LEISURE: Be online savvy and save money on family holidays this summer


The school summer holidays can be an expensive time for some families, especially if a family holiday is on the shopping list.

It’s been a constant source of frustration for parents of school-age children as airlines and hotels jack up their prices to cash in on the summer rush.

Summer holidaying doesn’t have to break the bank if you shop around a little, we set out to see where you could go in the UK for under £650 and abroad for under £1300. Often by booking the different parts of the holiday separately, holidaymakers can save a tidy bundle putting that longed-for holiday within reach. (Do ensure you have Holiday insurance before booking starting to book though just in case the unexpected happens).

We have calculated our costs based on a family of four, with the two children being ages 7 and 10.

When calculating the cost of holidays we have offered travel and accommodation costs as well as suggesting some free, or low cost, things to do in the area. All costs are approximate and based on what could be found when the article was written.


Britain boasts beautiful countryside and incredible culture, so we have chosen two locations that capture the essence of both without hurting your wallet too much.






City Staycation – London by train – £600

London offers so many great attractions for free, but accommodation in the capital is expensive.

Train – £70-80 – luckily for those who want to get away for a week the train offers a hassle-free transport method that gets you into the heart of the city direct from Bournemouth. If you time it right you can get to London for £70-80 return, have a look on Trainline.

Accommodation – £326 – we managed to find a Holiday Inn in Brent Cross for £81.55 a night, we chose four nights for this particular holiday but you can do it for however long you want. Staying here means a trip on the tube into the city centre, both children can travel free as they are under 11 but parents will probably end up paying the £6.60 fee cap every day, costing £66 for five days tube travel. However, you will save a fortune by being based 45 minutes from central London.

Things to do – London offers a bit of everything, but if you’re stuck for ideas then make sure to go to Visit London’s website.


Country Staycation

£595 + travel costs

The Cotswolds is the perfect place for an outdoorsy holiday, or you could visit some nearby cities to get the best of both worlds.

It takes around 2 hours by car to get there from the south coast as you’ll be near the upper part of the Cotswolds

A field

Accommodation – £595 – we found this cottage located on a farm near the Cotswolds Area of Natural Beauty that is yours for four nights. You’re also close to the historic city of Oxford if you want a change of pace one day.

Things to do – walking, and lots of it. This would be the perfect place to put your National Trust membership to use, with loads of locations nearby. There are plenty of things to do for kids too with Farm Parks and Country Parks in the vicinity.

Travelling abroad

Fancy a trip overseas? We’ve set a budget of £1,300 for getting out there and your accommodation, so here are our ideas for sunnier climes that won’t break the bank.





Faro, Portugal – £1200

Faro is positioned on the southern most tip of Portugal, meaning the weather is bound to be nice. We chose mid-August as the time to plan this four-night holiday.

Flights – £460 – fly direct from Bournemouth to Faro with Ryanair for £460 (you’ll have to pay extra  if you want to take lots of luggage, so travel light!), this saves the hassle of driving up to London and parking the car.

Hotel – £740 – we found Best Western Hotel offer the best value option, its position in the centre of Faro offers good access to the beach and the town.

Things to do – you’re in the middle of the Algarve so be sure to enjoy the region’s food by heading into town. Beaches are the order of the day here, with great weather and golden sands. 






Normandy – under £1100

You can take the car on this one so you won’t miss any of Normandy, one of France’s most historic regions. You’ll get the ferry from Poole to Cherbourg and stay nearby.

Ferry – £529 – the ferry from Poole to Cherbourg departs early morning most dates in August, and you can choose your return time dependent on how many days you want to stay there. The cost won’t change much between journeys but we would recommend a cabin if you choose to travel overnight. 

Accommodation – £548 – there are loads of great places to stay in Normandy but we chose one close to the ferry port for ease of access. This apartment is located close to the fishing port of Grandcamp-Maisy and a drive away from Bayeux, where you can see the famous tapestry.

Things to do – Normandy offers everything from the D-Day Landing beaches to tiny fishing towns. Bayeux is a must-see and the tapestry is almost as pretty as the town itself. If you fancy a drive Mont Saint Michel will make a nice change and its Gothic architecture is sure to captivate the kids.

What is your favourite summer holiday destination and how easy is it get there from Bournemouth? Let us know in the comments below.

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