The caravan and motorhome industry’s national showcase, The Motorhome & Caravan Show, returns to the NEC in Birmingham this autumn (16th – 21st October) bigger and better than ever, one whole hall bigger!
We had 10 pairs of tickets to give away for this year’s 2013 Show.
The Motorhome & Caravan Show is the only place to see all the brand new 2013 models of caravans, motorhomes, holiday homes, lodges, and accessories from the leading UK and European manufacturers and dealers hot off the production line.
With experts on hand to offer free motorhome and caravan manoeuvring lessons and information and advice on a wide range of subjects, from, technical issues, security, insurance and finance to how to tow safely both in the UK and abroad.
TV favourites Master baker, Paul Hollywood and ex-England scrum-half–turned-culinary-genius, Matt Dawson MBE, will be making special guest appearances at the National Show.
See Paul live in the show’s Cookery Theatre on Wednesday 17th October or see Matt on Saturday 20th October, where they promise to entertain visitors with live demonstrations full of inspiring ideas and advice for creating delicious meals in minutes.
With a range of free activities, from indoor archery to petanque (French Boules) there is something to keep the whole family entertained.
If you are not one of our lucky winners don’t worry, advance tickets start at £7.00 for seniors (60 + years) and £8.00 for adults. Children under 16 years are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult.
Tbe French theme Park Puy du Fou has been voted “Best Theme Park in the World” at the Thea Award Ceremony of the “International Asssociation of Amusement Parks and Attractions” in Los Angeles.
The Vendée park, is to be found between La-Roche-sur-Yon and Angers, was chosen ahead of 700 parks in 40 countries. This is not a typical theme park with hair raising rides, but we thoroughly enjoyed the spactular “arena shows” which the park puts on to tell the history of the Vendeen region. Visitors can watch performances starring Roman gladiators, swashbuckling musketeers, marauding Vikings and fantastic swooping birds.
We all had a different favourite show but they are all fantastic and well rehearsed.There is a new show this year to celebrate the parc’s 35th Anniversary and I believe this show will feature acrobatics on horseback ! There is also, of course, the famous night show at the park, “la Cinescenie”, which features numerous horses and a cast of hundreds.
We loved this park and visited from the La Garangeoire campsite in the Vendee – an easy hour’s drive away. You can also visit from the Loire campsites that feature on our website at :
You can now take your dog or cat to France thanks to the “Pet Travel Scheme”(PETS) which involves your dog having its own “Pet Passport” ! The scheme applies in the following countries only: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Vatican.
This Pet Travel Scheme allows people to take their pet dogs and cats on holiday to France and then to enter back into the UK without them having to go into quarantine – however, you and your vet must follow the rules carefully – otherwise your dog or cat could end up going into quarantine or having a return journey to the UK delayed.
The basic requirements for taking your dog to France are outlined below. If you are going to a different EU country, please check with the websites I suggest to see if there are different requirements and regulations.
To obtain a Pet Passport you have to do the following things in this order, in association with your vet :
Firstly have your pet microchipped. Secondly have your pet vaccinated against rabies (even if your pet has already had a rabies vaccination). Detailed information is available at the DEFRA website. Further detailed information about all of this is available at the DEFRA site – I have put a link further down this article.
The dog will require a booster Rabies Vaccination every 3 years
Then when you are ready for your journey :
Although not necessary under the scheme, its advisable to get a tick treatment before you go as the Babesia tick is present in France but not in the UK.
If travelling on a ferry, on most shorter ferry crossings your dog must stay in your car so please make sure you leave a window slightly ajar and leave some water or food. Preferably travel on as short a crossing as possible and make sure your dog is in a safe area eg have a dog guard across the back of your car or a secure crate. You can arrange with some ferries to check the dog during the journey, as long as sea conditions allow this to be done safely.
