MotorhomeStopover.co.uk is a clever little website that does two things: it provides you with somewhere to stop with your motorhome for absolutely nothing and at the same time helps bring business to pubs that they would otherwise not have. The basic idea behind the website is to encourage you to become a member for £30 a year and in return for this you get a 200 page PDF download which is a list of over 500 pubs in the UK where you can stay for free with your motorhome. There is only one catch to the service and that is that you do have to make a purchase from the pub. On their website they state that this can be a glass of Coke, I personally think this is a bit mean and you should definitely have a pint and maybe something to eat.
This scheme works wonderfully well with pubs that are out in the countryside and are now finding it very difficult to get customers. The main reason for this is, of course, the drink-driving laws which would normally mean you would have to get the pub by taxi or have a designated driver. Being a designated driver is a very dull position for somebody who normally likes to drink, so it’s always hard to find somebody. Of course if you are arriving by motorhome and stopping over for the night then you don’t have to worry about this. Obviously you don’t want to drink so much that you will be over the limit in the morning, but the point is that you will be parked on private land with the landlord’s permission and you won’t be driving anywhere.
I did wonder by looking at the website if you could kind of guess where these pubs are and then turn up and just say you had arrived because of their entry on motorhomestopover.co.uk? This probably works okay when you have selected a pub with a unusual name in a county with not too many stopovers. But I decide to have a look at Hertfordshire and one entry just said ‘The Rising Sun’. I can think of several pubs in Hertfordshire called The Rising Sun. I certainly know that my favourite one, which happens to be in Berkhamsted, is probably not in the motorhome stopover scheme. I’m sure the landlord Nigel would love to be, but but they don’t have a car park as such. Having said that it’s no problem to arrive by narrowboat as it’s right on the Grand Union Canal!
So is it worth joining for £30 a year? Well I would say if you travel around a lot in a motorhome and you’re quite happy to stay in pub car parks then yes it is very much worth it. For me I suggested it to my wife and she wasn’t so keen, it would be okay for just the two of us but not our two daughters as well. If I was travelling about the UK on my own with a motorhome I can’t think of anywhere else I would rather stop!
If you are a landlord of the pub or are friendly with one, do suggest this site to them. Every time I see a proper English pub all boarded up and disused my heart sinks. Having spent many many years of my life overseas and in Europe I now realise there is nothing quite like an English pub, so any way to get them more trade and make them more popular I support wholeheartedly.
It has been my experience in the past, in a motorhome, that if you turn up at a pub and they have a reasonable size car park it is always worth asking the landlord if it’s okay to stop for the night. I would say in about 80% of cases they have said yes. I suppose even myself on my own in the pub for a night will probably spend £20 or so which would make it worthwhile for the landlord.