Parking for beginners

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Gary217, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. Gary217

    Gary217 Funster

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    Hi - although we've had a camper for a few years and travelled a lot in it so we are fairly experienced on many aspects , we've not had a 'grown-up' one before as our previous van was VWT5 which was about the size of a large car and went under most car park barriers...just. We now have our Transit LWB Hi top (picked up last Friday) so I thought I'd put my naive questions in this beginners section.
    My first question is parking. We tried to choose a van that was not too large but look like we failed miserably on that score - although it is only just a metre longer than the VW it is too big for most car park slots and on our first trip out we found it difficult to park at the coast and only one car park was without a height barrier, but then spaces were incredibly tight so we didn't end stopping there. Trips into Beaulieu Village and then Christchurch proved the same, and we ended up stopping on the way back in a New Forest car park for our celebration (of new van) lunch ...feeling quite despondent.
    So, we see a lot of motorhomes that are bigger than ours trundling around, so where and how do you park in the UK - especially in nice spots?
     
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  2. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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  3. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    A good question and one answered by Graham!

    If we HAVE to park in a town / city centre I phone the parking supervisor at the council first and they are often (not always) very helpful. At Iron Bridge they came and opened the height barrier for us :)

    If we have a bad experience I write to let the people concerned know, especially the chamber of commerce as it is their members who miss out. The last time it happened we were "on tour" and couldn't park so went elsewhere. I wrote to the CoC and detailed the money they had lost out on. I did get an answer saying they were very sorry and had taken the matter up with the local council. I think that is all we can do to be honest.

    Generally we use park and ride or similar facilities but even they sometimes have barriers.

    Don't park in a coach park without permission even if you do buy a ticket as you will get fined. Sometimes I have been directed to park in the HGV area and (so far) that has been okay. Our next van will be over the 3.5 and a PHGV so technically I suppose the HGV area would be correct but I would still ask first.
     
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  4. CWH

    CWH Funster Life Member

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    Not a naive question - one of the biggest gripes about MH'ing in England! (not such a problem in Wales, Scotland & continental Europe). Even most park-&-rides don't let us in, though as @Puddleduck says, sometimes a phone call has resolved the problem.

    @GJH's resource (see post #2 above) is brilliant.

    We often park elsewhere and get "there" (wherever "there" is) by foot or bus.
    We're not of the "if they can park a mini here, I can park the MH" type - but there are plenty on here who seem to be able to do just that!
    There are other members in the New Forest too who can probably give you some local pointers (y)
    [ @Popeye ]
     
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  5. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    Generally just avoid trying to park in busy and crowded places as it's no fun.

    I have parked on industrial estates at "dead ends" and used bus / cycle to get where I need to be. Just be very careful not to cause an obstruction or park on a turning circle.
     
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  6. Gary217

    Gary217 Funster

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    Thanks CWH and others - it's not the New Forest that worries us, we were just trying out the van locally - it's more generally in the UK as we have previously travelled around a lot and having now hit the problem face on it's (stupidly) taken us aback somewhat. I will use the link from GJH.
    Not sure if it's encouraging to know others have this issue (at least we weren't being stupid) or discouraging as we now know we have lost a lot of the go-anywhere independence we had with the VW for the sake of a comfortable living area and toilet.
     
  7. Mr Ed

    Mr Ed Funster

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    Our 1st van was also a lwb hi top Tranny at the start we felt if was big and were worried every time we went out that we (I) wouldn't be able to park,but after a while we got used to it.One thing I did was use is as a second car and did the shopping etc with it, you soon get the hang of parking in supermarket bays just use 2.I promise in 3 months tops you will be thinking what was all the fuss about.?.........Martin
     
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  8. Badknee

    Badknee Funster

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    We try to find a parking spot with grass behind it, that way after checking kerb height and other obstructions I put the arse end over the grass. With our back wheels up against the kerb we are usually fine at the front. Another plan is to go as far away from the pedestrian access or entrance if on a supermarket carpark 'cos the lazy buggers don't like walking and there's more room for us.:LOL:
    Mind you I have done this before and come back to our MoHo to find out of a possible six spaces another MoHo parked right next to us I couldn't get in through the drivers door!:mad:
     
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  9. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    You are still able to go anywhere - it just takes a bit more planning! When we are in the van it is a different life style and that means being flexible enough to take time to do stuff. I always look at any parking problem as a shoulder shrug and nothing to get wound up about. If one store loses out then another will gain. And I like using the bus / train and cycle as I get to see more!
     
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  10. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Funster

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    I admit it - that was me!!!!!! (not really but had it happen to me as well).

    Some out of town places (IKEA / ASDA) will let you park at the quiet end all day if you ask (and shop / use the restaurant in store). When Martin was in hospital store managers in both offered me the use of their car parks overnight - as I said with a wink "parking only, not camping" I didn't take them up on the offer but it was really nice of them.
     
