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After new travel curbs, families brace for £14,000-a-week staycations

Xmas holiday cottage price spike: After new travel curbs hit foreign breaks, families brace for £14,000-a-week staycations

  • Families swapping festive foreign breaks for staycations are facing exorbitant prices
  • Demand for holiday accommodation in Britain over Christmas and New Year has soared
  • Scores of providers sold out after many families already booked getaways earlier this year

Families swapping festive foreign breaks for staycations are facing exorbitant prices.

Demand for holiday accommodation in Britain over Christmas and New Year has soared, with scores of providers sold out.

Many families desperate to celebrate with loved ones after a disappointing December 2020 had already rushed to book getaways earlier this year.

At the same time, strict new Covid testing requirements mean many forced to abandon winter breaks overseas are searching for a plan B. But the surge in demand has driven up prices, with some properties costing more than £14,000 for a week over Christmas.

The average nightly rate between December 23 and 27 has jumped 30 per cent to £218 compared with the same period before the pandemic in 2019, according to the short-term rental property firm Guesty. Between December 30 and January 2, it is 93 per cent higher at £172.

Many families desperate to celebrate with loved ones after a disappointing December 2020 had already rushed to book getaways earlier this year. Pictured: The Country Stables, Stroud, Gloucestershire, was listed this week at £14,647 on booking site Snaptrip

The average nightly rate between December 23 and 27 has jumped 30 per cent to £218 compared with the same period before the pandemic in 2019, according to the short-term rental property firm Guesty. Between December 30 and January 2, it is 93 per cent higher at £172. Pictured: The Victory Residence in Kingsdown, Kent

However, some accommodation providers have been accused of cashing in with eye-watering prices most families would struggle to afford.

For example, a seven-night break from December 23 at the Country Stables, a six-bedroom property in Stroud, Gloucestershire, was listed this week at £14,647 on the booking site Snaptrip.

And a six-bedroom house in Snowdonia was advertised by Sykes Holiday Cottages at £13,184 for the week starting on December 24. Holiday firms were criticised this summer after bumping up the cost of British breaks when families had no choice but to stay in the UK. But since then prices have continued to rise. The cost of certain rental properties – in Broadgate in the Lake District, Kingsdown in Kent and Ramsbottom in Lancashire, for example – is significantly up on prices at the peak of summer.

Rory Borland, travel editor of Which?, said: ‘Holidaying at home has always been expensive and the problem does not seem to be getting better. We have seen increased demand for UK holiday accommodation during the pandemic but some price hikes seem hard to justify and risk making a Christmas break in a popular destination too much of a stretch for many.’

However, some companies have reported losing bookings after travellers from abroad were forced to scrap plans to visit the UK this winter at the last minute.

Jill Taylor, who owns South View Lodges in Exeter, Devon, said: ‘We have been booked for Christmas and New Year for six months. However, we had a cancellation two weeks ago as the guests were coming from South Africa and we haven’t yet managed to book it.’

Experts said rising UK demand will help plug this gap.

James Starkey, of holidaycottages.co.uk, said: ‘Demand has been really strong over the past few weeks, with a lot of people looking to get away from it all with family and friends over Christmas.

‘We expect this level of demand to continue into 2022 as travel plans may need to be put on hold with the potential of restrictions.’

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