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Last minute staycation? Thousands of cottage holidays still available in August

Avoid the airport chaos this August with a cottage holiday in England.

If continued airport chaos and a resurgence of Covid cases is putting you off travelling abroad this summer, it’s not too late to opt for a UK break instead. Thousands of holiday homes are still up for grabs in August - many with last minute savings.

More than 11,000 holiday cottages are available in England between 17-30 August, according to Which? research. Since April 2022, Which? has been comparing the prices and availability of all holiday cottages in England listed on Cottages.com, Holiday Cottages, National Trust, Rural Retreats and Sykes for these dates. 

Cornwall and Shropshire have the most holiday homes available during this period. But even in the fastest selling region of Northumberland, between 40-50% of holiday rentals across those websites remain unoccupied on those dates. 

We asked 2,400 Which? readers to share their experiences to find the best and worst holiday cottage providers

Cottage holidays in Cornwall: Hundreds of cottages available in August

When we checked, some 597 cottages were still available to rent in Cornwall this August across National Trust, Holiday Cottages, Rural Retreats and Cottages.com. 541 of these have between one and three bedrooms. For bigger family get togethers, there’s a choice of 54 rentals which have four or more bedrooms. 

Find top-rated beaches in Bude and a five-star seafront and pier in Fowey. Or if you’re looking to escape the crowds, St Mawes was voted one of Cornwall’s best coastal towns in our survey of the UK’s best seaside towns as well as one of the region’s most peaceful. But if it’s lots of tourist attractions and shopping you’re looking for, Falmouth scored better on those fronts.

When we checked, National Trust had 15 cottages available in Cornwall and Holiday Cottages had 257. The average cost of a week in Cornwall this August is £1778 when booking in July.

Cottage holidays in Devon: 884 available cottages in August

We found 884 holiday cottages available in Devon between National Trust, Holiday Cottages, Rural Retreats and Cottages.com. 833 of those have between one and three bedrooms.

 Several Devon towns ranked highly in our seaside towns survey this year. Dartmouth was voted the best coastal town in this region and made the top five seaside towns overall. Rated five stars for its seafront and scenery and four stars for food and drink and tourist attractions, this AONB is a staple favourite. Dartmouth doesn’t have much in the way of beaches though, so if that is a key requirement for your holiday, aim for Exmouth or Salcombe; both scored the full five stars in this category. Devon’s coastline can get pretty busy in the summer months, so to find some peace and quiet aim for cottages slightly inland and away from the main towns. The average price of a stay in Devon in August is £1520 when booking in July.

Looking for a scenic escape? Visit one of the UK’s best towns and villages

group of people at table in forest cottage holiday

Cottage holidays in the Lake District: 142 available cottages in August

Home to three AONBs, the Lake District is a walker’s haven. Pack your walking boots and choose from one of the 142 cottages still available in this region in August, all with Holiday Cottages. 129 of those have between one and three bedrooms and the remainder have four or more for bigger family holidays. 

Grasmere made it into the top ten best UK towns and villages in 2021. Which? readers gave it four stars for food and drink and five stars for scenery. If it’s peace and quiet you’re craving though, Grasmere only scored two stars in this category. Instead, aim for Cartmel to escape the crowds without compromising on experience. It scored four stars for peace and quiet, scenery, and food and drink. When we looked in July, the average cost of a week’s stay in a holiday cottage here was £1,300.

Cottage holidays in Northumberland: Swap popular coastal spots for a lesser-visited northern escape

There’s a lot to shout about in this corner of the UK with top-rated AONBs and seaside towns which, despite their unrivalled beauty, remain relatively quiet in comparison to tourist hotspots down south. The Northumberland Coast was voted one of the UK’s top AONBs, scoring the full five stars for scenery, tourist attractions and accommodation and four stars for peace and quiet. And Bamburgh was voted the best seaside town for a third time with five out of five stars for peace and quiet, its beaches and scenery. 

With the average price of a cottage holiday in Northumberland being £700 less than a stay in Cornwall this August, you could save some money too. We found 239 available cottages in Northumberland for August across Holiday Cottages and Cottages.com. The majority of those have between one and three bedrooms, so ideal for couples and small families.The average cost of a week’s stay in Northumberland this August is £1045 when booking in July.