September sees me and the family travelling to Hull to the annual HERMCA Lawns Caravan Exhibition. It’s the event of the year for the caravan sector and there are countless Static and Touring caravans, not to forget lodges and motor homes and all the paraphernalia which goes with it.
There’s something 180 static caravans at the Lawns show, even though we are used to viewing caravans this is a slog for us. We don’t even attempt to view them all, we have something of a filtering process. That said Tree Tops is an interesting park with pitches of all shapes and sizes and this in mind we have to view caravans from 28 feet up to 42 feet long, in both 10 feet wide and 12 feet wide varieties. We also have to look at those wider than 12 feet wide as we are always looking to the future. In all we probably view 80 units, mentally processing this number of caravans is never easy we have to look and look again at some of the models to get them to sink in. We walk away from the show with 5 or 6 models having made an impression.
It never ceases to amaze me that caravan manufacturers come up with so variations within a pretty much standard sized box. Some of the units feel incredibly big others seem to struggle to fit everything in and it’s not always down to the length and width of the unit. The real skill comes in selecting the right caravan for the right plot; it costs a lot of money if we get it wrong.
It’s not all hard work, we also use the Lawns to catch up with other park owners, many of whom are old friends. Some of these people may have parks in close to Tree Tops, but we’re all so busy working that it takes a trip to Hull to spend time with them. One of the great things about our industry is how sociable it is, this is especially true with the owners of the better run parks, most of whom are members of our trade association BH&HPA http://www.bhhpa.org.uk/. We always have a couple of good shindigs to attend, this year we were lucky enough to be entertained by Carnaby Caravans and Willerby Caravans. It’s hard work and long long running a caravan park, but someone has to do it!
I’ve just finished day 2 at the Lawns and the Willerby Bash awaits me. As much as I look forward to the Lawns, I’m looking forward to returning home tomorrow and getting back to the comfortable familiarity of Tree Tops.
Highlights of the show: Swift Caravans have a couple of nice units, we’re giving one serious consideration, pitches permitting. Carnaby have brought out a replacement to their successful Highgrove (at the time of typing my caravan fatigue has allowed the name to slip my mind), there’s something a little different in layout of the bedrooms and the design made a positive impression. At something like £52k you can see that I have expensive taste. Pemberton Leisure Homes always impress me. They are thought to be the best built caravan, they tend to have a price tag to match. This year they have released their 1st lodge, frankly it’s stunning. I was surprised that their new Berkeley caravan impressed me, it has 4 bedrooms. Using what’s known as a “Centre Lounge” configuration, the 4 bedrooms fit in really rather well. We generally find 3 bedroom caravans a bit of a squeeze, but the Berkeley was a great compromise despite the 4 bedrooms. I’d like to see their designer knock up a 3 bedroom caravan on the same floor plan, if could be a world beater, but it would need to be on the right plot.
AB Sundecks showed their ability to develop their product in new and exciting ditections. Not only did they supply decks for all of the main manufacturers, there were load of them, but their own display was stunning! A double decker deck with a Jacuzzi on the ground floor and a VIP lounge on the upper deck. Simply stunning and a tribute to Derek Beaumont, their managing director and chief designer. They also released some new colours in their range of decks which are designed to match the windows frames currently being used by the major manufacturers.