Five ways to save on UK cottage breaks
Timing is money
Swap a weekend break for a weekday getaway and you’ll find yourself with a longer trip for less.
For instance, Ancient House in Clare, Suffolk, via was £592 for a three-night stay from Friday to Monday in March. But when we switched to a four-night stay Monday to Friday, the same cottage was £90 cheaper (£502).
This won’t be the case for every cottage, but it’s definitely worth a try if you can be flexible.
Travelling during school term time can also make a huge difference. Some cottage listings are hundreds of pounds more expensive over the half-term breaks and Easter, and we found cottages that doubled in price in the summer holidays.
Holiday cottages often appear on multiple booking websites, for varied prices. In a matter of minutes, we found savings worth hundreds of pounds.
A week's stay at the four-bed Lake District holiday home, Windsor Farm House, was £2,726 through , but the same property was £136 cheaper via at £2,590. No single site was consistently cheaper in our research.
Booking direct with a holiday cottage owner can save you money on third-party fees. Just make sure you find a cottage owner who accepts payment by credit card, rather than bank transfer, to protect yourself against fraud. Also be sure to ask them their cancellation policy upfront and get this in writing.
Grab a last-minute bargain
Shave pounds off the price by checking late-availability listings on holiday cottage websites.
Just make sure you’re not being fooled by fake savings. Without tracking prices over time, it’s difficult to tell how much of a bargain you’re really getting. We tracked prices over a year-long period and in that time saw plenty of suspect-looking ‘discounts’ that were impossible to verify.
Book in a group (where allowed)
Current restrictions mean that it’s not always possible to mix indoors with another household. But wherever you can, booking with a group of friends or family can bring down the price per group.
We found that a couple can stay for four nights in a one-bed cabin in Bude, Cornwall, for £351 this May via . But an apartment nearby, with the same star rating and sleeping four, was available for £567. That’s just £284 per couple – a saving of £67 per household.
Longer stays are better value
Splashing out on one long break can be cheaper than taking multiple mini-breaks. That’s because the longer you stay in a cottage, the lower the rate often works out per night.
We found that prices tend to bottom out after about six or seven nights, so there was very little difference in value between seven, 14 or 21-night stays.