Nick News, Spotlight

Nick’s News – Exploring Kent, adding value to your leisure vehicle and the Auto-Sleeper Warwick XL

Exterior of the Auto-Sleeper Warwick XL

Nick HardingNick’s News – Nick Harding is an expert in all things motorhomes, caravans and camping. Each week, Nick explores products, locations, holiday ideas and essential community information on our behalf – It’s a Hard-ing Life for Nick, but here is what he found this week.

My week

Once upon a time you could order now for delivery in time to take off touring in the spring. I remember those halcyon days. That was all pre-Covid pandemic, of course, and I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say the whole leisure vehicle industry has been hit.

It’s the uncertainty of supply for key components that’s the issue for new vehicles but, in turn, folk are reluctant to trade in their current models until they know for sure their next one is on its way. Hence the relative shortage of secondhand stock. More importantly, if you have been promised a specific delivery date, do keep checking that everything is going to plan.

In the news

Kent calling? It could be garden questing time

Just in case you’re thinking of places to go touring next year… Kent, the self-proclaimed “garden of England”, has been named one of the world’s best travel destinations for 2022 by none other than the prestigious National Geographic.

England’s south east county may not spring to mind when you’re considering where to go with your caravan or motorhome, but I’m happy to add my recommendations.

Its heritage coast boasts ten Blue Flag-status beaches, five of which – Minnis Bay, West Bay, St Mildred’s Bay, Margate Main Sands and Stone Bay – are on the Isle of Thanet, the sunshine coast capital of the UK, according to the Met Office.

National Geographic was also impressed with Kent’s recent rewilding successes and its plans to reintroduce bison to the region. The Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust project will be helping to reintroduce four European bison into Blean Woods early next year.

Amongst Kent’s towns, Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate have also been highlighted as favoured destinations. If all that helps with your travel plans, then great.

Adding value? Go solar, wi-fi and a reversing camera

Rental company Camptoo has gathered up a list of accessories you could fit to add value to your motorhome (as well as, presumably, your lives). It lists solar panels, a reversing camera and on-board wi-fi as key items that will also help resale values. Also suggested are thermal blinds, a bike rack, air conditioning and a TV aerial.

If you really are thinking of selling your caravan or motorhome – or just want the peace of mind that everything is working well – I can think of two other highly worthwhile investments that arguably trump any of the above: a thorough valet, inside and out; and a good track record of habitation servicing.

Motorhome for me?

Auto-Sleeper Warwick XL – long, but not in the toothInterior of the Auto-Sleeper Warwick XL

There’s always going to be an element in all of us who wants The Next Best Thing, but there’s a very strong argument for buying products that are proven – not least when you’re handing over some £71,000. Well, here’s a vehicle that first took a bow back in 2014 and is as fresh today as it’s ever been.

Introduced as the 6.36m long version of the original Warwick (which then became the Warwick Duo), the XL packs a lot of kit into a typical end lounge floorplan and still manages to offer lots of living space – not just in the seating zone but the kitchen and washroom too.

Part of that is because it’s strictly two-berth. Minor tweaks – motorhome wi-fi, a new air suspension system, a switch over to space-saving Whale underfloor-fitted heating and hot water systems – have helped the XL stay at the top of its game.

Of course, the Warwick XL hasn’t escaped the price hikes that are affecting the whole leisure vehicle industry. Stronger-than-average resale values will help, though, when it comes to trade-in time.

Three good: High overall specification, much-favoured end lounge layout and the Auto-Sleeper residuals
Two bad: Just the single outlet in the shower tray and not enough opening windows
Perfect for… Two luxury-lovers
Also consider: Auto-Trail V-Line 635SE, IH 630 RL/RD and Vantage Neo

Christmas come early, 2021. Part five…

Here’s another mini-round-up as we count down to Christmas. You’ll get some great ideas if you visit outdoor retailer Decathlon, online or in reality. Possible highlights include the Hiking Fleece Jacket for just £14.99, with its environmentally-friendly credentials. Its polyester fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles and there are men’s and women’s versions. Ditto for the £49.99/£29.99 (men’s and women’s) Quechua SH100 hiking boots, in a choice colour finishes.

For accompanying trousers, Keela’s Nevis could be the ideal fit. They’re made from a four-way stretch fabric that’s also water-resistant, with reinforcements at the knees, seat and ankles and come in a good range of sizes. These are prices at £69.95.

Finally, how about this from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)? A full Advanced Driver Course is £149, but a taster could be a £65 Driver Assessment Gift Voucher. It’s a one-to-one session, which can be given to drivers of any level of expertise or experience. I guarantee it will make a better driver of anyone who gives it a go.