Motorhomes for beginners is our guide to help you navigate through some of the terminology, motorhome types, legislation and some of the history behind these amazing home from homes on wheels!

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Motorhomes for Beginners - Are you ready?

Are you ready to embark on the journey of motorhome exploration? Whether you're a curious newcomer or pondering the allure of motorhome living, this guide is tailor-made for you. We'll delve into the essence of motorhomes, unraveling their diverse facets, and aiding you in finding your perfect fit amidst the vast array of options.

What Defines a Motorhome?

A motorhome, the quintessential mobile sanctuary, is a self-propelled recreational vehicle that mirrors the comforts of home on wheels. Equipped with a kitchen, beds, ample storage, bathroom facilities, and a driver's cab, it offers a cosy abode for travelers. Typically accommodating between two to eight individuals, the size varies based on the vehicle's dimensions. Motorhomes fall under the expansive umbrella of recreational vehicles (RVs), encompassing an array of mobile dwellings such as trailers, campervans, and more.

Motorhome Monikers Across the Globe

Whilst in the UK we simply refer to them as a Motorhome or a Motor Home, these vehicles sport a myriad of names across the globe:

  • Germany: Wohnmobil
  • America: Recreational Vehicle (RV)
  • Sweden: Husbil
  • France: Camping-car
  • Italy: Camper
  • Spain and Portugal: Auto caravana or auto-caravana
  • The Netherlands and Poland: Camper
  • Australia and New Zealand: Campervan and housebus

While "Winnebago" has emerged as a popular term, it's merely a brand name that has permeated everyday discourse.

Tracing the Evolution: A Brief History of the Motorhome

Contrary to popular belief, the roots of motorhomes trace back over a century. The inaugural motorhome, the Touring Landau, graced Madison Square Gardens in 1910, boasting rudimentary amenities like fold-out seats to make up a bed, and a chamber pot.

Over the decades, innovation burgeoned, with Ford's House Car introducing a semblance of modernity with an actual bed and desk, though lacking a toilet! Today's modern motorhomes still take some style from this early model - larger, a VW Campervan style shape and a roof that expanded and popped up.

The iconic VW Campervan of 1947 epitomized wanderlust, offering a full-size bed and kitchen facilities. This vehicle sat well within the time period offering "hippy adventures" to those wanting comfort with a full-sized bed and cooking facilities. VW Campers to this day remain popular and this is largely due to its customisational options - you can completely remove the interior and build it to suit your needs.

Subsequent milestones, including Winnebago's transformative designs and the advent of the GMC motorhome, shaped the trajectory of motorhome culture.

Motorhomes for Beginners - VW Camper History

Deciphering Motorhome Classes and Types

Motorhomes are categorised into three primary classes: Class A, Class B, and Class C, each catering to distinct preferences and needs.

  • Class A: These motorhomes tend to be larger, accommodating up to ten occupants. The interior usually boasts an array of features including full sized beds, bunks, bathroom and kitchen facilities and living quarters with sofas and dining options.
  • Class B: Compact yet economical, Class B motorhomes prioritise efficiency without compromising on comfort. Still usually including sleeping, living, bathroom and cooking areas, these tend to be smaller.
  • Class C: Straddling the middle ground, Class C motorhomes offer versatility, making them ideal for family getaways. They usually comprise of a truck/van chassis with a cab attached. Sleeping nooks can often be found over these, maximising every inch of space available.

Motorhomes for Beginners - Essential Features

When selecting your motorhome, customisation is key. Considerations such as sleeping arrangements, seating configurations, kitchen amenities, and storage solutions shape the ideal abode for you and your family. Crafting a comprehensive checklist ensures a harmonious blend of functionality and comfort. It's worthwhile discussing your requirement checklist with us, as it will help us help you in finding your dream motorhome.

What Features Should I Consider?

There are quite a few considerations when purchasing your first motorhome, here are a few of the basics.


  • Number of occupants/beds - Do you want fixed beds or fold-away. Consider the future, children might not take up space right now but they soon grow!
  • Seating - Is there enough belts for your family when driving? Do you want relaxing space? A place to sit during dinner?
  • Kitchen Space - How many do you plan to cook for? Do you need prep space? What appliances do you need?
  • Bathroom Space - Some motorhomes omit a bathroom. Do you require one? Do you want a space you can shower in luxury or are you happy with a toilet/shower combo? (a small space where the shower is literally above the loo!)
  • Storage - Remember you will still need to store awnings, clothes, pots/pans, camping chairs when on the move. Where do you intend to keep everything? Many larger motorhomes include a garage/storage space at the rear for these items.
  • Entertainment - Yes you can get a TV for your motorhome!
  • Motorhome Extras - Other things to consider for your motorhome are Air Conditioning, Bike Racks, Interior Protection Sprays, Trackers and Solar Panels to name a few.

Navigating Layouts: From Cosy Nooks to Spacious Retreats

Motorhome layouts abound, offering a spectrum of configurations to suit every preference:

  • Single beds - Simply Two single beds are at the rear of the motorhome.
  • Rear Island Bed - There is a fixed double bed that is actual size, with access on both sides.
  • Island bed (East-West) - A full-size bed area is between the rear and the lounge at the front. The bathroom is generally at the rear of the vehicle.
  • Bed over the driving cab - A sleeping space over the cab, usually accessed by a fold-up ladder.
  • Rear u-shaped lounge and a drop-down bed - Making good use of available space, the bed is stored during the day, and a button is pressed to lower it at night.
  • Front lounge and a drop-down bed - This is virtually the same as the previous layout, only the lounge and sleeping area are at the front.
  • French bed - There will be a couple of single bunk beds at the rear of the motorhome and a drop-down full-size bed in the lounge.

