Ongoing uncertainty around travelling abroad means UK holidays remain in high demand this year, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune.
Some accommodation prices may be higher this year than in previous years, but it’s still possible to have a cost-effective UK holiday, whether you’re planning a trip to the seaside or looking forward to a city break.
To help you book an affordable holiday in the UK this year, we’ve picked out the best-value destinations from our most recent UK city and seaside town surveys. While these aren’t necessarily the cheapest places to visit, they are the highly rated ones where your pounds and pennies will go furthest.
From Bamburgh to Wells, we reveal the nine best-value holiday destinations in the UK.
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Video: best-value seaside and city breaks
Watch our video above to find out which seaside towns and cities you should head to if you’re looking to have a UK holiday on the cheap.
Best-value seaside towns
Out of nearly 100 seaside towns rated in our survey, just three earned full marks for value for money: Bamburgh, Filey and Dungeness. As well as impressing for value for money, they also stood out in other areas of our nationwide survey, making them well worth visiting.
Overlooked by the imposing Bamburgh Castle (pictured above), Bamburgh beach in Northumberland is the only coastal town in our 2021 survey of more than 4,000 Which? members to earn full marks for the quality of its beach, tourist attractions and scenery. Not only is it the best-value seaside town in the UK, it’s the best seaside town full stop.
Filey, North Yorkshire
Nestled between crags and cliffs, it’s no wonder the five miles of biscuit-coloured sand at Filey beach earned it a high score for scenery, while the small seafront and pier also rank highly. Overall, it’s a peaceful and economical alternative to nearby Whitby and Scarborough.
The tiny fishing town of Dungeness in Kent is the place to go if you want to get away from it all without spending a small fortune. It’s one of just three seaside towns in our survey to earn five stars for peace and quiet, so you’ll be able to explore the unusual shingle landscape at your own pace.
See our full list of the best seaside towns in the UK.
Best-value UK cities
Crowded city centres and social distancing hardly go hand in hand, and with theatres, museums and galleries all shuttered during lockdown, it’s no wonder city breaks have been off the cards for most of the past year.
But the vaccine rollout and the government’s roadmap out of the pandemic mean that is all set to change on 17 May, putting cultural attractions back on the menu. For an affordable UK city break, head to Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle-upon-Tyne or Wells.
To get the most bang for your buck, head to Liverpool. Not only is it one of just seven UK cities to gain five stars for value for money, but it’s also the best city overall, according to our survey of more than 8,000 Which? members.
The likes of the Walker Art Gallery and the World Museum, both of which are free to visit, help the city earn full marks for cultural sights and attractions, and it’s also a high scorer for a lack of crowds, making it the perfect post-lockdown city break.
The only other top-scoring city to earn five stars for value for money also happens to be the UK’s smallest city by area. With a historic centre little more than a mile wide, Wells is perfect for exploring on foot, with walkers also likely to enjoy the nearby Mendip Hills.
Glasgow is also a good bet for cost-conscious staycationers. It’s a must-visit for foodies, thanks to the incredible quality and variety of the food and drink it has to offer, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is well worth visiting.
As well as enjoying the sights and excellent shopping that the city has to offer, the cheap accommodation in Newcastle make it a great place for exploring nearby Tynemouth and attractions such as Beamish, the Living Museum of the North.
Chester and Cambridge tied for second place in our ranking of the UK’s best medium-sized cities. While Chester can’t quite match the cultural sights and attractions that Cambridge has to offer, it is quieter, has better accommodation, superior shopping and is far cheaper making it a great bet for a short city stay.
For an affordable city break this summer, Cardiff is well worth considering. Not only is it home to St Fagans National Museum of History and the Cardiff National Museum, both highly rated by Which? members, but it’s also just 60 miles away from the stunning Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula.
See our full list of the best UK city breaks.
Cheap UK accommodation
The cost of some UK accommodation may have risen in some areas in recent months, but self-catered holiday cottages are still likely to work out cheaper than staying in a hotel chain when you factor in the cost of eating out each night.
There are plenty of companies offering bargain cottages for less than £40 per person per night, but we’ve found that cheap isn’t always cheerful when it comes to holiday cottage rentals. It pays to do your research before booking to find out which companies offer the best value rather than just the lowest price.