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22 Jan 2022

Forget pricey yurts and treehouses, shepherd's huts are the best value for 2022

Save money on UK holidays by avoiding the biggest accommodation rip-offs

Switching up your accommodation could stop you being priced out of a UK holiday this year, according to research from Which? Travel.

Shepherd's huts have been pipped as the most cost-effective option for travellers looking to holiday on home soil. In contrast a yurt or static caravan can cost more than a four-star hotel with all the mod cons.

Our snapshot research compared the price of different types of holiday accommodation in six popular UK tourist spots including Devon, Cornwall and the Isle of Wight.

Greek all-inclusive: cheaper than a caravan in Scotland

Looking at the same week in June 2022, we found both big bargains and gimmicky rip-offs. For example, a yurt in Devon (with shared bathroom facilities) costs a whopping £840 in total - £7 more than a three-star hotel (with a heated indoor pool) on the banks of the River Teign estuary.

Similarly we were quoted £1,086 for a static caravan in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. That's almost three times the price of a nearby hotel. In fact, it would be cheaper to book an all-inclusive week in Halkidiki, Greece, for the same dates. Not only does the foreign package include a superior room in a four-star hotel, but buffet meals and alcoholic drinks are thrown in.

A static caravan in Cornwall came in at £100 a night and you're still expected to bring your own bed linen.

A bell tent at the same holiday camp was almost £1,000 for a week's stay. You could save more than £200 by staying at a four-star hotel down the road. The room, with four-poster bed, includes a full English breakfast every morning (and you won't have to bring your own towels).

Static caravans: prices up by a quarter

Many people are still nervous about booking a foreign getaway amid rising Covid-19 infection rates.

Canopy & Stars, which specialises in quirky UK accommodation, says bookings for 2022 are up 180% on 2019. Coastal properties, cabins and treehouses are the most coveted stays.

Managing director, Mike Bevens, told Which? Travel: 'People are reluctant to book a foreign holiday and risk being disappointed. And they no longer want to be stuck in a soulless box of a hotel room. They want meaningful experiences and to connect with nature.'

He recommends a shepherd's hut as one of the most affordable accommodation options. For example, Inshriach House in the Scottish Highlands starts at £74 a night - and there's even a converted horsebox sauna and gin distillery on site.

Our own research found that a shepherd's hut in North Yorkshire was £70 cheaper than a static caravan for a week's stay at £417. The saving is even greater when you factor in the caravan park's extra £5 a night charge for electricity.

Booking site Pitch Up acknowledged that static caravans had seen the biggest boom of all holiday park accommodation, with prices up by a quarter since 2019.

Five ways to save on UK holidays

1 Book six months in advance

The experts say that Easter is already filling up, so now is the perfect time to book your summer escape. You'll have your pick of stays, including value rooms or well-placed pitches with ocean views. Look for places with flexible booking terms or free cancellation.

2 Choose a less popular destination

You can save a fortune by going against the crowd. Pembrokeshire's craggy clifftops, secret coves and wide sandy beaches are reminiscent of Cornwall - minus the crowds. Make this switch and our research found you could save £285 on a week's hotel stay. Herefordshire, Shropshire, Powys and the Peak District are also ones to watch.

3 Stay three miles down the road

If you have your heart set on one of the honeypot resorts, look for a hotel just down the road. We previously compared the likes of Salcombe with Dartmouth and Southwold with Aldeburgh and found that holidaymakers could save as much as £400 a week with simple swaps.

4 Join a caravan club

Consider a membership scheme to gain access to exclusive holiday parks and nab a discount. For example, members of The Camping and Caravanning Club get up to 30% off camping and caravanning pitches, as well as safari tents and cabins. Annual fees start at £42 a year.

5 Shop around for the best hotel price

When booking hotel accommodation u2014 check price comparison sites, such as Travelzoo or Booking.com, but always contact the hotel directly to see if they have any good deals. Even if you don't bag a better price, you may be offered a free breakfast or evening meal discount.

Our research

In Oct 2021, we compared prices for multiple accommodation types available from 6-13 Jun 2022. The hotels selected were the cheapest available, three star minimum.