Caravans are such a recognisable part of getting away in the UK that it’s hard to imagine a time when our roads weren’t teeming with them every bank holiday! 2019 is a big year, marking 100 years since the first mass-produced touring caravans entered the market. So to celebrate, we’re taking a look at how caravans have changed throughout the years!

100 years of touring caravans - The Gentleman's Caravan

A long and winding road

The term “caravan” has been used for thousands of years, originally describing a convoy of people travelling together for security. Its origin might have been the Silk Road, a route running thousands of miles between Asia and Europe, along which traders used to tow goods.  

The Gentleman’s Caravan

After proving popular with travelling showmen during the nineteenth century, popular author Doctor William Stables popularised the horse-drawn caravan in 1885. After having a rather cumbersome van built for his personal use, he used it to travel the length of the country. His experiences of life on the road were published in his book The Gentleman Gypsy.

100 years of touring caravans - The Eccles Caravan

The Eccles Caravan

In 1919 Eccles Motor Transport spotted a hole in the market. They developed and rolled out the Eccles Caravan, the first car-pulled and commercially produced caravan. It was marketed with the slogan “the holiday problem solved”, and was designed as a means to make holidays more accessible in a world where air travel was far less accessible than today.

Post war boom

It wasn’t until after World War Two that caravanning really became a pastime of the masses! With the production of the Eccles Enterprise caravans became smaller, mass-produced and affordable. Although the ‘vans of the era were heavy, hard to manoeuvre and lacking in mod cons, they soon took off. This period saw Brits from all walks of life embracing new caravan adventures!

100 years of touring caravans - the caravans of today


The basic caravan design hasn’t changed much since 1919. Although their heavy wooden frames have been replaced with lighter materials, making towing easier! Today’s caravans are better insulated than their predecessors, and make full use of electricity and all the gadgets necessary in the modern world! Today’s caravan truly has become a home-away-from-home!

Caravans are showing no sign of disappearing either! More and more Brits have been choosing to stay in the UK for their holidays, with caravans proving to be a fantastic means to achieving this. If you have your own little slice of this history, you might want to consider taking out caravan insurance. At The Insurance Emporium, we offer flexible Touring Caravan Insurance with three different levels of cover and a range of Optional Benefits to choose from, such as Unlimited European Use. You could also get up to 45% discount*! Head to The Insurance Emporium to find out more!

* The 45% discount is made up of 25% Introductory Discount plus a range of security-related discounts (if appropriate). The discount is capped at 45%. The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.

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