With the Swift and Explorer Group new model launches completed, we now know what all the main UK caravan manufacturers will be unveiling to their customers over the coming months. No sooner has the preview season ended, however, than it’s time for us all to prepare for the first big national show of the year: the NEC Motorhome & Caravan Show (13-18 October). This is the first time we’ll see everything – together with lines from Continental importers and smaller manufacturers – all under one roof. It's well worth going to the NEC to see all the new 2016 caravan ranges – it promises to be an exciting six days.
Just to recap on the highlights of what’s happened so far, Swift Group has given its mid-range big-sellers a major overhaul, while Explorer Group has introduced a couple of new layouts – including one fresh twist on the fixed-single-beds theme that has to be seen.
Bailey, meanwhile, has a brand new Pegasus line-up for you to drool over, and Coachman took all of us by surprise by introducing not one, but two new caravans, one of which in particular – the Pastiche 470, with its front transverse bed – should get plenty of tongues wagging. Adria, too, has given us a new family-friendly tourer – the Altea Eden – while Lunar has a raft of new layouts across its portfolio, particularly in the revamped Lexon range.
On the Continental side of things, Knaus – which put in an unexpectedly strong appearance at the last NEC show – is coming back with the return of the head-turning, wedge-shaped Sport and Fun, which so astounded us back in the 1990s. Expect a full line-up of Eurostar and Travelino models, too.
And that’s not to say that some more-established brands won’t be there – Lowdhams Leisureworld will be marking 50 years in the business with its latest UK-specific Hymer Novas and Tourings (this latter including Familia, Triton and Troll models), and special anniversary packs will be offered on both the Bailey Unicorn and all-new Pegasus.
Two wheels good
Opus Campers will use the NEC show to launch its latest product. Dubbed ‘Moto’, this innovative folding camper is light enough to be towed by a family hatchback, but is capable of carrying two full-sized motorbikes on its roof. The idea is that a couple on a budget can embark on a motorbike adventure, but have affordable accommodation waiting for them when they get back. Opus claims that loading and unloading the bikes is the work of just 20 seconds, thanks to the inbuilt crane. Prices start at £15,995.
World's largest LEGO caravan at the NEC
The team behind the Motorhome & Caravan Show is planning to mark 130 years of leisure caravanning this year by attempting to set a new Guinness World Record, building the largest ever touring caravan — made almost entirely of LEGO bricks. And it won’t be some static affair, either: the plan is to build it onto a proper Al-Ko chassis and reinforce it with a hidden steel support structure. It will also, we’re assured, have a full interior with working lights, sink, simulated cooker, bed and seating, and will be based on the funky T@b 320RS.
The attempt will involve a team of eight professional LEGO builders (no, we didn’t know they existed, either) assembling some 150,000 bricks over a period of more than 1000 man hours, and the van will be completed in time for the show’s official opening.
Hot new caravans you must see
With 11 halls full of caravans, motorhomes and outdoor equipment to choose from, where will you start your NEC show trail? Here's our selection of exciting new 2016 caravans we think you'd like to see.
First of all, check out our 2016 Tourer of the Year Awards shortlist to see the best of the latest caravans launched in time for the 2016 touring season. And above all, make sure you get to see the overall winners of each category. You can read about the 2016 Tourer of the Year Awards Winners here. Many congratulations to Lunar – our overall winner!
We've recently reviewed the 2016 Buccaneer Clipper, a range-topping twin-single bed caravan with beds that go sideways! Check it out for yourself on the Elddis and Buccaneer stand.
Transverse island beds are in vogue for 2016 and it's well worth reading our 2016 Bailey Pegasus Brindisi review before the show to see what £17,999 can buy you.
Lunar has transformed its Lexon range for 2016, so we recommend you read our 2016 Lunar Lexon 570 review before checking out this fixed-twin-bed, rear-washroom caravan at the show.
We were most impressed by the flexibility offered by the 2016 Coachman Vision 570 when we reviewed it recently. There are no fixed beds in this caravan, just a brilliant twin-lounge layout that makes the most of the space for families. Check it out on the Coachman stand at the show.
Buy tickets in advance to save money
Tickets for The Motorhome and Caravan Show 2015 cost £12 (£11 seniors aged 60+; accompanied children free) on the day. You can save money if you buy tickets for the show online in advance and remember to use our discount code 'PCV2' at the online checkout. Your programme (with a map) and parking are included.