With a wide range of new touring caravans available in the UK, it can be a daunting prospect deciding which is the best caravan for you and your family, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. So, too, if you’re an experienced caravanner looking to upgrade or downsize to something new. Where do you start?
Camping and caravanning is all about a love for the outdoors, the freedom that touring offers as you pitch up in wonderful locations and visit the best caravan sites up and down the country. Purchase a tourer that’s inappropriate for your needs and that enjoyment can turn sour, and be a costly mistake if you need to trade in and change a caravan all too soon.
So, we’ve done the hard work for you to help you find the best caravan to meet your requirements.
This year, we ran the Practical Caravan Awards 2022, where our expert judging panel used our decades of industry experience to pick out the best caravans for the new season, covering a wide range of categories.
Couple this with our Owner Satisfaction Awards, where you, our readers, help the decisions of those looking to buy a tourer and we’ve a good basis from which to start selecting the best caravans that are just right for your needs.
For our most recent Owner Satisfaction Awards, run in conjunction with the Camping and Caravanning Club, we received 3,449 responses, an increase from the 2,842 we received the previous time we did them, giving us what we consider to be the most accurate results to date.
From all our sources, including our many tests and reviews, we’ve selected the best caravans for sale so we can help you find the tourer that’s right for you.
You’ll find caravans from the biggest brands on our list, including Adria, Swift, and the winner of the best caravan manufacturer at the Owner Satisfaction Awards 2022, Coachman, as we round up the best caravans on the market.
Buying a caravan: what you need to know
How do I decide what the best caravan is for me?
Think about how frequently you plan to use your caravan; where you intend to venture in it; how many people will use it – often, and occasionally; whether it’s a family tourer with toddlers or teenagers soon to leave home, a young couple or empty nesters looking for a child-free zone (or enjoying the occasional company of grandchildren), or for adventurous solo travel.
Then write your list of must-haves and would-likes – they’re very different. If you’ve owned a caravan before, what didn’t you like about your previous van that you’d like to get right this time? What would make your tourer the best caravan for you?
It’s just a caravan I need to buy, right?
Well, possibly not. You may also need or like (which comes back to our first question) a host of extras such as an awning for additional space on rainy days or to accommodate occasional sleepers, a motor mover to assist with manoeuvring the van at a campsite, solar panels and extra batteries if you like touring off-grid, an outdoor shower to hose down the dog and so on.
Some of these may come as part of the caravan package you buy, but you’ll need to deduct the cost of these from the overall price of your caravan if they don’t.
How do I match a suitable caravan to a towcar?
While it’s not a legal requirement, experience has shown that the weight of a laden caravan is best not to exceed 85% of its tow car’s kerbweight (unladen weight). This provides a stable combination and good towing performance. Legally, the caravan must not exceed the weight of the tow car or its maximum towing limit (determined by the manufacturer).
Therefore, you’ll need to take the weight of the caravan you intend on purchasing into consideration in relation to your tow car.
What caravan can I tow with my driving licence?
On December 16 2021, the rules on towing officially changed. Under the new laws, anyone who passed their driving test after 1 January 1997 can tow trailers up to 3,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) without taking the additional B+E test.
Previously, if you had passed your driving test on or after 1 January 1997, your tow car and caravan needed to have a combined MAM of less than 3500kg unless you passed an additional Category E driving test to attain a B+E licence. This allowed you to tow heavier combinations of tow car and caravan.
Drivers that passed their test prior to this date have been unaffected by the recent change in the rule, and may drive a car/caravan outfit with a combined weight up to 8250kg.
Can I keep a caravan in my driveway?
You should check any local byelaws in the area that you live to see whether you are prohibited from storing your caravan on a private driveway. In any case, it may be preferable, if only to maintain good neighbourly relations, to store your caravan in a secure storage compound when it is not in use; it could also help to reduce your insurance premium.
What does a new caravan cost?
Manufacturers design caravans aimed at specific markets, and purchasers with a particular budget in mind. Within our regularly updated Buyer’s Guide, which highlights the many models of caravans for sale, we categorise these markets as entry-level, mid-market, upmarket and luxury.
Entry-level, mid-market, upmarket and luxury
Entry-level caravans are great for first-time buyers and those with the most limited budget. Ranging anywhere between £15,000 and £20,000, these new caravans can be purchased for less than the price of a pre-owned van. Examples include the winner of the best caravan under £15,000 at the Practical Caravan Awards 2022, the Weinsberg Caracito 390QD, a four-berth caravan that, at £13,710, is one of the lowest priced new caravans for sale.
