If you live in the UK, you may have seen the recent television adverts in which the likes of Stephen Fry, Julie Walter and Lady Mary Crawley promote ‘Staycations’ in 2012. I’m not a big fan of the term, but I applaud the sentiment. Everyone loves a foreign holiday, be it a beach in Greece, a European capital city or a dream trip to Australia. But are you ignoring all the wonderful places that Britain has to offer?
I know what some people will say when you try to convince them to take a British holiday. Firstly, there’s the weather. The good old British weather; why take a holiday here, where it might rain for a week, when you can go abroad and have sunshine and warm temperatures. I have a counter argument to this. If you go abroad, and you have the misfortune to encounter rubbish weather, you aren’t prepared for it. You have your suncream, your sandals and your sunglasses, but chances are that you haven’t packed an umbrella, a jacket, or a pair of suitable shoes. If you’re on holiday in Britain, you’ve probably overpacked. You’ve got your shorts, your sunglasses, your suncream and your flipflops. But you’ve also got a couple of thick jumpers, a pair of wellies, a coat (and a jacket), and maybe a hat (not a floppy sun hat, but a woollen hat). You’re prepared! The weather might stay nice for the entirety of your stay, but if it turns, you have everything you need to stay warm and dry.
The other argument against staying in Britain is the cost. Center Parcs and Butlins, two popular British holiday destinations, both work out to be expensive, especially if you going for the self catering option and you have to buy all of your food too. If I wanted to go with my three friends to Elveden Forest Center Parcs for a weekend in May, it would cost us £459. That’s not including the cost of any activities (except swimming) that we might want to do. And who wants to go to Center Parcs just to go swimming? Butlins in May would cost us £533 for four nights including breakfast and dinner.
If you want to go abroad, you can go to Turkey for seven nights, all inclusive, for £254. You wouldn’t have to take much spending money, if you didn’t want to, because all of your food and drink is included in that price, along with flights and accommodation. What a bargain.
I know, I’m not really making a good case for the staycation here, am I? Here’s my argument. People seem to think that you need to go to these places that provide entertainment and activities onsite. Center Parcs may be a lot of fun (I wouldn’t know, as I said I haven’t ever been), and Butlins is great if you have a family because there’s a lot to do within the complex. But if, just like me. you are going on holiday with your friends or your other half, why would you need entertainment to be provided for you? You can find it yourself, and for this, you don’t need to stay at a holiday resort.
My friends and I have been going on caravan holidays for a few years now; usually we book through The Sun’s £9.50 holiday scheme, which never actually costs just £9.50, but still works out to be a bit of a bargain. As a child, I went on caravan holidays every year with my parents and my brothers and sister, usually to Norfolk, and we always had a fantastic time. OK, so it’s not the height of luxury, but most caravans have a shower, television and decent enough kitchen.
And as for costs, depending on when and where you go, you can always get a bargain. Lots of people own static caravans, and are looking to rent them out throughout the year to gain a bit of extra income.
These prices are from the Park Holidays website for a caravan in Felixstowe, Suffolk. As you can see, the lowest price is £86 for a caravan for three nights that can be shared by 6 people. Quite the bargain. Of course, as you can see, the prices rise as the summer progresses, and the prices also vary depending on where in the country you want to go. But caravans are not the only type of holiday that get more expensive in July and August, as we all know. The same resort in Turkey that I featured above rises to £520 per person at the end of July, and to £549 by the middle of August. The same accommodation at Center Parcs is £579 at the end of July.
Obviously, caravans aren’t the only type of accommodation for a staycation. You can stay in a Bed and Breakfast, or a hotel, or you can go camping. The prices vary so much depending on where you go, and you do have to do your research, I have found, for B&Bs and hotels, but usually it’s worth it.
When I originally thought about this post, I wanted to give you some ideas of the amazing things that you can see in Britain both in 2012 and at any time. But then I got sidetracked into proving that a holiday in this country doesn’t have to cost the earth, and certainly doesn’t have to be more expensive than a holiday abroad! So another post or two will follow with details of those wonderful things that Britain has to offer.
How do you feel about staycations? (How much do you hate the term, or is that just me?) Do you prefer a holiday abroad or in this country?
*The Holidays of the title obviously refer to the British meaning, rather than the American.