Closer encounters

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Chains, private hotels and holiday parks are locked in a price war to slash the cost of UK breaks in spring and early summer.

“Whatever the price, you must be ready to knock £10 off. Everybody wants a deal,” says Kevin Darvill at Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park in North Devon, where four-night midweek breaks from April 16 and 23 start at £89 (saving £80) for a family sharing a two bedroom caravan holiday home.

Darvill says holiday parks are on a roll partly because the Butlins revamp is boosting their image.

Travelzoo, a website specialising in travel deals, says hotels around Britain are slashing prices for breaks from Easter onwards by up to 60 per cent, making staycations a good value option for families.

The company believes hotels have become more aggressive with discounts in recent weeks to catch consumers who are cutting budgets.

Holiday deals also tie in with attractions around the UK. For example, Superbreak’s overnight package at the Travelodge Watford, from £181, includes a family ticket to the new Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden, while family packages to Alton Towers, which is launching its terrifying Nemesis Sub-Terra ride, start from £128.60 with an overnight stay at the Quality Inn, Stoke-on-Trent.

Joel Brandon-Bravo at Travelzoo says: “Hotel groups have great prices, including De Vere, Q Hotels, Hilton and Britannia. Two-night breaks in the Lake District at individual hotels, from around £89, include dinner, picnic lunch and cream tea. Hotels which used to run at lower occupancy levels can go online to fill. It means added revenue and offers real value.”

Chris Watton, at Daish’s Hotel on the Isle of Wight, says: “This is a very exciting year to be in England, but the economy is not as healthy as it might be and there’s a feeling that going abroad is expensive.

“Our 50-plus customers are savvy at finding great value online, and quick to point out if we get any price wrong.”

Daish’s four night all-inclusive breaks start at £149 for those collected by coach, and from £134 for self-drivers, with an extra £5 off both for online bookings. Around 85 per cent of Daish’s customers make a return booking.

Jurys Inn, with 24 hotels across the UK and seven in Ireland, offer rooms in the first half of April from £49 in city centres, including Leeds, Manchester, Plymouth and Sheffield, for two adults and two children sharing, breakfast included.

Travelzoo’s Brandon-Bravo says: “It is interesting to see Britain offering such good value, especially in the Olympics year when we might have expected prices to shoot up.”