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Family holiday for under £700 - is this possible in the summer holidays or am I mad to even ask?

25 replies

debster · 25/02/2004 16:28

I'm feeling very despondent about the whole summer holiday thing now that we have to travel during school holidays. The prices are astronomical - not that I blame the companies - supply and demand and all that.

Anyway I would love to go away with the family this summer (2 adults, ds will be 5.6, dd will be 2) and wondered what the cheapest self-catering holiday I could get would be. I don't mind whereabouts or the duration but would like to be somewhere reasonable warm (UK or elsewhere), near a beach that's safe for kids or have access to a swimming pool. I am trying to budget for everything like travel costs (including petrol costs if driving), food, spending money, accommodation, insurances etc all for a max of about £700. Are the package deals you get really good value or do they have hidden costs that add up at the end?

I know this is asking alot but if anyone could help me with this I would be so grateful even if all it does is show me that there is no way we could manage it on the budget.

I realise to have a holiday at all is a luxury and am prepared for people to tell me to get a life and stop worrying about such trivialities.

OP posts:
Helsbels · 25/02/2004 16:37

The best way to do this for you would probably be an all inclusive option - they look more expensive to start but you do not have to pay for ANYTHING once you are there - no ice creams/cokes/beer/food. All day every day it is on tap and the good thing is that you know exactly how much it will cost before you go. Some travel companies now let you pay so much a month. I am dreading ds going to school for this reason and will prob. just pay the fine when he is really young and go anyway. I hate the buerocracy (sp?) that makes you do things like this. Hopefully, travel companies will be forced into lowering prices. Te other thing you could look at is Eurocamp - that is quite cheap especially if you drive there. It is also supposed to be great fun for the Kiddies. Haven also have good value breaks in Frnace etc (cheaper than England according to my friend) Hope you get away. Everyone deserves a break

marbeth · 25/02/2004 16:37

We have managed to find a 3 star hotel in devon.We are paying about 700 pounds for five nights half board.But the hotel has plently of facilities including indoor and outdoor swiming pools,playground and some childrens activities.It also right on beach.So I dont we will actually spend much during the day.

Janh · 25/02/2004 16:41

Were you hoping for one week or two for £700? If you took up camping you would get 2 weeks for that - after the initial outlay.

Helsbels · 25/02/2004 16:42

more thoughts - if you do get abroad - it is likely to be a bit cheaper on entertainment as it is likey to be better weather so kids can play in pool/sea etc rather than expensive amusement arcades. Also, eating out abroad is cheaper as a general rule. We had fish and chips for 3 in Scarboro' last summer and it was nearly £10 eat out!!! (one was only a kids portion of chips)

LIZS · 25/02/2004 16:56

Last year we got a bargain through here (Esprit holiday in France, self drive under £450 for our family of 4 end June), but I think it depends where/when you want to go and how late you leave it to book as to what is available in your price range.

Crunchie · 25/02/2004 17:45

It has got to be camping in Cornwall. If you don't have the gear (good stuff will be an investment but about £400 for tent/sleeping bags/cooker etc) you can find sites that do caravans or even 'eurotents' within budget.

To give you an idea West Star holidays with a couple of sites in Cornwall have peak season tents at £349 for the week (will sleep 6) they can be found here

I think that plus spending money would be within budget for the family. Going to France will cost considerably more, peak crossings are around £300 for the ferry.

twiglett · 25/02/2004 17:47

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spacemonkey · 25/02/2004 17:49

Hi debster. I've booked a cottage through the visitwales website for the first week in August - it was only £260 for a week (a 2 bed cottage in Snowdonia). Which I thought was a bargain!

spacemonkey · 25/02/2004 17:49

twiglett - I looked at centreparcs for the summer hols but it was over £1000!

Crunchie · 25/02/2004 17:51

If you go for mobile homes with Weststar it is from £449 for the week, or a 2 bed home form £599 - these are for w/c 7th August.

Crunchie · 25/02/2004 17:58

Look on Teletext for other sites that do Eurotents, I don't know of them sorry

hmb · 25/02/2004 18:08

Canvas holidays have a budget sister company. There is less choice , and you don't get the kids clubs but all the rest is the same, tents, caravans etc. A friend did 9 days in France in the Summer holidays for about £800, and there were some cheaper than that. Have a look on their web site, and I think that it gives a link.

twiglett · 25/02/2004 18:24

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debster · 26/02/2004 09:03

Oh wow thanks everyone - lots of information to go through. I like the sound of a cottage in Wales Spacemonkey - will definitely be following that one up.

I know camping is an option but unfortunately I have a real aversion to it having been forced to camp with my parents for most of my teenage years.

