After spending a summer in our motorhome touring France back in 2009 using the fantastic France Passion guide to enjoy the hospitality and produce of farms and vineyards, we realised that a similar scheme in the UK was long overdue!
Inspired by France Passion, we decided to start Brit Stops - like the name suggests, a network of "pit stops" around Britain where we motorhome tourists can rest, stop over and travel on the next morning having enjoyed some local produce, and even filled up the on-board larder!
France Passion has been operating successfully to the mutual benefit of local producers and motorhome tourists for 24 years, and has created a blueprint that is now being used in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and even in the United States.
We love the way it operates on a no-charge basis for the stopover as it did from the very first year, instead relying on the mutual benefits offered, where the motorhome tourists can stop over for free on a "no frills" basis and the hosts get the opportunity to show their wares. It also came as no surprise to us that research undertaken by France Passion and indeed our own survey undertaken in 2013, showed that the great majority of motorhome visitors purchase from their hosts. In our own travels we enjoyed a whole range of produce in France, including local honey, venison, wine and home-made quiche lorraine, and some excellent meals, real ales and farm produce in Britain.
The other great feature we've always enjoyed is the opportunity to meet local farmers, publicans and vineyard owners, learn about their business - and of course sample some of their wares!
Local retailers of home-grown produce have always been aware that it's not just the undoubted freshness and quality of their produce that sets them apart, it's also the personal touch offered to their customers, and it's this that we adventurous and curious motorhome tourists are looking for on our travels!
Over the years since that first edition in 2011, we have built Brit Stops into a comprehensive network of UK stopovers, and in 2015 added "Irish Stops" to the scheme so it now covers the whole of the British Isles. In that time we have brought many more customers to the doors of local producers. We also tour the UK ourselves regularly in our own motorhomer, stopping at as many of the "Brit Stops" as we can, so who knows - maybe we'll meet you?
Steve and Mandy