DAY 1 (Thursday)
It’s late Thursday afternoon (5pm to be exact) and we are heading out in the car without an inch of space left in the boot. I have consulted my phone and the planned journey should take us about two and a half hours. Have I forgotten to say its the Thursday before Easter Bank Holiday. Our planned route consists of A1M, M25 and the M3. A walk in the park using these 3 quiet roads (has never been said by anyone).
After refuelling ourselves at Fleet services, we finally arrive at our final destination Longleat Caravan & Motorhome Club Site at 10PM. Yes that’s right 5 hours of glorious UK motorways and A roads. Now some of you may be wondering that’s not bad while towing a caravan behind you, but we weren’t. This long weekend we were to be (live-in) testing a Bailey Unicorn Cadiz S4. Now I know arriving on site 10PM is a big NO NO, but the caravan had very kindly been dropped off by Bailey. We had pre arranged and paid for the site, with the amazing wardens. We also had some friends that were already on site, who hooked up the electrics and put the ALDE heating on.
We quickly said our hellos and unloaded the car. I headed off and sorted out the water and the toilet, while the rest of the family made themselves at home in the van. 30 minutes later and we were finally unloaded and packed away, record time for set up but we had cheated slightly. So finally after a full day at work and then the drive from hell we welcomed the fixed beds.
DAY 2 (Friday)
Now being a Bank Holiday and a nice long one at that, the weather was on point and torrential rain had been forecast for the whole weekend. What’s the saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather just bad planning”. As we hadn’t towed the van down, we were limited on the space that we had in the boot, so an awning had not made the cut. This was our first time without an awning as with having 2 children and a dog we always use the awning as an extra room to live in and keep dry. So with that missing we were truly putting the caravan to a full test on how we could all manage on this wonderfully rainy weekend.
First off last nights sleep had been welcomed and it did help that only the front bed had to made up. The Cadiz if you are unaware has fixed separate single beds mid way up the caravan, which you would think that both the grown ups would sleep on (WRONG). As we have previous found out in our own caravan myself and Zoe don’t have enough room on the made up bed at the front and if the 2 kids share, world war 3normally breaks out, so with that said I took up one of the fixed beds with Lulu taking the second. Leaving Zoe and Grace with the front bed. Now at 6’2” and slightly on the wide side I found the fixed bed to be really comfortable with more than enough room length wise and not having the feeling I was going to roll out on the width.
This was the first fixed bed we had every stayed in and not a layout we had paid much attention too, thinking it was more of a glorified 2 berth. Now I can say that this layout can really work as a great family van, as there are so many different combinations. If your kids get on then they can use the make up bed at the front leaving the singles for the grown ups, or use the make up bed at the front for the grown ups and let the kids sleep in the singles. This can work well if they are young and you want to put them to bed early, or if you have teenagers that have shot up and don’t fit in bunks any more they can fit in the singles.
Getting back to the holiday the bad weather was not stopping and we made a dash to the local supermarket to get supplies, which we hadn’t brought with us due to lack of room. (I never knew how many bags a teenage girl needed for a long weekend. I do now – an estate cars worth). This brings me to our next observation on the caravan. In our caravan we have a small under the counter fridge, which after putting all the tonic and ginger ale in doesn’t normal leave us with much room for food. We have even resorted to using a separate 12V cool box in the awning before. Now in the Cadiz there is a full sized tall fridge which means that for a family of four we could go shopping and buy all the food we needed for the weekend in one go and fit it all in. Another plus for the van.
The rest of the day was a complete wash out which wasn’t all bad, as sometimes it is nice just to sit down and do absolutely nothing but catch up on a few magazines and relax. I didn’t even get to use my Cadac. The evening was spent with friends and the site wardens who we had met on Twitter some years back and have stayed friends.
DAY 3 (Saturday)
As a fully paid up member of the National Trust, the first thing I do once I have booked a site is to look up on their app what attractions are close by. This time it pulled up several places and we decided on Stourhead. It looked ideal with both House and Gard
ens if the rain gave us a slight break. We eventually headed off as when on holiday we aren’t the quickest at getting up and out. We really enjoyed our day out at Stourhead,
taking full advantage of their restaurant and when the rain did stop walking around the amazing gardens even if they weren’t fully in bloom yet. They even have a CL campsite in the grounds and also have dedicated parking for Motorhomes and Camper vans. It great to see places like this embrace our lifestyle and encourage us to visit them more.