OP posts:
slug · 26/02/2004 12:32

Have you considered Eastern Europe? Some of the budget airlines fly there and accomodation is very cheap. I love Budapest and am seriously considering Romanaa this year. What about Croatia?

tigermoth · 26/02/2004 13:16

Or you could try family friendly youth hostels - in the UK or overseas. They don't put up their prices up in high season which is a major plus. A family room for the night would be approx £ 35 -40.00 in the UK , so week would cost £ 280 approx - and you get the use of self catering facilities and they will offer cot hire and have other baby equipment and toys available for use. Some UK hostels are in listed buildings right next to some lovely beaches. Go to the YHA website to take a look at them, if you're interested. HTH

mieow · 26/02/2004 13:40

I have just booked a holiday at haven for £54 for 6 people next month. While I was lokking I spotted that they are doing August holidays with up tp 50% off. You can get a week for £277 for 6 people on the 28th August (so last week of the holidays) which I thought was a bargin!!

Croak · 26/02/2004 22:34

Agree with slug about Croatia. We went 3 years ago (pre ds) and it was fab. We got a cheap flight to Venice but think that now you can get a budget flight to Trieste or Ljublana (sorry sp) either of which would be nearer. We then got the bus (very cheap but a bit yuk with little ones I would think, it was pretty slow and the roads can be windy) and the ferry (more expensive but more room to stretch your legs obviously - don't expect the facilities that you get on the x channel ferries though, Croatian ones are/were a lot more basic) Once we got to Croatia it was very easy to find accomadation everywhere we went, from Rovinj in the north to Dubrovnik, old ladies just come up to you at the ferry port/bus station which is a bit strange at first but always worked well. We were pretty young and probably a bit naive but our only safety precaution was not to get in a car with anyone. Think if you were being more cautious you can sort out private rooms through the tourist offices quite easily. The rooms were always nice and clean and then cost about £10-£15 per night often for a sort of small apartment big enough for 4. Anyway the country is so beautiful and we'll definately go back when ds is a bit bigger. Only downside is that travelling isn't as straightforward as driving somewhere in UK/France or a package but thats the only reason we're putting it off a bit. Have to say the island of Miljet is the most beautiful place I've ever been
Sorry to ramble but I got really over enthusiastic -

debster · 27/02/2004 12:24

Eastern Europe had occured to me but I suppose I have been put off by not knowing anything about it. To be honest with 2 young children I'm not sure I could handle making all our own arrangements like booking accommodation etc. Are there any reputable companies that do packages to these places?

OP posts:
Twinkie · 27/02/2004 12:40

Found this on the mumsnet noticeboard!! Maybe we could beat her down in price for you

From [email protected] Placed: 19-Feb-04

New character build house, canalside setting(safe for children as bank 20ft higher than house)conservation area.

Visit Alton Towers, Chester races, zoo, aquarium, shopping and roman sites. Wales,The Peak District, Tatton Park, Oulton Park (Forumula 3 racing). Wonderful castle locally. Great pubs, walks and restaurants. Walk to town - lovely shopping tea rooms, antiques etc.

From £150-£350 all year. Sleeps 4 plus cot. 4 poster bed. Dishwasher, Sky TV, garden,parking,toys,videos,games

fairydust · 28/02/2004 12:46

debster - i have been in contact with Rob & Andrea about this cottage in wales - it's only a 5mins walk from the beach and it's very resonably priced - give him a e-mail for more details.

From [email protected] Placed: 10-Feb-04
Having 2 kids ourself (18 mths & 3) most of the things we need are already at the bungalow :-
pushchair (single), travel cot, high chair, toys etc.
Situated on the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, 2 bedrooms - bunk & double. Ideal for family of 4 or 5.
Easy access to all local beaches & amenities.

Prices form £150 pw -Low to £300 pw peak (includes all heating / logs & coal)
Sorry, Kids - Yes Pets - No
e mail us for more info
Rob & Andrea


hmb · 28/02/2004 16:51

I have just found the canvas affiliated site that I mentioned. They are offereing a 7 day hoilday in France in a 26 foot caravan in July during the school hoildays for £735....not under 700 but close. Their website is


debster · 02/03/2004 16:23

Fairydust & twinkie - thank you both very much for your efforts - you are very kind. I really like the idea of a cottage in Wales and I shall be giving them an email to check availability. Do you know them personally fairydust? I am also tempted by the idea of a 4 poster bed although not sure about the location.

Thanks again.

OP posts:
tiredemma · 03/03/2004 07:32

debster, there are a few companies that deal with croatia, balkan tours is one of them and they have a website, also thomson holidays are doing croatia this summer.
i have family who went there last year and they said it was one of the most beautiful places they had ever visited.
what dates do you want to travel and ill have a look at work for you if you like (im a travel agent)

tiredemma · 03/03/2004 07:33

sorry debster, i meant ill look at all options not just croatia!

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