With prices only increasing and flights being cancelled daily, your perfect summer holiday can feel just out of reach. It can even feel like more hassle than its worth, or a waste of money. But you deserve to have a great summer holiday where you truly relax and enjoy the sunshine. So we’re here to help, with our 10 budget-friendly destinations in the UK.
Spoiler: You won’t need a flight for any of these great destinations, but you might want to hire a campervan for your trip! This will give you the freedom to plan as you go, and never leave the beauty of nature, even to go to sleep. All of that with a comfortable mattress and plenty of storage space. What could be better?
Budget-friendly destinations in England
A Victorian town with a contemporary twist, Southport is relatively inexpensive to visit. It’s perfect for day trips or longer holidays, with plenty of things to do for the whole family. We recommend visiting the Botanical Gardens to see flora and fauna, and a great playground for the kids.
Enjoy a free day out by tackling one of the various walking and cycling trails surrounding Southport. Alternatively, visit one of the many great beaches in Southport, such as Southport beach, Crosby beach or Formby beach.
Another Victorian seafront, Eastbourne also offers plenty of lovely beaches for a seaside day out! Eastbourne is known for delicious pubs and lovely cafes.
You can spend some of your trip exploring the gorgeous South Downs National Park, staying at one of the many campsites in the area. Be sure to visit the Seven Sisters rock formation, which is a true sight to behold.
3. Peak District
During the summer months, many flock to the Lake District or Yorkshire Dales, but we actually prefer visiting the Peak District instead. We recommend bringing your bikes and exploring the Peak District this way, to take in as much as possible.
There are plenty of other activities available as well, including mountaineering and climbing, horse trekking, fishing, canoeing and paddle-boarding, and caving. And, if none of those are your thing, there are sweet rural villages, museums, local breweries, and stately homes to visit instead.
Budget-friendly destinations in Scotland
1. Isle of Arran
Nicknamed ‘Scotland in Miniature’, the Isle of Arran is cheaper than many other popular islands in the UK. It’s a wonder to behold given that it is split into two distinct geographical sides due to the Highland Boundary Fault. You can travel from the mountainous highland north to the green lowland south, and see everything in-between.
Spend your time visiting the many great castles, including Brodick Castle and Lochranza Castle, both of which are stunning. Lace up your walking shoes to embark on the Glenashdale Falls Trail, which takes you to the island’s most striking waterfall. End your day visiting the island’s best distillery, Isle of Arran Distillers.
A resort town within Argyll and Bute, Oban is often overlooked for its small size. It is actually the largest town between Helensburgh and Fort William, and has plenty to see. Explore the Dunollie Museum, Castle and Grounds, as well as McCaig’s Tower. Oban is also renowned for its distilleries, so be sure to park close one night and take a tour - there will be samples!
3. St Andrews
This seaside town on the east coast of Scotland is known primarily for its many golf courses. Go out for a round and then learn more about your favourite sport in the British Golf Museum. While it’s fun to be here for St Andrew’s Day, visiting at a different time will ensure it’s cheaper and less crowded.
While here, walk visit the ruins of St. Andrews Castle with its medieval bottle dungeon. You can then stroll through the esteemed University of St. Andrews, which was founded in 1413 and is walking distance from the castle.
Budget-friendly destinations in Wales
Looking to extend your trip to nearby Snowdonia? Follow a trek up the mountain with a visit to Llandudno. This seaside gem may be historic, but it’s just as lively today as it’s ever been! Be sure to visit the 19th-century Llandudno Pier for some arcade fun, and take a dip in the renowned waters of the North Shore beach.
Explore the ancient tunnels leading to the cavern at Great Orme Mines for a spooky adventure. You can also spend some time outside at Little Orme nature reserve, and make it a scavenger hunt to keep the little ones entertained.
2. The Gower
The Gower Peninsula is loved by birdwatchers, surfers, walkers and more! It’s a stunning region, and was the first place in Britain to be named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty back in 1956. Filled with wild moors, dramatic limestone cliffs, golden beaches and more, Gower is a must-visit in the UK.
While in Gower, why not challenge yourself to a day of coasteering? You can recover from the adrenaline by relaxing at one of Gower’s incredible beaches, such as Rhossili Bay or the secluded Pwll Du.
There’s plenty to do in Gower, like exploring the 1200 archaeological sites present in this AONB, including caves, medieval castles, churches, Iron Age forts and more.
Known as the “gateway to south Wales”, Abergavenny is an excellent budget-friendly destination in Wales. This thriving little market town is filled with cheap things to do.
Explore the Brecon Beacons National Park, which has endless trails, fishing opportunities and places for kayaking or paddle-boarding. Visit the Goytre Wharf, which features a historic canal. Head to Abergavenny Castle and Museum, where you can explore the ruins of this ancient fort, which was founded in 1087 by a Norman lord. We recommend enjoying a picnic on the grounds to further save pennies.
Budget-friendly destinations in Northern Ireland
You might be surprised that such to see such a bustling city on this list of cheap destinations in the UK. But you can make your trip to Belfast budget-friendly by taking advantage of the many free attractions.
You can walk along the murals and wall paintings throughout the city that tell the story of Belfast. The city is filled with opportunities to listen to live music, so step into any pub for a good performance.
Online you can find all of the locations in Belfast used for Game of Thrones, and take your own themed tour. This is a great way to discover more of the city. Foodies will love St George’s Market, which is situated in a gorgeous Victorian building and offers fresh local produce, arts and crafts, live music and more.
2. Giant’s Causeway
Did you know that the famous Giant’s Causeway is free to visit? Honestly one of the most unique sights in the entirety of the UK, Giant’s Causeway contains an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. It is the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption, although others will claim witchcraft was involved.
You can follow your trip to Giant’s Causeway by camping nearby, and visiting Coleraine or Portstewart.
3. Derry / Londonderry
In Derry, it’s easy to entertain yourself and stay on budget by simply exploring the city!
Learn more about Northern Ireland’s political history by joining a walking tour and traversing the 17th-century walls which surround both past years of conflict and present times of local friendliness. Enjoy the thriving local foodie scene and walk across the Peace Bridge, which is lit up at night, and take in the view back over the city. If you’re a fan of the popular show, Derry Girls, you can take a themed tour to visit the best sites used for filming. Walk past the Guildhall to see the huge stained-glass windows adorning this Neo-Gothic red sandstone building.
Now that you know where you’ll go, you can keep your trip budget-friendly by hiring a cheap campervan from Goboony. This combines your accommodation and transport costs and allows you to cook plenty of your own meals.
Check out more tips for a budget-friendly motorhome holiday and get ready to hit the road!