Yes, after a three-year enforced break, this October we are finally going to see an autumnal caravan show at the NEC in Birmingham again (18th-23rd October 2022), where you can see the latest releases from the biggest caravan manufacturers.
Of course, the continuing fall-out from two years of pandemic and lockdowns has meant new launches are perhaps thinner on the ground than you might normally hope to find at the National Motorhome and Caravan Show. But here’s our run-down of the brilliant things you can expect to see at the NEC show October 2022.
Adria – Stand 6.36 & 7.30-35, Halls 6 & 7
You might recall Adria’s Astella, in particular the Rio Grande, with its unusual front kitchen. Adria is resurrecting that layout with its new Alpina Rio Grande, debuting at the NEC.
The new Alpina is a bonus, because the focus this year has been on the updated entry-level Altea. Adria updates each of its three caravan ranges on a rotating basis, and this year it’s the turn of the Altea.
Look out for a new all-silver exterior and alloys, as well as a modernised rear panel. To save weight, Adria has finished the interior walls in SymaLITE, a composite made from recycled materials. This is left raw on the side walls, for a felt effect.
Look, too, for clever details such as settees upholstered all the way to the floor for a more domestic feel, and storage trays you can hang in different parts of the caravan. There are three models in the range this season: the Adria Altea Dart (our winner of the best 4 berth caravan at the Practical Caravan Awards 2023), Tyne and Avon.
Bailey – Stand 19.25, Hall 19
With industry-wide supply chain issues still not resolved, Bailey is focused on unveiling exciting things next February. The only new model you’ll see here from the Bristol brand is the Evora, the transverse-island-bed, 8ft-wide Alicanto Grande.
There will also be models from the firm’s fifth-generation Unicorn range, launched in 2021 but making its show debut here – see what we made of the Bailey Unicorn Vigo.
Coachman – Stand 19.20, Hall 19
With model numbers slimmed to 20 for 2023, but a 25% bigger stand, there’s room for a wide selection to be displayed by luxury brand Coachman.
But the 855, with an L-shaped lounge, breaks tradition with a side kitchen to the right of the door as you come in.
Three models – the Acadia 545, Laser 665 and Laser Xcel 850 – have a revised washroom.
Eriba – Stand 20.35, Hall 20
The Nova Light 515, one of two new models from Eriba, comes with a 2m-long transverse bed and 2m-long bunks at the back. Look out, too, for the twin-axle Eriba Touring 820, seven other Tourings, the Nova Light 465 and the Eriba Feeling 442.
Erwin Hymer UK – Stand 20.19, 20.35, 20.38, 20.41, 20.56, 20.70 & 20.72, Hall 20
For 2023, Buccaneer will not be the only 8ft-wide caravan from Erwin Hymer UK – the Elddis Crusader and Compass Camino line-ups will both be expanding to that width.
Both ranges have a new front and rear panel, Hawk V2 alloys and flush-fit tinted windows. Inside, you get new one-piece side panels, a ladder radiator in the washroom and a 3030 Alde boiler. Both ranges have a new model too – the Crusader Tempest and Camino 668.
Go-Pods – Stand 12.98, Hall 12
These tiny trailers continue, with one difference this year: the Camper has been dropped. Instead, Go-Pods revives Venus, with a choice of shell colour.
Hobby – Stand 9.110, Hall 9
This NEC show will be the first time that Hobby’s new Scandi-inspired Maxia range will be at a show in the UK, although the model on show, the 660WQM, was launched last year.
For 2023 it is offering an expanded Excellent Edition range, with four models designed for families. Of these, the 650KMFe, with a children’s room at the rear, will be at the show.
The Beachy range still needs to meet UK fire standards before it arrives in the UK.
Knaus Tabbert – Stand 17.32, Hall 17
The most exciting newcomer is likely to be the Azur 500FU, from Knaus’s range of “self-healing” caravans.
All models in the range have a UV-resistant outer surface, which Knaus claims will “heal” scratches or marks made by passing trees and other objects if the van is left out in the sun.
Also on the stand are five Sport Models, the Sport&Fun Blue and the Sport&Fun Black, three Südwinds, one North Star, and the Deseo.
From Weinsberg, expect to see the rear-lounge Caracito 450 FU, from the all-electric range launched last season.
Lion Caravans – Stand 98 Hall 12
New exhibitor Lion Caravans will be showing off its Cub teardrop camper and Sabre demountable pick-up camper.
The Cub has a kitchen at the back, Webasto heating, a full-length bed, 19-inch TV and a power point with dual USBs. The payload is 110kg with an MTPLM of 750kg.
Unlike other demountables, the Sabre has a monocoque shell, weighs in at 490kg and requires no additional airbag suspension on the pick-up.
It has a fixed double bed, a kitchen fitted with a fridge and an integrated sink and hob, Eberspächer diesel heating, fresh- and waste-water tanks, LED internal lighting, an outdoor shower and a retractable awning.
Two versions are available: the standard Sabre model, and the Sabre Lux, which replaces the washroom with two extra beds, and includes an inverter and a tent on the roof.
Swift – Stand 6.33-6.39, Hall 6
If you want to see the 2023 Swift range away from a dealer stand or forecourt, this will be your only chance to do so.
The focus is on updating the caravan range this year, with a refresh inside and out, and décor moving away from browns and oranges, toward blues and greys – and the addition of a flock of birds for the external graphics on many models.
