WINDING through the rustic landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, we admire pretty Pateley Bridge and the village of Ingleton from our motorhome’s windows.
While I was behind the steering wheel, battling winds wobbling the van, my kids were chuckling in the back delighted to be playing board games while safely strapped in around the dining table.
We had set off for the Lake District in our six-berth home for the next few days, a Chausson Flash boasting a kitchen and bathroom with shower and cassette toilet.
It sleeps four adults, or two adults with four kids, meaning there was plenty of room for myself, my nine-year-old daughter Lily and my son Clark, six, for our rain-soaked four-day ride.
I had never driven anything bigger than a car and only camped once — back in the Cub Scouts — so when I hopped into the driver’s seat at Vaaroom’s depot in Romford, East London, I was a bag of nerves.
How does the oven work? How do you empty the toilet?
To top it all, I had no plan beyond a vague idea that the Lake District might be nice.
As it turns out, that’s the beauty of travelling by motorhome. You don’t need a plan. We could go wherever we wanted . . . although parking our seven-metre monster could be a challenge!
Inside it was sleek and modern, with nifty cupboards slotted into the walls — providing more than enough space for all our holiday gear — and plenty of plug sockets.
A king-size bed hung above the cab while, in the back, two bunk beds slotted behind a roomy kitchen.
For adventurers, there is space for three bikes on an outside rack.
Beautiful beer garden
It is no surprise that demand for motorhoming holidays has soared this year. But it is not just the pandemic panic over foreign travel that’s to blame.
TikTok and Instagram has seen a surge of youngsters living their best #VanLife, while TV programmes such as Channel 5’s Motorhoming With Merton & Webster have inspired more than two million of us to hit the road this year.
We had driven our van to a campsite overlooking the peaceful Lake Windermere before setting off to explore the town of Bowness.
Narrow streets were chock-a-block with traditional tea rooms and tourists huddling outside The World Of Beatrix Potter.
At this attraction Peter Rabbit, Mr McGregor and other loved characters are brought to life, like walking through the pages of Potter’s books. She moved here after falling in love with the landscape while holidaying as a child and it is easy to see why.
There is plenty to keep adrenalin junkies occupied, with paddle-boarding and canoe hire at Windermere as well as the dizzying Tree Top Trek high-ropes adventure park.
Just three miles outside Bowness, this spot is home to some picturesque walking routes. Sadly, the rain put paid to our plans for a pony ride through the hills, so we set off on a three-hour cruise across Windermere.
The kids gawped at green hills and the vast expanse of open water as we travelled ten miles from the southern Lakeside port up to Ambleside and back.
Our van was parked in Staveley for the night and although so much adventure lay within a few miles of our campsite, including the tempting Chocolate Factory in Hawkshead, the best part of our motorhome trip was discovering less familiar spots.
From our campsite we wandered through sheep farms and past roaring rivers, until reaching the Mill Yard, a trendy renovated mill filled with quirky cafes and boutique shops such as the Blind Chocolatier, which sells artisan chocolate bars.
After tucking into homemade steak and Cumbrian ale pies from the Eagle & Child Inn — which has one of the most beautiful beer gardens I have ever seen — we had time for one final adventure.
We had seen signs for the White Scar Caves when we passed Ingleborough and were desperate to have a peek inside the craggy mass of limestone rock.
Before you knew it, we had donned our hard hats and were making our way through the dark tunnels during a brilliantly informative guided tour.
Lily had wanted to see a waterfall and this cave, discovered in 1923, did not disappoint.
We ended the trip feeling refreshed but satisfied from all our adventures. Motorhoming is not cheap — you have to factor in diesel and camp fees on top of rental.
But the sense of freedom, while seeing the beauty Britain has to offer, more than covered the cost.
GO: Motor homing
STAYING/GETTING THERE: The Chausson Flash costs from £50pn for trips in November and December.
The standard excess and deposit on all motor homes is £2,000 although Vaaroom recommends additional cover to reduce the excess and deposit to £250. An additional security deposit of £250 is also taken.
OUT & ABOUT: Tickets to The World Of Beatrix Potter cost £23 for a family of four or £8.20 per adult and £4.20 for kids aged three-plus. See hop-skip-jump.com.
Windermere Lake Cruises has trips from £10 per adult and £5 per child.
See windermere-lakecruises.co.uk. The White Scar Caves has family tickets for £34 or adult tickets for £12 and child tickets for £8. See whitescarcave.co.uk.
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