Buying the right caravan

Choosing the right caravan can be a daunting task, even if it’s not your first time. To help you make sure you get the right caravan for your needs, we’ve put together some handy tips.

Caravans come in different types and sizes, and it’s important to choose the most appropriate for your needs.


How many axles - single or twin?

Caravans can be fitted with either a single or a twin axle (one or two pairs of wheels). Having a single axle will help when manoeuvring on the caravan site – perfect if you’re a beginner. If you have a smaller car this may be the choice for you. Although, if you're still concerned about manoeuvring your new caravan, it may be worth taking a look out our caravan courses, to help you learn in a controlled environment.

Larger caravans need four wheels to bear their fully laden weight and having two tyres on either side of the caravan will give better grip and bring better stability. However, twin axle caravans are heavier so may only be suitable for larger towing cars.


How many people will it sleep (berths)?

Deciding how many berths you need is pretty straightforward; just think about how many people you normally take touring. Remember that you can sleep adults and children in an awning, so you may not need a larger caravan. We recommend you use a tape measure to be certain each berth is long enough for your requirements as some berths will not be long enough for adults.

Don’t be afraid to test any bed for length or comfort. Lots of caravans offer fixed beds as well as fold away beds - the bonus of fixed beds is that they don’t have to be made up every night. The drawback is the amount of space they take up, although they do offer huge storage underneath.


Folding caravans and trailer tents

You might want to consider folding caravans or a trailer tent, these offer enhanced fuel consumption, a lower tow weight – making for safer handling, they’re easier to manoeuvre and small enough to store in your garage. You’ll find they can be quickly erected on arrival at a site, with the cooker etc being hinged up into position. However, expect less storage.


Is your car suitable to tow?

The weight of your caravan should never exceed the weight of your car – your car manufacturer handbook should give you the maximum weight your car can tow. Basically, the heavier your car and the lighter your caravan the safer your outfit should be. 

We recommend that the weight of your caravan with its contents should not exceed 85% of the car’s kerb, or unladen, weight. Use our outfit matching tool to find out if your car matches your caravan. Use our outfit matching tool to see what caravans your car can tow.


What's the best caravan to buy?

Depending on your touring needs, the best caravan to buy could be different for everyone. Our Caravan Design Awards takes place at the Motorhome and Caravan NEC Show in October each year, and our panel of judges pick the best caravans based on a range of factors, including shower rooms, kitchen areas, beds and storage spaces. There are also a number of dealer specials included in the awards - take a look at our Caravan Design Award winners for inspiration.


Buying a second-hand caravan

There is a vast range of used caravans on the market – from affordable second-hand lightweight family caravans costing just a few thousand pounds to nearly new luxury tourers with all mod cons fitted as standard. Buying a second-hand caravan should be a pleasant experience when you have a clear idea of what you want and have all the facts and figures at your fingertips.

You can buy second hand caravans from caravan dealers, private sellers, Club Classifieds or at auction. Club Classifieds is a great place to find a bargain from the thousands of caravans on sale. Caravan and Motorhome Club members can advertise here for free and the Club takes no commission on these sales. 

When dealing with a private individual, the rights under the Sale of Goods Act in relation to the quality of the product do not apply. Although the caravan must be as described by the seller, it is for buyers to satisfy themselves they are buying what they think they are buying.


How to check if a caravan is stolen

There are a few checks you can make which might indicate the caravan is stolen. Keep your eye out for any signs of damage around the hitch or on the wheel rims or tyres. This may indicate a security device has been forcibly removed. 

Ask the seller to show you any receipts or documents relating to ownership or servicing, including caravan registration and identification. You should be especially cautious of large, twin-axled caravans sold cheaply – these are favourites with the caravan thieves.

In general, you’d be right to be suspicious if you have to view the caravan away from the seller's house or premises, particularly if it is not in an authorised storage compound. If the seller is reluctant to arrange a suitable time for you to view the caravan it could indicate that it’s stolen too.

CRiS checks

A CRiS number check at www.cris.co.uk can not only identify a caravan reported as having been stolen, but can identify the age of the newer models of caravan and also whether there are any outstanding finance payments.

Check that the details of the CRiS registration document tally with those of the caravan and be very skeptical of any UK caravan built after 1992 without an obvious CRiS identification number. Be aware that without adequate identification, the Caravan and Motorhome Club will not insure a caravan.

Theftcheck

The Caravan and Motorhome Club also has a database of caravans known to have been stolen. Contact the Theftcheck Service on 01342 336885 with the caravan make, model, year and serial number. Even if your caravan is not on the list, this doesn’t guarantee that it has not been stolen; the owner may simply not have reported the theft to us.

