Although our caravan was a 2003 model, it served our needs to a tee and certainly did not feel like an old unit.
The kitchen was modern and included a fridge freezer, toaster, full gas oven, microwave and all the kitchen equipment we could desire.
We often cooked a full roast dinner for all the family in that kitchen, with no problems at all.
Our caravan was very well equipped, and the onsite team informed us that we could order inventory packs directly from them if required. This was welcome information, but we do recommend comparing prices with those on the high street to ensure that you are getting the best deal.
Park Resorts kitted out our caravan with a 22" TV & DVD combo, something we would recommend to anyone if the option is available on your particular park. Between us, our family and our friends, we were able to build up an extensive library of DVDs, CDs, books and games, all of which came in very handy on those odd rainy days or on nights in.
We decided to purchase a small vacuum cleaner to leave permanently in the caravan, as our portable hoover simply did not cut the mustard when it came to dog hairs. You might want to invest in something similar to keep you caravan looking its best!
A Couple of Downsides
One of the few negatives we found was that the curtains in the caravan's bedrooms were rather thin. At times of year when the sun rises early, this can become a problem, so we decided to invest in made to measure curtains that adequately blocked out the light.
We also found that the caravan's mattresses were slightly on the firm side. While this is something we can deal with at the moment, we may look to replace the double mattress in the main bedroom next year. User feedback tells us that this is fairly standard with older caravan models, while some of the newer, more luxurious models feature better quality curtains and mattresses.
In the bathroom, we found that the shower cubical was easy to keep clean and that there was always a decent flow of hot water from the boiler. The flow was not always uniform, and tended to pulse a little bit, but this was fine.
Home From Home
To turn a holiday caravan into a fully-fledged holiday home, the unit requires a bit of personalisation. We decided to add the following items to our caravan, which came to a total value of less than £100, something we were very pleased with:
- Lounge: Photo frames for holiday photos.
- Bedrooms: New curtains, new bedside lamps.
- Kitchen: Plastic glasses, new washing up bowl.
- Bathroom: New bathmats.
Our Atlas Mirage 2003 came equipped with a main gas fire and electric heaters in each of the bedrooms and hallways. This was more than adequate for visits in spring and autumn.
If we were planning to visit the caravan in winter, we would think seriously about opting for a caravan equipped with central heating and double glazing. Many parks these days operate 12 month seasons, making them perfect for Christmas and New Year getaways; in these cases, central heating and double glazing are a must!
Thanks to reductions in price, you can now buy a brand new caravan with double glazing and central heating for the same price as our Atlas Mirage would have cost new in 2003.
In hindsight, we should have ordered an external storage box to keep items like our plastic chairs and assorted beach paraphernalia neat and tidy. There is no real storage area in a static caravan apart from a small cupboard containing the unit's boiler. When we were given the option to order a storage box in advance we turned it down, opting to purchase one from a nearby B+Q for a cheaper price.
Unfortunately, the park did not allow this. To preserve the general look and ambience of the park, and to maintain safety standards, Thorness Bay require that caravan owners use only the park's own storage boxes, priced at £499 each.
In the end, we never got round to sorting this, and ended up leaving some of our gear under the van.
Another wise investment is a caravan veranda. You are going to be spending a lot of time in your caravan unit, and the installation of a good quality veranda effectively gives you a whole other outside room to play with. The benefits of dining al fresco and relaxing in the sun while on holiday really do make such an addition to your caravan great value.
At Thorness Bay - and most other holiday parks - the same rules apply to verandas as to storage boxes. As a result, these must be installed by a park approved contractor.