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11 ways to save on your UK summer holiday in 2017

With the pound weakening against the euro, just over half of Brits are planning to stay in the UK these summer holidays. But a ‘staycation’ can still cost you a hefty sum – here’s how to keep your costs down when holidaying in the UK. An annual holiday index from Travelodge found that 55% of Brits are planning to holiday in the UK this year rather than travelling overseas, with Cornwall proving the most popular local destination.

But even without flying to distant shores, taking the family on holiday can be a major expense. Which? explains the best tips for saving cash on your British getaway. Find out more: 50 ways to save money[1] – find out how to save up for your holiday


Take advantage of free sites and events:

Britain boasts sightseeing opportunities which are among the best in the world, according to a Which? survey. Avebury in Wiltshire – which is free to visit – was rated as providing a better visitor experience than the Taj Mahal and the pyramids of Eqypt[2]. While popular cultural events such as the Edinburgh Fringe have seen their ticket prices increase in recent years, most festivals will offer an array of free pub shows and street performers.

Free events are also offered by many local authorities throughout the summer.

2. Look into multi-site passes for city-breaks

Many destinations in Britain offer ‘city passes’, which promise discounted or free entry into a number of major tourist sites. The York Pass, for example, offers 3-days of site-seeing for ?58.50, including entry to over 30 attractions.

The London Pass, which comes at varying price points, will get you into over 70 sites. But before you buy, work out what you actually want to see and how much you might realistically spend – otherwise, a bundle ticket may not be worthwhile. Find out more: Travelling with children[3] – our guide to bringing along the family


Secure discounted theatre tickets

If your holiday plans include a night at the theatre, you can save money by taking advantage of discount ticket options. In London’s West End, many shows offer rush tickets – often sold an hour before the show starts – which provide seats at a low cost. Many shows also offer ticket lotteries, which allow you to enter for a chance to win ?20 tickets the same night.

However, be cautious around ticket re-sale sites[4] – you may be denied entry if you do not buy your ticket from an official vendor. Find out more: How can I protect myself from dodgy ticket selling?[5]

4. Book your train ticket in advance

You can save up to 87% on your train fare if you book in advance.

The following train companies offer discounted tickets for advance bookings: CrossCounty, Grand Central, Greater Anglia, Northern, Transpennine Express, Virgin Trains East Coast, Virgin West Coast and Caledonian Sleeper. Which? research from earlier this year found you can get fares for less than ?20 on popular routes.

Examples of Advance ticket savings Journey Anytime fare Advance fare % saving London Kings Cross to Leeds ?119.50 ?15.50 87% Manchester Oxford Road to Glasgow ?69.00 ?13.00 81% Ipswich to Sheffield ?80.50 ?30.60 80% Birmingham New Street to London Euston ?88.00 ?22.00 75% Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston ?142.00 ?37.00 74%

Fares gathered on 4 January 2017. Advance fares based on first train after 8am on 29 March 2017.

Find out more: 10 tips for finding cheap train tickets[6]

5. Consider a house swap

As an alternative to hotels, consider swapping your house with another family who live in a destination you’d like to visit. A number of new online platforms have made it easier than ever to organise a house swap.

But before you open up your home to a stranger, make sure you have a comprehensive contract[7] and ensure that your home insurance is fully up-to-date.

6. Rent your home out on Airbnb

If you’re going away for a longer time, you could consider renting out your home on Airbnb to earn a bit of extra cash. However, many landlords will not approve of tenants sub-letting their property.

If you own your home, but have a mortgage, you may also find that listing on AirBnb may breach your mortgage contract[8] terms and conditions. If you do decide to use Airbnb or another accommodation platform, make sure you know the local regulations and have comprehensive insurance that covers paying guests.

7. Avoid bank holidays

Prices tend to skyrocket over school holidays – but bank holidays tend to attract even higher premiums.

The weekend of 28 August is the last bank holiday in England this summer. If possible, plan your holiday to avoid that date, as you could face higher accommodation and travel costs.

8. Book over a Sunday night

People tend to check out of hotels on Sunday, so you may get a bargain by booking over Sunday night.

If you’re considering a weekend break, see if you can incorporate Sunday into your stay – many hotels offer an overall discount for Sunday nights.

9. Stay in university rooms

In many cities, university halls offer cheap accommodation to travellers during the uni breaks. While the rooms might not be the most luxurious, many are well-located in the city centre and you can nab them at fairly low rates – in Bath for example, rooms at Eastwood Halls are offered for as little as ?36 per night.


