Updated: Sep 17
The Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show.
Imagine my surprise on a non-adventure day, lazy Sunday afternoon when I thought I would just quickly check my Twitter and discovered I had won two tickets to the Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show at the NEC from the amazing people at Camping With Style.
This is not a sponsored post as we won the tickets in a competition and there are no affiliate links but we could not let the opportunity pass us by to do a review post for you all on our day at the show.
The show is a great venue to find all the inspiration you need to #GetOutside and #FindYourWild. It is a fantastic day out for all the family and a perfect opportunity to look around at current trends and ideas for future adventures.
National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham
The show takes place at the NEC, in the West Midlands, England. 8 miles East of Birmingham city centre. It is easily accessible by road, train and air.
Address: The NEC, Birmingham, B40 1NT
Show Dates: February and October
Opening Times: 10am to 6pm
We chose to drive from South Wales as a day trip, which is an easy route along the M4, then your choice of A465/A40, or A449/A40 then M50/M42 or straight across the Severn Bridge, M5, M42. There are lots of choices. We checked Sat Nav on Sunday morning before setting off and chose the route: M4 Eastbound, A449, A40, M50, M5 and M42. The journey took 2 hours 45 minutes. Parking is included in the ticket price and allocated on arrival. There were plenty of marshalls directing traffic and plenty of spaces in easy walking distance of the show.
There is no overnight parking allowed on the site, but The Caravan and Motorhome Club hosted a temporary campsite with 205 pitches available per night during the show on the North Car Parks 10 & 11. Each pitch cost £36 per night and included the following facilities.
Hard standing paved pitches
No awnings allowed.
Electric hook-up (EHU) pitches are a maximum of 16 amps.
Fresh water available.
Own sanitation recommended.
Small toilet block, no showers.
Black, grey and dry waste disposal available in temporary formats.
Designated area for Blue Badge holders.
Marquee on-site holding a mobile restaurant and bar.
Free entertainment Monday through to Saturday night in the marquee.
Courtesy shuttle service to and from the show.
Dogs are allowed on the campsite provided they are kept on a lead at all times and should not be left unattended.
There is Disabled Parking available, but it cannot be pre-booked. You must take your Blue Badge with you, even if you are arriving by taxi in order to be allowed through to the main entrances.
A Shuttle Bus service runs continuously for free around the site between the car parks and the halls during the show, and for approximately one hour before and after the exhibition.
Operating times are shown at the bus stops. Be prepared for delays if there is a high volume of traffic around the venue during peak times.
If you choose to walk from the car parks, follow the signage to the halls.
Bank: There is a NatWest Bank in the Piazza, open Monday to Friday 09:00-16:30 (Wednesday 09:30-16:30) and there is no charge cash points inside and outside the NatWest Bank.
Cloakrooms: Visitors are able to store bags, coats and luggage for £1 per item per day in The NEC cloakrooms. The cloakrooms are adjacent to the halls when the show opens, an easy and convenient way to free up your hands allowing you to explore the show with no baggage!
Wi-Fi: Visitors to the show can connect to free NEC Wi-Fi across the venue, enabling you to stay connected to your home, offices and social media networks while you attend the event, all for free! This can be accessed using a Wi-Fi compatible device, such as a mobile phone, laptop or tablet. Neither Dunk nor I could get the wifi to work on my mobile phone or his android tablet, so give this a thumbs down.
The NEC states that it is committed to being accessible to all and that all levels of The NEC are accessible to wheelchair users; including the Piazza and Atrium, where the main entrances have automatic doors. One person is admitted free-of-charge per wheelchair user or a person whose disability necessitates a carer.
The entrances to each of the halls were open plan and no doorways, all flat is excellent access for all abilities. Once inside the halls though there were lots of stairs up and down to the various interconnecting areas.
Which meant if you could not manage steps for whatever reason, you had to go out of the hall and round to the next entryway. I felt this was very time consuming and awkward for as the crowds were difficult enough to navigate while on foot.
Wheelchairs are supplied by The NEC and available free of charge for Blue Badge holders and £5 for all other visitors. The number of wheelchairs is limited, so if you have your own, it may be best to bring it with you if possible.
Assistance dogs are also welcome at the NEC, but there is a polite request for owners to bring with them their valid assistance dog licence.
Scooters supplied by The NEC cost £15 per day for all visitors. They can be pre-booked by telephone to the booking line Monday to Friday 09:00-17:00 on 01353 778756. Visitors can also book via Bartram’s website - mobilityhire4you.com/nec-bookings.
For any visitors who have not pre-booked equipment and arrive on the day, any remaining stock will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis and is a non-refundable NEC scheme.
A carer accompanying a Registered Disabled visitor is free of charge. When you arrive at the Show make your way to a box office and fill in a ‘carers’ form. Once completed you will receive your free carer’s ticket.
Food and Drink
The NEC offers a variety of restaurants, throughout the various halls and out in the main plaza. They were quite expensive though similar to service stations both in the range of items on offer and the prices.
There are picnic areas at the show for you to enjoy the food you have brought with you or bought on site. They were all busy, but there was plenty of seating available.
If you have any specific food requirements the NEC food and beverage is operated by Amadeus. You can contact them prior to your visit if you have specific food requirements and according to the NEC, they will always try to accommodate your requirements. We did not use this facility so can not offer any further comment. If you have been in contact with Amadeus we would love to hear your thoughts on the service. Get in contact or find us on social media @AdventureAcces.
