Camping does not just involve sleeping in a tent. Many people are now choosing to use a caravan or motor home to sleep in. This is still a cheap way to go on holiday but provides more comfort than a tent. Caravans are fully fitted with a kitchen, bedrooms, living area and bathroom. Touring caravans can be driven from place to place either through their own engine or by attaching them to the back of your car, whereas static ones reside in caravan parks and you can hire them for use.
Listed below is a collection of touring caravan manufacturers in the UK. This is not an exhaustive list, but provides information of the manufacturers who have the best reputation.
Bailey of Bristol – Bailey of Bristol have been making caravans for over half a century, with their products proving exceptional state-of-the-art facilities. A brochure of current models and designs is available from the website, or you can search to see where your nearest manufacturer is.
Avondale Coachcraft Limited – Avondale do not only offer touring caravans but also sell park homes if you want to find a more permanent camping base. The company has been running since 1970, and the website provides links to the brochure and dealers.
Fleetwood Caravans Limited – Fleetwood caravans are modern and high-tech, offering all the latest facilities. Their stylish design has made them very popular, which is also reflected in their price. The website provides details of all dealers in the UK.
Lunar – Lunar caravans are easy-to-use, lightweight and economically friendly, making them one of the most popular options on the market. The website not only provides details about their caravans and motorhomes, but also gives you the option of planning your holiday and offers membership to the Lunar Owners Club. Exhibitions centres are also available across the country.
Swift – The Swift Group is an international company that sells caravans, motorhomes and holiday homes. Brands which the group incorporates are Abbey, Ace, Bessacarr, Sprite, Sterling and Swift. The company has won many awards for its design and manufacture, and the website is packed full of photos and plans for the caravans and homes.
Van Master – Van Master specialise in caravans, although they also offer a limited range of motor homes and used vans. There is only one place that a Van Master caravan or home can be purchased from (Standish in Lancashire) but the website provides adequate pictures and information for you to be able to make an educated decision about your purchase.
The Explorer Group – The Explorer Group consists of Elddiss, Compass and Buccanner caravans and mobile homes, and is the second largest manufacturer of such products in the UK. Retailers are available across the country, and the website will be able to inform you of your nearest one. An owners club is also available, as is tuition as to how to manoeuvre your caravan or home.
If you want to find the nearest caravan dealer to you, which will stock some or all of these brands then look at the Caravanning-online website for details.
If you have just bought a caravan or motor home it is advisable to partake in a manoeuvring course to learn how to drive it properly. It is a prerequisite for the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) Towing Test, which you will need to have if you want to be able to take the vehicle on the road. The course will cover all off-road skills, so when you come to take this test the examiner will only need to concentrate on on-road skills. These courses last for one day, and run between March and October every year. There are a maximum of twelve people on each course, which works out at a ratio of one instructor to every four learners for a caravan and three learners for a motor home. You must have a full drivers licence, and motor home drivers have to bring this with them. The course fee is £85. For a list of courses that are taking place around the country see the camping and caravanning club website.
And of course the ultimate pre-requisite for caravanning is that the perspective driver has the correct licence for the type and weight of the vehicle to be driven or towed. If you are planning on driving a motorhome see this site. If you are going to be towing a caravan you should click here. For a comprehensive list of local driving lessons and instructors see the DrivingSchools website.