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First Time out & about!!


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Hello everybody,

Where to start...................


Were planning to hire a Motorhome from a local company in Chester with the intention to see whether or not a Motorhome is right for us.

We have a young family of three children ages ranging from 8 through to 13.


Myself and my wife are pondering whether to buy a motorhome therefore we have decided to hire a Swift Sundance 6 birth to give it a try.

Problem being Im not so sure which way I should approach it i.e. Where to go, what I should be looking out for etc.


We have an apartment in Spain so our thinking is maybe if we enjoyed the experience that one day if we did buy a Motorhome our plan would be to drive over Spain and do the whole touring thing.


We live outside Chester so do we stay local or go for a long hike, also where would we park up/ caravan sites???. The chap who owns the hire company told me that if we were to park up anywhere within reason we could be moved on by the police.


As I say, we are very green when it comes to Motorhomes but we have our (Mad) ideas, but as you can guess any help and advice will be greatly appreciated


Many thanks


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I'm not convinced a Swift Sundance will be a good buy although it is fine as a rental vehicle providing the rental company has maintained it correctly.


A six berth is a good idea for your family size. Check to ensure any child seats fit the seat belts - presumably there are enough seatbelts for the family. However, you need to check this because often there are only 4 seatbelts, including the driver, despite the number of berths. Some makes, including Swift, have cushions that make fitting child seats difficult or impossible.


Motorhomes do have loading margins and two adults and 3 children will mean you will have to be very careful with what you take with you if you are not to overload the vehicle. The new Swift Sundance has a loading margin of 653kgs according to Swift which should be just enough for you providing you don't take bicycles and other heavy 'toys' and gizmos. It also weights 4 tons fully laden so you need to check your driving licence to ensure you can drive a vehicle of this weight.


From Chester, you are spoiled for choice. The Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, the Peak District, and Snowdonia are all within reach of a sensible two hour and a bit drive. I would recommend you use campsites with the children. Blackwall Plantation is a decent Caravan Club site for children.

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Only comment is the law sideways facing and the seatbelts . Becareful.

Hire one that has what I call train seats with proper seatbelts for the kids.

Dont look at any vehicle that does not come with this fitted as standard . The law is changing and you wont be able to accomodate the children.


Sorry to be so negative its a wicked holiday and so much fun but I have just sold mine for that very reason.

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Have a look at a Rollerteam 700 it has all the seatbelts you need , plus it has seating for 6 to eat together at the table, some only seat 4 and this can make a difference especially if you can't get out due to bad weather.


There are a number of people hire this van out for you to try. I know one of them personally so if you want more details let me know.


You will love the experience once you have tried it, the children especially.



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Hi Gedo,


You don't say which model of Swift Sundance you are considersing. The 630L has the rear lounge which you will need with 5 people on board as the front kitchen area will only seat 4.

We have one of these vehicles and have been very pleased with it. You will have no problems with seat belts as 3 point harnessses are provided for all 6 occupants.

The beauty of the rear lounge is that people can be put there and kept out of the way of the cooking in the kitchen area.

You will need a bit of discipline at bedtime as 2 of the beds have to be made up from a selection of cushions so it can become a bit busy as the cushions are moved around from their storage place.

Because the dinette seats covert to a bed I do not find them very comfortable for travelling. That is my only real criticism of the 630L.

It was one of the few long vehicles that we tested that gave a stable ride and did not wallow from side to side. A real problem if anyone suffers from travel sickness.


As regards your overnight stop I would choose one of the larger caravan parks which offer a flat hard standing area. You will have enough on your hands without having to worry about leveling ramps or whether you will be able to drive off the grass if it pours down overnight.

You are more likely to find a helping hand on one of these sites if you experience difficulties.


Ideally you want to drive for at least one hour to ensure you find the travel arrangements comfortable.


Hiring before buying is definately the correct approach. We did not like our first hire vehicle despite it seeming perfect when sitting on the dealer's forecourt.


Have fun.


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You could try the Camping & Caravan Club site at Delamere Forest (you would need to be a member first though - costs about £40 for the year)


Its fairly near to you in Chester , its situated right by the forest so you have some level of activity for the kids like Go Ape and cycle hire and there's a rail station right on its door step - literally - giving you the option to go elsewhere for day trips.


You wont be too far from home so some familararity with the area will give you a comfort zone and equally if its not for you a reasonably quick exit back to the hire company.


You dont say when you are thinking of this , with kids I assume maybe school holidays time. If so bear in mind camp sites can get full at these times. So some thought in advance to booking up is wise.


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I hope you get it right with your choice of sites or stops overs as it could easily affect your decision making process regarding a van of your own.


You'll find there are folk on here who refuse to part with a penny for their night halts and at the other end of the scale, folk who'll think nothing of paying £40+ on commercial sites. Each to their own.


Either way, I wish you luck. Using a modicum of common sense would suggest, (to me), you're probably better off using a site and getting the full benefit of the vans facilities via the electric hook up.


You'll be able to top up your water easily enough and use the vans washing up and showering facilities, again, getting your monies worth and giving you a good flavour of motorhoming.


That's not to say you can't achieve the same when wild/free/cheapskate camping, but it requires a lot more experience than you have, i.e. none.


Unless you know of a good value commercial site, or can get a recommendation for one locally to you, I agree with Rog about joining one of the big 2 clubs, The Caravan Club, or The Caravan & Camping Club. £38 in the CC case.


Good luck, it's a great holiday vehicle, no pun intended :D



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Hello all,


Many thanks for the kind replies, the company we are planning to hire from Chester Motorhome hire (Sundance 630L) have a full range of Motorhomes ranging from 2008/2010 Registration so I’ve had a good look through them and as for the safety issues expressed, I’m confident all apply within Health & Safety etc.


Think were going too travel up to the Lakes & book a campsite and just play it from there.


As for purchasing a Motorhome I guess I will be back nagging all for their varied opinions LOL.........


Will let all know how we get on............... Roll on 3rd October!!!! Not everybody’s way to celebrate their 40th birthday but should be a great adventure


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