Our reviewer, a complete motorhome novice, headed for the Suffolk coast in a Benimar Mileo 313
Product: www.marquisleisure. co.uk Price: £9999.99 Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
We’ve had a long-held dream in our family, which is to buy a motorhome in the future and travel the world. Well, at least all four corners of the UK, and especially the Scottish Isles. We’re already keen campers, but we accept that as we get older, we’ll need a bit more comfort than a mere tent can provide. A motorhome seems like the perfect solution for touring holidays – all the freedom of camping with no pitching up, plus comfy seats and beds!
Having never experienced a holiday in a motorhome we also decided on another ‘first', which was to visit somewhere we’ve never ventured to, the Suffolk coast. We headed for Kessingland Caravan and Camping Club Site and on arrival there, were welcomed by friendly staff. We wasted no time in confessing we knew absolutely nothing about motorhomes. "You’ll learn fast" was the frequent response we got. It really struck us how friendly and chatty everyone was, we definitely felt part of their club.
The campsite has perfectly level pitches and everything set up for a motorhome’s needs – great for us newbies. Having settled in at our spot on the campsite our thoughts soon turned to the next morning. Our ultimate goal was to visit Southwold, the busy seaside town, with old narrow streets, on a Bank Holiday weekend. We weighed up the wisdom of this whilst in command of a motorhome with a little apprehension. Was this such a good idea? That was when our youngest daughter suggested a solution with a playful grin: "Why don’t we drive there early when it’s quiet, get a parking spot and have breakfast by the sea?” The thought of travelling there, still in her pyjamas, clearly amused our 12-year-old so much, that we decided it was a good idea worth trying out.
Which is how we found ourselves arriving at 9am on a Saturday morning in Southwold, to find that we were literally the first to arrive at the huge car park. We gleefully bagged one of three designated motorhome spaces, and in no time we were cooking scrambled eggs on toast with a spectacular view of the sea and beach huts – an experience not to forget. It’s worth mentioning that this early morning start was probably a little over-the-top – but it amused the kids (and us too).
Between us, my husband and I shared the driving, and I found myself relaxed at the wheel of the Mileo 313, even though I've never driven a large vehicle before. Reversing needed extra vigilance, but our 313 was equipped with a reassuring reversing camera, and there was a fair amount of jumping out of the cab and arm waving by the co-driver. We accidentally found ourselves in a dead-end road amongst the old streets of Southwold (I confess, in search of parking for a quick visit to Southwold's famous Adnam’s Brewery shop). Luckily for us, no other drivers were impatiently waiting, and with care we manoeuvred back to the open road. With hindsight it all added to the fun!
The Benimar Mileo 313 is billed as sleeping five – and is a perfect size for a family of four who can all sleep without converting the dining area into an extra bed. There is a huge double bed above the driver’s cab, plus handy wardrobe, the top of which doubles as a bedside table for the double bed. The rear of the motorhome houses two roomy bunk beds.
Four seats face an ample dining table opposite the kitchen area, boasting a gas/electric hob, a medium gas oven and grill, sink/drainer, microwave, what seemed like a huge fridge, and even a small freezer. I eventually realised the electric ring on the hob was for when you can plug in to an electric hook-up facility on campsites, and gas rings served by two on-board gas bottles are for elsewhere.
The bathroom has a loo and compact sink, the tap for which niftily converts into a shower head, turning the compartment into a "wet room" complete with a pull-out shower-screen to keep the loo dry.
The shower felt like absolute luxury, not having to walk to the shower blocks to wash my hair.
Overhead cupboards are in every nook and cranny, and each time we tidied round loose objects in preparation to drive off, it reminded me of the cabin crew putting all baggage away on a plane. There was ample storage, the hardest thing for us was deciding what was to be stored where, and then sticking to it!
The Mileo 313 has a 2287cc engine and six gears - we used a full tank of diesel for our four day adventure which was less than we expected.
As is typical for a British Bank Holiday weekend, the weather was changeable, but despite that, we were warm and cosy in our motorhome. The whole experience can be best summed up in three words: Really Good Fun!
• The Benimar Mileo 313 is priced from £44,995 on the road.
• For more details and images of the Benimar Mileo 313 visit www.marquisleisure.co.uk/motorhomes/stock-item/benimar-mileo-313
• The Benimar 313 was from Marquis Leisure, the UK’s largest dealer network. We collected our motorhome from Marquis Northants, in Great Billing, Northampton, NN3 9EX. For more information freephone 0800 026 7777 or visit their website www.marquisleisure.co.uk
• We stayed at The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Kessingland site on the Suffolk Coast. For more details go to www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk