With husband Dave’s 40th birthday fast approaching, we thought it was a perfect excuse for a caravan party!

Of course, we already knew that the Elddis Avanté 866 is a very big tourer, but thought we’d put it to the test to find out just how many people it can comfortably fit, at least for a drink.

Well, it seemed rude not to try something different as this milestone birthday occurred in our year with this Elddis caravan!

Ready for the off!

We have family and friends scattered around the country, so chose Northumberland as a good place to meet up, and booked a pitch at the Barn at Beal – a café, restaurant and campsite near Holy Island.

We packed the caravan with the awning and plenty of chairs to seat the 17 people we had invited, and set off.

As always, the Elddis was easy to tow and felt very smooth on the road. With motorway and dual carriageway for most of the route, it was an easy journey and we arrived in plenty of time to get the awning up before the first guests arrived that evening.

Or so we thought…

Read the small print!

Sadly, what we had failed to do was read the small print and it turned out that the site has small pitches only really suitable for camper vans and compact caravans.

Not exactly how we’d describe the twin-axle, 8ft-wide Elddis Avanté 866!

Luckily, we just about managed to get all four of the corner steadies down on relatively hard ground but, with only about two metres between us and the neighbouring pitch, the awning and the extra chairs spent the whole weekend being shuffled between the car and the caravan, depending on which we were in at the time.

With the imminent arrival of 17 people, the thinking caps went on – could we still have a drinks party before heading to the restaurant for dinner?

Of course we could! The 866 really proved its versatility as we managed to fit eight adults in the front lounge, squeezed six children around the dining table and found space for three more adults in the kids’ area at the back of the van!

Drinks were poured and carefully passed around, and the birthday celebrations began. And of course, we also enjoyed a slice of birthday cake – caravan-shaped, naturally (see the picture above).

Admittedly it was rather cosy inside, but we’d love to know how many people readers have squashed into their caravans – have we broken a record?!