The arrival of severe winter weather across the British Isles, if and when it comes, could be a big saver for families chasing UK breaks over Christmas and the new year, as last-minute offers from hotels and holiday homes are likely to become cheaper.
It will mean falling prices – particularly during “Twixmas”, the period between Christmas and new year when few go to work.
English Heritage (www.english-heritage.org.uk), which looks after some of Britain’s grandest and most historic addresses, has 20 per cent discounts on three-, four- or seven-day breaks at selected holiday cottages, saving up to £230. Cottages start at £498.40 (three days); £507.20 (four) and £927 (seven).
The choice includes Prior’s Lodge (sleeping four, plus a cot) at Mount Grace Priory in North Yorkshire, overlooking the ruins of the Carthusian monastery and ideal for long walks over the moors.
The National Trust (www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk) has similar offers. “We have 62 cottages left for special festive Christmas breaks, across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Of these, 60 have reduced prices by 15 per cent and the other two by a massive 20 per cent,” says the trust’s Sally Williams.
Options include an apartment at Greenway, a Georgian house high on the banks of the River Dart in South Devon which was Agatha Christie’s holiday home from 1938 until 1959, and accommodates 10. Five nights from December 29 costs from £1,482 – a 25 per cent discount.
In Snowdonia, the National Trust lists Dyffryn Mymbyr Cottage, a restored 16th-century listed cottage crammed with original features and with incredible views of the Snowdon Horseshoe and Moel Siabod mountain. Five nights from December 22 cost from £516.
Hoseasons Holidays (www.hoseasons.co.uk) has deals aplenty too: four nights in a caravan on a 100-acre park sleeping six outside Lymington starts at £345 (saving £114), with the New Forest, plus Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World, all on your doorstep.
Amid the scenic lochs and mountains of the Trossachs, a lodge sleeping six for four nights from December 24 costs £990 (saving £248). Specialist hotel website Great Little Breaks (www.greatlittlebreaks.com) has a wide choice, with rooms from around £40 per person per night.
A “Twixmas” break in Worcestershire, at the Tudor-style Stone Manor in Kidderminster, set in 25 acres of landscaped gardens, starts at £45 per person. Four-poster beds cost a bit more, while the four star Best Western Yew Lodge Hotel, Derbyshire, starts at £40 per night on December 27/28, with health club and spa on the premises.
For unconventional holiday homes, the Canopy & Stars website (www.canopyandstars.co.uk), which offers tree houses, yurts, gipsy caravans and even a hayloft and Iron Age roundhouse, takes some beating.
With 11 friends, you could take on a magical temporary gipsy encampment in the wilds of Cumbria, featuring a wood burning stove and the chance to ride a horse-drawn carriage to the local pub, all for £250 per night for a minimum four night stay.