[tl:gallery size=233×233]The first week of July every year is the start of the 2011. At least in the caravan market.

This is when journalists, dealers and component suppliers start traipsing up and down the country, looking at all the new models that will go on sale on September 1st.

This year, the schedule was pretty tough but started well with a trip to Slovenia to see Adria. That was in the first days of July. Fresh off the plane, it was off to cast an eye over Bailey’s Unicorn range.

The following week, it was off to see Elddis and their four ranges plus the Buccaneer.

Week three and the party moved to Hull to visit Coachman, with dinner in Preston with Lunar, looking at their new models.

Week four was a bit of an odd one as it involved just one launch; the new Auto-Sleepers AS Caravans and the final date in the calendar was to see Stealth’s new front lounge vans in Bedford in week five. 

This year things are stretched further still as Swift has made us all hold on into August to see what it has planned.

It is always an exciting time of year, but with the imminent VAT rise in January, manufacturers know they need to work hard to convince caravanners to upgrade and the results of this are some cracking new caravans. 

We’ll be looking at all of them in [tl:gallery size=212×212]depth over the next few months but the highlights are all over the place. The Coachman Amara and Elddis Avante are both looking stunning. Bailey’s Unicorn could scoop up lots of Senator owners who didn’t love the Pegasus. Lunar has tweaked rather than trashed its superb 2010 range to put it in a good spot for 2011 and the Stealth has gone all conventional with its front lounge, rear washroom Q-Class.

Special mention must be made though of the stunning new Swifts that are nearly upon us and the super plush AS Caravans from Auto Sleepers. If you are thinking of buying this autumn, you’ve got a lot of difficult decisions to make.

So all that remains to be said is happy new year. It looks like a cracker already.