Christmas, Easter and the summer months are undoubtedly the most popular months for a holiday. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best time for a break – higher prices and crowded attractions are major drawbacks for a start. Booking an off-season holiday on the other hand comes with lots of advantages and with some careful research has the makings of a holiday to remember.
The off-season period takes in the months from November to March excluding Christmas. This time of year is quieter, cheaper and surprisingly varied. So, whether you’re planning a break to chase away the November blues or need a breather after the New Year celebrations, here’s why it’s worth booking a holiday off-season.
1. Off-season holiday bargains
The top reason for booking outside peak holiday season comes in the savings. Not only do accommodation and travel rates plummet during off-season, but you can tap into special offers and discounts.
The difference between rates for self-catering accommodation during different seasons can reach as much as 50%. The same applies to flights and rail fares. Just booking a few weeks earlier or later can make a huge difference to the overall price of your holiday.
Holiday let owners are keen to fill in their booking calendar outside peak season and often offer special rates or discounts. During the quieter times of year owners are also more receptive to short stays – say 3 or 4 days – rather than specifying a minimum of 7 days. You can therefore get away for less and more often!
2. More choice when you book off-season
Booking to stay at a holiday let during high season is often a frustrating process as you discover that the best properties are already booked or, worse case scenario, there’s nothing available at all. At off-peak times, on the other hand, the world of holiday lets can be your oyster. That ocean view retreat or secluded woodland castle are suddenly available and at a time to suit you.
3. More of everything to yourself
Outside the Christmas, Easter and summer periods, even the busiest tourist areas are quieter. Traffic is just local making travelling quicker and easier – no need to allow extra time to get somewhere. Visitor numbers drop for popular sites meaning that you don’t have to queue to get in and then you can enjoy the attraction without the crowds. Imagine that gorgeous beach possibly all to yourself or as many rides as you fancy at that theme park. The best restaurants have more availability and you’ll probably be able to get a last-minute table, a definite no-no in high season.
But booking an off-season holiday requires some thought and you need to choose your destination carefully. In some popular tourist spots, establishments such as restaurants and shop close once the main holiday season is over. Opening hours at the main attractions may also be reduced. But you’ll still have all the natural attractions – beaches, woodlands, mountains and moors – open and waiting for you!
4. Best for seasonal activities
Booking a holiday outside high season also brings the opportunity to make the most of seasonal activities. And even in the depths of winter, you’ll be surprised at the variety.
In Scotland and Northern England, you can take a snowy break – ski, snowshoe, climb ice walls or walk the snow-capped hills or fells. Cold weather wildlife is unique and you’ll have the chance to see seasonal visitors such as redwings, waxwings and even short-eared owls. Scottish winter fauna includes red deer (easier to spot in wintry landscapes), ptarmigans (the white grouse are a challenge to see against the snow) and sea eagles.
Winter brings a good choice of festivals too. Scotland celebrates one of its biggest annual festivities with Burn’s Night on 25 January. If you’re a music fan, Glasgow’s Celtic Connections in January and February provides the chance to hear some of the world’s top Celtic musicians.
You’ll also find beaches open for dogs making off-season holidays perfect for family pets. And the cooler weather gives you the perfect excuse to light the fire and enjoy cosy evening after evening next to the flames.
But perhaps a winter holiday booking provides the most magnificent marvel of them all – the magical Northern Lights. You can go Aurora Hunting at lots of locations in North East England and Scotland, and even Edinburgh occasionally plays host to this truly spell-binding natural light show. You can see them only from October to March making a compelling case for booking an off-season holiday
If the idea of booking an off-season holiday and getting away with a group of you appeals, why not take a look at our collection of holiday lets sleeping 10+? Make this the year you enjoy the perfect UK group getaway!