Review: Life on the open road as the Dodd family travel through Suffolk and Norfolk in their motorhome

Kate Dodd and her family travelled to Norfolk for a weekend in a camper van.

Kate Dodd and her family travelled to Norfolk for a weekend in a camper van. - Credit: Archant

THE art of conversation has sadly been hiding under the stairs gathering dust for the past few years.

Kate Dodd and her family travelled to Norfolk for a weekend in a camper van.

Kate Dodd and her family travelled to Norfolk for a weekend in a camper van. - Credit: Archant

With two young children, full-on jobs, endless satellite channels and work shirts to iron, having an idle chat with my husband has dropped off the must-do list. It’s shameful, I admit.

The inside of a Swift 664 motorhome. Travel review by Kate Dodd.

The inside of a Swift 664 motorhome. Travel review by Kate Dodd. - Credit: Archant

A weekend in a motorhome seemed the perfect opportunity to actually talk to the husband, and spend good-old quality time with the family.

Provided by Marquis Motorhomes in Martlesham Heath, the Swift 664 motorhome sleeps four very comfortably.

It had a fixed double bed in the rear and a second double bed which you fit together rather like a giant games of Tetris. It also features a wet room with a shower over the toilet and a kitchen area, complete with gas hob, oven and fridge.

With an overwhelming sense of freedom (well, ignoring petrol and time restraints) we decided to head to north Norfolk for the Bank Holiday weekend.

Pitching at a picturesque site in West Runton, just west of Cromer, we were within walking distance of the coast and just a short drive from the beautiful towns of Holt and Sheringham,

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We had plenty to fill our days, including a trip to the North Norfolk Railway (www.nnrailway.co.uk) and a ride on a steam train along the coast. Luckily the weather was on our side, so we spent hours on the beach with a bucket and spade and a picnic.

We happened upon a lovely pub in Salthouse on Saturday night called The Dun Cow, with fabulous views over the marshes, and a menu to match. We would certainly recommend a visit.

There is little denying you live in very close proximity in a motorhome. Undoubtedly it helps if you like your family.

It often feels like a giant game of chess, with every move strategic. For example; we would need to move both the children’s car seats before we assembled the table; move the buggy to make room to store the car seats, and then manoeuvre around the buggy to open the door so we could leave the buggy and car seats outside whilst we sat at the table.

It was a similar scenario when we came to make up the second bed, prepare dinner or get ready in the morning. Not to mention stepping over the tiny piles of toy cars or Lego pieces keeping the small people on board entertained. Ideally we would have probably been better equipped with a bigger six-berth motorhome, which would have alleviated some of these hurdles.

Another small disadvantage was the panoply of gadgets, knobs and moving parts which offered more than a million creative combinations of potential destruction for our small people.

But it’s all part of motorhome fun. With a one-year-old and a three-year-old (and a third on the way) we’re already five steps ahead of the game, so adding restrictions of space was hardly daunting.

The best thing about a motorhome is that you – forgive the obvious - take your home with you. If you fancy a cup of tea or you’ve forgotten to pack your pork pies for your picnic, you can nip back to the van. It was also handy to shelter from the rain on Saturday afternoon.

And it’s lovely not to have a static base to return too – it adds extra hours onto your day for having fun. We freshened up before our pub dinner, changing the girls from their beachwear. It also meant we could scoop up two very tired children after dinner, get them changed into their pyjamas and drive back to our camp site, and then put them to bed – allowing us the rest of the evening to sit outside and talk.

You do feel incredibly free in a motorhome. Leaving your cares and clutter behind, you have all you need for comfort, happiness, and jolly good conversation.

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