What if you could genuinely take all the luggage and kit you wanted on holiday, as well as your own accessible accommodation? Steve Craven tells us how with the help of an accessible motorhome, you can do just that.
So there it was, the CoachbuiltGB Independence Swift Esprit 496 motorhome, Standing in front of us, shimmering white in the car park, whilst I approached it with what seemed like a really small key for such a large beast. Nevertheless, there was something friendly about it; then it occurred to me, it looks like a home – on wheels.
After a guided tour of the features and controls it was time to fire her up, feel the power and hit the road. Although the kids and I were looking forward to hopping from caravan park to caravan park, it was obvious that the motorhome would provide an ideal accessible ‘spare room’ if you wanted to visit friends or relatives that hadn’t had the full adapted home makeover. After all you’ve got everything you need: hoists and ramps, right down to the accessible loo.
You might not even believe that a motorhome can be big enough to be accessible but the Independence Swift Esprit, through clever interior design is completely wheelchair accessible, as well as including a profiling and height adjustable bed amongst its five berth layout and restraint system for wheelchairs.
Having only driven cars before taking the Independence Swift Esprit out it certainly felt like a different sensation. It was nice to be higher up but at the same time I was consciously trying to pretend that the vehicle wasn’t quite so large. We parked up at motorway services for a comfort stop – which gave me a chance to drape a silencing towel over the rings on the gas cooker which stopped them rattling. I only realised as we drove away that I was supposed to park in the bit marked ‘motorhomes’ instead of carefully straddling four parking spaces!
Anyway, just over an hour later we had arrived at the Blackmore caravan park, complete with shop and play facilities for the youngsters and scrupulously clean toilet and shower blocks. Thanks to a sheaf of takeaway menus given to us at reception we were able to take delivery of a Chinese takeaway in the motorhome itself before settling down to a comfortable night’s sleep.
The next morning started with a traditional cooked breakfast in the motorhome. (This is how to start the day!) We then set out for Winchcombe caravan park. Once again it was beautifully clean with a lake by which we sat and fished like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer – Heaven!
Once the fish had stopped hooking themselves we took up our seats again and drove into town to watch my team, Leicester City get destroyed by Manchester United in a local pub. Of course City should’ve taken Mourinho’s advice and ‘parked the bus’ – I’d have lent them this one had they asked! If there was a downside to the motorhome holiday it was that you can’t just unhook it and speed away in your car like a caravanner can.
I’d arranged for my parents to meet up with us in their motorhome. I could see the green of envy on Mum’s face as she inspected the motorhome’s accessible features, such as the wide door access, wheelchair cassette lift and ceiling track hoist, not to mention the level access wetroom with grab rails, since she herself has a few mobility issues.
That evening we rolled back up the M6 to avoid the worst of the Monday morning roadworks and finally back to bricks and mortar. Would we do it again? Most definitely.
To join the Camping and Caravanning Club and explore 108 Club sites around the UK, many of which have disability friendly layouts and accessible facilities visit: www. campingandcaravanningclub. co.uk
Freedom to Go – if you are new to caravanning and motorhome holidays, www.freedomtogo.co.uk has hints and tips to help you get started and plan your next family adventure.
CoachbuiltGB – All Coachbuilt GB motorhomes have the benefit of professionally designed
and installed adaptations with practical and spacious layouts offering everything you need for an independent and accessible holidaying experience.
For full information and specification of CoachbuiltGB vehicles and their adapted motorhomes for hire, tel: 024 7634 1196 or visit: www.coachbuiltgb.co.uk/ motorhome-hire-try-before- you-buy
Steve stayed at:
Blackmore Camping and Caravanning Club, Blackmore Campsite, No 2 Hanley Swan, Worcestershire, WR8 0EE
Winchcombe Camping and Caravanning Club Site, Brooklands Farm, Alderton, Nr Tewkesbury,Gloucestershire, GL20 8NX