The Thames is a lot if caravan for your money, regarding its length and width and its spec which now includes Alde heating. If you're looking for a caravan big enough for a party, this is surely one to consider. Overall, the Adora Thames is a brilliant creation in many ways.
It’s the longest, widest touring caravan in Britain. It has Alde heating. And it costs a mere £20,495. The latest Adora Thames is unique on the market.
Slovenian manufacturer Adria produces four models which are longer and wider than any other single axle caravan in Britain. These are the two flagship Alpinas, and two of the four models in the Adora range, the island bed Isonzo and the side-bed Thames.
The Thames is a mighty caravan, at 8.36m from hitch to tail lights. The Adora Thames is Adria’s longest caravan – 11cm longer than an Isonzo and the two Alpinas. It’s longer than a Buccaneer, Britain’s longest caravan, at 8.14m, and slightly wider, too, albeit by only 3cm.
Whereas Buccaneers come in at over £30,000, the Thames is a mere £20,495. Both have Alde heating – but that's pretty much where the similarity ends.
The Thames is out there on its own, truly incomparable with any other caravan. For a start, there’s the under-gear – a single-axle AL-KO Delta chassis. Delta chassis givefor enhanced cornering and stability. They achieve this by bending the axle tube in the middle so that the two ends slightly point forward. To keep the wheels parallel their axles get cranked in the opposite direction.
The arrangement lessens the influence of side winds and reduces swaying. In turning manoeuvres, the outer wheel tows-in at a negative camber while the inner wheel tows-out with a positive camber. The effect is to maintain better tyre contact with the road and minimise body roll. That's the theory. In practice?
Every Delta-axled Adria I have towed, including this one, has indeed proved more stable than its mighty size on a single axle would suggest.
The Thames’ interior appearance is radically different from anything we see from British makers. The lounge is U-shaped, and with a large roof light that reaches up and over the lounge; Adria calls it ‘atrium style’ which we think is an excellent description.
Furniture styling is straightforward and stark. The hob has three burners in a line. The body and roof area made of polyester, designed to be dent and scratch resistant.
For 2017, Adria up-specced its Thames model, replacing the Truma warm air system with Alde heating and adding a microwave oven.
Apart from the U-shaped lounge, the Thames layout is very British, with an offside kitchen, a wardrobe opposite, a bed on the nearside and a full-width end shower room.
All you need is lined up along the back of the caravan, with the shower on the nearside, the basin in the centre and the loo on the offside. A pretty standard layout and very similar to a lot of UK-made tourers.
The shower is a comfortable 75cm x 82cm. There's a ledge for shampoo bottles along one side and – a real plus-point – a rail running the width of the shower cubicle, ideal for hanging towels or rain-soaked coats to dry.
And there's a surprise additional practical item: a toilet brush mounted in a smart chrome-effect casing.
Two LED cluster spotlights shine down on the mirror above the washbasin. Unusual features here are the pop-up plug and two slim cabinets each containing three shelves, alongside the mirror – ideal for small items such as make-up. Two more mirrors, on the rear wall, are stylishly backlit, creating a stunningly boutique-hotel effect.
Lighting is a feature of bedroom ambience, too, with bright, concealed illuminating running along the tops of the head-height lockers that line the wall above the bedhead and the side wall, too; together these give excellent accommodation.
With a bed 1.96m long, the Thames guarantees its appeal to tall caravanners. And this bed is wider than most in caravans, at 1.5m. It's also very unusual. You can raise the pillow-end sectors c, sunlounger-style; that's a nice touch.
There's more to make this bedroom extra-special. A 1.58m-long dressing table runs the length of the offside wall. Three double-doored cabinets, each with three shelf spaces, are beneath the glossy white top. There’s a mains socket to one side – but no mirror to enable you to use a hairdryer; if we bought the Adora Thames we'd be getting a slim, narrow mirror for the wall alongside the window here.
The lounge transforms into an even bigger bed, measuring 2.24m x 1.54m. You pull out the central base section from under the settees, to meet in the centre of the caravan.
As our analysis progressed, every area of the Thames evoked praise on the subject of storage. The wardrobe is especially impressive, with a 35cm-wide, seven-shelf cabinet plus a 60cm wide hanging area. You'd never be short of clothing space in an Adora Thames.
There’s storage under the lounge of course, but it’s hard to get into; there’s no self-supporting mechanism for the seat bases – and they’re quite heavy to lift. But with so much storage elsewhere, you wouldn’t need to use this area. Especially since the double bed base is quite easy to raise and there is external access to space under it.
The slatted base is structured in two halves lengthways; the half you open inside the caravan is supported on spring hinges. You access the other half from the aperture on the outside – plenty of space here for folding chairs and other outdoor items.
Altogether, and factoring in the large lockers on each side of the lounge, even though the lounge storage area is somewhat arduous to access, the Thames’ storage capability has to rate as an A*.
The table has a cabinet alongside the door. It's quite a tight fit but, once you've mastered the correct angle to tilt it to extract and replace it, the table is easy to use.
Thames models have a small white hinged coffee table in the lounge, it was missing from our demo model, but we know they're handy at coffee times; the same feature was in an Isonzo which joined Caravan's long-term test fleet last year.
U-shaped lounges are a hallmark of continental caravans, and this one is lovely; the extra width of Thames creates an ultra spacious, relaxing room. The with seating space for about six. The look is nice, too. And the atrium-style roof light which arches almost completely over the lounge is excellent.
Thetford's new, tall, slim fridge-freezer is on the aft end of the kitchen. The oven and grill are to the left of two 64cm-wide, 29cm-deep drawers and a same-sized front-hinged cabinet.
A slim, pull-out, three-drawer unit is on the fore end of the kitchen. They've hidden the microwave in one of the two top lockers; the other locker has fitments for mugs and plates.
The kitchen is 1.37m in length, with 93cm of surface stretching along in front of the in-line hob plus a good-sized area to the left of it. We've cooked lots of meals in an Isonzo with the same configuration and can say it works well, although the sink, at 28cm x 30 cm, is smaller than most in caravans, especially for washing pans.
I’ve towed all of Adria’s over-eight-metre models – that’s both Alpinas, the Isonzo (over many miles from Lincolnshire to Norfolk, to Cornwall, to Yorkshire, to the Cotswolds) and now the new Thames.
Yes, there's a fair amount of bounce thanks to the length of the caravan on one axle. But the Delta axle does produce level cornering characteristics. Contrary to what you might think about eight metres of caravan riding on one axle, they're easy to tow.
And the extra width? You get used to that very quickly. Especially if you have one of the types of door mirrors which have extending arms, so you can move your mirrors out slightly to increase your field of view.
There is one thing we take issue with, though; the Thames doesn't have ATC stability control and it's not an option from Adria, hence only a B rating here.
The Thames is a lot if caravan for your money, regarding its length and width and its spec which now includes Alde heating.
Its vast storage capability in all areas will endear it to buyers who take a lot of clothes and kit on holiday; tidiness would never be a problem. Its big double bed is a joy, although some may consider the foam mattress too firm.
Only the comparatively small sink will draw adverse comment in the kitchen; the other elements of the appetite department are well designed for practicality – and style, too.
If you're looking for a caravan big enough for a party, this is surely one to consider. Overall, the Adora Thames is a brilliant creation in many, many ways.
Leather upholstery at £1100