Each layout caters to unique lifestyles and family sizes and you should carefully consider what works best for you.

Motorhome Must-Have Equipment and Accessories

Enhance your motorhome experience with a curated selection of accessories. These essentials augment comfort and convenience, elevating your journey to new heights.

  • Bike Rack - You can attach a bike rack onto many motorhomes if you plan on cycling at your destination.
  • Awning - A Motorhome Awning offers increased living space when out and about. It can be used for shelter, storage or even as an additional sleeping space.
  • Air Conditioning - Motorhomes can get warm, especially in the Summer months and when there are a few people residing in the vehicle. ACU's can be added to your set-up relatively quickly to help keep cool.
  • Camping Furniture - Make the most of the weather and enjoy al fresco dining
  • WIFI Booster - This can help reach a signal, when on a campsite/trailer park with WIFI
  • BBQ - Whilst having the luxury to cook meals inside your motorhome, it's always nice to BBQ on your travels where possible and safe.
  • Cards, Games and Bat & Ball - Whether travelling with kids or not, pack a few games to enjoy. Be careful with bubbles, as these can affect the waterproofing of tents and awnings if they land on the material.

Maintenance, Storage, and Security

Safeguarding your investment entails diligent maintenance, encompassing roof inspections, tire checks, battery maintenance, and brake upkeep. Additionally, adherence to legal regulations, from traffic laws to licensing requirements, ensures a seamless and compliant journey. Not only that it's worthwhile protecting your motorhome when not in use. Here at Yorkshire Caravans & Motorhomes we have a dedicated, secure Caravan and Motorhome Storage facility. If you'd prefer to store your vehicle at home when not in use, check out our range of motorhome security devices, available in-store and online.

Motorhomes for Beginners - Secure Motorhome Storage

Maintenance Checklist

  • Inspect the seals and seams on the roof of your motorhome. Repair any leaks ASAP, before they cause serious damage.
  • Regularly check tire pressures and tighten lug nuts. This is important to ensure your safety while on the road.
  • Check batteries because you don’t want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery.
  • Maintain the wastewater system and always use the right chemicals for each system.
  • Maintain your motorhome’s brakes for the safety of everyone on the road, including yourself and your family.
  • Keep seals and slide-outs clean so that grime doesn’t build up and cause them to stick.
  • Change the oil seasonally to ensure everything is well lubricated and running smoothly.
  • Change oil, fuel, air, hydraulic, and coolant filters seasonally to ensure everything runs as best it can.
  • Maintain the awning (if applicable) and keep it clean to prevent a build-up of mould and mildew.
  • Keep up to date with servicing and MOT as required.

Motorhome Legislative Guidelines: Navigating Legal Terrain

From location-specific traffic regulations to licensing requirements, familiarity with legal frameworks is imperative. Height restrictions, parking ordinances, and licensing stipulations vary, necessitating vigilance and compliance.

What Type of Driving Licence Do I Need for a Motorhome? Categories on Licence


  • Check your route for any low bridges or height restrictions on car parks.
  • If venturing overseas, ensure the ferry accommodates the size of your motorhome
  • Check your driving licence covers you for the vehicle - Find out more.
  • Read up on speed limits and lane restrictions on motorways, for different categories of vehicle.
  • Check tolls to avoid any surprise fees on your journey.
  • If carrying LP gas, check your route allows passage for this (some tunnels forbid this).
  • Check where you can park your motorhome safely, often, size depending, it can't be left on a street outside a home.
  • Check your neighbourhood for parking restrictions on motorhomes, there can be clauses in your deeds, that bans the parking of large vehicles outside ones house.

Motorhome Insurance

Motorhome insurance laws can vary by location. The same amount of liability coverage as you have for a car is needed for a motorhome in most places. There are some special cases, but you’ll most likely need a separate motorhome policy if your motorhome is Class A or B, if you took out a loan to purchase your motorhome, or if it’s a rental.


  • Check if there are any distance regulations on the policy
  • Check if there are any usage limitations (eg commuting/business purposes)
  • Check if there are any age limits
  • Does it cover contents?
  • Are you covered in other countries (if travelling overseas with your motorhome)
  • Does the policy require certain security features on the motorhome (eg Alarm, tracker)

Motorhomes For Beginners, You'll Soon Be An Expert!

Beyond traditional vacations, motorhomes offer boundless possibilities and new adventures:

  • Wild camping (where allowed)
  • Exploring uncharted territories
  • Attending outdoor events and festivals
  • Embracing full-time living
  • Transforming your motorhome into a mobile office
  • Family fun at the seaside
  • Overseas adventures

Motorhomes For Beginners At Yorkshire Caravans & Motorhomes

Motorhomes for beginners can be a lot to take in. Our team of Motorhome experts are on hand to help you as much or as little as you need. From motorhome driving licence requirements and types of motorhomes to customisation and aftercare of your vehicle.

Motorhomes for Beginners - Meet our team