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Our guide to the 10 cheapest holiday destinations in the UK can help you enjoy an affordable break on a budget, without comprimising on quality.

We surveyed 2,000 UK holidaymakers on affordable staycations and the results have been fascinating. Coastal resorts and cities came out on top, scoring especially high for economical transport, dining options and accommodation.

We found that despite the cost-of-living crisis, nearly two thirds (64%) of these UK adults will not let the economic situation stop them from having a great holiday. In fact, one in four (27%) are more likely to go on a staycation this year!

But who can really blame them when there is much to love about going on staycations? Throughout the UK we are spoilt for choice when it comes to a diverse range of landscapes, activities, and history to enjoy, offering multiple opportunities to create lifelong memories for all groups of travellers, no matter what your budget is.

– Graham Donoghue, CEO, Sykes Holiday Cottages

Keep reading to discover the top 10 cheap places to go on holiday in the UK…

10. York, North Yorkshire

Aerial view of York Minster, in York on a pleasant day

Coming in tenth place in our guide to cheap UK holiday destinations is the historic city of York. A must-visit location if you love all things architecture and history, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number of free activities here.

One of the most popular things to do here is visit the award-winning National Railway Museum. This free attraction is a must for any itinerary, with ever-changing exhibitions, Road Train rides and the star artefact, Mallard: The World’s Fastest Steam Locomotive.

Another free activity to add to your holiday schedule is embarking on a tour of York Minster. The iconic cathedral is packed with amazing sights, from its medieval stained-glass windows to its 2,000-year-old artefacts tucked away in its underground museum.

Find even more budget-friendly activities by browsing our Things to Do in York Guide.

Accommodation recommendationsHoliday Cottage Icon

Dining options for under £10Restaurant

  • Shambles Kitchen – Famously good sandwich shop; meats smoked daily and bread arrives fresh every morning from Haxby Bakery | The Harry Trotter (pulled pork) £7.70, Kids ham and cheese full size £5.40, small wraps £5.00
  • The Taylor Made Kitchen– American-style food truck serving restaurant quality food | Buffalo burgers from £7.50, loaded nachos £6.50
  • Rise – Easy-going brunch for stress free get-togethers | Poached eggs and avocado £8.00, lemon meringue French toast £9.00, loose leaf English breakfast tea £2.90
  • Yuzu Street Food – Asian inspired fusion dishes | Korean fried chicken £8.50, vegetable Tyoza £6.50

9. Whitby, North Yorkshire

Boat sails across Whitby Harbour with the ruined Whitby Abbey in background

Another holidaymaker favourite when it comes to cheap places to visit in the UK, Whitby‘s a real coastal gem! Here, you can enjoy a cost-effective seaside stay, thanks to the town’s handful of budget-friendly activities and dining options.

The first thing we recommend doing when staying here is soaking up the sun and sand at Whitby Beach. This Blue Flag beach is ideal for any occasion, with lifeguard cover, a lack of dog restrictions and beach hut hire.

After visiting the beach, make your way up the 199 Steps, where you’ll come across St Mary’s Church resting halfway. Another free attraction here, the church enjoys a steep history, dating back to the Norman times and influencing a scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Alternatively, give the steps a miss and spend the afternoon exploring Whitby Harbour or Pannett Park. Discover more attractions by reading our Things to Do in Whitby Guide.

Accommodation recommendationsHoliday Cottage Icon

Dining options in the area for under £10Restaurant

  • Abbey Wharf – Serves seafood, steaks and salads, as well as a selection of world beers at the bar | Tiger Prawns £9.95, fishcake £7.95.
  • The Board Inn – Traditional pub with a friendly atmosphere, near the 199 steps | Homemade soup of the day £4.95, battered sweet and sour chicken £9.95, jacket potato £5.95.
  • Humble Pie N Mash – Restored sixteenth century shop serving traditional British food ‘Just like mother used to make’ | All pie meals £5.99
  • Albert’s Eatery – Local produce and traditional food | Fish Banjo £8.50, Smoked Haddock Fishcakes £8.95.

