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UK Airstreams - Our Thoughts on How They Compare.

During our UK visit we drove from Hamilton in Scotland (Iain's home town) to Kidderminster in England (My home town). The drive took us within a mile of the North UK Airstream dealer Adventure Leisure Vehicles and we couldn't resist stopping by to see how the European models compared to our US version.

They carry just three models in the UK, all with the International trim just like ours. The 534 is about 22 feet long (external length); the 604 is about 25 feet long and the one most like ours is the 684 at just under 28 feet, pretty much the same length as our rig.

None of the models is as wide as their American cousins. They are limited to a width of 7 foot 6 inches to comply with local transport standards. They are also built with significantly lower tongue weights and are 20-30% lighter than comparable US models since they are towed by the smaller, less powerful vehicles prevalent in Europe. To further aid with maneuverability Europeans have the option to fit their models with motorized axles and have grab bars to help get in and out of much tighter spots without a tow vehicle. Oh lordy, how many times would we like to be able to do that!?!

The interiors also have some key differences. Everything is finished to a more European focused design aesthetic. In other words, none of your grandma fabrics and oak cabinets with brass fittings here! All models are made available only in Airstream's International trim, the most modern of the available decors. Even so, there are still some key differences. The base cabinetry is similar to our darkwood but I drooled over the beautiful crisp white Corian counter tops. I have never liked the beige color installed as standard in our Airstream. It is so out of place with the rest of the modern design that have long been planning on replacing it. Seeing this design in person confirmed that the white tops are much more to our taste. The drapes and upholstery are also better quality as is the seat foam - all things we were also planning on changing in the near future.

U Shaped dinette with comfy foam and high end leather upholstery
A close up of the modern white Corian counter tops
The appliances are also of a higher grade. The swanky all stainless stove top and oven (limited to just the new Classic model in the US) is something we have had our eye on as an upgrade for our trailer. The fridge freezer is also a more attractive design. The bathroom contains a cartridge toilet, which seems to be something that is standard in Europe. I am guessing that is due to the lack of a dump station infrastructure or the sewer hook-ups found in North American campgrounds but I am not 100% sure. They have water based central heating which enables the absolute best thing for me in the whole trailer; a heated towel rail. I have been joking with Iain for months about really wanting one and low and behold, here it is as part of the heating system! I am very envious of this feature.

Lovely upgraded stove - We so want this!
Oh brother - what do I need to do to get one of these heated towel rails?
Nicely upgraded fridge and freezer 
In terms of layout, I do like the U-shaped dinette. I know that in the US, Airstream recently introduced the 26U floor plan inspired by the popularity of this European model. However, I prefer our 27FB layout. We have a larger bathroom, a little more closet space and a walk around bed. That last one is a non-negotiable item for me. Also, I prefer to have the bedroom at the front, preserving the best views through our panoramic windows from the living area at the rear. 

Kitchen area - Those white counter tops match the cabinets and drawers nicely
No walk around bed is no bueno!   
To sum up, I prefer our current floor plan but find the European finishes much more appealing. It is worth saying however that the price difference in the UK compared to the US is considerable. The list price on the model pictured is around GBP 86,585. That converts to over $130,000 - Wowsers! Adding the cost to replace our counter tops, upholstery, seat foam and stove on top of what we paid new for our 27FB doesn't even come close to that sticker price. What we did get from this visit was confirmation that we definitely want to make a few key upgrades to our beloved Airstream in the coming year.


  1. We saw some European models being built when we were at the factory for Alumapalooza this past May. We were not allowed to go in them, but we could peek through the windows. Nice indeed.
    We ended up ordering a 2015 Classic and love the interior. We have made a couple of modifications, such as adding a custom built bookcase behind the dinette and changing out some lights. It is our home sweet home.

    1. The classic is really well finished, I'd love to hear how you like the stove and oven. We are thinking we'll get it next year.

  2. Nice to see how the "other side" does it. Cartridge toilets are perhaps the one thing I'd have a hard time adapting to. Pretty standard over there.


    1. Yeah they look very different set up. But the central heating - ooh that would be nice.

  3. Thank you for posting your comparison. I've seen pictures of the Euro ones before, but sometimes it's hard to get a feel without the words. Your comparison touched on points I've been obsessing over. :) We currently have a 2008 International CCD, but we've been considering a 27FB. However, the laminate on the upper cabinets is now beige (ours is crisp white), and the countertops are also beige Corian and the table is a pinky-beige laminate. These have been holding me back. I keep hoping that if I wait it out a few more years, Airstream will see the error of their ways and go back to crisp white upper cabinets, and install white counter tops. Oh! This is one sweet unit!

    1. Yes Lisa, in our 2014 27FB we have the crisp white upper cabinets, and the ugly beige countertops. But I noticed in the 2015 they have changed the upper cabinets to beige. Why on earth would they do that! We should start a campaign to all RV manufacturers "Banish the beige".

  4. You might enjoy seeing our 2014 International Sterling edition. We have those lovely white countertops and wouldn't change them for the world. Thankfully, Colonial Airstream in New Jersey had the forethought to order our Sterling without the hideous pink or yellow floor. We LOVE ours. (

    1. Yes we are very envious of those white countertops in the Sterling. We are still looking to replace ours. It is easier said than done when you are on the road full-time. All the fabricators want several weeks to order materials in and make before they can fit and we are never anywhere that long.

      Your interior is great. Thanks for sharing.