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Avoid UK hotels this summer with our alternative accommodation guide

There's a lot to see in the UK - here are some of the ways you can do it best
There's a lot to see in the UK - here are some of the ways you can do it best   -   Copyright  Getty via Canva
By Sarah Palmer

Hotels have always been a popular choice when it comes to practical and affordable holiday accommodation. But as people grow keener than ever to avoid the crowds - and up to two-week-long quarantines - many are looking for an alternative option.

The UK has just announced it’s welcoming more international visitors in summer 2021.

Here, we take a look at some of the best accommodations out there for people who want to avoid the crowds and explore the country in a different way.

Get outdoors and go glamping

While the UK isn’t especially renowned for its ideal camping weather, glamping provides hardy holidaymakers with a little extra protection from the storm (or sun, if you’re lucky).

Many of the UK’s most popular glamping sites come with an eco-twist and some stunning views too. Here are a few of our favourites.

Bed down in Bedale: Camp Katur, Yorkshire

This off-grid Yorkshire site is in Bedale, at the gateway to the Yorkshire Moors.

It offers three different options for guests: The Meadow’s back to nature yurt vibe, Hill Farm’s stargazing geodomes and Chestnut Hill’s luxury geodomes.

Visit the website for more.

Fun in the forest: Eco retreats, Powys

Deep in the heart of the Welsh forestland, this eco-friendly retreat wants to bring visitors back to Earth.

A WiFi-free zone and set away from the stresses of day-to-day life, cozy yurts spread across meadows and along river banks, all based in the grounds of a working, organic farm.

Find out more.

Eco Retreats
Luxury camping in WalesEco Retreats

A sea view: Skye Eco Bells, Isle of Skye

These island log cabins in Dunvegan are just 11 kilometres from the beach and offer stunning views across the rugged highland scenery and the surrounding waters.

Another site which prides itself on an eco ethos, the tents are furnished with recycled and upcycled furniture and come with all duvets and cosy bedding and throws. There’s even a fire pit.

Check it out here.

Rest and recuperate in a private holiday home

If you fancy a slightly bougier getaway, hiring your own private holiday home comes with an elevated price bracket in exchange for all of the home comforts.

Lots of the places available on sites ranging from Airbnb to Plum Guide and Canopy and Stars claim some of the UK’s most stunning properties, old and new.

Here are some we’ve found to whet your appetite.

Live like a lord: Antarctic Manor, Somerset

This award-winning manor house comes with a pool, impressive gardens, eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms, plenty of space to socialise and access to some of Bath’s finest days out.

It’s a pricey one, but how else are you going to splash all the money you’ve saved by not travelling at all in the past 15 months?

Full details on Plum Guide.

Plum Guide
Antarctic Manor in SomersetPlum Guide

Right on the seafront: Driftwood Deluxe, Devon

A seaside hideaway perfect for anyone who loves the UK’s south coast.

This property’s floor to ceiling window design makes for some incredible views and soft natural light which takes guests from morning to night.

More here.

In the middle of nowhere: Southcombe Piggery, Devon

The Piggery is a unique stay in the heart of the Devonshire countryside.

This reclaimed Bothy is a new addition to Canopy and Star’s property portfolio, so it remains relatively free for much of August.

The design enables visitors to live as wild as they choose, and the foodies will love the welcome hamper packed with locally made tiffin, hot chocolate and access to a private chef during your stay.

Find out everything you need to know here.

Canopy and Stars
Southcombe Piggery has just opened for businessCanopy and Stars

Something smaller in Scarborough: The Sands, Yorkshire

If you’re looking for a seaside break without the upkeep that comes along with a whole house, The Sands apartments in Scarborough are a luxury, compact development with unparalleled views across the sea and town.

Find out more here.

Swap your home with a local

Home swapping websites are growing in popularity as people strive for a more sustainable way of holidaying.

If you’re a UK national looking to travel domestically and save on the prices associated with straight-up renting elsewhere, this could be the ideal solution.

If you’re an international citizen looking to trade your home with a Brit, we would advise waiting on this more precarious property option until the UK’s ever-changing rules have settled.

Holiday Swap

British-born website Holiday Swap has spearheaded much of the home swapping trend on a global level.

With Holiday Swap, you’re literally trading places with another household for the same running costs that you foot with every bill, plus a little extra to the platform you’re registered with.

In the case of Holiday Swap, that’s less than a euro, per person, per night.

Visit the site to find out more about the properties on offer.

Sleep under the stars with some old school camping

The UK’s countryside is dotted with campsites, which usually offer reasonable ground rent prices and proximity to well-known sites. For example Malham Cove, one of the UK’s northern wonders, has a campsite right at its base.

Camping is ideal for a slightly cheaper escape - especially if you’re into your outdoors and cooking over an open fire.

Check out websites like UKcampsite and campsites.co.uk to see what’s available.

Canopy and Stars has just launched a new initiative ahead of the summer season called Camp Out.

This pop-up event is taking place in some of the UK’s most popular destinations, with good quality tents provided. Each location will have its own look and feel depending on your host, but they all come with free cocktails on arrival.

Canopy and Stars
Camp Out by Canopy and StarsCanopy and Stars

Rent your own road trip with these campervan companies

Road trips are undoubtedly on the rise as we step into our post-pandemic world. Getting off the beaten track in complete isolation has become very appealing - especially as concerns around the Delta variant’s prevalence in the UK continue to rise.

Camplify is home to thousands of vans, connecting real van owners to holidaymakers. We also like Bunk Campers, which operates in both the UK and Ireland and is currently advertising some late availability slots.

If all else fails…

There’s no shying away from the fact that a lot of Britain is fully booked this summer, with people desperate to get away. Sites like LastMinute.com are really helpful for anyone struggling to find somewhere to stay.