Days 3/4 : The Plan, or how to get around
Our initial strategy is to have a motorhome (let's just call it 'the van') and bikes. We've brought over all our bikes from France thanks to regular car trips between Normandy and Guildford. We chose a motorhome with a large garage area with external access so when we want to set-off somewhere in the van we can quickly chuck kids bikes and other camping gear in there and not have to spend too long packing up.
However we realise there is a risk that we just sit in campsites because the motorhome is too big to park anywhere (7m long, 3.2m high), and the kids are too small to cycle anywhere (or the weather is too wet/cold), and places we can park the van will be inaccessible by public transport.
The Plan will be put to the test when we head off in our traveling configuration for the first time on the 31st July. We're looking at staying in the New Forest area with a trip in to Portsmouth to visit HMS Victory (I understand the Education Nationale's policy on Trafalgar is that it was a draw :-D). So how feasible would it be to go and visit a tourist attraction in central Portsmouth in the van?
With a tiny amount of research I've discovered that :
1) There is a Park & Ride system for Portsmouth (http://parkandride.portsmouth.gov.uk/faqs.shtml)
2) Motorhomes are allowed to park if you pay for 2 spaces
3) There is sometimes a height restriction on the entry to the car park
4) The status of the height restriction barrier is updated on the Park & Ride twitter account (https://twitter.com/pandrportsmouth)
This is just incredible. I can find out in real time anywhere in the world whether a metal bar has been lowered over a car park entrance somewhere near Portsmouth. Barrier is up since 19th July.
Maybe Portsmouth city council just have an especially enthusiastic car-parking social media team, but with that level of information The Plan might just work.