8. Morecambe, Lancashire

An overcast Morecambe Bay in Lancashire with sandy shores on the right and sea to the left, rocks in the foreground

Another seaside delight on this guide to cheap UK holidays for 2023, Morecambe offers ample free things to do along the Fylde coast. In fact, 11% of participants believe it is an affordable spot for booking activities in the UK.

This is a great holiday destination for a family-friendly break, with several free attractions suitable for all ages! Happy Mount Park, the Stone Jetty and the Festival Market are bound to be a hit with all the family.

Morecambe’s promenade is not only free to visit but offers sweeping views of the bay and the picturesque Lakeland mountains. After admiring the sights, why not venture down to the dog-friendly beach?

Accommodation recommendationsHoliday Cottage Icon

Dining options in the area for under £10Restaurant

  • Atkinson’s Fish and Chips – Two restaurants in Morecambe; dine-in and takeaway options | Fish and chips from £9.40, burgers from £3.40
  • The Stone Jetty Café – Steeped in history, the Stone Jetty café offers lovely views across Morecambe Bay | Sandwiches from £3.00, cakes and treats from £1.50
  • The Lighthouse Café – Located on Morecambe’s seafront opposite the Eric Morecambe statue | Breakfast tortilla £6.40, homemade Middle Eastern Burger £4.95
  • The William Mitchell – Local pub with live sport and classic British meals | Jacket potato £4.99, hot beef baguette £7.49.

7. Newcastle, Northumberland

Gateshead Millennium Bridge and Tyne Bridge over the River Tyne in Newcastle

Hailed for its nightlife, Newcastle is a fantastic city to add to this ranking of the cheap places to go on holiday in the UK when you’re on a budget. With a vibrant entertainment scene, an abundance of culture and free things to do, a memorable yet economical visit can easily be had here.

The most budget-friendly area for an evening out in Newcastle is Monument. Nitehawks, Banyan and Pleased to Meet You are a few favourites when it comes to great deals and value drinks.

When it comes to days out, there are a wealth of free attractions here! If you want to learn something new, we recommend heading to The Discovery Museum, where museum trails, scientific collections and an array of events await.

Fancy a great photo opportunity? Make your way up to Tyne Bridge, Newcastle’s iconic landmark that spans 389 metres! Standing at 59 metres tall, you will get a superb view of the Newcastle City Marina and the surrounding rooftops.

Uncover more activities and attractions in and around Newcastle by checking out our Northumberland Things to Do Guide.

Accommodation recommendationsHoliday Cottage Icon

Dining options in the area for under £10Restaurant

  • Shijo – Japanese Street Food café serving fresh hot and cold food | Japanese Miso Broth Noodle Soup £5.90, Special DonBuri £6.40
  • Zapatista Burrito Bar – Fresh authentic tacos, burritos and nachos | Chilli & Rice £6.80. Burrito fillings from £6.70, jalapeno poppers £5.50
  • Redhouse -Traditional pie and real ales at the heart of Newcastle Ouayside | Pies and ale £10.95
  • Zucchini Pasta Bar – Signature fresh pasta made daily on site. Dishes start at £8.50. Sides £4.

6. Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Aerial view of Scarborough harbour town, with blue skies and blue shores

Another charming town along the North Yorkshire coast, Scarborough enjoys sixth position on our cheap UK holiday destinations guide. Boasting some of the best holiday parks in the UK nearby and a range of vibrant activities that are free and/or budget-friendly, it’s a fabulous addition to this list.

A visit to one of Scarborough’s beaches is a must. If you choose to spend the day at North Bay Beach, you can look forward to watersports opportunities along with a lack of dog restrictions (between 1 May – 30 September). Or head to South Bay Beach, where you can enjoy great facilities, Scarborough’s promenade and views of the harbour.

If you want to embark on a stroll, you can enjoy an easy walk through Peasholm Park, where charming scenery, a boating lake and cafés await. Fancy a longer hike? Spend the day following the 21.7-mile Scarborough to Whitby Rail Trail.

Find more points of interest by browsing our Things to Do in Scarborough Guide.

