It's mind-blowing to think that we have been caravanning for 9 years. In that time, we've had some amazing adventures, enjoyed memorable holidays, and made some lifelong friends. However, the time has come to move on.
This year’s caravanning was very different from previous years. Although we stayed 39 nights in the caravan so far and used it approximately every 6 weeks throughout the year, the holidaying experience was different. I am referring to the distinct lack of children on our holidays. We started caravanning as a family, with 2 children and 1 dog back in 2014. But now we are a caravanning couple. Tom, our eldest son, flew the nest some years ago, and he has his own family now. Our daughter Chloe made the decision this year that hanging out with her friends was way cooler than hanging around with Mum and Dad. I can’t think why.
So, that leaves just us two, and this change has prompted a decision in our caravanning future. For the past 5 years, we have been touring in our Bailey Ridgeway 640. It’s a dealer special caravan based upon the series 1 Phoenix. With a fixed rear island bed and mid-washroom, it provided us with 2 distinct zones in the caravan that were perfect for holidaying with a teenager. During the day, Chloe could settle down on the bed, using it as a chaise lounge and not be disturbed by “the boring parents”. At night, the caravan was again brilliant at providing space; the mid-washroom acted like an en-suite for each end of the caravan. This “zoning” is something we just don’t need now as there are only two of us. And, as we get older, the demand or request for some creature comforts is high on the caravan shopping list.
Enter stage left, the Bailey Alicanto Grande Evora. I’m no stranger to this caravan; I reviewed it at launch last year, and this 8ft wide premium caravan is our dream caravan. Let me talk you through our thought process.
Our new Bailey Alicanto Grande Evora.
The layout is perhaps one of the top reasons why we wanted this caravan. It’s a popular layout with an end washroom and transverse bed. With the washroom at the rear, the caravan immediately feels a lot bigger than what we are used to. No bulkhead in the kitchen means the caravan’s internal space feels huge. The bed can be utilized during the day if required, but the front seating area is plenty big enough for us to sprawl out of an evening.
A through shot from the Alicanto Grande Evora
The kitchen in the Alicanto Grande Evora
The second big selling point is the size of the bed. Pretty much every caravan manufacturer has this layout, but only Bailey has a dedicated king-size bed (I think). Our current bed is fine, but after an extended break, we do start to feel a little cramped, and Angela is sick of me breathing in her ear and snoring. The king-size bed will be the same size as our bed at home, and the pocket-sprung mattress will give us endless hours of sleeping comfort.
The Alicanto Grande Evora features a huge king-size bed
The features of the caravan are the last big motivation for the upgrade. The heating, being Alde, the inbuilt Wi-Fi, the charging points, and the fixtures and fittings of the kitchen and bathroom made this an easy sell. One of the biggest selling points for us both was the addition of a heated towel rail. We had this in our first caravan and have missed this in recent years. Overall, it’s the boutique feeling the caravan gives us when we sit inside it. It’s a calm and happy space.
The Alicanto Grande Evora includes inbuilt Wi-Fi
I do have some apprehensions, however. This caravan is an 8ft wide twin-axle model. I’ve seen others park their larger caravans on seasonal pitches, where they never move. But I’m sure we can continue to tour with a bigger van in much the same way as we do now. Over the next series of articles, I’ll document how we get on with a larger caravan, list some of the accessories we have bought for the caravan upgrade, and because we plan to use this caravan all year round, we will share our tips for all-season touring