The new Basecamp 3 includes a foldaway bed at the front and a small dinette in the rear nearside corner, while the new Challenger Grande 670 will be the first six-berth in the 8ft-wide Challenger Grande range (formerly Challenger X). Similarly, the 8ft-wide Sprite Super is now Sprite Grande.
Challengers get a 100W solar panel, while Conquerors have contrasting sidewalls and a new external cold shower point, and Elegance models have a new external TV outlet.
Dometic – Stand 12.38-39, Hall 12
Dometic’s offering includes the Residence Air All Season, a new polycotton awning in six sizes, from 950cm to 1100cm.
It has an inflatable canopy, zipped external window blinds and removable panels.
For something a bit smaller, there is also a new inflatable canopy designed to go over your caravan door, to fend off chilly draughts when you are going out and coming in.
Isabella – Stand 17.34, Hall 17
A sun canopy for the popular Penta awning and a range of innovative portable lamps are among Isabella’s new launches for 2023. The Penta has been part of the range for 35 years now. The sun canopy has been launched in response to high customer demand. Made of Megasteel and with welded corners for extra strength, it has a rear panel with windows.
The portable solar-powered lamps, meanwhile, initially designed to be mounted on an Isabella wind shield, can also rest on an outdoor table. If preferred, they can be charged via a USB cable.
Isabella is also launching another awning range that is probably more suited to motorcaravans, but should interest anyone who has a caravan with a roll-out awning. The Buddy has two sides and a front, which you attach to the roll-out to provide you with a flexible construction that can be a fully enclosed awning or an attractive sun terrace. The Buddy comes in four different sizes.
Quest Leisure – Stand 17.38, Hall 17
Quest Leisure sells a range of awnings and canopies under its own name, as well as German brand Westfield, and it’s a new model from the latter that is likely to be a big crowd-puller at the NEC.
The Galaxy, a full air awning with single-point inflation, is designed for seasonal use.
Made of Tencate and Mehler Airtex fabrics, it has zipped internal blinds, ventilation panels, tinted windows and a panoramic view. It is available in three sizes – 946-980, 981-1015 and 1016-105o – and comes with a two-year warranty.
Quest’s own-brand launches include the Falcon Canopy, a 150-denier canopy with optional front and side panels that clip on, making a full awning. All windows come with blinds.
Quest has also expanded its customisable Falcon Airshield inflatable wind shield, so now, along with the single solid panels, you can also get a door panel to slip between them.
Buying a caravan can be quite a serious business, but there’s lots of fun to be had picking up accessories – in some cases, products you didn’t even know were available or needed, but which improve your touring life considerably!
At the show, you can find everything from barbecues and ebikes to sat-navs and paddle boards. Here’s our pick of some of the many fantastic exhibits to be explored.
Colapz (12.193, Hall 12) will be on hand with its many space-saving products, such as a collapsible 25-litre bucket and super flexi-waste pipes.
Or how about a bike rack? Fiamma (12.37, Hall 12) will be showing its Carry Bike range (pictured left), along with awnings and privacy rooms.
Need new bedding? Then take a look at specialist maker Caravan Beds (17.19, Hall 17), Leisurebedding.com (11.41, Hall 11) a small British company that specialises in luxury bedding for caravans and motorhomes, or Duvalay (6.23, Hall 6) with its range of premium sleep products.
Those of you with an eye for saving energy and thinking about going off-grid should not miss the solar panel systems shown by Solar Technology International (20.95, Hall 20). And if you’re keen to stay green, check out Solbio, with its 100% natural toilet fluid (12.188, Hall 12).
Or how about a new cover to protect your precious van? Both Protec (12.01, Hall 12) and Specialised Covers (18.11, Hall 18) will be at the show exhibiting their ranges.
Dealers are the lifeblood of the show and there’s a multitude on hand to, well, make a deal!
It’s worth visiting several, to see which ones have the models and deals that will suit you, and find those with whom you can develop the best rapport. The right dealer can also be a great source of useful information.
Broad Lane Leisure – Stand 20.45, Hall 20
Among others, try Broad Lane Leisure, which has branches at Alcester and Kenilworth, and sells a range of Swift and Coachman models.
Golden Castle Leisure Group – Stand 17.33, Hall 17
A new exhibitor at the 2022 NEC show is Gloucestershire-based Golden Castle Leisure Group, which deals in a number of the major caravan brands, including Swift and Coachman.
Kimberley Caravan Centre – Stand 19.19, Hall 19
Kimberley operates branches in Nottingham, Darlington and Chesterfield, with Coachman, Compass, Swift and Explore models on sale.
One of the many attractions of the show is being able to experience things at first-hand, whether that’s trying out a new ebike, listening to speakers at the Live Theatre, or taking part in one of the skills sessions put on by the major Clubs.
Journalist and YouTuber Andrew Ditton will be at the Live Theatre to talk about his journey along Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Austria, providing tips from his recent tour to help you plan your own holiday journeys.
Kat (Wandering Bird) Bird will be talking about her motorhome tour of the incredible Norwegian fjords.
Tow with confidence
Newbies can try one of The Camping and Caravanning Club’s free towing sessions to gain their first experience of towing a caravan.
If you also fancy trying out a motorhome, the Caravan and Motorhome Club runs taster sessions.
Your chance to win…
Don’t forget to enter the two Club competitions!
You could win a trip to Australia worth £8000 at the Caravan and Motorhome Club (stand 9.95, Hall 9), and there’s a chance to win a Swift Basecamp 6 and Vango awning worth over £26,000 at The Camping and Caravanning Club (stand 8.10, Hall 8).
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