Autumn leaves

Make the most of the crisp October and November weather with a cheap last-minute break in Britain, says Jeremy Gates.

Hotels, holiday homeowners and holiday firms around Britain are set to slash prices after suffering one of the wettest summers on record.

The prediction follows a report from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) which claims some attractions in popular tourist destinations lost up to 60 per cent of normal business in peak season, while many hotels have also struggled for business.

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Alice Mariscotti-Wyatt at the price comparison site says: “Bad weather had a real impact on business for many UK hotels and attractions this year. The Olympics also hit visitor numbers, as people who actually managed to get tickets used some of their holiday allowance to enjoy the Games.”

Bob Atkinson at the website adds: “With budget chains like Travelodge and Holiday Inn Express squeezing room rates, pressures are on hotels in the provinces. If you are flexible, you’ll get some good rates.”

According to the trivago Hotel Price Index, Blackpool is the cheapest centre in the UK at an average of £64 per night. For half term, Newquay, Kendal and Plymouth offer the cheapest hotel prices in their regions. Other big hotel price falls since September include those in Brighton (down 15 per cent in a month), Edinburgh and Dublin (both down 13 per cent).

Besides Blackpool, cheapest places to stay include Sheffield (£70) and Birmingham (£74). Hotels in popular half-term hotspots such as Cornwall, Dartmoor and the Lake District all saw dramatically decreased rates against September. Chris Dee, tourism manager for The Cotswolds, says: “If you shop around a bit, you can find some pretty good October/November midweek offers; dinner and B&B in quality establishments is around £60-70 per night, while weekend bookings are strong enough to keep prices much firmer.”

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Some holiday homeowners are trimming prices too: Rural Retreats’ country cottage short breaks for two in Yorkshire, Devon and the Cotswolds lead in from £134.

At Grade II-listed Ryedale Cottage, in Wrelton, Yorkshire, three-night stays until December 22 start at £133.60 per person, while 20 per cent discounts also apply on three-night stays at Pamos Farm Cottage near Upottery, Devon, from £151.50 (two sharing, £303 in total), until December 21.

The budget hotel chain Travelodge has released thousands of rooms at hotels across the UK, from as little as £19, until November 18.

Miles Quest at the British Hospitality Association (BHA), says: “While 
London has had a relatively good year, business has been patchy in the provinces. A lot depends on the weather for the level of business likely to be generated between now and Christmas.”