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Holidaymakers could save hundreds of pounds by heading north or west on their next UK cottage holiday, according to the results of our 2021 holiday cottages survey.
An average of £12 per person per night separates the priciest region in the UK from the cheapest. While that might not sound like much, it translates to a saving of more than £500 for a week’s staycation for six people. For a family of four it’s £336.
For the complete survey results, see our holiday cottage company reviews.
Where are the cheapest holiday cottages in the UK?
Our research found that the two cheapest regions for a self-catered UK holiday are Scotland and Wales, where cottages cost £37 per person per night, on average. That averages out at £1,554 for a group of six, although there will be higher prices in summer.
Despite the draw of the Lake District, cottages in the north west of England are only slightly dearer at £39 per person. The only other UK region where the nightly cost of a cottage averages less than £40 per person is the West Midlands.
It’s perhaps no surprise that the south of England is the most expensive place for a cottage holiday. As the map below shows, prices in the south west are second only to the south east, where you’ll need to budget more than £2,000 on average for a week-long staycation for six people.
Which cottage companies are cheapest?
It’s worth paying a little bit more for your next UK cottage holiday to avoid settling for a lot less.
A weekend away for two with one of the top cottage companies in our survey will only set you back around £50 more on average than if you booked with one of the cheapest providers in our survey: Airbnb, Norfolk Cottages, Cottages.com and Sykes.
That’s a small price to pay, not least because none of the cheapest companies rank anywhere near the top of our customer survey.
Airbnb and Cottages.com could only muster three stars out of five for the quality of their cottages, while Sykes, which ranked bottom in our table, earned three stars in several categories, including customer service and value for money.
There are also question marks over some cottage companies’ refund policies. Only two thirds of recent Cottages.com customers were satisfied with the outcome of their cancelled booking, while refund satisfaction scores for Vrbo and Sykes were even lower at 62% and 52%, respectively.
For more money-saving tips, see our guide on five ways to save on UK cottage breaks.
Best cottage companies revealed
Rural Retreats, National Trust and Classic Cottages are the only three companies that impressed in our customer survey and will also fully refund you if national or local lockdowns, household mixing restrictions or catching Covid-19 prevents you from fulfilling your booking.
All three have been made Which? Recommended Providers and should be your first port of call when booking a holiday in the UK.
Rural Retreats is your best bet if you’re looking for a luxury cottage in the countryside, although its stays don’t come cheap.
National Trust, meanwhile, is the provider to go for if you want to stay in a truly historic and unique property, from a 19th-century water tower in Truro to a triumphal arch in Herefordshire.
And last but not least, Classic Cottages is both the best regional provider in our survey, offering more than 1,000 cottages in the south and west of the UK, as well being the cheapest Which? Recommended Provider.
For more independent reviews and advice, subscribe to Which? Travel.