Company Blog

Caravan History in the UK: Bailey Caravans Timeline of 1947 to Present

At Ropers, we are proud to be an approved retailer of Bailey caravans. We’re sharing the history and evolution of caravans in the UK, from the first Bailey caravan in 1947 to today.

It is astonishing to see how far Bailey has come over the past 75+ years. From humble beginnings as simple mobile shelters, caravans have transformed into sophisticated, modern homes on wheels, reflecting technological advancements, design, and consumer needs.

The Evolution of Caravans

The post-war era 1947 marked the beginning of a new age for caravanning in the UK. Caravans of that time were basic, offering minimal functionality compared to today’s caravans. These early models were often small and limited space, with basic facilities.

Although the idea behind caravans is quite simple at the very start, for ages, they have been a cheap and convenient way for families to learn about the countryside and spend good leisure time together. With innovative materials, engineering methods, and ever-changing consumer expectations, caravans have evolved drastically throughout history. Caravans changed in the 1960s and 1970s with better and bigger versions having improved designs and amenities. Caravans became bigger, more comfortable, and with built-in kitchens, bathrooms, and better sleeping facilities.


Martin Bailey built the first Bailey caravan, the Maestro, which sold for £200 at Ashton Gate market in South Bristol.

A year later, F G Bailey Ltd was established, producing two caravans per week. 75 years on, Bailey remains the UK’s longest-established touring caravan company.


Bailey created a range of models from Minor & Maritza, to the Maison, an 18ft caravan designed as a quick solution to the post-war housing shortage.


Bailey created a range of models to suit all circumstances, from Minor & Maritza, to the Maison, an 18ft caravan designed as a quick solution to the post-war housing shortage.


Change of ownership. Patrick & Stephen Howard owned the company & continuously owned it since then.


The first Bailey Pageant caravan was produced, marking the start of the company’s most successful product line with over 25 years of continuous production.


The Pageant’s sister range, the Senator, was introduced. It set a high benchmark with features like blown air central heating & an integrated cassette toilet system as standard.


Despite tough economic times, Bailey tripled the size of its South Liberty Lane site and invested in advanced digital production machinery.


To meet the demand for the popular Pageant and Senator ranges, more land was acquired at South Liberty Lane in the 1990s to boost production.


The affordable Bailey Ranger boosted the company, making Bailey the UK’s top caravan brand. Priced under £10,000, the Ranger set new value standards.


Bailey introduced the Alu-Tech construction system, making their leisure vehicles more robust, durable, & lighter than traditional models. This innovation offered superior protection, ensuring year-round comfort & safety.


Bailey launched their first motorhome, the Approach SE. Featuring an Alu-Tech bodyshell on an AL-KO chassis with a Peugeot cab, it maintained the award-winning design and value of its caravans.


On November 22nd, Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Late Duke of Edinburgh visited Bailey at South Liberty Lane to celebrate their 65th anniversary.


Bailey launched its first Big Adventure.

Travelling West to East across Australia, this challenging journey covered remote regions, including Uluru, Alice Springs, and Birdsville. They travelled about 2,200 kilometres on gravel, dirt, and corrugated roads.


Bailey relocated parts of its business to a new site in North Bristol. Now called PRIMA Leisure, this company, owned by Bailey of Bristol, offers over 20,000 products online.


The Large Panel Laminating Plant moved to its own facility in Clevedon, North Somerset.

This 3,250+ sqm site has four advanced laminating lines, producing over 1,500 bodyshell panels weekly.


The second Bailey Big Adventure took 2 caravans and a motorhome from the UK to Finland’s Arctic Circle.

The trip spanned 12 countries in 16 days and covered 5000 miles, testing the vehicles in temperatures as low as -30 degrees.


Bristol’s Mayor, Marvin Rees, inaugurated the Replenishment Centre at South Liberty Lane.

The facility stores Bailey of Bristol materials and equipment, streamlining the delivery process.


The third Bailey Big Adventure, Bristanbul, covered 5000 miles through 21 countries in 21 days. From Bristol to the Bosphorus River in Istanbul, this journey tested Bailey’s caravans and motorhomes across Europe and into Asia, experiencing diverse landscapes.


Bailey introduced its first 8ft wide caravan. The Pegasus Grande range provides owners up to 25% more living space.


