If you’re looking to buy a caravan, it’s worth doing your research and finding out what each of the caravan manufacturers offers. There are some excellent caravan brands out there, so have a look online, go to a show to see the products and meet the companies in person. Here’s our round up of the some of the major players. Whether you’re looking for a classic Swift caravan, an American Airstream or a smart Bailey caravan we’ve got you covered.
If you find the sheer number of caravans out there bewildering, fortunately help is at hand. There are UK shows you can visit where you can see a wide variety of caravans from many of the manufacturers covered here, and all in one place. The two biggest happen at Birmingham’s NEC, with the larger show in October when the season’s new models are launched, and a smaller one earlier in the year, which will be taking place between 21st-26th February in 2023.
A show is also held at Glasgow’s SECC at around the same time for those north of the border – in 2023, it will be held between 2nd-5th February. There is also a smaller show at EventCity in Manchester in January, which will be running from 12th-15th.
Our Owner Satisfaction Awards, held in conjunction with the Camping and Caravanning Club, offer another great way of identifying the best caravan brands out there. Our readers vote – as do members of the Camping and Caravanning Club – to give us an accurate picture of the market and identify the brands who are providing the best customer satisfaction and buying experience.
Our most recent set of stats came from the Owner Satisfaction Awards 2023. We announced the results in December 2022, having received 4,735 completed surveys, an increase from the figure of 3,449 we received for our 2022 Awards. This data has given us what we consider to be the most precise results to date, and with it, a valuable way of picking out the best caravan manufacturers out there.
We also run the Practical Caravan Awards, where our expert judging panel use our collective decades of experience within the industry to pick out the standout tourers across a wide range of categories. In the process, we take a look at the latest releases from the best caravan makes and brands to make sure we’re selecting the top tourers on the market.
You’ll recognise many of these caravan brands from our best caravans for 2023 round-up too, where we’ve selected the top tourers on the market for the upcoming touring season.
Biggest and best caravan manufacturer brands
Drury Drive, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 1WH 01787 888980 www.adria.co.uk
The UK is Adria’s key market for the caravans it produces. The Slovenian company must be doing something right because it has a larger footprint in this country than any other continental manufacturer. The caravan make updates each of its three conventional ranges in rotation, and for the 2023 season, has been focusing on the Altea.
The new Altea vans have interior walls that have been finished in SymaLITE – this is a composite made from recycled materials which, Adria says, saves weight. The upgraded tourers also come with all-silver exteriors and alloys, as well as an improved rear panel.
The Slovenian brand achieved an impressive score of 86.1% at our recent Owner Satisfaction Awards, topping the best pre-owned caravan manufacturer category. This was followed by a third place finish in the best new caravan manufacturer category, with a total of 83%.
Taking this into account, it’s not surprising that the brand had an impressive showing at the Practical Caravan Awards 2023. The Adria Altea 622DP Dart was our winner of the best 4-berth caravan category, and was also shortlisted another three times. Our judging panel really like the warm interior vibe that it offers, and we think it provides a great spec too.
The Adria Altea 622 DK Avon also made the shortlist twice, while the Adria Alpina Rio Grande, a front kitchen tourer that debuted at the October NEC Show, also featured.
Lowdham Road, Gunthorpe, Nottingham NG14 7GS 0115 966 3838 www.lowdhams.com
The famous American caravans with their silver exteriors have been through quite a few changes in distribution in the UK in recent years. They are now exclusively sold through Lowdhams.
South Liberty Lane, Bristol BS3 2SS 0117 966 5967 www.baileyofbristol.co.uk
Bailey is one of Britain’s biggest caravan manufacturers, with its Unicorn range in particular proving very popular. In recent years, the brand has started to improve its models with even larger front windows, as well as more 8ft-wide models.
There was a successful showing for Bailey at the Practical Caravan Awards 2023, with the Bailey Alicanto Grande Evora really impressing our judges. The tourer not only won the best caravan over £30,000 category, but was also shortlisted for another three, with the airy washroom and spacious bedroom design proving a winning combination.
The caravan make had a successful Owner Satisfaction Awards too, receiving a gold award with a score of 81.1% in the best pre-owned caravan manufacturer category, as well as a silver award in the best new caravan manufacturer category, thanks to a total of 75.1%.
There was also a silver medal in the best overall manufacturer (new and pre-owned) category, where Bailey achieved 78.1%.
Amsterdam Road, Sutton Fields Industrial Estate, Hull HU7 0XF www.coachman.co.uk
Until 2022, Coachman was the only UK caravan manufacturer to focus solely on tourers, but the brand has now moved into the motorhome sphere too. It is the only UK brand to include Alde wet heating systems in all of its models.
For the 2023 season, the caravan make has slimmed down to 20 models over five ranges, with the Acadia line-up being particularly reduced.
Coachman has enjoyed a successful year, being crowned the best overall manufacturer (new and pre-owned) at our Owner Satisfaction Awards in December, thanks to an excellent total score of 83.1%. The brand also achieved a gold medal in the best new caravan manufacturer category, with 82.4%, and the best pre-owned caravan manufacturer, with 84.7%.
After such a dominating display, it’s not surprising that Coachman featured heavily at this year’s Practical Caravan Awards. The Coachman Laser Xcel 855 was our winner of the best caravan for seasonal pitches category, as well as making it onto two more shortlists. We think its a tourer that impresses throughout, with the comfortable L-shaped lounge and rear bedroom providing a luxurious setting for relaxation.
