It’s no surprise that when so many people plan their holidays, they decide against spending considerably more on a stereotypical sunny Mediterranean beach holiday and instead chose to discover the wonders of dear old Blighty. After all, our own shores have so much to discover.
Whether you’re seeking out a city break, glorious countryside, gastronomic delights, centuries-old castles, art galleries, beaches, theme parks or zoos, whatever you and your family could possibly desire in a vacation can be pretty much catered-to right here in the UK.
There is, though, one key question that you will need to ask yourself: when’s the best time to book?
There’s a good chance that you’re reading this in January, and there are perfectly good reasons why you might book your British holiday at this time of year.
You’ve come back to work, you’re feeling a bit blue, you’re always gazing out of the window, and you’re full of ideas for how you would like to spend the year ahead – and where.
Plus, there are plenty of hotels, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses and other accommodation options offering cut-price deals right now, in the knowledge that basically everyone’s skint straight after Christmas, but might still appreciate a quick break somewhere away from the daily grind.
Indeed, it couldn’t be easier to find such deals through our own platform here at toprooms – not least as we have so many of the UK’s leading and most affordable hotels represented on our site.
When you perform a search online with us, all that you need to do is head to the ‘sort’ drop-down box and select ‘deals’ to see the accommodation options with the most enticing discounts first.
Peak periods like Easter and the summer holidays always see a lot of demand – so if you want to be sure of getting the exact hotel you want in your preferred destination, it’s hard to see any suitable strategy other than simply booking as early as possible.
Ideally, of course, you’d be able to book your UK holiday at any time of the year, taking advantage of the lower prices in off-peak seasons – but few of us have that luxury or flexibility. You might have school-age children or work in education, meaning it’s basically a case of taking a holiday during one of these peak periods or not at all.
But don’t despair too much if this is the case for you, as there are still some great UK hotel deals to be found for Easter, summer and the February, May and October half-term breaks. It simply means that you will have to book early – we would suggest before the end of February if you want to maximise your chances of securing the ideal coach or rail tickets and hotel instead of having to compromise.
Unfortunately, ‘family-friendly’ hotels with the amenities to match don’t tend to get discounted, so those with kids are especially strongly advised to book well in advance.
Naturally, though, you will need to consider the total cost of a given UK break before booking. If, for example, you are planning to take the train or coach, is the hotel situated sufficiently close to the train or coach station and any local attractions you want to see that you will be able to walk around your destination, or at least won’t need to spend too much on local buses and taxis?
If you know exactly what you want from a British holiday, including when you want to go and where you want to stay, booking as early as possible is of the essence.
But if you are able to be quite relaxed and open-minded about exactly what form your holiday takes – for example, if you are travelling alone and therefore have no partner, spouse or children to keep happy – well, you really are one of the lucky ones.
It means you may be able to wait until just a few weeks before your holiday to look for a hotel deal, with prices potentially dropping like a stone for last-minute stays during off-peak periods.
You might even want to keep an eye over a longer period of time on the prices for your dream hotel and train or coach tickets so that you can observe any patterns in how they fluctuate and snap up both at times when you will be paying the least.
Unfortunately, leaving things late doesn’t work so well for booking during peak season, when last-minute deals may actually be more rather than less expensive than those booked weeks or months earlier.
When you are planning a break around a particular high-profile event – such as the FA Cup Final, Cheltenham Festival or Goodwood – it’s strongly advised that you secure your hotel room as soon as the dates are officially confirmed.
Such events create high demand in local hotels, and it’s an even more acute problem in areas of the country where there is considerable competition for overnight accommodation regardless, and during peak periods such as at the height of summer.
This heightened demand around the dates of specific events should also be noted by regular holidaymakers looking for a good deal. Those interested in city breaks, in particular, are advised to check there isn’t a Premier League football match or similar event taking place at the same time as their holiday.
You might also want to consider the implications that any local events coinciding with your holiday might have for the atmosphere in or around the hotel. If, for instance, you’re interested in a low-key family break, do you really want to be in town at the same time as potentially rowdy football fans?
There are always certain parts of the country where all of the obviously available accommodation sells out well in advance whenever there is a big event happening, so you can’t be too cautious in this regard.
In especially popular locations such as Edinburgh, and even more so when you are targeting set dates in the calendar like Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, you might want to book a year or more in advance. In fact, it might be the only sensible approach.
A lot of the most clued-up people will book their next year’s holiday almost as soon as they have returned from the last one – so in September for the following August, for example. Many of the rest are stimulated by the New Year to make their booking for the summer holidays in January.
It means that for a particular date in a popular location that always attracts a lot of interest, there might be hardly any affordable accommodation to choose from a mere month or so in advance.
We would, therefore, advise against making your hotel booking as late as May or June for any summer holiday break, and certainly against booking a hotel as late as early December in a big city for New Year’s Eve.
We’ve already talked about the importance of booking your hotel nice and early if there’s a specific event that you want to attend – but what if you’re rather more relaxed about what you wish to do?
In that case, it depends on what other attractions and activities are likely to be involved in your break instead. Many heritage properties run by the National Trust and English Heritage, for instance, operate more restricted opening times during the winter, meaning they can only be accessed at weekends or not at all until the spring returns.
If, on the other hand, you simply intend to browse the free art galleries and museums at your destination and perhaps walk along the river, as long as you have checked in advance that the attractions in question will definitely be open and accessible, you can book your break at basically any time.
When you peruse the many available hotels, bed and breakfasts, guesthouses and other forms of accommodation in the UK through toprooms, you’ll be able to discover the finest options in not only the obviously attractive destinations such as London, Oxford and Edinburgh but also many unjustly unsung cities and resorts.
Northern cities such as Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield offer almost everything that you could conceivably want in a city break, whether you are a solo traveller, couple or family – with great theatres, parks, restaurants, shopping centres and so much more on offer.
Opt for one of these often better-value options, and you might be able to wait for longer and still snap up a great deal on a hotel, instead of having to book a year or so in advance. Sometimes, it really does pay to just wait and allow yourself to be inspired by whatever offers pop up.
Britain truly is great when you book your next UK hotel via toprooms – so don’t hesitate to make the most of the various enticing discounts we can offer today!