The best of British breaks
You know it’s the start of summer when Wimbledon begins, and there’s not a lot more British than sitting down to watch the tennis tournament with a bowl of strawberries and cream.
If this iconic sporting event – on top of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee earlier this month and the Olympics in July – have made you feel patriotic this year, why not plan a British break this summer and celebrate all the country has to offer? British Airways has even themed its latest advert around staying in the UK with the slogan “Don’t fly. Support Team GB”.
You won’t be alone on your staycation, either. According to research by sTravelSupermarket, 30% of Brits plan to take their main break in the UK this year. So, whether you want to get away with the kids for a fun-filled weekend by the sea or enjoy a romantic countryside retreat with that someone special in your life, get some inspiration from our suggestions below.
Great British beaches
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Blackpool, Brighton and Bournemouth are favourite British seaside resorts and all three are perfect for a summer break filled with walks along the beach with an ice cream, enjoying family days out in fun attractions and tucking into a plate of fish and chips.
You can stay beside the sea on a budget too, with a huge range of accommodation on offer from B&Bs and apartments to hotels. For example, we found a hotel in Blackpool offering a two-night stay in August (19-21) for a family of four (two adults, two children under 12) for just £80. And you can save money on costs while you are there by taking a look online for money-saving vouchers. For example, MoneySupermarket has offers in Blackpool including three-for-two on wristbands for Blackpool Pleasure Beach and 20% off admission to SEALIFE Centre Blackpool.
When you think of picturesque white-sand beaches, countries such as Spain and Greece spring to mind, but explore the UK’s coastline and you’ll find beautiful stretches of secluded sand without having to board a plane. A total of 79 English beaches were awarded the coveted Blue Flag award this year in destination, from Yorkshire and Northumbria to Kent. Why not take a look at the list and plan your seaside break around one today?
Sporty city breaks
Why not get into the summer of sport spirit while on a UK city break? Soak up the Olympic atmosphere in London and, even if you don’t have a ticket, look out for free events taking place across the city – such as the road cycling trials on August 1 and the marathons (August 5 for the women and August 12 for the men). But if sport isn’t the top of your to-do list while in the country’s capital, why not avoid higher prices in the city around the time of the Games and look for offers in July and the second half of August?
For example, if you are looking to stay in London in the last weekend of August (24-26) as a couple, you can snap up a two-night stay in a five-star hotel for just £190 on TravelSupermarket.
Or, if you have your heart set on seeing a ticketed event, consider travelling to Manchester to see one of the Olympic football matches being held at Old Trafford. There are still tickets available from just £20. Alternatively, if football isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other events taking place in the city over the summer, such as the Manchester Jazz Festival (July 13-21) and the larger-than-life Manchester Pride festival (August 17-27).
If you like to learn a little history while on a UK city break, you could consider visiting an ancient city such as Chester or York. Learn all about Chester’s Roman heritage while on a city tour or experience the sights, sounds and smells of the Vikings in York’s JORVIK Centre. And both cities host horse racing during the summer too, so if you like the odd flutter or just enjoy the thrill of the turf, why not plan your trip around one of the meetings? Other good options include Bathv and Edinburgh.
But if your aim is to truly get away from it all this summer, why not look into a break in the beautiful British countryside?
Head to the Lake District for long walks in the national park and boat trips on the lakes, and to learn about the writers who lived in the area, such as William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. And, if all of the country air and outdoor activities builds up your appetite, plan a trip to one of the area’s many places to eat out – including the Michelin-starred Holbeck Ghyll or one of the many friendly pubs and cafés.
If you want a spot of countryside luxury, we found an offer on TravelSupermarket for a two-night break in the five-star Storrs Gate House in Bowness-on-Windermere for £232. And for a real treat, there’s a four-poster room available for £280.
Or perhaps you’d rather head to Cornwall to spend a day at the Eden Project, to look around the Tate St Ives and to take a picture at England’s most westerly point, Land’s End? And, while there, it would be rude not to sample one of the most quintessentially British of dishes – a Cornish cream tea.
If you would rather have your own pad for your break and the freedom to come and go as you please, why not consider renting a holiday cottage? We found cottages for as little as £13.50 per person a night in the Lake District this July and August, and from £14.25 per person a night in Cornwall (both prices based on four sharing).
Holiday park heaven
June’s soggy weather has caused many Brits to get online and book a trip to somewhere hot overseas. However, if you’re planning a UK break, you could use this trend to your advantage.
To tempt British holidaymakers to spend the summer with them, UK holiday parks are slashing their prices, and we’ve seen offers of as much as 60% off breaks over the school summer holidays.
For example, over the first weekend of the school break (July 21), Haven has two-night standard caravan breaks for a family of up to six from £159 (in Great Yarmouth or North Yorkshire) and seven-night breaks for a family of six staying in a standard plus caravan from £595.75 (from July 27 in Norfolk). Hoseasons also has a promotion at the moment whereby families can save up to £200 on a break over the school summer holidays.
And whether you and the kids want to learn a new skill such as archery or fencing, or take part in a football coaching session, you’ll find an activity to keep all the family entertained. Take a look at TravelSupermarket’s holiday parks page today and find the best deal for you – from parks on the beach to those in middle of the rolling countryside.
Top tips to keep the costs of a British break down
- If you plan to travel by train, book your tickets in advance to keep the costs down. Train tickets are released up to 12 weeks in advance so you stand the best chance of snapping up bargains if you book three months before your trip. However, savings can still be made by booking online even the night before you travel, so don’t just turn up to the station and hope for the best.
- Consider all types of accommodation – from hotels, self-catering apartments and camping – to keep the costs down. And shop around using a price-comparison site such as TravelSupermarket to make sure you find the best price.
- If you can be flexible over summer, compare different departure dates to keep the costs down. You can often snap up some great deals in hotels and restaurants on a quiet Sunday night.
Please note: All prices were correct as of June 20, 2012.