Mid-market tourers, ranging from £20 to £25k, is where the fiercest competition is among manufacturers, offering the most choice to customers looking to buy a caravan. All the largest UK manufacturers produce two- to six-berth caravans within this price range.
Upwards of this, you’ll find that caravans within the £25k to £29k price bracket reflect ever-more luxurious interiors, manufactured to a higher specification and, potentially, have a greater amount of gadgetry inside and out.
At the very top of the market are the most luxurious caravans, which retail between £30k and £35k for units from, for example, the Coachman Laser range or Buccaneer (from Erwin Hymer UK), and continental manufactured vans such as the Knaus Starclass or Eriba Nova. For an exclusive spec, you’ll be looking at British manufacturer Vanmaster, whose caravans range from £55k to £63k while the very pinnacle is the iconic American-inspired aluminium-riveted Airstream, now available in UK-tailored versions, which retail between £78k and £92k.
Our picks for the best caravans
How we review caravans
We are constantly testing and evaluating touring caravans of all sizes and budgets; since Practical Caravan magazine launched in 1967 we have reviewed thousands of caravans to build up an unrivalled knowledge of the models for sale; more than 400 of these caravan reviews are here on our website. Our reviews are unbiased and we’re not afraid to point out little niggles we think could be improved.
Initially, we take a ‘first look’ at new models and layouts that we believe warrant closer review and how they fare in relation to other caravans of similar size and price. Then we’ll run a full live-in test where we’ll head off for a weekend or an extended trip around the UK or overseas, just as you would. We’ll retain some vans for long-term tests over a period of six months.
We have an extensive team of testers who review all aspects of the caravan, from how it tows behind a tow car – including differing road conditions – to how practical and comfortable it is to stay in. We look at its build quality, its internal and external design, its layout and how well it functions.
Our team of testers are generally very experienced caravanners – and know what to look for in a good caravan, including from the perspective of a newcomer to camping and caravanning.
The best caravans: Mini reviews
- Price: £28,585
- Berths: 4
- MTPLM: 1800-1900kg (depending on whether you go for a chassis upgrade)
- MIRO: 1610kg
- Payload: 190-290kg
- Shipping length: 8.24m
- Width: 2.46m
As you may expect from the winner of the best 4 berth caravan category at the Practical Caravan Awards 2022, the 8ft-wide Adora Tiber is a very stylish model that provides generous space. In fact, our reviewer, Peter Baber, remarked “the smart touches feel like those in a posh hotel” when he tested the caravan.
The extra width of the Tiber is really felt when you enter the lounge, with around a metre of legroom between the sofas in the C-shaped seating area, ensuring high levels of comfort for all. Six scatter cushions, in aubergine, blue and green, perfectly complement the rest of the caravan’s stylish interior.
The kitchen has all the facilities you could need to cook up a treat, despite being on the compact side. A touch we like is how easy cleaning the Dometic three-burner hob is, thanks to the swivel mixer tap.
The washroom is perhaps a bit on the compact side but offers good facilities, including a decently-sized basin and swivel toilet – you can also use the toilet door to close off the entire rear area. The shower is located on the opposite side of the corridor; while a nice size, the wheel arch does encroach slightly.
The front make-up bed provides a well-proportioned double, while giving you the option of making up two singles instead. At the back of the van, you’ll find an island bed, with generous spacing on either side.
Verdict: the combination of stylish interior and space found throughout make this a worthy addition to the list of best caravans.
Read our full review: Adria Adora Tiber
Bailey Pegasus Grande SE Ancona
- Price: £26,599
- Berth: 5
- MTPLM: 1600kg
- MIRO: 1435kg
- Payload: 165kg
- Overall length: 7.38m
- Width: 2.45m
When you’re choosing the best caravan for a family tour, you will want to opt for a model that you know will offer enough space for everyone to relax in. Step forward, Bailey’s Pegasus Grande SE Ancona.
There are plenty of new features in this five-berth. This includes a stylish interior, courtesy of touches like the ‘Light Oak’ furniture finish and Italian design overhead curved lockers.
The 8-ft wide tourer also comes with a well-sized parallel-front lounge; at night, you have the flexibility of creating two singles or a double bed, as needs require.
Something we always like to see in a family caravan is space that is used effectively and that is certainly the case in the kitchen area. Here, additions that include a drop-down hob-cover worktop tick that box.
