How to have an economical, fun-packed family staycation
There’s no doubt about it, taking a holiday within the UK can be a whole lot cheaper and more convenient than jetting off abroad. Whether you’ve always holidayed close to home or you’re relatively new to exploring our own beaches, countryside, cities and towns, there’s so much to discover and enjoy without having to push your finances to breaking point.
We’ve rounded up some of the more affordable UK holiday options and included some top tips to help you make the most of your holiday money wherever you go.
Fun for the whole family at Pontins, Butlins and Centre Parcs
Pontins and Butlins have been firm family favourites for decades, and for very good reason. With non-stop entertainment on site to keep everyone happy, a range of accommodation including self-catering apartments, and as many activities as you can pack into your waking hours, they tick lots of holiday boxes. A big positive for your holiday budget at Butlins and Pontins is that the entertainment and many of the activities are included in your booking price. There are a few added extras you can pay a little more for, too. Just remember to book ahead as numbers may be limited.
Early bird deals will save you even more money. Plan ahead and you’ll have more to spend on food, drinks and treats when you’re there. You can often get late deals online if you decide you want a holiday park break at the very last minute.
Centre Parcs is another brilliant family holiday option, with indoor and outdoor activities that will keep the whole family busy. A bit more expensive and with added costs for activities, the best Centre Parcs bargains are to be had outside the school holidays. Money Saving Expert has got some clever money saving tips you can use at all their locations.
Let’s go camping!
For a gloriously outdoorsy, low-cost holiday, you can’t beat a great British campsite.
The Cool Camping website is a great place to start looking, with some excellent camping and glamping recommendations as well as articles and tips about camping in general. But if you’ve got a location in mind, you’ll find lots more campsites with a simple Google search. If you can find reviews, they’ll give you a good feel for whether somewhere is kid-friendly, noisy, etc.
Already seasoned campers? Then you’ve probably got all the kit you need. But if it’s your first time, why not think about borrowing a tent, stove and other necessities. That way you can test whether you’re a fan of holidaying under canvas without forking out for all the gear.
One of the biggest benefits of camping is that you can often pitch up just a short walk or drive from beautiful beaches or right in the heart of idyllic countryside.
Renting a caravan on a campsite will cost a bit more but comes with a few home comforts while you enjoy some of the UK’s most gorgeous places.
Another bonus is that if you’ve got a four legged friend in the family, many campsites will welcome well behaved pooches for a small extra charge.
DIY holidays for adventurous self-caterers
Thanks to websites like Airbnb and Holiday Cottages, it’s easy to find homely, comfortable places to stay, wherever you want to go. From apartments in busy cities to wonderfully remote rural escapes, the choice is vast. Prices vary hugely depending on the location, size, nearby attractions, and type of house or cottage you want to stay in.
By doubling up with family or friends and then splitting the total, you might be able to save on your overall cost. And because you can take all your own food, you’ll avoid big bills on meals out.
Factor in the cost of exciting days out
Wherever you are in the UK, you’re never far away from an attraction or theme park or somewhere to keep kids entertained. As with most things, the earlier you book, the better deals you’ll get. By doing a bit of research and planning your special days out, you’ll save money and may avoid long entry queues too.
Once again, Money Saving Expert has lots of tips on where to find discounts and vouchers for theme parks including Alton Towers, Chessington, Legoland and the Sealife centres.
Of course, not all days out have to involve big ticket attractions. A swimming pool session or afternoon splashing on the beach may be just enough to provide a change of scene and tire everyone out.
Be prepared for every weather
As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.
That might not be what you want to hear when it’s raining on the day you arrive at your campsite or holiday cottage. But if you’re well equipped, you can make the most of every colour sky and still have a brilliant time.
Waterproofs are a must, and remember to pack plenty of rainy day activities like games, colouring and favourite toys. That way everyone can make the most of your break, come rain or shine.