Check our handy download for more information on buying a second hand caravan.

Where to buy

UK caravans

Abbey Caravans 
Dunswell Road
Cottingham
East Yorks
HU16 4JX

Abbey Spectrum, GTS Vogue and Aventura models

Tel: 01482 847 332
Fax: 01482 841 042
Email: enquiry@swiftleisure.co.uk

Ace Caravans
Dunswell Road
Cottingham
East Yorks
HU16 4JX

Supreme, Jubilee and Award ranges

Tel: 01482 847 332
Fax: 01482 841 042
Email: enquiry@swiftleisure.co.uk

Bailey Caravans Ltd.
16 - 30 South Liberty Lane
Bristol
BS3 2SS

Discovery, Ranger, Pageant and Senator ranges

Tel: 0117 966 5967
Fax: 0117 963 6554
Email: customerservices@baileyofbristol.co.uk 


Bessacarr Caravans (Part of Swift Group)
Dunswell Road
Cottingham
East Yorks
HU16 4JX

Cameo Range

Tel: 01482 847 332
Fax: 01482 841 042
Email: enquiry@swiftleisure.co.uk


Buccaneer Caravans (part of Explorer Group)
Delves Lane
Consett
Co. Durham
DH8 7PE

Elan, Clipper, Schooner, Caravel, Caribbean and Argosy models

Tel: 01207 699 000
Fax: 01207 699 001
www.elddis.co.uk/buccaneer


Carlight Ltd.
Health Farm
North Rauceby
Sleaford
Lincs
NG34 8QR

Commander

Tel: 01529 488 837
Fax: 01529 488 839
Email: mail@carlight.co.uk

Coachman Caravan Company Ltd.
Amsterdam Road
Sutton Fields Industrial Estate
Hull
HU7 0XF

Laser, Amara, Pastiche and VIP ranges

Tel: 01482 839 737
Fax: 01482 878 143
E-mail: info@coachman.co.uk

Compass Caravans Ltd. (part of Explorer Group)
Delves Lane
Consett
Co. Durham
DH8 7PE

Omega, Corona and Rallye ranges

Tel: 01207 699 000
Fax: 01207 699 001

Elddis Caravans (Consett) Ltd. (part of Explorer Group)
Delves Lane
Consett
Co. Durham
DH8 7PE

Avante, Odyssey and Rallye ranges

Tel: 01207 699 000
Fax: 01207 699 001
www.elddis.co.uk 


Fleetwood Caravans Ltd.
Hall Street
Long Melford
Sudbury
Suffolk
CO10 9JP

Sonata, Heritage and Meridien ranges

Tel: 01787 888 980
Fax: 01787 888 980
Email: fleetwoodcaravans@dial.pipex.com

Lunar Caravans Ltd.
6 Sherdley Road
Lostock Hall
Preston
Lancs
PR5 5JF

Clubman, Delta, Ariva, Lexon, Zenith, Stellar, Solaris and Quasar models

Tel: 01772 337 628
Fax: 01772 627 722
Email: sales@lunarcaravansales.co.uk


Sprite Caravans (part of Swift Group)
Dunswell Road
Cottingham
East Yorkshire
HU16 4JX

Alpine, Major and Quattro models

Tel: 01482 847 332
Fax: 01482 841 042
E-mail: enquiry@swiftleisure.co.uk

Sterling Caravans (part of Swift Group)
Dunswell Road
Cottingham
East Yorkshire
HU16 4JX

Eccles, Eccles Elite and Europa models

Tel: 01482 847 332
Fax: 01482 841 042
Email: enquiry@swiftleisure.co.uk

Swift Caravans (part of Swift Group)
Dunswell Road
Cottingham
East Yorkshire
HU16 4JX

Swift Charisma, Challenger and Conqueror ranges

Tel: 01482 847 332
Fax: 01482 841 042
E-mail: enquiry@swiftleisure.co.uk

Vanmaster Caravans
Unit S32 Standish Court
Bradley Hall
Bradley Lane
Standish
Wigan
WN6 0XQ

Ovation, Fanfare, Accolade, Applause and Occasion models

Tel: 01257 424 999
Fax: 01257 426 238
Email: info@vanmaster.co.uk

Imported caravans

Adria Concessionaires Ltd
Hall Street
Long Melford
Sudbury
Suffolk
CO10 9JP

Adria (Slovenia) Caravans

Tel: 01787 888 980
Fax: 01787 888 980
Email: adria.concessionaires@fleetwoodcaravans.co.uk

Airstream Europe Limited
Clock Garage Estate
Tebay
Cumbria
CA10 3SS
Tel: 01539 624 141
Fax: 01539 624 590

