Travel: What a jolly way to holiday.
WHEN I go on holiday, there's nothing I like more than spending the night under canvas.
But while I do love the whole campfire/sleeping bag/leaky tent scenario, I'm the first to admit that camping isn't always easy.
Now I've found a rival for my affections, in the form of the Mercedes DeZine. After testing out the latest in luxury motorhome living for a week on the Isle of Wight and in the New Forest, I'm hooked.
With four beds and a fully equipped kitchen, the DeZine really is a home from home.
And what's more, it works as a people carrier by day and a camper by night, so you can use it as your family car. It comes with one row of seats in the back, which lie flat to provide a double bed, but you can upgrade to another row, making it a decent six-seater.
Because the DeZine is what is called a motorhome 'conversion', where an elevating roof is added to a base vehicle, in this case a Mercedes Viano, from the outside it looks like a swanky MPV.
But beneath the darkened windows and hidden pop-top is a fully functional motorhome.
The pop-top roof conceals a comfy two-person bed, which, while it may not be the easiest bed to get into, doesn't feel cramped at all.
And 'downstairs', with the pop-top roof up, there's plenty of room for standing. Curtains on every window give you complete privacy from prying eyes, of which there were many - the DeZine is an interesting find, and many fellow motorhomers stopped us to chat.
As for cooking, the gas two-ring hob and mini grill are all you need.
There's even a sink with running water. But the big bonus is the huge fridge, which is the one thing I miss most when living out of a tent. Chilled beers, fresh meat, chilled beers, cold milk, chilled beers...
You can adjust the temperature from the central control panel, so much so that you can even use it as a freezer! There are plenty of nooks and crannies for storage, and a table is cleverly concealed inside the sliding door.
As a vehicle in itself, the DeZine is a powerful mover and a real pleasure to drive. Hills were no problem, and as it is more or less the same size as a people carrier, you can easily fit in normal car parking spaces and zip under height barriers.
The best thing with a motor home is that you can pull up at every beauty spot, pop the kettle on and take in the views, without ever leaving the vehicle and putting yourself at the mercy of the weather. And if you hear that nicer weather is predicted 20 miles down the coast, you haven't got to pack everything away and fold up the tent before moving on - you can literally chase the sun.
Which, in this country, is a very good thing...
Emma Brittain travelled in a Bilbo's De Zine, hired via the Motor home Information Service. The retail price of this vehicle is pounds 36,950.
The Motor home Information Service represents the motor home industry in the UK, providing information about buying, hiring and using a motor home.
Visit the website at www.motorhomeinfo.co.uk, call 01444 458889 or email: email@example.com. To hire a vehicle such as the De Zine will cost around pounds 350 per week upwards.
HERE COMES THE SUN... the Isle of Wight was an ideal stop off point for Emma Brittain and her partner, who travelled in a Bilbo DeZine, right.; OUT IN THE WILD... ponies roam free in the New Forest.