New caravan. Bailey Unicorn Madrid III first impressions.

Last October, at the Caravan Show, we were tempted by the latest and glossiest caravan from Bailey. We’d not long had our Bailey Unicorn Madrid, but the new Series III version was just perfect for our style of touring, so we indulged (there’s no other word for it) in a new van.

We picked it up from the very excellent Chipping Sodbury Caravans, whom I can’t praise too highly. Very good people to deal with. We stayed locally at Little Wood Caravan Park, which is delightful. Friendly, helpful owners, and a beautifully kept site and facilities.

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I’m conscious from talking to other caravanners at campsites and shows that one person’s “must-have” feature is another person’s “won’t-have-at-any-price”. But with that in mind, here’s why we splurged on an upgrade:

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It’s not just any old dinette, you know! It’s an extra large one, with bags of table room, and an extra wide chair at the back. We use it as a dining area and a computer room, so the extra space is genuinely useful.

And it has a long living area up front, lit by a huge sunroof (not to mention three skylights).

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All that space can’t be conjured out of nowhere, of course, so the bathroom is smaller. The Series I had a huge washroom, more of a dressing room with wardrobes. This one still has plenty of space for its intended purposes, but you notice the difference.

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On the plus side, there’s a picture of a unicorn on the shower door to entertain you.

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What else? There’s a huuuge side locker, forward of the door, big enough to get a Wastemaster in together with all the cables, hoses, and other paraphernalia. The previous Madrid had two decent front lockers, but this provides even more space. Plus it’s accessible from inside too.

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The gas locker is on the offside, and the battery is under the floor above the axle. But no more having to lug the battery home periodically to recharge it. There’s a 100 watt solar panel. So with two gas bottles and the solar panel, a longer stay on a site without mains electric hookup becomes feasible.

Oh, and a nice big fridge. We do like to browse local markets for fresh produce and sit over supper in the evenings. No need for wilted lettuce or warm white wine with this.

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The kitchen has been redesigned and relocated, but we were happy with the old design, and are equally happy with this. The old one had a split-level worktop which some people disliked. The new one has an extension leaf to give more area.

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I’m more inclined to get excited about the new Alde heating control panel. The basic systems are the same, albeit with improved radiator air flow in the Series III. But the rather fiddly menu system on the old panel has been replaced with a simpler and much more intuitive touch screen.

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We only had the one night in the new van before parking up. But we’re very much looking forward to seeing its happy smiling face again soon.

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