With its comfortable and roomy lounge, big washroom, practical kitchen and exceptional storage, the 760SE has genuine six-appeal. It’s arguably the most versatile and practical family layout I’ve seen.
This is the ideal tourer for large families; the layout will appeal to parents and kids. Buy it when the children are young and it could be a decade before you outgrow it.
Fantastic storage space, especially in the kitchen and the children’s area
The switch to turn off the two ceiling spotlights is rather randomly located
This spacious six-berth caravan offers great versatility for families with children, from toddlers to teens.
Rolling on twin axles, the Panther 760SE measures almost eight metres in length and is perfectly laid out for harmonious holidays, offering separate spaces for adults and children, with a traditional lounge at the front and a bedroom-cum-playroom at the rear.
This is a big tourer, weighing almost 1.5 tonnes, and in the strong winds during our trip, it felt rock solid, and didn’t move or sway at all during the night.
Raymond James Caravans has taken the already well-equipped Bailey Phoenix 760 and personalised it, throwing extras worth thousands of pounds into the mix.
The resulting special edition gives you everything from pleasingly plain, bespoke upholstery to a solar panel and external gas and power points.
There are seven models in the Panther series for the 2020 season. Six of them are single-axle tourers – one two-berth, four four-berths and one five-berth – and the model we test here is the only twin-axle.
They range in price from £20,728 for the classy two-berth to £25,463 for the 760SE shown here. Prices include delivery.
Each is built using Bailey’s proprietary Alu-Tech construction method, and comes with a six-year water-ingress warranty.
The outside of the Panther features subtle graphics, designed exclusively for Raymond James, and black-framed windows. Its sharp alloy wheels look the business and come with Al-Ko-style wheel locks.
The hitch head has ATC stability control fitted, which combines with the twin axles to give one of the safest tows possible.
The range also boasts a stable-door, the two-part doors that have become less common in recent years. They’re great for pet owners and on hot summer days, so top marks to Bailey.
With its roomy lounge, big washroom, practical kitchen and exceptional storage, this has genuine six-appeal
A sizeable (traditional) lounge at the front features two long, parallel sofas, which will actually seat two adults and four children in comfort, if you butt the dining table up to the pull-out console extension (which sits one frustrating inch lower).
Of course, you can always take the more civilised (if less sociable) option and banish the children to their own dining area at the back of the caravan. That way you can close both of the doors in between and relax in comfort with a glass of wine.
Interestingly, the sofa base cushions in the 760SE don’t have the usual pronounced bolstering under the knees. This doesn’t seem to affect the comfort or support they offer while you’re seated, but it does make ‘constructing’ the huge front double bed that much easier, because you don’t need to spin the sizeable cushions around.
The Panther also comes with high-quality, loose-fit carpeting, which adds to the sense of comfort and warmth – much appreciated in January; beneath is tough vinyl flooring throughout. Meanwhile, a Panther-branded doormat ensures no mud will be transferred to your plush rugs.
The front console offers two wide drawers and the previously mentioned pull-out extension. This slides out to give 37cm of additional tabletop, which is just enough space for two to dine in comfort without having to retrieve the fold-up table from its cupboard next to the cooker. Heating comes courtesy of Truma’s dual-fuel, blown-air system and the quiet and powerful Combi unit (under the front sofa) also heats the water. It is very effective. On a cold winter’s day, the van was comfortably warm in 20 minutes, and I was taking off layers after 35 minutes; it wasn’t even on Boost setting.
In daytime, light pours in through the windows, Heki rooflight and huge front sunroof, which arcs up stylishly to the roofline. All of this natural light adds to the sense of spaciousness, and is supplemented by excellent LED mood lighting.
Two powerful spotlights beam down from the roof, concealed LED strips project light from behind ceiling cornices, and the lounge also has two pivoting reading lights with integral USB charging points in their bases. These reading lights are thoughtfully positioned above where you both recline on the sofas to read.
One aspect of the design here made me think, though – why do caravan manufacturers insist on locating light switches in the oddest places? I searched high and low for the switch to turn off the ceiling spotlights, but it wasn’t until I reclined on the front double bed with my laptop that I finally spotted the miniscule, one-inch-diameter switch mischievously and randomly tucked under the front locker.
Switches aside, however, the illumination in the Panther is excellent.
It amazes me how few six-berth caravans actually have sufficient facilities for all of those bodies, and it’s often the kitchens that are lacking. Not so in the 760SE.
Its all-in-one Thetford Caprice MkIII cooker features a hob providing three gas-burners and one electric hotplate, a grill and a sizeable oven (there was room to roast half a chicken). There’s also a microwave, a good amount of work surface (with the 48 x 32cm extension folded up), and possibly the best storage I’ve ever seen.
You get two huge top lockers, a deep and wide undersink drawer, a vast double cupboard below that, and another pan storage space below the oven.
To the right of that is the tall cupboard housing the dining table (though there’s room here for lots of provisions, too) and two shelves above that. Turn around and you’ll see that there’s another 54 x 49cm of work surface, with a large cupboard below and the microwave and another locker above. To the left of this is another large locker, above a tall, slim tower fridge with freezer box at the top.
The fridge is super-effective, to the point where it was overchilling and I had to turn it down. Below the fridge is a locker, which contains the RCD (residual current device).
The final important point to mention about this superbly appointed kitchen is the 1.58m x 0.80m of floorspace. That’s sufficient for two people to prepare food back-to-back, or for the children to make their way safely past the cooks as they head to their own room.
A hinged door separates the excellent midships washroom from the kitchen. Inside, there’s a toilet, shower, handbasin and spacious wardrobe in a large, squarish space. A solid sliding door separates this from the kids’ area.
Hooks are positioned above the heating vent, which should help to dry towels, although they will hang close to the basin. There’s a mirror, lots of storage, and the toilet has plenty of room around it, too.
The shower is most impressive. It has a frosted bifold door that seals well, and it is one of the biggest caravan shower cubicles I’ve used. A parent could easily shower with their baby or toddler, sitting on the wheel-arch to ease the backache. So much better than having to crouch outside a smaller cubicle, while trying to keep the child, and the water, inside.
The space is also large enough for XL caravanners to towel off comfortably without stepping out of the cubicle, thus keeping the washroom floor dry.
Finally, the single drainage hole is sunk into an inch-deep recess. So f you don’t get the levelling quite right, you can scoop excess shower tray water into the recess, rather than having to mop up.
At the back is the pièce de resistance, a kids’ room that’s perfect for two, but workable for up to four. Big fixed bunks are on the offside – comfy sleeping for toddlers to young teens, while the nearside is a three-seat dining/playing area that easily converts to two supplementary bunks.
Each fixed bunk gets its own window and reading light, as does the table area. The make-up bunk has a 75kg weight limit. There’s locker, cupboard and shelf storage for games and toys, plus larger spaces under the bottom bunk and seats for clothes and shoes. The area also has a three-pin and a USB powerpoint and a TV aerial connection. It’s kid heaven, and with double doors, parental paradise, too.
|GRP sides with exclusive graphics
|External BBQ point and 230V plug socket
|Large front rooflight
|Bespoke upholstery and furnishings
|Two USB sockets in lounge, one in kids' area