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Well Sue and I made our first visit to the Caravan and Mortorhome Exhibition to-day. It was in fact our first visit to any caravan type exhibition, so we didn’t know what to expect. We only live a few miles outside Manchester and knew when we were on the M60 at 10:45 this morning it was going to be busy.  There were already delays three junctions away. However, we are made of sterner stuff in Manchester and we pressed on. We eventually arrived and parked in one of the Trafford Centre car parks, a short walk… no more than five minutes from the ‘Event City’ halls. The queue to get in only took about 10 minutes and I think the delay was due to the fact everyone was in the same queue… if they had split off everyone that had pre bought their tickets it would have been a little quicker. Once inside… it was warm! top tip – wear light layers and take some water!

Never having been to one of these events, I was surprised by how many caravans and motorhomes dealers had actually taken to the show and squeezed on to their stands. One of the biggest stands belonged to Glossop Caravans, possibly only eclipsed by Swift. Campbells had a good stand along with Lowdhams and Stuart Longton. In fact all the dealers seemed to have managed to fit almost the entire range from all the major manufacturers into the main halls. I was surprised that Bailey didn’t have a factory presence at the show.

Even though it was busy, it never seemed to be a problem getting inside any of the caravans to have look round. in fact, getting Sue out of a twin axle Buccaneer fixed bed that She fell in love with was a problem…. maybe in the future?

Part of the Caravan Club stand

One stand that did surprise me was the Caravan Club stand… well two stands actually… It was huge, with lots of comfortable seating and tables, arty photographs hanging on the walls…. and a number of CC staff wandering round. I did wonder how much that all must have cost?

There were lots of the usual smaller stands and if you are in the market for a LED TV… there were more AVTEX retailers there than there are channels on a Sky box. In fact talking of satellites…. there were also more satellite systems on show that there are channels on a Sky box. It would seem the ‘in thing’ this year will be to have a Satellite dish mounted, clamped or stood next to your caravan. Especially if it is one that whizzes round frantically on its own looking for a satellite, then points at it like a well trained gun dog.

The guys from Safefill, the refillable gas bottle people seemed to be doing a brisk trade…. I guess that anything that saves you money long-term is going to be of interest. Another busy stand was the Raskelf memory foam guys… trying to get near to do the obligatory squeeze and sit was a long wait.

By now, a caffeine intake was required along with some carbs….. I could hear the coffee and burger retailers calling my name. Be prepared for a bit of a wait…. there seemed to be long queues at all of them. Suitably refreshed we continued round some of the smaller stands… there were quite a lot that didn’t seem to have any link to caravanning, may be its just me.

I did spot a couple of stands that had a range of rear view camera systems, and after a bit of investigation, I think I now know what I want. The other stand I dropped in on was to see the guys at Insync… about their brake assist product. I had a long chat with Kev Jackson about it and to me it offers a lot of positives and little or no negatives. I have a feeling I’ll be talking to Kev again soon.

So what else was there.. well, there were enough awnings to cover a small camp site and enough cleaning products to clean a small campsite, and if you were looking for a campsite to cover in awnings or clean… there were plenty of people there tempting you to come to theirs.

So, did we find anything that we could not live without and just had to have it there and then…. Er, no. We were tempted by a Cadac show special on Riversway Leisure’s stand…. £135 for the Carri Chef Deluxe. The only thing that stopped us was we were not sure what all the bits were for and did we need them all and how easy it was to store away, so a bit more research is needed. I guess in a couple of months time we will be kicking ourselves that we didn’t buy one at the show.

I get the feeling today was a lot busier than expected, I know I was really surprised at how busy it was… but then again I have nothing to base that on as we have never been to one before. The halls were quite warm and they don’t have that open space feeling that you get at the NEC, but then again this was a factory in a previous life, not purpose built to be an exhibition centre. Would we go again?…. I think so.

The show is open from 10:00am to 9:00pm Friday and 10:00am to 6:00pm Saturday and Sunday. Car parking is free. If it all gets too much and you need a normal shopping fix, the Trafford Centre is five minutes walk away.

S