The American dream in the UK: Sampling the Airstream way of life

By Jack Evans

Iconic American caravan brand Airstream is back in the UK – and we’ve been given the opportunity to stay in one of its latest models.

Retaining the unmistakeable chrome bodyshell over a ribbed frame, the ‘new’ Airstream looks just as good as the 1930s original.

(PA)

There are more than 1.7 million caravanners and motorhomers in the UK and for two nights, we joined the fray in one of Airstream’s latest models; one set for a full reveal at the upcoming Motorhome and Caravan Show on October 17 – the Yukon. Costing from £84,995, it’s a reasonable amount of money, but then there’s a not unreasonable amount of workmanship that goes into building each one.

So what do you get for your money? Well, the Yukon has space for up to three people – the main table folds down into a bed – while there’s all the usual facilities you’d expect from a premium caravan such as a toilet, sink and shower.

(Airstream)

However, you also get LED interior lighting throughout, as well as a full central and water heating system with LCD control touchscreen. With the UK’s summer temperatures often failing to live up to those found in the Airstream’s native Ohio, these latter features will prove extremely useful.

The touring and holiday parks industry contributes around £6 billion a year to the UK economy, with more than 50 million nights spent in caravans in 2015 alone. Airstream is hoping to be a stylish, retro addition to this industry – building on its all-star reputation generated in America.

So what’s it like? There’s no doubting the Airstream’s excellent fit-and-finish, with plenty of high-quality materials used throughout. Everything is pretty self-explanatory – save for the heating and water controls, which took a touch more working out to operate. Given the chilly mid-September temperatures we arrived in, getting these features working was paramount.


One of the best aspects of the Airstream’s interior is the exposed aluminium panelling. It gives the entire inside of the caravan a bright, space-age-like feel to it – particularly with the LED lights shining.

The Airstream is available in three different sizes in the UK – from the smaller Missouri to the largest Colorado. All feature a fixed bed, as well as 6.5ft of internal headroom – more than enough for most people.

(PA)

Parked amid a variety of other ‘normal’ caravans at a site on Anglesey, it’s easy to see just why Airstream owners love them quite so much – individuality. Indeed, as I left the van after our first night there, I noticed all eyes upon it. Being in the Airstream is a little like driving a Lamborghini – everyone is looking at you. Of course, much like a high-end supercar, there’s a huge amount of personalisation options to be found with an Airstream. A variety of interior trim options is available to choose from – you can even pick between two different types of leather for the sofas.

(PA)

The bed – a fixed unit at the front of the van – is surprisingly comfy, though a touch shorter than you’d expect, with the Airstream’s width limiting its size. The clear skylight above the bed is a stroke of genius, however, as it means that you can look at the skies while falling asleep. On the clear night we arrived, it meant that all the stars were visible from the bed – pretty cool, right?

The Airstream – in particular, the Yukon we stayed in – is a modern classic van for those who want to stand out from the crowd but don’t want to say goodbye to the traditional features you’d expect from a caravan.

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