If you love caravan holidays with your family, you do not want to miss our brand new TV show on The Caravan Channel. Why? Because it’s another Summer Special and this time we’re focusing on family touring, showcasing caravans and cars built to accommodate you and your kids.
And we start our latest TV show with a review of the new-for-2016 Xplore 586. Join Practical Caravan’s Group Editor Alastair Clements as he takes a look around this van, with its end corner washroom and fixed bunk beds. Wearing fresh, new season graphics outside and with light, bright and modern soft furnishings alongside pale woodwork inside, this is a good looking caravan. It’s spacious, too. The front lounge can seat six, the sofas can be used as single beds by kids, and if you want to transform it into a double at night, you’ll be rewarded with a good-sized bed. The Xplore 586 ramps up its family-friendly credentials with its well-proportioned and nicely-specced central kitchen and the dinette opposite, and the latter can become bunk beds at night. Well thought through, family-focused touches include privacy curtains for the fixed and the foldaway bunks. And despite packing all this in, the washroom doesn’t feel too tight and should give room for all on board, with two cabinets, a sink, a toilet and a generous, circular shower. With an MTPLM of 1350kg, the Xplore 586 can be towed by most family cars, and with a price of £15,399 it looks like cracking value for money. So tune in and see if you agree.
You can watch our show on The Caravan Channel, which you’ll find on Sky 261 and Freesat 402 – look for Showcase TV. If you have a Smart TV, TalkTalk YouView box or a Freeview HD box you can now watch the Caravan Channel on Freeview at last! Simply tune in to channel 254. Alternatively, watch live online on the Information TV website. Each episode is broadcast 10 times across a two-week period (please check the schedule at the bottom of the page), so you’ve plenty of opportunities to see it.
Next, we’ve another family-friendly tourer for you but with a very different layout, as we look back at our review of the Swift Freestyle SE S 6 TD, with Practical Caravan’s Test Editor Mike Le Caplain. This is a Sprite-based special edition van, built by Swift for Lowdhams, and designed with budget-conscious families in mind. Stuffed full of extra kit, the front lounge can be converted into a double bed that’s over 6ft 8in long, while at the rear you’ll find a super, child-friendly area, fixed bunk beds sited opposite a dinette that’s a great play space for little ones. Need to sleep five or six? That dinette also converts into bunk beds. See it for yourself when you watch our show on The Caravan Channel.
Or for yet another layout, check out our Adria Altea 552DT Tamar review. An entry-level, family van, it has a modern-looking kitchen with soft-close drawers, a U-shaped lounge and an admittedly compact but innovative washroom. Come night time, the lounge converts into a double bed, the dinette into two bunks and there are two fixed bunks at the rear – as an option, you can have a third fixed bunk bed. So with the capability to sleep up to seven, this Adria can cater for even the biggest families. It’s a true, no-nonsense tourer and for £14,390 you get everything you need – tune in and check it out. We’re on The Caravan Channel, on Sky 261, on Freesat 402 and live online.
After the break, Practical Caravan’s tow car expert David Motton’s considering the perfect tugs to go with family caravans. So what tow car might you be after if you’ve got a six- or seven-berth van? How about the seven-seat Citroën Grand C4 Picasso? With three rows of seats, it is a very practical MPV – and it also tows rather well, too. We think you’ll find the Citroën stable and relaxing to drive, and don’t miss our show to find out why Motty thinks its star feature is its cabin.
Watch our family touring Summer Special on The Caravan Channel and you’ll see a test of another seven-seat tow car, the more affordable Kia Carens. Kia’s SUVs have long been popular with caravanners, so here we test one of the marque’s MPVs. It’s solid on tow and, again, inside and in terms of its practicality on tour, this tow car has a lot to offer, so make sure you don’t miss our Kia Carens review.
Finally, we’ve got top caravanning tips for you from our expert John Wickersham. If you love taking your kids on holiday but not the mess and stains they leave on your upholstery, follow John’s advice to help bring your soft furnishings back to best.
And that’s it for our Summer Special show devoted to family caravanning. Remember to tune in to The Caravan Channel on Sky 261 or Freesat 402, or watch live online. If you have a Smart TV, TalkTalk YouView box or a Freeview HD box you can now watch the Caravan Channel on Freeview – just tune in to channel 254.
This show will be broadcast between Monday 31 August and Sunday 13 September 2015, at these times, on these days:
- Monday at 8pm
- Wednesday at 5pm
- Thursday at 5.30am
- Saturday at 10.30am
- Sunday at 10.30am
Want more? Head to the Practical Caravan YouTube channel where you can watch all our videos – and if you subscribe, you’ll never miss one. We hope you enjoy the show.
With an MTPLM of 1350kg, the new 2016 Xplore 586 can be towed by most family cars