Five ways to save on UK Holidays
1. Check dates don’t clash
Unless you actually want to attend a big sporting event, festival or gig, avoid paying over the odds for accommodation just because demand for hotel rooms is high.
For example, beds in Cheltenham during the Gold Cup horse race meeting can be almost six times more expensive than if you arrived a week later. And we found a B&B in Milton Keynes would be over 60% cheaper if you arrived the week after the nearby Silverstone Grand Prix.
If your dates are flexible, it could be worth looking to see if a hotel’s website lists a month view of prices. You may be surprised at what, or who, increases room rates.
Could Rod Stewart be responsible for the price hike in Brighton hotels in mid summer? On a night when he was playing in Hove rates at a well-known boutique hotel were £70 more than the following Friday.
2. Look for 2 for1 savings
It’s always worth looking for visitor attraction deals, especially as they’re relatively easy to find. A good starting point is tourist board websites.
A quick browse on Visit Cheshire, highlights a 2 for 1 offer at Ness Botanic Gardens. On Visit Dorset, the Gold Saver pass is flagged up, allowing holidaymakers to visit five attractions in Dorchester for the price of two.
More discounts can be found on daysoutguide.co.uk, in association with National Rail. You need to travel by train to qualify for the many 2 for 1 offers, but during the summer months that could take away the stress, and expense, of finding a parking space.
Jump on a train for the half-hour journey from Warwick to Stratford-upon-Avon and, at the time of research, a couple can save over £10 on the entrance fee to Anne Hathaway’s House, or nearly £20 if they visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
Do the maths to make sure it is a saving for you first then follow the instructions online and print out your vouchers to present with your valid train tickets.
3. Dine out at lunch
Don’t be put off by a fine-dining restaurant’s budget-bursting a la carte menu. Simply check out whether they offer any set menu deals and you can enjoy the same cuisine and attentive service in the same stylish surroundings — for a fraction of the price.
All you have to do is eat a little earlier and make your main meal of the day lunch not dinner.
Chain restaurants, such as Cote Brasserie and Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill, also offer excellent value-for-money deals, allowing early diners to eat for less.
4. Shop around for the best room rate
When it comes to booking hotel accommodation, it’s that familiar old advice — shop around. Check price comparison sites, such as Travelzoo or Booking.com, and always contact the hotel directly to see if they’ve any good deals.
Although you may not be offered a better price, a free breakfast or evening meal discount will perhaps be added to your room package. It’s worth a try.
Joining the free loyalty scheme of a chain hotel can also reap rewards, such as a room upgrade, or sign up to become a member of a hotel booking website, such as Booking.com or Hotels.com.
At the time we were researching, we found that as a member of Hotels.com we unlocked a non-refundable deal that saved us £22 on a £360 booking.
5. Get your groceries to pay for your holiday
Although there are other supermarket loyalty schemes, Tesco has linked up with a significant number of travel and entertainment providers, therefore the scheme is ideal for canny shoppers who want their holiday budget to go further.
Collect points every time you shop in Tesco, then pay for your groceries with a Tesco credit card — make sure your account is paid in full at the end of each month.
Every point (at the time of writing) is equivalent to 1p, however if you use them with a Tesco Rewards Partner, points are worth three times as much, so you could say 50p converts to £1.50.
Carefully follow the instructions online to buy entrance tickets for attractions such as the Jorvik Viking Centre in York or Wookey Hole caves in Somerset. Clubcard vouchers can also be used at Hever Castle — only £5.60 worth of points is needed for a £16.75 adult entrance ticket.
Alternatively, vouchers can help pay for self-catering accommodation.
When we researched, we looked at a Cottages.com three-night holiday near Glastonbury, Somerset, for two people at the beginning of June and found the same price, £299, both when booked direct with Cottages.com or via the Tesco Clubcard route. However, with the latter, you can use £33 worth of vouchers to get £99 off the price.