The Coachman Laser 665 took the best caravan for families category too, with its spacious interior and the washroom impressing our judges.
Holzstrasse 19, D-88339 Bad Waldsee, Germany www.eriba.com/en
Famous for its miniature caravans with pop-up roofs, Eriba, which is Hymer’s caravan brand, also produces very luxurious (and heavy) conventional caravans.
The brand had a good year, achieving a very impressive score of 85.3% in the best new caravan manufacturer category at the Owner Satisfaction Awards.
That’s not all though, with the Eriba Touring 820 making the shortlist at the Practical Caravan Awards. The stylish tourer has plenty of luxurious touches that impressed us, including underfloor heating and a strong build.
ERWIN HYMER UK
Delves Lane, Consett, County Durham 0371 964 2113 www.elddis.co.uk
The name for the company that produces Elddis, Compass, Xplore and Buccaneer caravans. Now part of the huge Erwin Hymer Group, it offers plenty of dealer specials too.
The caravan make achieved two silver awards at the Owner Satisfaction Awards, courtesy of scores of 74.7% and 77.8% in the best new caravan manufacturer and best pre-owned caravan manufacturer categories respectively.
They were also one of only four brands to achieve the necessary sample size required to be eligible to appear on our best overall manufacturer (new and pre-owned) list, where a total of 76.1% was achieved.
The group had a strong showing at the Practical Caravan Awards 2023 too. The Compass Camino 650 was our pick for the best caravan for couples, with our judges thinking it has a layout that is ideal for two on tour.
That’s not all, as the caravan manufacturer had tourers appear in two more categories too.
Main Road, Little Haywood, Stafford. Staffordshire ST18 0TR 01889 883088 www.freedomcaravans.com
A niche operation, Freedom has been selling ultra-lightweight and budget Polish-built caravans for some decades. It recently branched out with new Spanish-built models too.
The Freedom Carpento 410 made an impression on our judges at the Practical Caravan Awards, as we shortlisted it twice – we really liked its retro style and lightweight build.
Bradshaw Ln, Greenhalgh, Preston PR4 3HQ, 01772 737273 www.hobby-caravans.co.uk
German company Hobby specialises in innovative and eye-catching tourers. These include the Scandinavian-inspired Maxia, the more conventional Excellent, and the Beachy range, the latter of which is a cross between a caravan and a campervan, but, despite launching last year, is still to appear in the UK due to failing to meet certain UK regulations.
KNAUS / WEINSBERG
German brand Knaus has been gaining some publicity with highly innovative caravans like the Sport & Fun and the Travelino.
It was therefore not surprising to see the German caravan manufacturer win the best caravan for innovation category at the Practical Caravan Awards for the second year in a row. This time, the award went to the Knaus Azur 500EU, an incredibly clever tourer – Knaus has said it can “self heal” if it gets scratched by a passing tree, so long as it’s left out in the sun, while grinding and polishing can be used for more serious scratches.
Knaus had a very successful display at the Owner Satisfaction Awards too – here, the brand took top spot in the best new caravan manufacturer category, thanks to a score of 89.6%.
Then there is Weinsberg, Knaus’s budget brand, with a strong focus on family layouts and family-friendly interiors.
It’s subsequently not surprising to see the brand came top in the best caravan under £20,000 category, with the Weinsberg CaraOne 400LK taking top spot. We thought the triple bunks and the tourer’s light weight were very impressive, considering its price.
The German make also had the Weinsberg Caracito 390QD make it onto the shortlist to.
Dunswell Road, Cottingham, East Yorkshire HU16 4JX 01482 875740 www.swiftgroup.co.uk
Over the years, the mighty Swift Group has acquired a range of other brands, including Eccles, which celebrated its centenary last year, and Sprite which remains a highly popular budget brand within the extensive Swift stable.
Look out too for the Basecamp, a type of caravan that is aimed at active outdoor types.
The brand had a very impressive Practical Caravan Awards 2023, winning three categories. This included the Swift Sprite Compact, which was awarded the title of the best 2 berth caravan, as well as being shortlisted once more. Our judges were impressed by the spec on offer in such a small caravan, as well as the practical design it provides.
The Swift Sprite Major 4 SB had a similar performance, winning the title of best caravan under £25,000 and, again, making the shortlist for another category. This was, in no small part, due to the caravan layout, and we also thought the spec provided for the price was excellent.
The Swift Challenger 480 SE was the brand’s last winner, with our judging panel awarding it the best caravan under £30,000 category.
That’s not all though; the caravan make was shortlisted five more times, including through the Swift Basecamp 3, which was in the running for three categories.
After such a dominating performance, it was no surprise that Swift had a strong display at the Owner Satisfaction Awards. This included a silver award in the best new caravan manufacturer category, with a score of 75.7%, and a gold award in the best pre-owned caravan manufacturer category, achieved thanks to its score of 80.9%.
The brand also finished second in the best overall caravan manufacturer (new and pre-owned) category, with a score of 78.2%.
- Looking for a new towing vehicle too? Take a look at our best tow car guide, where we share our top picks on the market
Read more about the best caravan manufacturers in our caravan reviews section, where we provide impartial reviews of the latest releases.
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Whether you’re looking for a classic Swift caravan, an American Airstream or a smart Bailey caravan we’ve got you covered