NEC Caravan And Motorhome Show
Did you visit this October’s Caravan and Motorhome Show at the NEC?
This year saw the return of the biggest show of its kind here in the UK. So we couldn’t wait to take a look and find out how it compared to previous shows. This is one event of the calendar year that we try not to miss, a habit first started back in the 90’s after buying a caravan at the show.
Actually opening on the 18th October, we book the temporary campsite at the NEC, arriving the day before. Unfortunately, the campsite shows fully booked for the rest of the week on the online booking system. So, this entails booking an alternative site for the remaining 3 nights of our visit.
Luckily, we get a place at The Caravan and Motorhome Club site in Chapel Lane. This site is quite a good location, because it’s only about 10 miles from the NEC itself. Also, unlike the temporary campsite, it has full site amenities and the most powerful showers imaginable!
Buying Tickets in Advance
First of all, we buy our tickets online through the Caravan and Motorhome Club at a reduced cost of £9.25 each for the Tuesday and £10 each any other day. Non-member rates were £12 each per day.
In the past, we have paid on the door or last minute online. Simply because we sometimes like to plan as little as possible.
However, this year, the NEC soon announce Saturday tickets as sold out, quickly followed by Friday and Sunday, so we don’t want to take a chance.
Later on, there’s a rumour that you can’t buy tickets on the door at all! Goodness me – this seems like a really strange idea for a leisure show. No doubt we’ll soon see for ourselves.
The NEC Temporary Campsite
It’s worth mentioning the NEC temporary campsite operates by The Caravan and Motorhome Club. As the title suggests, it’s only there for the duration of the show. So, it’s located in one of the car parks, with public toilets nearby and electric for each pitch which operates off a generator.
In our opinion it’s quite expensive at £37 per night. After all, it’s only a gravel car park, which has pot-holes and muddy patches after rain. Not only that, but this isn’t the most expensive pitch!
If you want a a hardstanding pitch, it’s a whopping £42 per night. These are located in the adjacent car park on a solid surface, but that’s about the only difference.
The information beforehand states for motorhomes to arrive with full fresh water tanks and empty waste tanks, although they do have facilities to fill and empty. So we arrive full and ready for action.
There to greet us with warm smiles are the waiting Club staff and to be honest, the organisation is great and staff are super jolly too.
Then a pleasant chap in reflective vest escorts us to our pitch. This is basically a spray paint space along a long row of spray paint pitches. He also tells us how to find the pedestrian exit and public loos, as well as the courtesy bus stop.
Opening Day at The NEC Caravan and Motorhome Show
Now we’re ready for opening day at The NEC Caravan and Motorhome Show 2022. First though, we move the campervan off the campsite and park in one of the free day parking car parks.
The doors are open to the public at 10am and clear blue skies greet us. So, we decide to walk to the show entrance, which is only about 10 minutes away.
By the time we reach the main foyer, there’s plenty of eager beaver people gathering for the grand opening. It’s quite exciting to say the least, but where are the crowds? Soon we realise there aren’t any ticket desks open, unless there’s some hiding in the next hall!
Unfortunately we’re in the wrong hall for the cutting of the ribbon ceremony by this years star guest Simon Reeve, how typical! Never mind, word soon reaches out that the show is officially open and with this, everyone moves forward to a waiting attendant.
Then, lo and behold, the flaming ticket scanner has no batteries! So, it’s down to good old fashioned common sense and a quick glance at our e-mail ticket and nod of the head allows us into the first hall of the show.
One of the first things we notice is the sheer volume of motorhomes on offer. No matter what your preference is, the NEC Caravan and Motorhome Show surely is the place to come for choice.
Initially it’s a bit overwhelming, so we head for the nearest stand and work our way through the first hall while we get our bearings.
The one difference we notice is the amount of panel vans being on offer from most manufacturers here. We all know there’s a steady increase in the last 5 years but now it seems panel vans are ready to take over Coachbuilts.