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  11. Popeye

    Popeye Funster

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    Hi Gary, I'm on my Fourth Motor-Home spanning 33 years and up until just six years ago ran a VW T4 elevating roof Camper just so that I could park at my home in Port-Solent.

    I sold that and bought a 7.5 Metre 4.5 Tonne Geist Silver Spirit but with electric bikes and a scooter to do all the tight parking in towns but I had to keep it at a secure camper park 20 miles away.

    I have now traded up to a 8.5 metre 5.3 tonne Mo-Ho which is large enough to carry one of these in the larger Garage and this is what we use to get into towns and down tight coastal roads.

    [​IMG]
    In all your years you must have noticed that each Motor-Home is a compromise, I would often like a smaller vehicle for parking or one without a Garage but a large end Bathroom for all the room it offers, but you pays yer money and makes yer choice as they say, just make sure you choose the best "Compromise" for you and your intended use.


    All the best...... Griff (New Forest North-West)
    .
     
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  12. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    They are all off to France where people prefer leisure time to shopping.......
     
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  13. CWH

    CWH Funster Life Member

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    Please don't be discouraged @Gary217 , it's just a matter of learning what you can and can't live with - and finding out how to get around the things you can't! Like, for example - realising it's FUN to take up 4 parking spaces (when it's free - otherwise 4 tickets to pay for!)
    I agree it can feel a bit limiting, even in our comparatively small 7.2 metres, and that's the very reason we're probably going to downsize in the next 6-12 months. But not immediately - as we CAN live with what we've got, just don't particularly want to, and find we don't need the internal space we have.
    Unlike @Popeye , we're moving the other way - shorter and narrower. Although... a good-size van and that trike looks very tempting...
     
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  14. Scattycat

    Scattycat Funster

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    Having to find somewhere to park is one of the things I dread when we have to come back to the UK for a visit.
    At one daughters we can just manage to get on her drive and at the other one the nearest safe place to park is a couple of miles away.
    Shopping?
    That's a different ball game altogether and the parking gestapo in shopping centers are a nightmare for us.
    It makes us realise how lucky we are living over the water
     
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  15. Gary217

    Gary217 Funster

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    CWH...thanks, but you're making feel like a whimp worrying about our mere 5.6m :D.

    Actually, I guess that's the issue where we need to realign our thinking (I'm avoiding using the word 'mistake' as it was me who said the length would be ok...) for UK travel (we do roughly a 50/50 UK/Europe split in our touring) as I thought that moving from the VW 4.9m to the transit 5.65m would present little problem, but it turns out to be too big a beast for parking spaces. It wasn't helped by having the van parked in a sales area surrounded by bigger vans so it seemed a reasonable size.
    Thanks for all the advice, it'll just take a bit of getting used to accepting the fact we will have to plan ahead for our parking and park in some 'out of the way' places.
     
  16. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I started the web site when we were new to motorhomes and took the van off site rather than seek an alternative. These days, with a bit more experience, we have little or no problems finding places to stay which are close to towns and/or public transport. That is especially the case through membership of the C&CC and MCC which gives access to rallies as well as CLs/CSs.
    We've never had a problem at supermarkets. Even in some branches of Morrisons which have restrictions we have been able to obtain dispensation by simply asking at the customer service desk whether we will be OK to park or should we move on to Tesco :D
     
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  17. kaasbroodje

    kaasbroodje Funster

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    We started off with a high-top VW and had exactly the same problems you're experiencing now.
    Bottom line - you are restricted in the UK and every year it gets a little bit harder.

    I think the key is to plan ahead - we can normally find somewhere in towns or at the seaside, even if it means having to walk a little further. Or book sites close to public transport and bus it everywhere.
    I find the real problem is tourist villages and Forestry Commission / NT sites where there is lots of parking but most with height barriers, making it useless for motorhomers.

    I've heard it said before that if you mostly holiday in the UK, caravan is king. If you travel abroad, motorhome is king - it makes a lot of sense, UK just doesn't cater for us....
     
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  18. Badknee

    Badknee Funster

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    Sadly very true. :(
     
  19. Popeye

    Popeye Funster

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    When I visited Wells recently I pulled into Tesco, managed to occupy two end of row spaces by overhanging the shrubbery to one side. I then walked straight into Customer Services pointed across the car park to my MoHo and asked if it would be alright to park there while we shopped. Her response was amazing.

    "Thank you so much for asking, so many large vehicles pull in occupying more than one space and just leave it, it's so much nicer when we're asked, stay there as long as you like my dear."

    So we did our bit of shopping and left it there for the afternoon whilst we had a look around the Bishops Palace and Market. On leaving I went back in and thanked her just in case we ever go back. She beamed from ear to ear.
     
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  20. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    That is not actually the case. In the 9 years I have been lobbying councils, more and more have made parking available for motorhomes and over half now provide details on their web sites.
     
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