Research suggests that even when times are tight, Brits are loath to give up their summer holidays.
However, the costs of a foreign break can really mount up – with flights, car hire and other travel expenses making up a large proportion of the bill. Many consider cheap holiday park deals in the UK instead.
If you’d rather take an affordable ‘staycation’ in the next 12 months, here are some enjoyable, family-friendly ideas to get you started.
National Trust Working Holidays
If you’re fed up with lounging on the beach on holiday and want to try something a little different, then a National Trust Working Holiday might be right up your street.
Activities on a National Trust Working Holiday can be anything from surfing while repairing footpaths in Devon, planting trees and photographing the beautiful wilds of Snowdonia, or dry-stone walling alongside Hadrian’s Wall in Northumbria.
In return for doing valuable conservation work on National Trust land, you get the chance to meet new people, learn some nifty new skills – and enjoy incredibly cheap accommodation, activities and meals.
Seven-night breaks start from £150 and include accommodation and all activities and meals – making it a very affordable option.
The National Trust runs around 400 Working Holidays a year throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland (the National Trust for Scotland runs a similar scheme called Thistle Camps).
The holidays cater for adults and (supervised) children up to 16 years of age, so the whole family can be included.
You can find out more on the National Trust website.
This is an old favourite for cash-strapped families; but the key is to find a campsite that meets your specific needs.
Look at our round-up of cheap camping holidays for families. The Cool Camping website is also worth a look – it helps you find the perfect campsite in the area you want to visit. For example, you can search for a site that is child and campfire-friendly, offers luxury yurt accommodation (a cross between a tent and a hut!) and is by a river!
Alternatively, you can use CampingAndCaravanningClub.co.uk to read reviews of over 2,000 campsites all over the UK.
Additionally, there are hundreds of holiday parks dotted all over the UK, which offer accommodation from campsites to caravans, lodges, holiday apartments and even yurts! Check out these cheap holiday park deals for a budget 2014 family holiday.
Hotel and UK city breaks
Think all hotels are expensive? Not if you keep your eyes peeled for sales. Right now Premier Inn have rooms from just £29 across the country, while Lastminute have 4* hotels from £50 in selected locations. Cities like London, Manchester and Edinburgh offer a wealth of attractions
See our full guide to cheap family hotels in the UK for more options.
If you’re not keen on sleeping under canvas, consider booking a family-friendly room in a youth hostel instead.
The Youth Hostel Association now offers private family rooms at very reasonable prices. And some of the properties they run are really impressive: From country houses and eco-friendly barns, to Norman castles and restored watermills.
The website also highlights which properties have child-friendly facilities and attractions nearby.
Share a cottage
Hiring a holiday cottage can be an expensive business, particularly during high season. However, you can bring the costs right down by booking it with another family.
This also means your child or children will have other kids to play with.
Have a look at rural breaks with Coast and Country Cottages. They have some very reasonable offers, with cottages from £318.50 for a family of 6 for 7 days (that works out at a bargain £7.58 per person per night!)
As a MyFamilyClub reader you can also get a discount on luxury forest cabins in gorgeous locations ranging from Scotland to Cornwall.
CottagesDirect.co.uk and HolidayLettings.co.uk are also worth a browse.
If you can’t afford to pay for rooms or hire somewhere, why not swap houses with friends elsewhere in the UK?
For example, if you live in the countryside, swap for a week with friends living in a big city. Or if you live by the sea, link up with a family that lives near woodland.
Both families will get to spend time in a new environment, visiting new attractions – using facilities they trust and paying nothing for accommodation.