Nick’s News – Nick Harding is an expert in all things motorhomes, caravans and camping. Each week, Nick explores products, locations, holiday ideas and essential community information on our behalf – It’s a Hard-ing Life for Nick, but here is what he found this week.
It’s over to Lincolnshire this week. I do feel particularly privileged, as I’m writing this week’s Nick’s News from the comfortable lounge of an Auto-Trail Grande Frontier, pitched up at the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s site at Sutton-on-Sea near the Lincolnshire coast.
We arrived in time for a walk out to and along the beach and it’s all rather idyllic, as there’s no crowds here. We’re in the baby of the Grande Frontier range, the two-berth GF-70 and our next stop, for two more nights, is the wonderfully titled Nutty Cottage Certificated Location near Louth in Lincolnshire. It’s our base for a quick trawl of some of the bargain antiques centres for which this part of the country is particularly renowned.
In the news
Swift’s 2022 tourer approach – the Conqueror returns
I’ll be honest, I’ve heard very little from Swift during the pandemic and now I’ve realised why. It’s been far too busy working on its whole caravan portfolio for 2022. It calls its line-up for next year “sensational” and it’s not hard to see why.
First there’s the return of the upmarket Conqueror, with a four-strong line-up. That, in turn, has meant an excuse to push the Elegance range to even more premium levels. All three models for 2022 are extra-wide bodied, too.
Then there’s a new Sprite Compact, an extra-slim two-berth that will surely happily fill the niche left by the demise of rival manufacturer Lunar and its Ariva model.
And there’s now a six-berth Basecamp, the biggest one yet. There’s more across all ranges, of course, with the usual change of graphics, and furnishings soft and hard, as well as some useful equipment upgrades. It all sounds pretty exciting.
Stowford on the go
It’s great to see things getting back to normal at so many campsites. Not least at Stowford Farm Meadows, near Barnstaple in North Devon. It’s a huge touring site, with no shortage of facilities, yet somehow manages to retain an intimate feel. For the rest of this season, it’s allowing local, independent retailers of food and drink to set up on site.
There’s also a marquee that’s been erected purely for a programme of kids’ entertainment. If you want to avoid such things you can always make a booking to be entertained in the Stables Bar. There’s even a Crufts-style dog show scheduled for August 1st, which is exclusive to those on site that weekend.
Here’s early news of a 2022 event, too. Dubs @ Stowford is a campervans event, scheduled for the first May bank holiday next year. It’s £75 to camp for that particular weekend. Plus, traders can still book a stand at this event.
Bailey Unicorn Madrid – it’s the real thing
More mature readers will instantly be able to trace the Madrid’s roots as going back to the Pageant Champagne of the 1990s – one of the best caravans Bailey ever made. That’s not just my view, as the sales figures say the same thing.
In its latest incarnation, it’s put on a bit of weight, but haven’t we all? It’s pricier, too, of course. Am I right in thinking a Pageant Champagne snuck in under the £10,000 barrier at one point?! Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
Despite its four-berth status, it’s couples who will really enjoy the Madrid. That front lounge is great for, er lounging and the dinette… well, it’s the perfect place for two to take their meals.
Needless to add, despite my price-carping, Bailey has got the blend of price to specification absolutely spot on.
Three good: Classic four-berth layout, price and spec, and a bit of mid-market pedigree
Two bad: Over £28,000 and 1,500kg MTPLM
Perfect for: Moving upmarket
Also consider: Swift Elegance 580
Get out – with the kids
Don’t let the kids miss out when you’re away camping this summer, whatever the weather may hold for you. Decathlon has a little range of paddling pools for kids from 12 months old upwards – perfect for cooling down when temperatures are getting too hot. There’s the £22.99 120cm Tidipool, a collapsible design with its own, waterproof carrybag. The Tidipool Basic, meanwhile, is just £12.99.
Or, if the weather takes a turn for the wet and worse, Keela’s Puddlebug is a waterproof suit for ages six months through to five years. It’s a three-in-one – with inner zip-in fleece for colder times, as well as an outer shell for ultimate protection. Price is around £85.
If it’s durable outdoor, all-weathers gear you want for your very young children, do check out the Kozi Kidz portfolio, which will have you covered.