• Exploring the Differences: Caravans, Campervans, and Motorhomes

Exploring the Differences: Caravans, Campervans, and Motorhomes

This in-depth guide will break down the key differences, pros and cons, and ideal buyers for each type of leisure vehicle.

Planning an amazing holiday on wheels around the UK? With so many leisure vehicle options today across caravans, campervans, and motorhomes, it can get confusing which one is right for your travel needs and budget. This in-depth guide will break down the key differences, pros and cons, and ideal buyers for each type of leisure vehicle.


Caravans are a classic trailer-style leisure vehicle that requires a towing vehicle like SUV. They range between 10 to 32 feet long and sleep 2 to 8 people depending on the model. Weights when empty typically span 1,000 to 3,000 kg.

Inside, you'll find all basic living necessities like beds, a kitchen, seating, a bathroom and storage. However, the facilities are compact since caravans offer the least interior room of any leisure vehicle. When parked, the caravan is detached from the tow vehicle and levelled on corner steadies. They cost anywhere from £5,000 for used models up to £60,000 for luxury brands.

Here are some of the most common caravan brands and models found in the UK:

  • Bailey caravans - Bailey is one of the largest caravan manufacturers in the UK. Their popular ranges include the Pegasus, Unicorn, and Phoenix.
  • Swift caravans - Swift is another top British caravan brand, known for models like the Challenger and Elegance.
  • Lunar caravans - Lunar has been building caravans since the 1960s. Common models are the Quasar and Lexon.
  • Elddis caravans - Elddis produces a wide range of affordable touring caravans like the Crusader and Compass.
  • Coachman caravans - Coachman is known for luxury caravans including the Amara and Laser.


  • Lightweight and aerodynamic for easy towing
  • Quick to set up and take down
  • Affordable starting prices 


  • Reliant on a separate vehicle for power
  • Tight interior spaces
  • Tricky to manoeuvre and reverse

Ideal For:

  • Budget buyers and first-time owners
  • Retiree couples touring Britain
  • Small families on quick weekend getaways


Campervans are vans converted into a living space with beds, kitchen, and cabinetry inside. They contain all amenities found in a caravan but in a self-contained unit. Campervans range from 13 to 22 feet long and are powered entirely by their onboard engine.

The stand up height can be limited, so campervans work best for short holidays. Sleeping capacity is 2 to 4 people. The compact size provides excellent manoeuvrability on narrow British country roads. Expect prices from £35,000 to £70,000. Campervans allow true on and off-grid exploration across the UK. 

Here are some of the most common campervans in the UK:

  • Volkswagen Campervans - The classic VW Camper is an iconic campervan in the UK. The vintage models from the 1950s-70s are quite popular. Newer VW California models continue the legacy. 

  • Mercedes Sprinter - Sprinter campervans converted from Mercedes vans are ubiquitous on UK roads. They offer great reliability and are suited for extended travel.

  • Ford Transit - The Ford Transit is one of the most common vans in the UK, so it's a popular base for campervan conversions. Transit campers provide lots of interior space.

  • Vauxhall Vivaro - Vauxhall's mid-size van is frequently converted into campervans. Vivaro campers are more compact and affordable than Sprinters.


  • Drive yourself with onboard power and water
  • Compact and nimble for easy driving
  • Go off the beaten path to secluded sites


  • Tight interior space with minimal storage
  • Cannot handle extended trips as well
  • Limited standing room height 

Ideal For:

  • Solo travellers and couples
  • Adventurers who value mobility
  • Short weekend and week-long vacations


Motorhomes are the largest leisure vehicle option, typically spanning 25 to 40 feet long. They drive independently with a powerful onboard engine and look like a small bus or. The interior feels like a miniature apartment with separating rooms, permanent bedding, full-sized appliances, entertainment systems and ample living space.

Motorhomes easily sleep 4 to 6 people and larger models can accommodate up to 8. Expect to pay from £50,000 up to £300,000 for high-end brands. They are ideal for extended travel across Britain and Europe.

Here are some of the most common motorhome brands and models in the UK

  • Swift - Swift makes many mainstream motorhomes including the Escape and Kontiki ranges. Their layouts are popular with families.

  • Auto-Trail - Auto-Trail is one of the largest British motorhome manufacturers, known for van conversions like the Apache and Tracker.

  • Bailey - Bailey offers motorhomes focused on value like the Advance and Autograph lines.
  • Elddis - Elddis produces mid-range motorhomes including the Affinity, Autoquest, and Aspire models.

  • Auto-Sleepers - Auto-Sleepers specializes in luxury, bespoke motorhomes like the Broadway and Warwick Duo.


  • Spacious interior with all home comforts
  • Self-contained with huge freshwater/waste tanks
  • Luxury models feel like five-star accommodations


  • Challenging to drive and park due to size
  • High purchase price and poor fuel economy
  • Length limits prohibit the use of some sites

Ideal For:

  • Extended travel and full-time living
  • Retiree couples touring Britain and Europe
  • Families wanting maximum space and comfort


Choosing the Best Camper or Motorhome

When deciding between a caravan, campervan or motorhome, the first thing to consider is your budget and travel style. Caravans offer affordability for weekend getaways. Campervans provide flexibility for short vacations and Motorhomes work for long-term travel given their home-like rooms and amenities.

Analyse the number of people in your group and trip duration. Caravans and campervans better serve 1-3 people on quick holidays and road trips. Motorhomes comfortably accommodate 4+ people living on the road for months.

Factor in driving ability as larger motorhomes can be cumbersome on narrow roads. Make sure your tow vehicle is rated for the fully loaded weight of any caravan. Campervans allow true freedom to explore off-grid locations.

Carefully balancing these aspects will lead you to the perfect leisure vehicle for creating lasting road trip memories across Britain!

Here at Tamar, we stock every type of leisure vehicle. Browse our latest stock and let your next adventure begin!