As we enter the warmer months of the year, my girlfriend Kirsten and I begin to look forward to the biggest rowing event of the year: the Henley Regatta. It was Kirsten’s time spent rowing at university that eventually led to her to row at Henley. As for me, well, I’ve never picked up an oar, but the excitement of the races and the huge variety of food and drink stalls keep me heading back each year.

In fact, the only negative part of the whole event is the accommodation, which for us, is usually a tent. Neither of us is against camping, but after a long day strolling the river bank, and an even longer night spent strolling the bars, waking the next morning in a tent beneath the beating July sun is particularly hard work. 

However, this year was different. Our ‘tent’ for the night was the infinitely more luxurious Bailey Approach Compact 520, which with its fixed double bed layout, was perfect for our single-night stopover. 

The Bailey might sleep two, but we were impressed that our two friends could hitch a ride with us to Henley seated safely in the back. Also handy was the 520’s huge rear storage compartment located underneath its double bed – it was easily big enough to carry all our food, drink, tents and foldable chairs. The bed itself is plenty big enough for two, and the mattress comfy enough that we slept extremely well. The door mirrors were also a fantastic tool in helping Kirsten and her friends apply their makeup correctly – one of their favourite features, in fact. 

Space wasn’t the only thing that stood out, though, because it seems even since I was working in caravan and motorhome journalism just a couple of years back, things have moved on in terms of quality. 

Firstly, for a motorhome that’s well used, the Bailey showed very few signs of wear and tear, and some of the fixtures inside, such as the spotlights and upholstery, look and feel of a higher quality than I remember. Things are more modern, too. Particularly the ability to control the Alde heating system via a touchscreen rather than using plastic dials.

It wasn’t until it came to driving out of the campsite that I realised another obvious but useful feature of the Bailey – its size. Its wide body provides great room inside, but the Bailey’s relatively short length helped me manoeuvre my way out of a tight exit to the campsite and back out on the roads to London without any embarrassment. Those compact dimensions really help when it comes to fuel, too. Our trip covered around 150 miles in total, but when it came to replacing the diesel we’d used we were all surprised at just how little was needed. 

All this helped us come to the conclusion that the Bailey Approach Compact 520 is a brilliant solution for two people, with acres of room inside for sleeping and storing your things, a size that isn’t daunting to drive in and out of town, and running costs that won’t break the bank. Given the chance, we’d certainly steal the keys to this motorhome again.