Claudia Dowell
Features Editor

See other caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell

See how the four-berth fixed bed Adria Adora Thames measures up in this expert review by Practical Caravan, with specs, prices and rivals to watch

Overview

Slovenian manufacturer Adria is the only caravan maker on the Continent that produces tourers for the British high volume market. Its network of dealers is growing and the main Adria Concessionaires office is in Long Melford in Suffolk. 

Wide-bodied tourers have been legal in the UK since 2010. But with the exception of the Adria Astella, no 2.5m-wide models have been built for the UK volume market. (We classify Bailey’s Retreat vans as semi-statics, not tourers.) 

That all changed for 2013, when the upmarket Astella was joined by the mid-market Adora Thames, also from Slovenian manufacturer Adria. Sporting Britain’s most popular layout, end-washroom and fixed-bed, the Thames has no rival among UK tourers, which haven’t entered the 2.5m-wide market. 

Competition for the Adora Thames therefore has come from Germany: the Dethleffs Nomad 560 SB makes a worthy rival. It features the same layout in reverse, and a comprehensive specification. It even has the same MTPLM: 1800kg. We review the Dethleffs Nomad separately, so if you’re looking for a roomy caravan to leave on a seasonal pitch, these are both hot contenders. 

The Adora is not a new brand – Adria has been building them for 47 years – and part of Adria's success is down to the fact that the firm isn't slow to meet a challenge. The following year it gave the 2014 Adora Thames facelifts inside and out, including a huge new opening panoramic sunroof over the front lounge and triple front windows curving over the roofline. 

But was there anything much wrong with the original 2013 version of the Adora Thames? Sometimes the model before a revamp can represent fantastic value on the second-hand market. Here our expert takes a close look at the 2013 model, which has a front lounge, midships kitchen, nearside fixed double bed and an end washroom. 

Pitching and setting up

The Adora Thames has an Al-Ko chassis and running gear with buttonless handbrake and AKS stabiliser. Sturdy grabhandles are mounted horizontally, and the deep fairing offers excellent access to the gas locker. The heavy-duty rear steadies are easy to find, but the front ones are trickier to use.

Mains electrical and water connections are on the offside and drains rear of the axle, but you’ll have to crouch to locate them.

The electrical system master switch and water pump are on a pillar to the left of the kitchen, while the consumer unit is to the right of the two-piece main door.

Lounge

Wrap-around seating greets visitors; in place of a centre chest you’ll find a tip-up shelf and a floor-level cubby below. There is a generous 0.87m between the front seats, and plenty of room around the folding-leaf table.

The lounge has a pleasing ambience: the mid-toned woods are well paired with the fabrics and plenty of light enters from the large windows. Roller blinds and flyscreens come as standard, and while the curtains are little more than decorative, they are lined.

A full-width front shelf offers convenient storage for cups. It is also just right for leaning your back on while watching TV, a station for which is on the nearside dresser.

Kitchen

For a caravan so well-suited to entertaining, the Thames is short on food preparation space. When the sink and cooker lids are down, there’s only 1.26m of worktop – presumably to make way for a 107-litre fridge with a separate freezer.

Other equipment includes a three-burner gas hob, a separate oven and grill, and a sink with a built-in drainer. There’s no microwave and no obvious place to retrofit your own.

Cooks will love the 0.68m-wide drawers under the sink, though. These swallow plenty of utensils, although you’ll need to provide your own cutlery tray. Racking is fitted to the overhead lockers.

Washroom

Continental minimalism is the dominant aesthetic in the Adora’s washroom. The sink resembles a mixing bowl and uplighters lurk behind a mirror in the shower, which is finished in sealed, wood-effect panels.

The vanity unit looks quite upmarket, flanked by two narrow cupboards with push-open doors. Entry to the shower cubicle is via a bi-fold door, but there’s nowhere to store lotions and potions, apart from a floor-level shelf.

At the other end of the room, you’ll find an electric-flush swivel toilet, but no toilet-roll holder.

Beds

With a comfortable mattress, tip-up headrests and dimensions of 2m x 1.43m, the Adora’s fixed bed won’t attract much criticism. The whole area feels airy and comfortable, thanks to windows on both sides and a small rooflight.

The picture at the front isn’t as positive, however. Both lounge seats measure 1.39m and 1.74m, so they can be used as single beds for children. But making up the double is problematic. Rearranging the cushions on the pull-out, slatted base leaves an unsupported area near the kitchen, reducing the bed’s usable area.

Storage

Lots of thought has gone into the Adria’s storage options, from the place for coats built into the dresser to a run of cupboards opposite the fixed bed. There are 12 overhead lockers throughout, including five in the lounge, and two wardrobes.

The larger one is 0.47m wide with a 1.78m drop from the hanging rail and three shelves. The other has a 0.54m-long rail but the space heater reduces the drop for hanging garments to 1.25m.

There’s a cavernous space under the fixed bed, accessed via the split mattress; this area can also be reached from an external hatch. Under-seat storage in the lounge is greater on the nearside, although the wet box robs it of space.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1567kg
Payload233kg
MTPLM1800kg
Interior length6.35m
Shipping length8.23m
Width2.48m
Height2.58m
Awning size1085cm

Verdict

This caravan will appeal to anyone who wants a comfortable caravan that they can leave set up on a seasonal pitch for most or all of the year.

The 2013 Adria Adora Thames uses its internal space well, providing spacious fixed beds and smart storage systems. It represents great value for your money and and gives a generous payload for its inhabitants.

Conclusion

Pros

  • The fixed bed’s base
  • There are 12 roof lockers
  • Two wardrobes
  • The lounge has a pleasant ambience

Cons

  • The washroom has no shelf in the shower
  • There is no toilet roll holder in the washroom
  • The kitchen is stingy with worktop space
  • Part of the front double bed has no frame
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