With caravan security an increasing concern for owners, the presence of safety features, ranging from Al-Ko Secure wheel lock receivers to a TRACKER Retrieve stolen vehicle recovery system, are ideal for providing you with that extra bit of reassurance during the off-season too.
Verdict: There’s a reason we awarded the best caravan for families category to the Bailey Pegasus Grande SE Ancona at the Practical Caravan Awards 2022. It will allow everyone to tour in comfort, while the stylish interior will make adventures on the road an even more pleasant experience.
- Price: £31,405
- Berths: 4
- MTPLM: 1700kg
- MIRO: 1544kg
- Payload: 156kg
- Shipping length: 7.43m
- Width: 2.44m
The Coachman VIP 540 Xtra is a very luxurious model as you may expect from the brand that won the best caravan manufacturer category at the recent Owner Satisfaction Awards.
Offering a couple an ideal amount of comfort and space when they tour, the model is packed with special features.
You may wonder why we awarded a 4-berth the best caravan for couples category at the Practical Caravan Awards 2022. This is, in part, because the 8ft wide caravan boasts a very comfortable double bed that can be found at the rear of the ‘van.
The kitchen area offers generous worktop space – very handy if you’re planning to use the Thetford oven – while the deep cupboards provide a useful amount of storage. You’ll find a L-shaped settee in the lounge, where the large windows and sunroof ensure you get a good supply of daylight.
The presence of Al-Ko’s ATC trailer control system and a shock absorber should also help you when you’re towing the VIP.
However, our favourite feature is found at the rear of the caravan, where you can find a dressing table that could almost make you feel like you’re touring from the comfort of your bedroom at home – it also serves as a desk. The double bed itself is comfortable, with a Heki providing plenty of light during the day.
Verdict: We’d safely say this Coachman more than lives up to the ‘VIP’ part of its name. Offering versatility, the caravan is just as good for groups of four as it is for couples.
Read our full review: Coachman VIP 540 XTRA
Swift Conqueror 480
- Price: £30,795
- Berths: 2
- MTPLM: 1477kg
- MIRO: 1351kg
- Payload: 126kg
- Shipping length: 6.59m
- Width: 2.28m
There are a wide selection of 2 berth caravans on the market, so making sure you pick the right one can be a tricky choice. The Swift Conqueror 480 has a lot going for it, and when our expert judging panel looked at it for the Practical Caravan Awards 2022, we were really impressed by the model that went on to win the best 2 berth caravan category.
The lounge boasts two comfortable settees that could seat up to six, while you’ll find lighting will not be an issue, due to the Heki roof vent and large sunroof, as well as triple front windows.
By the evening, you can turn the settees into a large double or use them both as single beds, depending on your requirements. Six overhead roof lockers provide plenty of useful storage, while you also have the option of depositing items underseat. The access flaps in the base of the seats are a very handy feature, ensuring cushions don’t need to be disturbed anytime you need to get to something.
In the kitchen area, you’ll find a Dometic microwave, Dometic slimline fridge/freezer and a Thetford dual-fuel hob and oven, as well as a decent sized sink. There’s also plenty of storage, thanks to the cupboards and the overhead lockers.
The washroom offers a Thetford cassette toilet, smart hand basin and large mirror. Something to note is the lack of a window though; you’ll have to make do with a roof vent.
The overall interior is not only airy but provides some contemporary style, while the exterior can only be described as chic.
Verdict: The contemporary interior will provide a stylish touring experience, while the kitchen area is a joy to cook in.
- Price: £19,599
- Berths: 5
- MTPLM: 1400kg
- MIRO: 1225kg
- Payload: 153kg
- Shipping length: 7.36m
- Width: 2.18m
Coming to less than £20,000 if you exclude the cost of registration and delivery, the Xplore 585 offers a flexible base for family friendly touring. The model is sure to appeal to beginners and comes at a good price too. Parallel seating found in the front lounge can be converted into a generously proportioned double bed.
At the rear of the van, you will find a L-shaped lounge that offers a couple of options, as it can either be made into a double, or a single that comes with a pop-up bunk.
Large windows provide plenty of lighting in the front lounge, while the rear lounge could be the ideal place to set kids up to relax in the evening.
Whale heating will ensure warmth during the colder months, while the high-quality of the upholstery found throughout the caravan adds to the general level of comfort.
In the kitchen area, you’ll find a combination oven and grill, as well as a 133 litres Dometic series 10 fridge and a pull-up worktop that goes over the sink and hob.
The CRiS security system should provide some peace of mind too.
Verdict: Winning the best caravan under £20,000 at the Practical Caravan Awards 2022, the Xplore 585 is worth considering for newcomers to the world of touring.
