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A Britstops review
So, before we dive into this, we’d like to point out that this isn’t a sponsored post & Brit Stops haven’t asked us to write only nice things about them.
This is purely a review of Brit Stops from our honest opinion & experiences to help you decide if it’s for you.
What is Brit Stops?
Brit Stops is a print-based catalogue of over one thousand free motorhome and campervan park ups and overnight stopovers across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Yes! There is no Brit Stops app or online directory of stopovers and you’ll need to buy the physical copy in order to use it.
You will however be added to a monthly email newsletter to bring you the latest updates to any entries, company news and usually a featured story or two.
But read on to find out why this isn’t a limitation but a unique selling point that simply adds value to you, the intended user.
A short description from the horse’s mouth:
Free stopovers – what’s the catch?
There is no catch – the idea being to connect you to local businesses offering outstanding local produce.
You are not obliged to spend a single penny – but there is a very good chance that you will.
At the very minimum this approach will help local businesses spread positive awareness of themselves as they strive to ensure that you have the best stay possible
How is it free?
Can I use Brit Stops?
Anyone can use Brit Stops to find really good pubs but to get the full benefit of the book you’ll need to own, or at least have access to, a campervan or motorhome or else you won’t be able to use the free overnight stopovers (or, if you do, you’ll get extremely cold!)
What if I have a caravan?
Unfortunately, caravans are unable to stay overnight at Brit Stop pubs.
This is for a number of good reasons, the primary being that many UK pubs just simply do not have the space and turning circles required by caravans and thus can’t accommodate them.
Can I bring the dog?
There are very few listings that aren’t dog friendly, and most of those that aren’t will be happy for you to come with the dog but just ask that you leave them in the camper whilst you are inside the premises.
So why do I need Brit Stops in the digital age?
With so many apps, websites and online digital resources you might think that the need for a print only directory is dead.
But we think that’s a little naïve.
There’s something lovely about flicking through an actual print-based book and debating the merits of each entry. Besides, Googling “Motorhome parking near me” gets old after a while.
Or what if you’re high and dry in the middle of nowhere and your phone is dead or you have no signal? It’s the same reason you should keep a print-based road atlas. Because as good as online map services are, you should always have access to a backup that will not let you down, guaranteed.
It also takes away the need to know what to search for online, everything is there and presented in a coherent format for us!
Once you’ve found a stopover that appeals to you, then yes, go online and check out reviews and photos to double check that it’s not going to be a stinker!
The Best Way to use Brit Stops
This comes down to personal choice and preference but this is how we use Brit Stops.
In the winter
For simple weekend trips we have enough capacity inside the van to avoid the need for campsite facilities.
Many campsites are closed through the winter months or simply get bogged out when the weather turns very wet.
Wild Camping in the winter might be an option but when it gets dark so early it often means long evenings sat in the van.
Instead, you could be enjoying a nice pint or meal in a local pub somewhere, mixing with the locals, experiencing an authentic taste of British Culture and giving a little back to the local economy.
On long drives
We often leave home for our weekend trips after work on a Friday evening. Usually, we have a 4+ hour drive planned to get to where we want to visit.
Now we could wait and leave Saturday morning – but that will use up 25% of our time away
We could book a campsite for Friday night, but we see little point in paying campsite prices when we are going to arrive late and leave early. Besides many campsites aren’t keen on late arrivals
So, we get as many hours driving as we can under our belt, figure out where we are and head to the nearest entry that looks appealing to us.
Little beats a lovely refreshing pint with dinner and washing up sorted for us after a full work day and a long drive.
Nights away during the week on a school night!
We love a mid-week break without taking any time off work. We’ll find a brit stop within an hour or two from home – head over after work, have a pint (or 6) and a meal. We head home the following morning in time for work feeling like we’ve had a far longer break than just a simple overnighter.
For lunch or stocking up
You don’t have to stay over!
We sometimes spot a pub in the Brit Stops book that looks super nice and we’ll just stop by in passing for a pint or food just because!
Or perhaps we need to stock up on food. As opposed to going to the nearest supermarket if there is a nice looking farm shop in the vicinity we’ll normally head over there to pick up local supplies and support a small business.
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What does the catalogue look like?
Each entry looks like the below picture, providing all the information you need about the stopover.
Competitors & Alternative Options
Well it wouldn’t be a fair review without pointing out some of the competitors available.
The main advantage of each of these competitors is their online presence and community driven directories.
Which is also, in our view, also their downsides.
This is because, as we’ve mentioned, having the physical presence of a book is what makes Brit Stops uniquely appealing. It’s also been curated not by a community effort but through a network of professionals who are passionate about providing the very best service and opportunities.
And finally each of these sites doesn’t focus specifically on pub stopovers, so if you are only interested in pub stopovers you will have to spend a bit more time narrowing down your search.
Our favourite Brit Stop from the 2020 edition
The Wheatsheaf is a brit stop pub in the North Wessex Downs countryside with the most incredible ethos to create, in their own words, “our vision of the future pub – filled with flavour, music, art, independence, sustainability, local business, community focus, heritage, and evolving passion.”
Couple that with incredible beer, atmosphere and wood fired pizza and you’ve got all the makings of an absolute belter of a pub stopover.
They also do pizza takeaways so you can eat from the comfort of your own van if you so desire.
Yes – there are more modern, whatever that may mean, options for finding free overnight stopovers available.
However, for the extremely low cost and unique opportunities contained within, we 100% recommend purchasing the latest Brit Stops for your adventures.
So in a word – YES!
Brit Stops is definitely still worth it in 2021 – get your official copy here.
Now go get exploring these 5 Epic UK Road Trips and save money using Brit Stops!
Pro tip: as the book is only valid for 12 months at a time, if you’re reading this in the 2nd half of the year, it’s probably worth waiting until the next edition is available to ensure you get the full benefit from it.
Go Explore! For Free!