Or, if travelling on a longer ferry crossing, for example on the Brittany Ferries ships Pont-Aven, Bretagne and Cap Finistère there are kennels available on board the ship and there are also 14 dog friendly 4 berth cabins on the new Brittany Ferries Cap Finistère which can be used on longer crossings to Spain.
Before your return journey to the UK :
Your pet must be treated by a vet in France against tapeworm using an approved treatment (not less than 24 hours and not more than 5 days before your return to the UK). (I believe the product used for the tapeworm treatment must contain praziquantel). Ensure all your documentation is correctly completed by the vet or you may not be able to travel.
(If you want to travel separately from your pet there are approved transport companies which can arrange this – all the same rules about visiting vets etc. will still apply).
The main DEFRA site will explain about Pet Passports and also has a link to a site explaining the risks of taking your dog or cat abroad and some of the diseases they can be exposed to which are not present in the UK :
Dogs Away is a useful organisation who, for a small fee, will help you to book in with a French vet for your visit in the 24 – 48 hour period before leaving France to get the tapeworm and tick treatment. Well worth it even if your French language abilities aren’t too bad as they are dealing with this every day so know exactly what to arrange with the vet.
Here is a nice downloadable guide from Eurocamp Independent which also discusses such things as taking your dog to restaurants in France or taking them to the beach etc. :
If you are wanting to fly your dog to France – I would suggest that you shouldn’t need to do this if you are emigrating – take the ferry instead – however for a complete picture here is a website about an airline to help :
I am going to build up a collection of recommended stopover hotels at the various ferry ports. We drive down from Scotland to Portsmouth or Poole usually to take an early morning ferry. I don’t like to travel overnight as some people do as I suspect I would fall asleep after about 2am. So we prefer to get down to the channel coast and then have dinner and stay over in a hotel ready for an early start in the morning. I must admit the examples I have shown are low budget hotels but they have all been perfectly acceptable.
We have found the Innkeepers Lodges to be exceptional value as they included breakfast but they have changed ownership and I think the Portsmouth Hotel we stayed at is now a Travel Inn.
We have also stayed at the Travelodge in Portsmouth. This is in the city centre so can be a little noisy and the surroundings are not all that inspiring but the advantage is it is directly across the roundabout from the Cross Channel Ferry port for Brittany Ferries : http://www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/info?hotelId=62
This was a nice hotel when we stayed at it. It had a Toby Carvery which was excellent.
Does anyone have any other recommendations ? We may cross at Calais at some point as well so it would be interesting to hear of hotels near there.
On the way back from France we have usually booked a night at a Keycamp or Eurocamp campsite near the ferry port and that has worked well.
This is fantastic – You can cycle the whole way from Bordeaux near the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea along green cycle routes (voies vertes) and canals. There is lots of information and maps available at http://www.canal-et-voie-verte.com/index.php. You could do all or part of it.
Visit Carcassone, Toulouse, Beziers and other fantastic French places en route along the Canal du Midi, Canal de la Garonne and Voie Verte cycle route.
Eurocamp and Keycamp offer campsites on the coast 80km from the beginning of the route at Biscarrosse and there are lots of great campsites on and near the Mediterranean to chose from at the end in Languedoc Roussillon.
I found a couple of interesting websites this week which might be worth investigating if you are looking for holiday bargains.
First of all there is a ticket observer website http://www.ticketobserver.fr/ which might find you some deals on tickets for tourist attractions in France. It might also give you some ideas of places to visit near where you are camping.
And the other website I found is the French Groupon site http://www.groupon.fr/ I follow this in the UK and have managed to get some deals for restaurant meals. You have to follow a particular city so I imagine you could follow the city near where you are planning to go on holiday. I have done this for France and it came up straight away with a farm visit and also an F1 simulator experience near where we are going on holiday as well as a deal for a weekend at a Gite – so could be worth trying out.
Has anyone got any experiences of these sites – either good or bad to let us know about ? Or any other useful sites to recommend ?