Bailey’s first motorhome collaboration with Ford with the all-new Bailey Adamo.


Bailey’s fourth Big Adventure aimed for the Sahara Desert. The Covid-19 pandemic forced Bailey to turn back to Sagres, Portugal. They had to wait 3 years to attempt this challenge again.


With Covid-19 restrictions in 2021, Bailey opted to travel vertically.

The new Unicorn range was launched by placing a model on the One New Change Shopping Centre roof in London.

Overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral, this exclusive pop-up campsite celebrated the staycation boom and the rise in caravan holiday popularity.


Bailey committed to becoming a carbon-neutral business. New sustainability efforts include supporting the Woodland Trust’s Tree-Planting Scheme, installing solar panels and LED lighting, and switching to 100% renewable energy across all sites.


Amid post-Covid supply chain issues, Bailey toured 2,000 miles in a Pegasus Grande caravan across the UK and Europe to see where and how their vehicle components are made.

They visited seven suppliers to discuss their challenges and showcase the diverse parts needed for their caravans and motorhomes.


3 years after the first attempt, Bailey finally reached the Sahara.

Starting in Sagres, Portugal, they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into Africa and drove through Morocco and over the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert.

Bailey’s caravans and motorhome excelled in the challenging conditions, proving Bailey’s vehicles are ready for any adventure.


For its 75th anniversary, Bailey launched its first campervan, the Endeavour. The Endeavour proved as tough and durable as Bailey’s other leisure vehicles.


After overcoming the challenges of the COVID pandemic, Bailey is set to expand into new leisure vehicle markets domestically and internationally.

Bailey’s plans include new corporate responsibility goals and environmental initiatives to ensure sustainable growth.

5 of the Best Scenic Routes in Yorkshire for Your Next Caravan Holiday

The Dales in Yorkshire have some amazing views that are perfect for a leisurely drive.
Whether you are after the peaceful countryside, scenic coastlines, or a peek into history through Yorkshire’s charming villages and historic towns, here are five of the best caravan journeys and scenic drives across Yorkshire.

The Complete Yorkshire Dales Tour

Starting from the historic market town of Skipton, this route lets you take in the full glory of the Yorkshire Dales. Spanning over 130 miles, you’ll pass the iconic rolling hills and landscapes of the Dales. This journey takes you past Grassington and Aysgarth Falls. Layovers in small villages such as Hawes and Settle not only offer perfect picnic spots but also give you a glimpse into the rural Yorkshire lifestyle.

Nearby caravan parks: Riverside Caravan Park, High Bentham, near Ingleton, North Yorkshire
Get your map route here

Whitby to Middlesbrough along the Heritage Coast

Capture the essence of Yorkshire’s coast by travelling from Whitby to Middlesbrough. A 35-mile route with scenic cliff views, sandy beaches, and the ruins of historical abbeys. Whitby itself is famous for its fish and chips and the haunting Whitby Abbey that inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Heading south, you’ll pass through quaint coastal villages like Robin Hood’s Bay and Saltburn-by-the-Sea before reaching the industrial town of Middlesbrough.

Nearby caravan parks: Middlewood Farm Holiday Park, Fylingthorpe, Whitby
Get your map route here

North York Moors National Park

Begin your journey in Helmsley, passing through moorland landscapes and forested areas, with stops available at the historic Rievaulx Abbey and the picturesque railway town of Pickering. Approximately 70 miles of this route are in the North York Moors, which are known for their heather moorlands.

Nearby caravan parks: York House Caravan Park, Balk, near Thirsk
Get your map route here

Peaks and Valleys from Sheffield to Holmfirth

You’ll be captivated by the stunning scenery and charming country pubs from Sheffield to Holmfirth. Along the route, you will be given sights of lovely towns and rocky terrain. Holmfirth is a delightful town at the end of your journey.

Nearby caravan parks: Green Moorlands Park, Penistone Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Get your map route here

Coastal Cruise from Scarborough to Saltburn

Nothing says holiday quite like a coastal drive, and the route from Scarborough to Saltburn is as breezy as they come. Stretching just under 50 miles, this drive shows the beautiful coastline, cliff-face views and peaceful beach scenes. Make stops at Robin Hood’s Bay for a quick wander through its narrow streets, and perhaps a day trip in the sea at Saltburn’s sandy beach. The fresh sea air and sound of the waves will make this drive a revitalizing break this summertime.