Accommodation recommendationsHoliday Cottage Icon

  • Sunny Bay (Ref. 920954) | The Bay near Filey, North York Moors and Coast | Sleeps two guests with one bedroom and one bathroom

Dining options in the area for under £10Restaurant

  • The Mayfield – English, family-friendly pub | Lunch bites from £7.95, desserts £5.50
  • The Yew Tree – Friendly and relaxed café and Bistro in the village of Scalby | Soup of the day £5.50, brunch from £7.50
  • Poachers Barn – Family-friendly pub with a homely atmosphere | Bang on burgers from £8.70, Super salads £8.80, Hunter’s chicken £8.45
  • Seafood Social – Cod, prawn and chorizo croquetas £5.00, posh fish fingers and chips (adult size) £5.00

Continue reading to discover the top spot in our guide to cheap places, and get ready for a quiz at the end…

5. Skegness, Lincolnshire

Skegness Beachfront

The seaside resort of Skegness is another great location to add to this guide and makes for a great place for an affordable holiday. With so much to do here, you’ll rarely be bored at this cheap UK holiday destination.

Skegness prides itself the most on its pier. It’s free to enter, hosts a variety of attractions and offers amazing views at the end. On a sunny day, why not settle down on a bench and soak up the panoramas?

Afterwards, make your way down to the award-winning sands of Skegness Beach. Or delve into nature during an exploration of the Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve, a three-mile expanse of marshes and dunes.

Accommodation recommendationsHoliday Cottage Icon

Dining options in the area for under £10Restaurant

  • San Rufo’s Italian – Family-friendly restaurant; takeaway menu also available | Pasta dishes from £8.20, garlic breads from £3.90, pizza from £7.90
  • House of Coffee – Breakfast options from £4.50, sandwiches from £3.25
  • Raff55 – Relaxed atmosphere and great value | All you can eat breakfast £5.95
  • The Jolly Fisherman – Burger and a drink from £9.29

4. Brighton, East Sussex

Brighton Palace Pier boardwalk with rides and amusements in the near distance and the sea on the right, blue skies overhead.

An exciting addition to our guide, the thriving and vibrant city of Brighton contains a host of free and affordable things to try!

If a scenic walk is on the agenda, you’ll be delighted to know that Brighton is home to a wealth of notable areas and streets to explore. Kemptown, Brighton’s LGBT hub, is bursting with culture, whilst North Laine is filled with colourful architecture and a bohemian vibe. Alternatively, step away from the hustle and bustle and wander along the coastal trail of the Undercliff Walk.

Afterwards, why not rest your legs at Brighton Beach? Or spend some time in the greenery of Preston or Stanmer Park with a picnic. Brighton Palace Pier is also worth visiting, with activities available for all the family, including an arcade, side shows and soft play areas.

If you have an interest in science and history, we recommend wandering through The Booth Museum. Get ready to be intrigued by the unusual displays here, from bones to butterflies!

Accommodation recommendationsHoliday Cottage Icon

Dining options in the area for under £10Restaurant

  • Nostos – Authentic, wholesome Greek food made with local ingredients | Wraps from £7.50. Small plates from £6.00
  • Patterns – Brighton’s underground cub culture and small live music venue | £5 pizzas on Fridays
  • Dead Wax Social – Live DJs, decked out pizza, Bring Your Own Vinyl nights | Pizzas from £7.50
  • The Breakfast Club – Boozy brunches, drag disco and delicious food and drink | Breakfast specials available until 12pm. Prices start at £7.50
  • Post House Café – Sharing and small plates £7.50 | Plant based options from £5.00
  • Egg & Spoon – Dine in and takeaway options. Breakfast, brunch and lunch | Halloumi and slow roast tomato £7.50. Cuban sandwich £9.25

3. Liverpool, Merseyside

Liverpool Albert Dock Waterfront with the Royal Liver Building in background

Enjoying third place on this list is the North West England city of Liverpool! This is a cheap UK holiday destination when you can look forward to unlocking a plethora of experiences at little to no cost.

