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UK Family Holidays, where am I going wrong?

(73 Posts)
missedthememo1 Mon 22-Jan-18 08:29:46

AIBU to not book my UK holiday 5 years in advance? Clearly.

DC2 has just turned 1 & as we didn’t get a holiday last year (never got around to it) its a priority this year.

Now we are not holiday virgins, travelled a fair bit with DC1 & loads without kids. However we are virgins when it comes to booking the traditional summer break in the UK.

Ideally we would like a week in Devon between June -Sep. Seems we have left it far too late. I’ve never booked any hotel months in advance. Admittedly I’ve never done the UK holiday thing except from the odd weekend break. My parents are immigrants so every school break we were whipped off to our respective holiday homes abroad.

What’s the MNs way?

TakeMeToTheUSA Mon 22-Jan-18 08:32:26

We tend to book an airbnb around 6-4 months before the date.

DaisyLand Mon 22-Jan-18 08:32:36

5 years in advance seems quite in advance grin

If it’s months taking into account it’s high season then it’s not too much in advance. You can always book a accommodation that can be cancelled closer to the time you can cancel if your plans change. I’ve done this many times when I wasn’t 100% sure whether I would be able to go

SpiritedLondon Mon 22-Jan-18 08:32:51

Ummm well I tend to book self catering rather than hotels since I don’t really know what you’re supposed to do in a hotel room when the kids have gone to bed. ( but horses for course). I would look at Air BnB personally or holiday cottages and i’ll Guarantee you’ll find loads of things.

BarbarianMum Mon 22-Jan-18 08:34:38

Are you saying everything is booked up, or everything in your price range, or that you had a particular destination in mind? I am finding it hard to believe there is nothing left.

Tensecondrule Mon 22-Jan-18 08:39:41

Is there a particular reason you're looking at hotels? We always found a holiday cottage was the best option with kids. There are some fab ones on farms by the sea with swimming pool/play area/petting zoo type things which give you a lot more freedom than hotels. Check out homeaway holiday rentals, you can filter the search to make sure it's child friendly and has all the facilities you want.

missedthememo1 Mon 22-Jan-18 08:46:56

Yep pretty much everything is booked up, particularly from late June to early Sept. Budget around 1.7k as we are away in early June & Oct for family events, too much stress so can’t be classed as holidays!

onalongsabbatical Mon 22-Jan-18 08:49:13

Self-catering is the way to go. Masses of choice, all price ranges, and the relaxation factor of your own front door/bathroom/kitchen, do what the hell you like, no-one to disturb. Can't imagine doing it any other way, really. Just google holiday cottages and area, and three days later you'll find something, having torn out your hair a few times en-route.
Tip - some websites have poor functionality. when you get the hang of what you're looking for, make a list of priorities i.e. close to the sea, number of bedrooms, wifi, parking provided (some places in small towns don't have a parking space for the property), whatever's important to you, and shortlist based on your criteria. Most self-catering websites have a shortlisting facility, use it, otherwise you'll be thinking what was that one I saw six hours ago...
I love going to a new cottage and making it my home for a week or two.

missedthememo1 Mon 22-Jan-18 08:50:08

Liked the look of Salcombe, not fussed if self catering, any recommendations?

I’m the type of person who only thinks of the destination a few months in advance. With kids clearly I will need to change my approach.

missedthememo1 Mon 22-Jan-18 08:51:00

Right will get on the net later today.

onalongsabbatical Mon 22-Jan-18 08:51:01

Cross post - your budget is huge IMHO, you should have no problem!

MrsJayy Mon 22-Jan-18 08:53:06

I wouldn't book a hotel for a UK holiday go self catering try caravan parks or Hoeseasons, for Devon paignton or torquay or Dorset swanage weymouth will get something

WeirdCatLady Mon 22-Jan-18 08:53:29

We book our self catering cottage about a year in advance. Places that have a lot of return customers tend to find they book for the next year when they’re back from their summer holiday.

But there are plenty of places out there. I recommend

missedthememo1 Mon 22-Jan-18 09:01:31


Was just about to ask how far ahead I should book!

onalong cheaper preferably but what is left seems to be £200+ a night.

mindutopia Mon 22-Jan-18 09:03:05

I would look on Airbnb. Honestly, I've never booked anything more than about a month in advance and never had any trouble at all. I live in the South West and we usually go to Devon or Cornwall. It's almost possible that you're looking too early. Especially for self catering cottages, they may not even have their availability posted yet for the summer.

Sirzy Mon 22-Jan-18 09:07:06

I agree with others that self catering is easier with young children if going for more than a couple of nights.

I find pricewise booking 9-12 months in advance does seem to work out better for caravan holidays and allows plenty of time to save which for many is probably why they get booked earlier!

missedthememo1 Mon 22-Jan-18 09:08:29

Interesting. Any areas you would recommend? I’ve visited Newquay a few years ago & Studland Bay at school so little knowledge.

onalongsabbatical Mon 22-Jan-18 09:08:47

missed - what are your preferred dates?
Any bottom line criteria?
Posh or basic?
Give me answers and I'll have a quick look.
Also, do you mean Salcombe center or area of?

NoBallsHere Mon 22-Jan-18 09:13:13

Since you are not tied to school holidays and with your budget too you shouldn’t have any problems booking.
Have you tried sands or bedruthen steps in Cornwall? Both offer childcare and early dinners for toddlers.

onalongsabbatical Mon 22-Jan-18 09:13:47
This is very pretty, £686 for first week of July, stone's throw from Salcombe, own parking.

NancyDonahue Mon 22-Jan-18 09:13:51

There's a lot more choice if you look away from the coast and the big tourist areas. We like to stay in village cottages or on farms (fab for kids) around 30 minutes drive from the coast. September is a lovely month to holiday in Devon and the prices tend to drop then. We look at sites like Owners Direct and Home Away.

saladdays66 Mon 22-Jan-18 09:14:06

Why not go for a holiday cottage? That way you have more freedom in the evenings once dc is asleep - garden to sit in, lounge to sit in, etc.

missedthememo1 Mon 22-Jan-18 09:14:21

what are your preferred dates? end June to mid July
Any bottom line criteria? suitable for young kids/things to do, food etc
Posh or basic? A bit posh but practical & posh ideally.
Give me answers and I'll have a quick look.
Also, do you mean Salcombe center or area of? Near the beach?

HeadDreamer Mon 22-Jan-18 09:16:19

Are you hung up on Devon? If not, with young kids and your budget, you can get a cottage at bluestone in Wales. There are loads of beaches in Pembrokeshire, lots of lovely country side, and bluestone itself has play area, a pool with big water slides and activities for kids. It's really great.

missedthememo1 Mon 22-Jan-18 09:17:01


Read about Sands yesterday in the paper & decided I wanted to go there. Nothing left until late Sept

Stayed at Bedruthen sister hotel 2 years ago so ideally would like a new area but that is an option. I always like to holiday somewhere new.

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