How to do Cornwall on a budget: ten great tips

Sarah Coles
polperro harbour cornwall...
polperro harbour cornwall...

Cheap holidays in Cornwall can be hard to track down. With Cornwall named as 2015's priciest holiday destination in the UK, you'd be forgiven for thinking you have to be a multi-millionaire to holiday here: in St Ives, for example, the average hotel room will set you back £123 per person per night - or £1,722 for a week for two people.

But all is not lost. It is possible to get a relatively cheap holiday in Cornwall - and even in St Ives - for up to 75 per cent less, with these ten useful tips.

1. Ditch the hotel
There's no need to pay for a hotel when there's such an abundance of holiday cottages, houses and flats. It's worth exploring websites such as Owners Direct or airbnb rather than booking through an agency, so you can cut out the middle man, and save yourself a decent slice of cash.

Do select a property with a large number of positive comments, which has been rented out over a period of years, and doesn't require excessive up-front payments. Even in St Ives in high season, you can find a one-bedroom holiday cottage (sleeping four people) for around £1,000.

See ten of the best beaches in Cornwall here

2. Consider a hostel
If you associate hostels with dirty and unpleasant dormitories, then think again, because the YHA has some great properties around the country, including in Cornwall, with private rooms, and even en-suites. A private en-suite family room in Lands End - a short hop from St Ives - sleeping four people, will set you back £99 a night in high season or £693 for a week. The kitchens will let you self-cater, so you don't have to blow the budget on eating out either.

3. Glamp
It's hardly ground-breaking to suggest that camping is a cheap way to see Cornwall, but if you want something a bit more luxurious, then Cornwall is home to some of the nicest glampsites in the UK. Trecombe Lakes near Falmouth, for example, offers upmarket wooden Scandinavian-style 'pods' complete with a mini kitchen and shower room (plus a patio and BBQ) and a week in high season costs £695. Glamping near St Ives includes a site featuring a number of unusual options - from a hobbit house to shepherd huts. These are much more basic, but the town is just 20 minutes' walk, and a week in high season will cost you around £500.

4. Share with friends
The more people sharing holiday accommodation, the cheaper it tends to be. If, for example, you were to book an Edwardian house sleeping 10 people in St Ives, you could get a week for £1,225 - or £122.50 a head. Compare that to similar accommodation, but sleeping four people, where you'll pay £826, or £206.50 per head. If course, it goes without saying that you have to get along well enough with the other travellers to make it worthwhile, but with the right group, you could end up with a better holiday for less.

5. Try the south coast
The north coast is home to some of the priciest parts of Cornwall: the south still offers all the sun and sand you could need, but at much lower prices. Porthluney Cove, for example, is one of the nicest beaches in Cornwall, and you can choose to stay in one of a number of pretty cottages in Mevagissey - where even a penthouse overlooking the harbour and sleeping five people will come in under £700.

6. Consider a working holiday
The National Trust has a huge range of working holidays on offer. The idea is that you help preserve the Trust's assets, through worthwhile hard work. You also have some time off to enjoy the local area with your new-found friends. One holiday in Cornwall, for example, is designed to help preserve Godrevy beach at the far end of St Ives Bay, with surfing activities thrown in as part of the deal. The week, including staying in the bunkhouse and all meals costs £295.

Once you have identified your affordable accommodation, in theory you can hit the beach with a packed lunch every day and manage a week's worth of entertainment for four people for little more than £100. However, if you want something a bit more varied - or if it rains - you may need to get more creative.

7. Pick up a local paper when you arrive
It's a bit 'old school', but the Cornish Guardian is packed with vouchers for cheaper days out during the school holidays - and offers some ideas for free entertainment too. You can get it in most petrol stations, so you can stop off on your way down to see what bargains are on offer.

8. Book before you go
Check the websites for any attraction you are planning to visit, because often they have special offers, and almost always there's some sort of discount for booking online in advance. For example, advance online bookings to visit the Eden Project get a 20 per cent discount.

9. Check about return visits
If you're enjoying an attraction, it's worth checking whether you can get a return trip for a reduced price - or even free. Some attractions will stamp your ticket on your first visit and you can use it again later in the week.

10. Use a discount app
Voucher apps offer a number of discounts on everything from meals out to local attractions. There are nationwide options like vouchercloud, which uses location-based services to find a deal near you. Alternatively, there are local apps like

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Northern Lights in Skies Over Cornwall, UK
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