Priced out of posh UK breaks? Swapping St Ives for Wales or the Lakes for the Peaks offers a similar holiday at a fraction of the price

As the cost of living crisis bites and fuel prices hit new highs, families could save thousands by swapping their usual destination for a more budget-friendly alternative.

One way to stretch the budget further is to swap your annual hotel break for a camping alternative closer to home. 

Over Easter, campsite bookings soared 74 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels, as new research suggests this could be the key to affordable summer breaks.

© Provided by This Is Money Families are choosing alternative campsites in the UK to save money on their summer holidays, as research shows holidaymakers could save up to £3,000 on a seven night trip

Outdoor accommodation site, has crunched the numbers to find three alternatives to popular UK holiday destinations, which could cut travel time and save thousands – if you’re willing to go camping rather than stay in a swanky hotel. 

We explain how to get a little extra out of your summer holiday, without cutting back on a relaxing or adventurous break away.

Swap St Ives for… The Gower Peninsula

While the Cornish seaside town has been a favourite for many years, prices have been creeping up steadily – so for savvy holidaymakers it could be worth a look over to Wales for a beautiful yet less costly alternative.

The Gower Peninsula was designated the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK in 1956, and its cliffs, coves, caves and bays rival those of any Cornish seaside town.

© Provided by This Is Money Picturesque: Views of the Gower Peninsula in South Wales, which can be £3,000 cheaper than St Ives for a seven-day camping break for a family of four

There are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby, with Swansea a short drive inland for a day out sightseeing.

And holidaymakers could be save thousands by taking a seven day camping break there rather than a hotel in St Ives. 

A non-electric grass tent, trailer tent or camper van for an adult and three children could cost you as low as £280 for a seven night trip, as opposed to a stay in St Ives, where a hotel can typically cost £3,000 or more.

© Provided by This Is Money A camping trip in South Wales could be far cheaper than a hotel in Cornwall

A camping trip to Wales could save £3,000 on your summer holiday

Start Destination Return petrol 7 night stay Total
London St Ives £108 £3,325 (hotel) £3,433
London Gower Peninsula £75 £280 (camping) £355
Birmingham St Ives £106 £3,325 (hotel) £3,431
Birmingham Gower Peninsula £59 £280 (camping) £339
Manchester St Ives £137 £3,325 (hotel) £3,462
Manchester Gower Peninsula £74 £280 (camping) £354
Newcastle St Ives £168 £3,325 (hotel) £3,493
Newcastle Gower Peninsula £136 £280 (camping) £416

Swap North Norfolk for… Rutland

North Norfolk has always been popular for its coastline, food and rural charm, but heading inland to one of Europe’s biggest man-made lakes could give families so much more for their money.

Rutland may be England’s smallest county but this hidden gem boasts Rutland Water which is a haven for wildlife and water sports. 

It is proud of its reputation as the ‘county of good taste’ and has pretty stone villages reminiscent of the Cotswolds. 

© Provided by This Is Money Camping in Rutland is not only a shorter drive for the majority of holidaymakers, but it could also save you nearly £3,400 on travel and accommodation

Even better, a non-electric grass tent pitch for two adults and two children costs only £295 for seven nights, compared to a typical stay at a hotel costing nearly £3,500.

Uppingham also boasts plenty of art shops, fashion boutiques, bistros and a Friday market, while nearby Hambleton Hall has had a Michelin-Star since 1982.

© Provided by This Is Money Pictured: Normanton Church in West Yorkshire, a short drive from Rutland. Credit Tracy Bullen

A camping trip to Rutland could save £3,400 on your summer holiday

Start Destination Return petrol 7 night stay Total
London North Norfolk £49 £3,400 (hotel) £3,449
London Rutland £38 £295 (camping) £333
Birmingham North Norfolk £56 £3,400 (hotel) £3,456
Birmingham Rutland £26 £295 (camping) £321
Manchester North Norfolk £66 £3,400 (hotel) £3,466
Manchester Rutland £48 £295 (camping) £343
Newcastle North Norfolk £92 £3,400 (hotel) £3,492
Newcastle Rutland £76 £295 (camping) £371

Swap the Lake District for… the Peak District

The Lakes are a perennial favourite for outdoorsy types, but can be a very long way to drive for a lot of families, and prices are rising fast. 

Instead, why not get your fill of hill walking and outdoor leisure pursuits closer to home at the beautiful and accessible Peak District. 

© Provided by This Is Money Pictured: Popular walking trails near Beltonville Farm in the Peak District

The Monsal Trail – a popular disused railway line transformed into a pretty path – is the perfect place for long dog walks and family trips out, and is only a 15-minute drive to quaint Buxton and quiet Bakewell. 

There is a farm shop for fresh produce, fire pits for hire, toilets and a shower and a washing–up area, with several pubs for those looking for a bite to eat.

© Provided by This Is Money Camping in the peak district can give you the same impressive views as the Lake District but for a fraction of a cost, as accommodation works out over £2,000 cheaper for seven nights

Your accommodation could also prove to be a bargain, as a non-electric grass tent pitch for a family of four for seven nights comes out at £140, where as a dog-friendly family room in Grasmere typically costs £2,800.

A camping trip in the Peak District could save £2,750 on your summer holiday 

Start Destination Return petrol 7 night stay Total
London Lake District £110 £2,844 (hotel) £2,954
London Peak District £64 £140 (camping) £204
Birmingham Lake District £63 £2,844 (hotel) £2,907
Birmingham Peak District £78 £140 (camping) £218
Manchester Lake District £36 £2,844 (hotel) £2,880
Manchester Peak District £12 £140 (camping) £152
Newcastle Lake District £34 £2,844 (hotel) £2,878
Newcastle Peak District £60 £140 (camping) £200

Dan Yates, founder of, says that amid the cost pressures faced by families this year, camping holidays are seeing strong growth.

He said: ‘Last year our business almost doubled as people leapt at the chance to meet up with families and friends while enjoying the great outdoors. 

‘We are already seeing around another 30 per cent rise from that this year.’

The current average lead time for Brits booking outdoor trips is about three months ahead of arrival, but Yates suggests booking earlier to get a bargain.

‘It’s a tricky time for some of our campsites who are being affected by rising fuel prices: they’ve sold electric pitches at a certain price but now the cost of delivery is likely to be higher which is obviously going to have an impact on profit.

‘Given changing fuel prices at the moment it actually works in favour of the holidaymaker to book as far ahead as possible. 

‘They are inadvertently hedging to offset the risk of any adverse price movements and with fuel prices steadily climbing, booking now could actually end up saving a significant amount of money.’