This month we finally bade adieu to our Bailey Phoenix 440. It’s a caravan that we have had for the best part of a year and have thoroughly enjoyed at a whole range of different locations and events in that time. For a family tourer with four berths, it was fairly straightforward to tow, as well.

So what have the kind people at Bailey loaned us in its place? Well, the Phoenix was a (slightly unexpected) replacement for the entry-level Pursuit range a couple of seasons ago. Since then, of course, the Bristol manufacturer has launched another range that undercuts the Phoenix in price. And it is one of those Discovery models – the D4-4 – that we look forward to taking on the road in the months to come.


The Discovery line-up is primarily aimed at first-time caravanners, but anyone buying this model could be pleasantly surprised.

To begin with, it comes with a fixed bed in the rear corner. Not long ago, such luxury would have been unheard of in a relatively upmarket van, let alone an entry-level one.

That bed comes with its own headboard of sorts, while in this layout, the washroom stretches across the back of the van.

This includes an adequate handbasin and plenty of storage. The room is well lit even if it doesn’t include a window. In any case, you might consider that a good thing, given how often Bailey seems to fit non-opaque windows in such washrooms.

The shower at the end, however, is perhaps a little bit on the poky side, with a slightly restricted entrance.

The kitchen includes a three-burner hob. It’s gas only, but that isn’t much of a sacrifice, and you still get a Triplex combined oven and grill, and there’s plenty of workspace, with a large extension flap.

When the Discovery range was launched last year, many people commented on the single large window at the front. Would this provide enough light inside to persuade first-time caravanners that van interiors need not be dim and gloomy?

All I can say is that we took delivery of our new Discovery on a murky day in February, and even then, light was streaming in through the front window, although the well-designed artificial ambient lighting also helped. And when the D4-4 is parked up on a pitch, this window should provide you with more than enough of a view to enjoy as well, because it has to be said, it is very big – much larger than any you would find in standard spec on most other caravans in this price range.

Elegant interior

For some customers, the absence of a central chest might make the front of the lounge look a bit bare, even with a pull-up table. This is an idea that Adria uses in many of its caravans, although in its models, U-shaped seating that runs under the flap somehow makes things look more homely.

But one thing that certainly does not look basic in the Discovery is the upholstery. If you think budget upholstery just means acres of velour and a dull floral or geometric pattern, think again. The yellow piping on the blue base cushions matches the yellow in the scatter cushions and blends in well with the warmer tone of the wood finish, to give a really modern feel to the interior.

On the outside, Bailey hasn’t let the need to be entry-level detract from a few more innovations and extras. The Discovery comes with an all-new rear panel.

Bailey says this is more aerodynamic and aids stability. It certainly makes the caravan stand out, as does the silver-grey exterior.

Best of all, and even at this price range, you get two external lockers on the nearside. We can’t wait to pack these up, ready to tour in the warmer weather. Roll on summer!