Traditionally, the Coachbuilt motorhome has been king, along with A-Class beasts of the road, but it feels as if there’s a change on the horizon.
There are plenty of colossal motorhomes on show and A-Class too, but there’s a definite lack of overcab bed models.
Prices Through The Roof
It’s not long before we notice the prices and I can only describe them as “through the roof”! The average price of a campervan or motorhome now seems to be around £80,000, rising from anything to £90,000 and upwards to £200,000.
The cheapest we find is about £58,000 and the dearest is a whopping £400,000, we wonder if people are buying or just dreaming!
For us, we’re only looking, thank goodness! If nothing else, the NEC show is an education and one that’s great to keep up with the market and trends as well as those prices.
Caravans – NEC CARAVAN AND MOTORHOME SHOW
As usual there are touring caravans here too, but there’s no static caravans this time. We look at the caravans but only briefly to see what’s around and how much they sell for.
It’s not only motorhomes that are super pricey as we soon find out. Caravans are also reaching upwards of £25,000 for a starting price and there’s some quirky little vans available too.
Long Wait Times
We speak with a few dealers who tell us there’s a long wait for both caravans and motorhomes, with Fiat Ducato chassis models having the longest wait.
Apparently, Amazon have made a large purchase of Fiat Ducato vans, which means there’s not many left for the old motorhome market!
We don’t know how true this is, but some manufacturers are turning to other chassis manufacturers instead. So, expect maybe to see more Transit and Sprinter chassis base models on the road in the near future.
We think this year the accessory stall side of the NEC show is probably the best we’ve seen. All the big industry suppliers such as Dometic, Truma and Fiamma had a large stand as well as numerous other manufactures.
It gives us an opportunity to find a few replacement parts for our campervan, those silly little incidentals that are just hard to get hold of otherwise.
We also meet several companies specialising in solar panels and as we want to upgrade our current solar panel, we find it really useful and informative.
That’s what’s so useful about this type of show, it saves so much research having everything under one roof.
Everything Else Under One Roof
The NEC Caravan and Motorhome show has just about everything else you can think of under the one roof. We spend time looking at travel stands, trying to get some well needed inspiration.
There’s big stands from both the big Clubs as well as overseas travel destinations, campsite providers, App representatives, books and competitions.
We’re still hoping to win the big Caravan Club prize of a trip to Australia, but nothing’s popped into the inbox just yet!
Over at the Inspiration Theatre, there’s regular talks from special guests and celebrities on anything caravan, camping and motorhome related.
We hang around to watch a few, but there isn’t much they can tell us that we don’t know already. That’s not being boastful but it’s what decades living and breathing van travel brings to the brain!
For those wanting to rest their weary feet and gain some added knowledge, then this is the place to be.
Our Thoughts – NEC Caravan and Motorhome Show 2022
Finally, what’s our overall impression? Well I have to say this years show was pretty impressive. Generally there really is something for everyone, even if you’re not buying.
For those wanting to buy at the show, there certainly would have been a really good selection to view.
We came away after 2 days feeling quite optimistic. There’s certainly some great campervans and motorhomes out there and hopefully the sales were there too.
Where were the crowds?
One thing we did notice is the halls were never as busy as we’ve seen at times in the past. We think this is because ticket sales were limited. So despite some days being advertised as Sold out, our suspicion is that it was due to reduced availability, rather than volume of people attending.
Although it was busy, it wasn’t crowded and we didn’t notice any ticket offices open in the foyer. So presumably it was online tickets only.
However, it’s good not to be shoulder to shoulder with passing van enthusiasts, so if this is what the organisers had in mind, we agree, it does have its benefits!
Either way, our guess is as good as yours as to the arrangements on how tickets were distributed this year. However, a clue came in the e-mail survey received a few days ago, when one question asked went something like this – would you prefer limited ticket sales to avoid overcrowding in the halls?!!!