Nearby caravan parks: Flower of May Holiday Park, Lebberston, Scarborough.
Get your map route here

Yorkshire offers caravan routes for every taste! Explore the majestic Yorkshire Dales on a 130-mile loop, or cruise the scenic coast from Whitby to Middlesbrough. Journey through North York Moors National Park, or discover charming villages and pubs between Sheffield and Holmfirth. Unwind on a coastal escape from Scarborough to Saltburn, with stops for beachside fun and fish and chips.

Top 6 Dog-Friendly Caravan Parks in the UK

The UK is dotted with dog-friendly caravan parks that provide a relaxing getaway complete with nearby attractions, cafés, and walking trails, perfect for families and dog owners.

We have found the best dog-friendly locations for your caravanning holiday. From exploring miles of sandy beaches to caravan sites suited for dogs, there’s a variety of places perfect for those who want to enjoy the great outdoors with their dogs.

1. Dorset – Weymouth Bay Holiday Park

On the Southern Coast, Weymouth Bay Holiday Holiday Park offers comfort and fun for dog owners, families and couples. Only a 3-minute walk to the pool and entertainment, and less than a 10-minute drive to Weymouth with a bus stop right outside the park, this is one of the most dog-friendly caravan parks in Dorset.

The accessibility allows guests to easily venture out and enjoy the scenic views that Weymouth provides.

2. Lake District – Park Cliffe

Located in the Lake District, Park Cliffe offers a pleasant caravan holiday experience for dog lovers, with its pet-friendly facilities and lovely surroundings ideal for walking and exploring. You can experience a picturesque walk uphill from the site which is in a beautiful location.

There are plenty of dog-friendly caravan parks in the Lake District. Although Park Cliffe’s surroundings are a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, walking in the beautiful Lake District always offers opportunities for exploring stunning landscapes, lakes, and hills.

3. Norfolk – California Cliffs Holiday Park

For those looking for dog-friendly caravan parks in Norfolk, there’s a peaceful break along the scenic coast at California Cliffs Holiday Park in Norfolk. A delightful coastal town, Scratby Beach, is just five minutes from the park and is located near Great Yarmouth.

They offer a variety of dog-friendly accommodation options, including caravans and chalets. There is also a dog walking area on site, and the beach is just a short walk away.

4. Isle of Wight – Orchards Holiday Park

The Isle of Wight is a perfect escape for dog-friendly beaches and parks, for caravan seekers looking for dog-friendly caravan parks in Isle of Wight. Orchards Holiday Park has facilities for families and dog owners and also boasts a swimming pool.

There’s a variety of dog-friendly caravans and designated dog walking areas on site, and the surrounding Isle of Wight offers many dog-friendly beaches and trails to explore.

5. Yorkshire – Vale of Pickering Caravan Park

Yorkshire has classic scenic countryside everywhere you look and is perfect for exploring with your faithful companion. There are lots of dog-friendly caravan parks in Yorkshire, but we’ve handpicked the Vale of Pickering Caravan Park as our top one. Situated close to the moors and seaside resorts, it makes a perfect location.

There’s a large open dog walking area with beautiful views where your dog can run and play off-lead. It’s the ideal setting for long walks with your dog, exploring the Yorkshire Dales or the Moors, followed by a cosy night in a friendly park. Vale of Pickering Caravan Park seems like a great option for a dog-friendly vacation.

6. Northumberland – South Meadows Caravan Park

Northumberland’s caravan parks boast rugged coastlines and a rich history. With its dedicated dog walking area, spacious pitches, and welcoming atmosphere, South Meadows Caravan Park seems like a fantastic option for a dog-friendly getaway in Northumberland.

You’ll find plenty of dog-friendly caravan parks in Northumberland but South Meadows Caravan Park is a great option for one with plenty of space to relax and unwind on generous, well-landscaped pitches.

Lots to Offer

The UK has excellent caravan holidays and beautiful places to take your family and dogs. We’ve handpicked 6 dog-friendly caravan parks based on reviews, credibility and facilities catered towards being dog-friendly.

A dog-friendly caravan holiday is the perfect setting for coastal escapes or peaceful countryside getaways. These parks feature dedicated dog walking areas, comfortable accommodations, and convenient access to nearby attractions, making them a great choice for family vacations and dog-friendly getaways.