Book your UK hire car before you leave

Booking your rental car in advance and online can save you a substantial amount – and there are a number of other ways to cut the cost of your car hire. If you’re planning to book a rental car, have a look at our recent checklist on slashing car hire costs.[9] Find out more: Car hire tips[10] – how to get the best rental deal


Walk or bike around

While getting to your destination can be expensive, many people forget to factor in the cost of getting around while on holiday, including train fares, tours and bus tickets.

If possible, plan your accommodation to make it possible to walk to major sites.

Alternatively, London offers a cheap cycle sharing scheme, while many destinations offer affordable bike hire.


  1. ^ 50 ways to save money (
  2. ^ providing a better visitor experience than the Taj Mahal and the pyramids of Eqypt (
  3. ^ Travelling with children (
  4. ^ be cautious around ticket re-sale sites (
  5. ^ How can I protect myself from dodgy ticket selling? (
  6. ^ 10 tips for finding cheap train tickets (
  7. ^ a comprehensive contract (
  8. ^ may breach your mortgage contract (
  9. ^ recent checklist on slashing car hire costs. (
  10. ^ Car hire tips (

This woman was so angry about her mobile phone service she padlocked herself to the shop

Searching for a mobile phone signal can be a frustrating necessity for most people, but for this woman it all became a bit too much. Sat on a camping chair, Diane Cartwright padlocked herself to the door of a mobile phone shop for several hours in a desperate attempt to get her phone working. The business owner placed a chain around the door of her local EE store on Wednesday in an attempt to convince bosses to give her a working phone or release her from her contract.

Waving a placard saying: EE: Please release me, let me go and peaceful protest Ms Cartwright sat in the shop doorway from 2pm to 5.30pm. Police were called to the scene but took no action over what was deemed a civil matter .

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Mrs Cartwright, who is in her 50s, relies on her mobile phone to run her dog-grooming company called Porthma DOG in Porthmadog with husband Edmund. She claims her phone only receives an intermittent signal, meaning her company was potentially losing hundreds of pounds from customers in missed calls, the Daily Post reported2

Mrs Cartwright said: We have lost 700 – 1,000 worth of business. We don t want the stress. People were trying to call us and it was saying out of service.

She says that, despite numerous calls to EE, the problem has not been resolved.

Hywel Trewyn Diane Cartwright padlocked herself to the EE shop in Bangor

She wanted to cancel her contract with EE and had demanded they give her a PAC code so she could keep the number but move it to another mobile company. Mrs Cartwright from Mynytho, Gwynedd, said: I can t afford another week without my phone working. All I need is the PAC code. They don t want you to leave. This is the second time the Cartwrights have had problems with mobile phone coverage.

Two years ago, their home was hit by a lightning strike which knocked out their mobile phone, broadband and landline supplied by EE. Mr Cartwright claims he spent 45 hours on the phone trying to sort their problems out. Then, it took six months and the intervention of their MP to get their problems and refund sorted. At the shop in the Deiniol Shopping Centre at Bangor Mrs Cartwright said: We don t owe them any money. I went to the shop at Bangor and I was assured that they would sort it out. I am at the end of my tether and sick to death of it.

The Daily Post said they had approached EE for comment.


  1. ^

Thailand plans to track non-citizens with their mobile phones

Thailand is considering a proposal to track the location of all SIM cards acquired by foreigners, be they tourists or resident aliens. The plan’s been floated as a way to assist law enforcement agencies combat trans-national crime. Thailand borders Cambodia, Laos and Burma, three nations that have reasonably porous borders, seldom score well on measures of incorruptibility or governance and have form as participants in heroin supply chains. Thailand’s military-led government is very keen to maintain calm in the Kingdom and is also very nationalist, so making life a little hard for foreigners is true to form and will not irritate many of its supporters.

The nation’s tourism operators may beg to differ: about 20 million people visit the nation each year. If you’re one of them, the plan’s not in action yet but has been agreed in principle. It’s hoped the scheme will be up and running in about six months, by which time you’ll only be able to buy trackable SIMs when you visit. The good news is that if your phone roams, you’ll be exempt. And with roaming plans now catering to travellers there’s a good chance you can bring your phone to Phuket without taking a bath on roaming charges.

Resident aliens will be moved to the trackable SIMs. Many such folk move to Thailand to invest or bring expertise to the nation and are unlikely to be happy that their every move is observed. One small upside is that the nation’s telecoms regulators aren’t entirely sure how to make the tracking work, with cell connection data and GPS both under consideration.

Sponsored: Global DDoS threat landscape report1


  1. ^ Global DDoS threat landscape report (
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