You can leave your youngsters (aged 3 – 8 only) in the care of the NEC’s fully qualified and registered staff at the Crèche located in Toute Suite. They will be entertained and amused whilst you get the chance to explore the show. However it is worth noting for future show planning that the crèche was open on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th February only (10am to 6pm) and places are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Again we did not use this facility so can not comment any further on this.
Top 10 Reasons to Visit the Show:
1. IT’S INSPIRING
The Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show is the UK’s largest holiday season showcase, with 5 exhibition halls crammed full of inspiring destinations of campsites and holiday parks throughout the UK and Europe. It’s the perfect place to start planning your next wild adventure!
2. GET OUTSIDE
As you know the WildDunk ethos is about reconnecting with nature and encouraging others to unplug and get outside. 75% of parents think it’s important for kids to get outdoor time on holiday. With all the very latest leisure vehicles, ultimate holiday destinations and must-have accessories all in one place, the Show is the best place to start planning your wild adventure. For help planning a leisure vehicle holiday, show sponsors Freedom To Go where on hand to provide advice and tips. We definitely recommend checking them out.
3. HANDS ON, BROWSE & COMPARE
It was great to be able to see items from our wish list ‘in the flesh’. We were able to compare the awnings and event shelters that we were still deciding about and get expert advice from the companies. That really helps us now with buying confidence when shopping online. We were able to step inside and compare all the latest layouts, interiors and special edition leisure vehicles and camping equipment for 2018. The Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show is the perfect showcase for the latest touring caravans, motorhomes, campervans, trailer tents, folding campers, tents, caravan holiday homes and lodges, camping equipment and accessories. You’ll find more than 350 exhibitors including leading leisure vehicle manufacturers; Adria, Bailey, Coachman, Elddis, Lunar, Swift, Trigano all under one roof!
4. EXCLUSIVE SHOW OFFERS
The shows advertise that you can benefit from exclusive Show offers on thousands of products that you won’t find anywhere else. We, however, found this not to be true. Prices were, in fact, more expensive at the show, we believe due to the cost of appearing at the show. The show is absolutely worth the hands-on browse and compare, but do your research regarding prices before you buy at the show.
5. EXPERT ADVICE
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than talking face to face. Meet dealers and exhibitors in person who will answer your questions and give advice. You’ll also find great advice on what to look for when buying a first leisure vehicle in the Discovery Theatre.
We took advantage of the sales force on the day and were able to discuss what we were looking for and no one was too pushy or ‘salesy’.
The Danish sales rep on the Outwell stand spoke impeccable English and had encyclopedic knowledge of the awnings we were interested in for our campervan. We chatted in-depth about our requirements and came away knowing exactly what we needed. We were really impressed with the company reps.
A motorhome is still on our wish list for the future and we chatted to Continental Leisure Vehicles who had reps both on the Bailey and Autotrail exhibit stands. If you are interested in buying a motorhome CLV will help you every step of the way. We cannot recommend them enough.
6. HOLIDAY HOME VILLAGE
Visit the Holiday Home Village! You’ll get to see a huge range of holiday homes, be prepared to be wowed! We definitely were wowed as we had expected to be and yes many were nicer than my own home. We like the idea of a Park Home in the future (with our motorhome) rather than a holiday home and we chatted to several of the stands about our options.
Choosing the right accessories for your holiday is equally as important as choosing the right type of holiday. You’ll find a range of great accessories at the Show including motorhome bike racks, awnings, fold-up outdoor furniture, satellite TV’s & Wi-Fi booster, games, battery-operated lanterns, hammock, Ebook reader’s, barbecues and more.
Dunk wants a particular cool box/mini-fridge and the exact one he is interested in was on display at the show. So he was able to compare the different models side by side and chat to the sales rep, so he now knows exactly what to buy.
8. FAMOUS FACES
See a host of celebrity TV personalities and adventurers who will be joining the impressive line-up for 2018!
9. IT’S EASY TO GET TO!
The NEC, Birmingham, adjacent to Birmingham International Rail Station, is situated in the heart of the Midlands and is easily accessible by all methods of transport situated.
10. A GREAT FAMILY DAY OUT!
There’s loads of fun and free family activities at the show and kids go FREE!
A mini skate rink
Inflatables play area
Woodland Trust Rest Area
Motorhome & Caravan Show
If you are reading this post and are feeling as though you have missed out. Never fear, the Motorhome and Caravan Show is on every February and October at the NEC. You can find out more details and dates on the website. www.mcshow.co.uk
You will be able to see all of the new caravans, motorhomes, campervans and trailer tents. Plus, you’ll also be able to browse a range of caravan holiday homes, lodges and lots of quality accessories too.
The largest annual display of caravans, motorhomes and campervans in the UK
Leading UK and European manufacturers and dealers under one roof
Exclusive offers on 1000s of vehicles and accessories
Expert advice from leading industry specialists
Your Turn To Share
Now it is your turn to share with us your stories. Have you visited the show? Let us know your experiences of the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show. Perhaps this post has inspired you to visit in the future. You can comment below with your thoughts or find us on social media @AdventureAccess using hashtag #AdventureWild.
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