded, mile wide Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake, which is famous for being the only actual lake in The Lake District. Also home to a number of peaceful and picturesque valleys such as Borrowdale that boast an array of beautiful scenery with a mixture of vast green expanses, woodland and traditional style villages, hamlets and buildings, which make it the perfect place for hiking and landscape photography. Some of the most breathtaking mountains can also be found in Keswick and the North Lakes area, which include The Scafells, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. There are many routes to walk in Keswick and some guided walks are available organised by the Lake District National Park

Keswick – Useful Links
Walking Routes in and around Keswick Tel – 017687 75738
Events and guided walks calendar
Places to Stay
Castlerigg Caravan and Camping Park Tel – 017687 74499

Ullswater

Ullswater

Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District being approximately 9 miles long and 0.75 miles wide with a depth of 197 feet, the narrow ribbon lake is recognised by many as being the most beautiful lake in the Lake District. There are many attractions and things to do around Ullswater, which is located near the market town of Penrith, some  places to visit are Askham Hall Gardens & Cafe where you can enjoy some of the finest local produce prepared by head chef Richard Swale, Also The Alpaca Centre Shop where you can view the Alpacas in their paddocks and purchase some of the garments created using their wool. Of course you can get closer to the lake itself by climbing aboard an Ullswater Steamer for a fantastic cruise of the lake.

Ullswater – Useful Links
Askham Hall Gardens & Cafe Tel – 01931 712350
Alpaca Centre Shop Tel – 01768 891440
Ullswater Steamers Lake Cruises Tel – 01768 482229
Places to Stay
The Quiet Site Tel – 07768 727016

Hawkshead village

Hawkshead

Hawkshead is a village situated in the South Lakeland area, west of Lake Windermere, a charming village to be explored on foot due to its’ car-free village centre (there is a car park on the outskirts). Hawkshead is steeped in history and has strong connections to William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, in fact one of the main attractions is the The Beatrix Potter gallery, which features original artwork exhibitions plus information about her life outside of writing, such as her work as a farmer and conservationist and her legacy that lives on today. With the cobbled streets, archways and alleyways Hawkshead is a fantastic example of a traditional Lake District village and there are many inns, tearooms and gift shops to enjoy also.

Hawkshead – Useful Links
Beatrix Potter Gallery

Useful Websites

english-lakes.com – Some fantastic information and photography covering all areas of the Lake District

Places to Visit in The Lake DistrictPlaces to Visit | Places to Stay in The Lake DistrictPlaces to Stay