Britain's most expensive staycation spots

Panoramic view along Brighton Beachfront with the promenade and Ferris Wheel backed by highrise buildings

You might think you are doing the right thing by cutting back and opting for a staycation. However, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show that if you pick the wrong place in the UK for a break - and take the traditional options when it comes to accommodation and attractions - you could end up spending more than you would on a bargain trip overseas.
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The researchers identified the places in the UK where people tended to spend the most on a day-trip. This was topped by Cardiff at £50.09 per day, followed by the Isle of Anglesey at £48.92 and Brighton and Hove at £46.49.

The top ten
Cardiff (£50.09)
Isle of Anglesey (£48.92)
Brighton and Hove (£46.49)
Greater London (£38.04)
Cornwall (£36.95)
Dorset (£36.61)
Powys (£35.96)
York (£35.67)
Cumbria (£35.12)
East Sussex (£34.50)

The full cost

These figures don't even include the cost of travel and accommodation, which make a trip even more expensive. Take Cardiff, for example; Trivago says that the average cost of hotel accommodation is £85 a night. If you assume two people travelled from London by train, you could add £186.80 for two off-peak return tickets, plus the average daily spend, and a week would set you back £1,490.26. For less than that, OnTheBeach.co.uk shows you can get seven nights all-inclusive in a four star hotel in Tenerife (for £1,196.4 for two).

In London, meanwhile, accommodation is even more expensive. Hotels.com says the average four star room would set you back £128 a night. Add in the daily costs and the price of a train ticket for two from Manchester at £82.40 each, and you're looking at £1,593.36 for a week for two people. For that money you could take three people to Tenerife.

Stay here for less

Of course, as the ONS research itself points out, tourism is vital for these 'hot spots', so before we snap up some bargain trips to the sun, it's worth bearing in mind there are plenty of ways to make your staycation much cheaper. You could consider finding a camping spot on the outskirts, and commuting into your chosen holiday spot. In destinations like Anglesey you can find some wonderful options at the heart of the action.

In bigger cities you can look into airbnb for cheap rooms to rent, or use a site like homeswap to exchange your property with someone in your chosen destination and get your accommodation for free.

Before you travel, you can also seek out cheap or free activities and attractions - or special online offers. If you mix in attractions you have to pay for with days on the beach or freebies, you can easily bring your spend down to a small fraction of the average.

With any of these options, you can self-cater, which dramatically brings down the daily cost of a trip, so all you need to factor in is your journey to the destination, the weekly groceries, and a few attractions for your stay - and two of you could spend an exciting week of staycationing for a fraction of the ONS average.

But what do you think? Will you be staycationing this year, or are you tempted to hunt down a cheap break in the sun?

Staycation: The $1 Flight to Nowhere


7 PHOTOS
Cheapest January sun destinations
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Britain's most expensive staycation spots

A survey at the end of last year put Dubai top of the league of cheap destinations for winter sun.

At the moment, a week-long package, flying from London on 29 January, costs £471 per person on a room-only basis, or full board from £773. This is the cheapest room-only deal for sun in January.

You won’t exactly be basking, as the temperature is like a fairly normal British summer day - with highs in the mid-20s. However, it should be enough to warm your bones, and will be cool enough to explore some of the sights beyond the beach - including Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

This is another destination at its coldest in January - with average daily temperatures around 23 degrees. If this is warm enough for you, you can get week-long package from 29 January for £601 per person (room only), or from £985 all inclusive.

Cancun is known for its beaches, but in these temperatures it’ll also be comfortable enough to explore some of the nearby archeological sites and play a bit of golf.

If you want your January sun to be a bit hotter, Barbados is an option, with an average January temperature of 28 degrees.

Unfortunately you will have to pay for this extra warmth, and prices for a week-long holiday from 29 January start at £628 per person, on a room-only basis.

The main attractions of Barbados are the beaches. However, if the weather falters, you can always pop into the historic city of Bridgetown.

The fourth cheapest destination (on a room only basis) is Saint Lucia, at £610. Unfortunately it’s one of the priciest on our list for all-inclusive, at £1064 for the week.

January is actually the coldest month here, although average temperatures are still around 26 degrees. If you get the odd day that’s not brilliant for the beautiful beaches, you could always visit the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens or the Sulphur Springs Park.

Fifth place goes to Phuket in Thailand, where for £652 you get bed and breakfast, and the average temperatures are much warmer.

The few months around this time of year are considered the best time to visit, when the average temperature is between 24 degrees and 32 degrees.

You’re unlikely to need much beyond the beach, but if you want to explore further there's the Wat Chalong temple, and the Big Buddah statue - positioned to provide an incredible view over the area.

Antigua is a pricier £796 for a room-only deal, but takes the title of the cheapest all-inclusive winter sun destination at £983.

The average temperature is a balmy 25.5 degrees, which is nice for the 365 beaches the island boasts, and yet cool enough for popping into the capital of St Johns for a blast of British colonial architecture, and the lively farmer’s market.

This is one of the warmest winter sun destinations, with daytime highs around 28 degrees in January. 

It’s another destination which makes the list for its all inclusive price - because at the moment you can stay in Montego Bay for a week, for a relatively affordable £949.

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