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.