Camping in the UK shapes unforgettable memories for free spirit families.

Yellow sprinter in nature

When the Waltons need a weekend getaway with the family, they take their Mercedes-Benz 311 CDI LWB called “Mo” on adventures around the UK. The way they remodeled the Sprinter proves how ideal van sessions can be for the whole family.

Hotel on wheels.

Pancakes for breakfast, hours on vast fields in the nature and cozy evenings in bed when it pours outside. While other families go stay in hotels when they’re on vacation, the Waltons take their little hotel with them. Camping is a perfect weekend getaway for Andrew, Danielle and their two kids Hetty and Harry. But never would the family enjoy their trips as much without “Mo”, their 2008 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 311 CDI LWB. “We named it after my Grandma Mo, who loved to travel,” says Danielle. Within seven months, the sprinter got converted into a camper for traveling around the UK.

Making a van suitable and especially comfortable for a family of five – their dog Finn included – can be quite a challenge. What’s necessary to consider beforehand and which adjustments make a van truly family friendly?

Crepes and coffee on table

While on trips, Danielle loves making pancakes or crepes in the morning.

Choosing the right foundation.

The initial inspiration for a van build dates back to Andrew’s and Danielle’s backpacking days in India in the mid 90’s. They were inspired by a group of overland vehicles that had traveled from Sweden. “It just seemed like the perfect home with all the comforts that we were missing whilst traveling,” remembers Danielle. Those days built the foundation for the idea. A holiday in Turkey gave them the missing piece when coming across caravans, a vehicle without an engine that can be pulled by a car. “We rented a German caravan that was basically just a box,” tells Danielle. “We had it for quite some time, but it was just not big enough”. In a caravan one sleeps widthwise which, especially with Andrew being 6.3 feet in height, gave them a hard time. “We slept in weird positions all night”.

Though they enjoyed the comfort of having an accommodation on wheels, caravans on top of being too small were also comparably expensive. There had to be something better out there. After thorough research, amongst others on Instagram, the Waltons came down to two options: Either a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or a VW crafter. Danielle and Andrew knocked their heads together and decided that a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was more sleek and offered more space for the family than the crafter.

Tip for families remodeling a van:

Get the kids involved! Hetty and Harry enjoyed helping to build the van, especially with the insulation. Getting fed up pretty quickly is quite common for kids that age (preteen and teen). But in hindsight, it gave them a good feeling to be part of the whole process. “Our daughter Hetty is quite arty and has an eye, so she really got involved with the interior design with me,” says Danielle. Both girls also decided on the color scheme together. Their son Harry was obviously more into the mechanical and hands-on details, so he helped his dad with cutting woods, putting in screws or fixing the solar panels.

  • Yellow sprinter parks in the nature
  • A girl looks through curtains from the back of a sprinter
  • Set table with open doors of the sprinter
  • A Sprinter drives on a road in the forest

Remodeling a van combined with the daily craziness.

It took them seven months to completely remodel “Mo” – a great accomplishment considering that both parents kept working usual work hours and trying to maintain a sane daily routine with the family. Of course, experience in the field were essential for that. “I helped as much as I could, but Andrew did have the knowledge,” says Danielle. Working as a gas engineer he’s gathered quite some experiences over the years, building houses amongst others. “The funny fact is that Andrew remodeled the van without anything on paper. It was all literally in his head,” tells Danielle. A proof that without the necessary skills one shouldn’t try to just wing a remodeling project. Luckily, the Waltons were covered with the right skills. What’s also important though are the right helping hands.

After seven months of hard work from everyone, Mo was ready for adventurous trips throughout the country. The Waltons are proud to say that their van is perfect for a family. Here they share what they took into consideration to make that possible.

Waking up with the back doors flung open to those majestic fields. Nothing can beat that.

How to make a van family friendly:

  • The beds are a real priority. Without a good night sleep, crankiness and moodiness affect every trip and the family harmony to the worst.
  • A simple, clean and, most importantly, light design. The more people stay in a van, the easier it gets to feel smashed and crowded.
  • A big table. Having a meal together as a family is crucial so the Waltons built a table that seats six people.
  • No need for a big dining table if there’s no proper meal: A fully functioning kitchen shouldn’t be underestimated.
  • Small space solutions. Make most out of the littlest. Andrew and Danielle built a bunk bed over the dining area that can be taken apart and stowed underneath the sofa. The big table with the two sofas also converts into a King Size bed.
  • The logical set up: With the bunk bed being fixed up high enough, the parents can still have a glass of wine at the table while the kids sleep.
  • Areas to „flee“ in case of fights or tensions between siblings for example. There’s three car seats in the front, two separated in the middle and the dining area in the back.
  • A USB port so everyone can charge their phones or devices, whether traveling in the van or being stationary. They’re powered off a solar panel on the roof.
  • The right props. A loo comes in handy, so does hot water.

Camping – a holiday for free spirits.

Camping for the Waltons is a perfect family adventure that guarantees unforgettable memories. “With Mo, we’ve been to Brighton, Wesley Dale and the Yorkshire Dales for example. But so far, our favorite has definitely been Camping in Lake District,” explains Danielle. Lake District is a mountainous region in North West England, a popular holiday destination that’s famous for its beautiful lakes.

You want to spend a holiday in the UK and hire Mo for yourself? The van is hired out through the Quirky Campers – a handcrafted camper hire agency.

The Waltons’ tips for people who want to go Camping:

  • Be respectful to people around you.
  • Be respectful to the nature.
  • Bring enough water: 10 litre water tanks are easy to transport.
  • Plan simple meals: Soups, vegetables, etc.
  • Don’t go to places too remote: Once they camped in the grounds of a castle when at night they woke up to shots and reenactment. Someone was shooting rabbits very near the van. Some nice spots in the UK for camping.

Bed with open doors in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Mo is hired through Quirky Campers so everyone traveling to the UK can rent her.

Bund bed and bed

The dining area can be converted into a sleeping paradise within minutes.

Children playing next to van

Lake District in North West England is a favorite camping spot for the Waltons.

The shown conversions were carried out by independent third parties. The suppliers and conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. In this respect, these illustrations do not represent an assessment of the supplier and/or conversions by Mercedes-Benz.

Please note that camping is not allowed in every country. So check before your trip whether camping is permitted or not.

Sprinter

Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Slider images