Staycations: The True Cost?

After the last 18 months of uncertainty it’s safe to say many of us feel we need a holiday this summer. But whether you chose to visit a beautiful location in the UK or a destination abroad does demand mean you’re going to have to spend much more than normal? Reporter Sonali Shah has been finding out.

According to research carried out by consumer magazine Which? It has been suggested that prices at popular UK seaside locations have risen by an average of 35%.  Earlier this week, TONIGHT decided to research some popular family friendly accommodation to see exactly what options are still available from Monday of next week, for a family of four, for seven nights in the UK. 

We discovered that options really were limited; Butlins had only one apartment across all of its sites, costing just over £1700 Sykes cottages had just four options for that same week across the whole of England priced between £2500 and £20,000 and both Centre Parcs and Welsh resort Bluestones were booked up not only for next week, but the whole of the summer. 

One popular UK destination that's experiencing an extreme season this summer is Cornwall. With limited accommodation available, their local hospitality staff are struggling to find places to live. Hotel Owner Emma Stratton said:

The accommodation situation has made recruitment really difficult. We've got lots of people who want to come and join us, but we can't find them housing. 

Martin Williams works for Emma as her guest relations manager. He recently managed to find rented accommodation, but it was a struggle. For five weeks he lived in his camper van on a campsite. Martin explained: 

It was a couple of toilets and a couple of showers and that was all that we had access to….every single day, every time an apartment or a house came available I was there checking my phone, checking my emails and I was applying...I got very lucky with my landlord.

Another area of the country also experiencing a summer busier than ever is The Lake District. Richard Leafe, CEO of The Lake District National Park Authority, has some advice for visitors:

Of course people want to come to the usual known places… I’d suggest getting here really early. But also, maybe think about visiting some of the less visited parts of the National Park. There’s plenty of room for everybody if we all just spread out a bit.

More people unfortunately means more dumped rubbish. Local resident Nicola Bolton started a campaign last year to clear up litter in the region. Nicola said:

There’s so many people that live here and that don’t live here as well that are just desperate to keep the place looking beautiful and look after it.  So that’s been a huge positive.

One person thoroughly enjoying the beauty of Cumbria is Gilly McArthur, she has been embracing open water swimming in the lakes near her home for many years, something more and more of us have started doing since the pandemic started. Watch Gilly McArthur here:

So if an ‘escape’ sounds like exactly what you need this summer and you definitely want to stay in the UK, what is the best advice for a less costly UK break? Rory Boland, Travel Editor of Which? says:

If you’re really looking to save money... you’re going to have to get away from the coast because wherever you go it’s going to be quite expensive ... Cities in particular at the moment, there’s far less tourists than they would normally have that’s in part because people from abroad are not coming.  

Or another option would be to delay your holiday plans, research suggests swapping a week in the school summer holidays for October half term will shave about a third off the price.

'Staycations: The True Cost?' is on ITV this Thursday (12th August) at 7:30pm.