- Price: £38,699
- Berths: 4
- MTPLM: 1990kg
- MIRO: 1831kg
- Payload: 159kg
- Shipping length: 8.19m
- Width: 2.45m
A seasonal pitch is an attractive idea, allowing you to leave your caravan at your preferred campsite for as long as you want. It also provides you with a cheaper alternative to buying a static caravan, and means your van will be ready and waiting for you onsite.
For this to work successfully, you’ll want a caravan that provides you with a real home-from-home vibe, and that’s something that the Buccaneer Bermuda certainly offers.
A L-shaped lounge, split washroom and comfortable island bed are just some of the features that create this, while there is also a high level of kit on offer throughout the van. This ranges from Alde underfloor heating to a Dometic Series-10 fridge, while the 32-inch TV will allow you to comfortably watch your favourite shows.
Sitting on an Al-Ko chassis with AKS 3004 stabiliser, the Bermuda also has an E&P Level C Touchscreen hydraulic automatic self-levelling system.
Our judging panel were very impressed with the model at the Practical Caravan Awards 2022 too, awarding it the best caravan for seasonal pitches category.
Verdict: If you’re looking to create a comfortable, homely vibe on site, the Buccaneer Bermuda is definitely worth considering.
Swift Basecamp 6
- Price: £24,995
- Berths: 6
- MTPLM: 1331kg
- MIRO: 1165kg
- Payload: 166kg
- Shipping length: 6.57m
- Width: 2.28m
The Swift Basecamp 6 is aimed primarily at the more adventurous and outdoor loving enthusiasts, with little touches such as the door at the rear that allows you to load and unload bikes easily, proving a welcome addition.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how lightweight this six berth is too, with a MiRO of 1165kg. It’s also nice and easy to manoeuvre, while the AKS 3004 stabiliser is a useful addition to the Basecamp range.
There are plenty of impressive elements to be found in this 6 berth, with a good spec throughout. Touches, such as everyone having access to a USB port, are appreciated.
The kitchen is both well-equipped and stylish, with a Duplex Thetford thermostatic oven and grill, complete with a three-burner gas hob, as well as a decently sized sink just two of the features. However, two things worth noting are that there isn’t a microwave, and the Domestic undercounter fridge is only 83 litres.
The washroom comes with a Thetford toilet and a powerful central shower – although the wheel arch does jut in here.
The front lounge is narrow, so the bed will need to be made up to become a double – however, this is a relatively simple process. At the back of the van, you’ll find two rear dinettes that can easily be put together to create bunk beds.
Verdict: If you love being outdoors and exploring, this 6 berth from Swift will be the ideal touring companion. While the front lounge is a little on the cramped side, there’s good spec to be found throughout a van that was a worthy winner of our best 6 berth caravan category at the Practical Caravan Awards 2022.
8 great benefits of buying a new caravan
1. Your own facilities
No need to share a campers’ kitchen, or traipse out to public amenities at night; you’ve your own on-board shower and toilet, and a kitchen you can call your own.
There’s no place like home, except your own brand new caravan, which also offers your own home comforts to come back to after a busy day of activities or sightseeing.
3. You know where it’s been
Or, better still, where it hasn’t. With a brand new caravan, you know that it hasn’t been dragged along – or through – inappropriate ‘road’ surfaces.
4. You know how it has been used
A brand new oven that has never been used to cook chips, soft furnishings you know haven’t had sticky marmalade dropped on them and a washroom that you know hasn’t been used to hose down the dog!
5. A place for a good night’s sleep
Everyone sleeps better in their own bed, at their preferred temperature. That includes the bed in your own caravan rather than the unknown, possibly lumpy, too hard or too soft mattress in an overly hot hotel room.
6. Take your holiday with you
Enjoy the freedom of touring; when you’ve been there and done that, move on – except you can take that comfortable accommodation with you to the next place.
7. Enjoy the view
All the new vans reviewed here include large panoramic windows and, often, sunroofs to enjoy your view of the sea, the lake, the mountains, the stars. It’s one of the best things about camping in a caravan.
8. Extra peace of mind
Construction technology has come a long way in recent years and caravans built today are less permeable than some of yesteryear. Most mainstream manufacturers now offer lengthy bodyshell or water ingress warranties.
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You'll find caravans from the biggest brands on our list, including Adria, Swift, and the winner of the best caravan manufacturer at the Owner Satisfaction Awards 2022, Coachman, as we round up the best caravans on the market.