Camping, caravan & holidays: Scotland & north east beat south for last-minute summer stay

Simon Calder offers advice on booking staycations for 2021

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The ever-changing traffic light restrictions have left many Britons turning their attention to a holiday at home this summer, rather than risking sudden quarantine and testing rules. However, as is always the case, the school holidays promise to be the busiest time of the year for tourism across the country. It’s a trend that is likely to spark concern for last-minute bookers.

Typically, the southern coastal areas of England are among the most popular for camping, caravan and hotel stays alike.

Cornwall, Devon and Dorset stays have sky-rocketed in price amid the demand, with one family reportedly quoted £71,000 for a week-long family holiday in St Ives.

However, the struggle for a holiday – even during the school break – is not the case for those who look further afield.

According to Graham Hodgson, chief executive of Verdant Leisure, it is as simple as casting your attention to the beautiful north.

“Our parks are based in the North East of England and Southern Scotland and many people know what beautiful landscapes they are set in and what the regions have to offer,” he told Express.co.uk.

“Our advice would be to look beyond the obvious hotspots of Cornwall and Devon that customers traditionally opt for.

“So, if you live in London and usually drive the five or so hours to Cornwall why not head the same distance North?”

Of course, the school holidays remain the most popular time regardless of where in the country Britons head, but Mr Hodgson does have one handy trick when it comes to securing a stay.

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“It is worth remembering that Scotland has a different school year so our parks in Scotland could be a good option towards the end of August for our English based customers,” he explained.

“Likewise, early July could be a good option for Scottish based customers at our parks in England.”

As demand decreases heading into the autumn months, so does the price for holiday rentals.

Mr Hodgson points out this is a great idea for families with younger children, or who can be more flexible with their dates.

Although July and August promise the warmest temperatures in the North East and Scotland, with the average highs hitting 18 and 17 degrees Celsius respectively, the later months can offer decent weather too.

“September usually delivers some lovely weather, and a lot of our customers enjoy breaks well into Autumn,” he said.

“And with local indoor tourist attractions opening there are lots of things to do even on rainy days.”

However, while he acknowledges this isn’t an option for everyone, Mr Hodgson insists there are still ways to save during the busy summer months.

“If you have school-age children, you could consider mid-week breaks,” he said.

“Alternatively, rather than a full week, you could have a few four-night breaks spread over the summer for a similar cost – plus you get to explore different areas.”

It’s that element of exploration that Mr Hodgson believes can make a UK holiday truly special.

“Choosing to holiday in the UK is a fantastic option for all,” he said.

“As well as enjoying beautiful locations you are also helping the domestic travel industry alongside the many local businesses in our communities, which is particularly important as the economy recovers from such a difficult year.”

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