Back on site the rain had started again, so the use of the Cadac was off the menu. Now we have had the Longleat Site on our ‘must do’ lists for a long time, ever since a friend had said you can hear the lions roar from the safari park. I always took this as a bit of an exaggeration, but no this is true. At night and in the early hours when the site and surrounding area is quiet you can hear the animals and it is amazing. By now spending so much time in the van on top of each other we started to get an idea how well the layout worked for us. It also helped as the Unicorn range is 7’6” wide. The 2018 Unicorn’s kitchen has been redesigned and the side that used to come out into the walk space has been reduced, giving this area of the van a lovely open feel. This has been achieved by placing the gas bottles side by side down the length of the van and not across it. Even if I was stood at the sink there was still lots of room for some one to get by.
The end bathroom which is another first for us (as we have a side wet-room which really doesn’t have enough room to be usable by someone of my girth) has bags of room in it. The fully lined shower, which I used everyday had plenty of room to wash. The wardrobe in the bathroom was a bit on the small side, if four people are using the van but I suppose compromise has to be had somewhere. The laundry bin in our opinion was not sufficient, as it is very small and for a family of four would not hold a days worth of clothes. This space we feel would be better put to use as more storage, as in the bathroom this is lacking. The full width mirror across the back wall came in handy and was well used by the ladies, as the lighting was amazing.
The end of Day 3 was enjoyed inside the caravan sitting in the front lounge wrapped up warm watching TV.
Day 4 (Sunday)
It would be a great shame if we came all the way to Longleat Caravan Site and not go to the Safari park, so today we decided to do exactly that. Now I’m not a skin-flint, but the price to this attraction is a bit on the steep side for a family of four. If you book on-line you can use your CaMC membership to get a discount. (Thumbs Up). We decided to go around the safari park first which is easily reached as the entrance is on the way to the campsite. You are given a CD for the car which talks you around the park. We decided not to go through the monkey enclosure as we value our car, but drove round the rest of the safari park, lucky for us the rain held off and the animals had ventured outside to have their photo taken.
Once parked up back on site we grab some lunch from the van. The kitchen setup in the van is great, as there is so much room now you can cover the hob with a hard cover giving you ample room to prepare food. There is a lift up flap on the left side of the kitchen, but we didn’t need to use this. The sink is a good size as well, making it fully usable saving on carrying all the washing up to the facilities on site.
Once lunch had been munched, we walked back to the park which is literally a 5 mins walk from the site entrance. Once inside we checked out the maze hoping to loss the kids, but they were to clever and found there way out. Thankfully the rain had stopped long enough for us to enjoy the lake cruise and we got to see the Hippos, Sealions and the Gorillas. I braved the bat-cave on my own as none of the others would step foot in there. We next went into the house itself, which was very interesting there is no actual tour and you are left to walk around at your own speed. Which we much prefer. To finish the day off we took a ride on the train which takes you round the lake with an opportunity to see more animals. You can also see the campsite from here and shows just how close you are to the Safari Park. Before we left a visit to the gift shop saw my wallet lightened by buying a plethora of stuffed toys.
Back on site and the rain had set back in, at least we had some dry spells around the safari park. We spent our last evening with our friends and the wardens again. Good time had by all.
Day 5 (Monday)
As we hadn’t towed down or put an awning up, the pack up was the done within record breaking time. We did however ponder over the van that we had called home for the last four days. We chatted about our likes and dislikes, what we would do if we owned it and how well it had coped with the four of us and Delilah (our large fluffy pooch).
We all agreed that the actual layout of the fixed twin beds worked really well for us. The ability to have a good mixture of sleeping arrangements, meant that as the kids grew up and then eventually left us, the van would be able to suit all of our needs for many years to come. The next thing we loved was the kitchen set up. It gives you so much more room with the cover over the hob. The sink is well placed and there is so much storage including the massive full size fridge. That would easily store a week’s worth of food without having to go shopping several times. The front lounge was big enough for all of us to relax in. The huge front window brings in so much of the outside, it really does do the van so much justice. The girls loved the backlit mirror in the bathroom, plus the handy plug on the side of the bed which is perfectly placed to use the bathroom mirror.
There were a couple of things that we didn’t like. The bottle holder in the cupboard to the side of the oven, seemed to be a waste of time as you were unable to fit anything in there. We felt the toilet roll holder was in the wrong place and was difficult to reach, the laundry bin as mentioned above was not up to much.
Overall we loved the van, lots of room to live in, great storage and a well designed kitchen layout.
For more information on the Bailey Cadiz click HERE
For more information on the Caravan & Motorhome Club Longleat Site click HERE
To see our YouTube review on the Bailey Unicorn Cadiz caravan click HERE