1 January 2022

The Best Upgrade

Having been motorhoming in their van conversion for 7 years, Steve and Caroline Cunningham’s adventures were about to get a whole lot bigger when little Daisy-Mai came along in May 2019. Read all about their story of upgrading their motorhome with Marquis, how the global pandemic affected their travel plans and how they adapted to the COVID restrictions to enjoy the best summer touring the UK...

That wasn't the Plan

Story told by Steve Cunningham.


We have always been outdoor people and when we welcomed our little Daisy-Mai into the world in May 2019, we couldn’t wait for her to be a part of our motorhome adventures.


In 2019 we had a great 2-week holiday in Lake Garda touring South over a few days and the same on the way back to port. Even though we had a fabulous holiday, there was a small niggle in the back of our minds…. Have we outgrown our van conversion? As active people we carry an awful lot of cycling, running and walking kits and the list is inevitably going to get bigger once Daisy is old enough to hit the water.

The Cunningham Family
Exploring Outdoors

With that thought in mind, at the beginning of 2020 we decided to visit a few of the motorhome shows to see what was available. The plan was to see what layouts were there and then look at buying a second-hand version. That was until we met Nick from Marquis Durham at the February 2020 National Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show.


We came across the Benimar Tessoro 463 at the Birmingham NEC Show by chance, and as soon as we got in the motorhome we felt it was the one for us. A day trip turned into a weekend away and we bought a second day ticket to return on the Sunday to take a second look. On the second viewing the motorhome impressed us even more and we started to visualise our day to day needs when touring as we sat in the motorhome. We loved it. After a conversation with Nick explaining our position, I stepped back and let my wife Caroline do the talking. A deal was done and before we knew it we were back on the M6 heading home to Newcastle thinking what the hell has just happened? We’ve bought a new motorhome….that wasn’t the plan!

COVID Cancels the Plans

A few days on once Nick had called out of courtesy, reality started to set in and excitedly, we started to make plans for the summer. Then COVID-19 hit.  Lockdown happened the same day we were due to collect our Benimar.


Three long months past and then we got a call from Nick to confirm Marquis were COVID secure and we could collect our new motorhome.


Sadly, due to COVID and the travel restrictions, our planned holiday to Annecy in France couldn’t go ahead. But, we decided to make the most of what England and Scotland had to offer.

The motorhome is home
Motorhome is on the Road

Back on the Road

Three months on and just over 3,500 faultless miles later we had one of the best summers ever for travelling with all things considered. The Tessoro 463 has such a good-sized garage meaning we managed to carry all our kit and still have space for food and drink to last the whole holiday. We pre-booked campsites and used chip and pin fuel stations to keep ourselves isolated from others and vice versa. We had everything on board we needed to create a perfect family holiday.


During summer 2020 we explored Hadrian’s Wall for a weekend, Pooley Bridge and Keswick in the Lake District for a week, Newton Stewart in the Galloway Forest for a long weekend, Bundle Bay on the Northumbrian Coast for a weekend and we toured the full length of the West side of Scotland’s Route 500 over a 3-week period. We also discovered that the Scottish Forestry Commission and Kielder Forest let you “Stay the Night” at selected carparks overnight and we have been continuing to take advantage of that at weekends.

Viewing the Campsite
Campsite Living
Campsite Awning
Off Campsite Exploring

This was the best idea

Our little girl is getting to see and experience areas that are only accessible and available to people who have the ability to live off grid for a few days and we have been able to do this in our new motorhome. With the gas-powered kitchen facilities and solar panel topping up the battery for the electrical items, we have managed to mix between off grid camping and using campsites without being restricted by EHU points which is just what you need when you want to get away from it all.


In the depths of lockdown, we did wonder if taking the motorhome on was a sensible idea, but we are so glad we did.

Beach Days
Campsite Sunset

We would like to thank Nick and the team at Marquis Durham for all the sales and aftercare support. I believe we were the first handover after Marquis re-opened. Although it wasn’t the experience promised before lockdown, they still managed a comprehensive handover in challenging times.

Freedom at the Beach
Motorhome Touring