Airstream (USA)

Tel: 01772 623 610
Email: mhold@airstream.com
Website: http://www.airstream-europe.com

Bavariasport UK Ltd.
92 London Road
Widley
Portsmouth
Hants
PO7 5AE

Knauss Starclass and Eurosport (Germany) Tourers

Tel: 02392 388 708
Fax: 02392 201 082

Burstner Caravan UK Ltd.
PO Box 164
Bishop Auckland
Co. Durham
DL13 1WZ

Burstner (Germany) Tourers

Tel: 01388 537 960
Email: info@buerstner.com

Continental Caravans
West Wales Caravan Centre
Cross Hands Business Park
Cross Hands
Llanelli
Carmarthenshire
SA14 6RB

Lord Munsterland (Germany) Tourers

Tel: 01269 831 151

Dethleffs UK Ltd.
PO Box 504
Grimsby
DN35 0WR

Dethleffs (Germany) Tourers

Tel: 01472 605 001
Fax: 01472 600 133

Elite Caravans
Northampton Road
Blisworth
Northampton
NN7 3DW

TEC (Germany) Tourers

Tel: 01604 858 331
Fax: 01604 859 162

Freedom Caravans
Lichfield Road
Stafford
ST17 4NY

Freedom (Poland) and Sterckeman (France) Models

Tel: 01785 222 488
Fax: 01785 224 811

Geist Vehicle Leisure
19F Red Zone
Follingsby Park
Gateshead
Tyne & Wear
NE10 8YX

Geist (Germany) Tourers

Tel: 0191 415 9455
Fax: 0870 762 0196
Email: enquiries@geistvehicleleisure.co.uk

Hants and Dorset Outdoor Leisure
London Road
Purbrook
Portsmouth
Hants
PO7 5AE

Knauss (Germany) Models

Tel: 02392 374 921
Fax: 02392 201 082

Hobby Caravans UK Ltd.
Ripley Road
Ambergate
Derbyshire
DE56 2EP

Hobby and Fendt (Germany) Models

Tel: 01773 853 900
Fax: 01773 857 060
Email: info@hobbycaravansuk.co.uk

KP Europa Trading
Stoney Head
Wrantage
Taunton
Somerset

Tabbert (Germany) Tourers

Tel: 01823 481 438

Lowdham Leisure World
Lowdham Road
Gunthorpe
Nottingham
NG14 7ES

Hymer (Germany) Tourers

Tel: 0115 966 3838
Fax: 0115 966 3124
Email: info@lowdhams.com


Moorland Leisure
Leek New Road
Milton
Stoke-on-Trent
Staffs
ST2 7EF

Tabbert (Germany) Tourers

Tel: 01782 538 853
Fax: 01782 538 854

Folding caravans

Caravanes Rapido
Gorrick
Luckley Road
Wokingham
Berks
RG40 3AU

Importer of folding roof caravans

Tel: 0118 979 1023
Fax: 0118 989 1067

Comanche Folding Campers and Trailer Tents (Lancs)
Barron Group Ltd.
Chapel Lane
Coppull
Lancs
PR7 4NE

Petit, Lance, Brisa, Montana, Compact and Lifestyle models

Tel: 01257 793 377
E-mail: deals@barrons.co.uk

Comanche Folding Campers and Trailer Tents (Co. Durham)
Barron Group Ltd.
Burtree Gate
Darlington
Co. Durham
DL2 2XZ

Petit, Lance, Brisa, Montana, Compact and Lifestyle models

Tel: 01325 383 333
Email: deals@barrons.co.uk

Conway Leisure Products Ltd.
Chester Street
Accrington
Lancs
BB5 0SD

Challenger, Countryman, Cruiser and Crusader models

Tel: 01254 385 911
Fax: 01254 386 111
Email: sales@conwayleisure.co.uk

Gobur Caravans Ltd.
Peacock Way
Melton Constable
Norwich
Norfolk
NR24 2BY

Carousel

Tel: 01263 860 031
Fax: 01263 861 494
Email: info@goburcaravans.co.uk

Pennine Leisure Products Ltd.
Chester Street
Accrington
Lancs
BB5 0SD

Fiesta, Sterling, Pullman and Pathfinder models

Tel: 01254 385 911
Fax: 01254 386 111
Web: http://www.thepenninegroup.co.uk/

Riva Leisure Products Ltd.
Unit 15
Ainscough Business Park
Mossy Lea Road
Wrightington
Wigan
WN6 9RS
Tel: 01257 427 221
Fax: 01257 425 649
Email: sales@rivadandysales.co.uk

 

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