It’s peak season for the UK’s holiday parks. Pick a good one and you’ll have high quality accommodation in a prime location. Pick a bad one and you’ll be booking into a hotel next time.
Here are four money saving tips for choosing a holiday park in 2020.
1. Travel north for lower prices
The biggest choice of caravan holiday parks in the UK can be found in popular holiday counties like Cornwall, Devon and Norfolk. However, many of the best deals we’ve found have been in the north of England, Wales and Scotland. It’s not an absolute rule, but prices tend to be a little lower as you travel north.
2. Book early…or very late
There are two schools of thought when it comes to getting the best deal on a holiday park in the UK. The first theory is that booking early guarantees you the best value accommodation. Early bookers figure out which accommodation is nearest to the beach and furthest away from the noisy entertainment complex, or nearest to the restaurant and swimming pool if they plan to use it regularly.
On the other hand, most of the big holiday park chains (e.g. Haven, Parkdean Resorts) offer last minute deals to fill up their resorts.
If you know where you want to stay I would recommend booking as early as possible. If you don’t mind where you’re staying – as long as it’s a bargain – then booking a last minute deal is an appealing option.
3. Don’t assume the most expensive accommodation is the best
Caravan sites tend to replace their stock gradually rather than all at once, so you get some strange pricing anomalies. For example, the ‘gold’ accommodation might be older than the ‘bronze’ accommodation but it would still be more expensive.
Also be aware that some holiday parks get a little creative with the language they use on their websites. Bog-standard caravans become ‘platinum holiday homes’ or even ‘luxury lodges’. Generally, a lodge will be significantly wider than a caravan but there’s some inconsistency about how the different words are used.
The best thing to do is to look for reviews of the different grades of accommodation – or just call the reception and ask which caravans are most popular. Visitor photos on TripAdvisor are also useful if people include details of which type of caravan or lodge they stayed in.
4. Look at European holiday parks
If you’re not having any luck with finding a UK holiday park which is right for you, take a look abroad.
Lots of Brits head for Center Parcs resorts in Europe as they can be considerably cheaper than the UK parks. They’re run by a different company and there’s a big variation in customer reviews, so read up on reviews for Center Parcs in France, the Netherlands and Germany to find out which offers what you’re after. If you want the experience of travelling overseas without the hassle of a foreign holiday then the Isle of Wight can be good value and has a good choice of seaside caravan parks. You don’t need a passport to visit and some holiday parks will give you a big discount on the ferry fare.