No visit to the city is complete without a trip to the docks! Here, you’ll come across a range of free-to-visit museums, such as the Museum of Liverpool, Open Eye Gallery and Tate Liverpool.

After uncovering the fascinating exhibits at these museums, be sure to embark on a walk along the River Mersey, where you can soak up the sights of the Wirral, including New Brighton Beach. Alternatively, step away from the water and relish a peaceful sit down in the architectural delight of the Central Library.

When night falls, throw yourself into Liverpool’s nightlife by experiencing some of the bars offering free entry. These include Baa Bar, Revolution and Moloko.

Accommodation recommendationsHoliday Cottage Icon

  • Mayfair (Ref. 1083762) | Billinge, Peak District and Derbyshire Dales | Sleeps four guests with two bedrooms and one bathroom

Dining options in the area for under £10Restaurant

  • Duke Street Food & Drink Market – Independent restaurants serving a variety of cuisine in the Heart of Liverpool | Brunch menu prices start at £6.00
  • Smoke & Dough – The essence of this restaurant is sharing food with family and friends over bespoke lava coal fire pits | Pizzas from £6.99, burgers from £9.99
  • Bakchich – Lebanese & Moroccan kitchen on Bold Street | Hot mezze from £6.00, Shawarma wraps from £7.00
  • Rudy’s Pizza Napoletana – Relaxed neighbourhood pizzeria | Starters and sharers from £4.50, pizza from £6.50

2. Cardiff, Glamorgan

Cardiff Bay with Millennium Centre in background

Cardiff has been voted the cheapest city to visit in the UK, and not only boasts a fascinating culture, but is home to several free activities, making it one of the best UK city breaks. One of these free things to do includes St Fagans National Museum of History, which is situated within a 16th-century house and filled with artefacts, events and workshops.

Another free, interactive day out can be enjoyed at The Pierhead Building. Here, you can learn about Cardiff Bay’s fascinating history, including the bay’s economic and cultural impact on South Wales.

A must-visit spot in this cheap UK holiday destination is Cardiff Market. This Victorian shopping spot rests in the heart of the city and is perfect for whiling away the day in a lively atmosphere. Flower stalls, bakeries and bookshops are just a few of the places you can browse here.

Want to find out more you can get up to in Cardiff and the wider area? Check out our comprehensive Wales Travel Guide for inspiration.

Accommodation recommendationsHoliday Cottage Icon

Dining options in the area for under £10Restaurant

  • Crumbs Kitchen – Fresh vegan and vegetarian dishes for breakfast and lunch | Homemade soups £3.95, jacket potatoes from £3.10. Desserts from £1.85
  • The Coconut Tree – Sri Lankan cuisine with dine-in a takeaway options | Meats and fish dishes from £7.00. Vegan dishes from £4.00, sides £3.00
  • Tukka Tuk – Indian street food at Cardiff Market | Feel good vegetable curry £8.00, Bombay fries £4.00

1. Blackpool, Lancashire

Close up of Blackpool Tower with city to the left and sea to the right on a cloudy day

Savouring the top spot in our guide is the bustling resort of Blackpool! Hailed as the cheapest holiday destination in the UK by our surveyed holidaymakers, with 36% saying it offers the best value accommodation, 25% stating it offers affordable dining options and 21% believing it offers the most budget-friendly attractions.

One of the best things to do here is venture along the three vibrant piers that don the coast. A wealth of entertainment awaits here, from arcades to fairground rides. A great aspect of these piers is that they all enjoy access to the far-reaching shore of Blackpool Beach; why not wander down to its sands for an afternoon of fun?

Another free attraction you’ll love here is The Comedy Carpet. One of the biggest pieces of public art commissioned in the UK, you’re certain to get a giggle from its plethora of jokes, catchphrases and songs.

The stunning Stanley Park is another free place to add to your itinerary here; with 390 acres of land to explore, you’re bound to be enthralled by its variety of recreational facilities and architecture. The skate park, Italian gardens and adventure playground make this a great cheap family day out!

Blackpool is an iconic British holiday destination. Not only does it encapsulate the best of a quintessential seaside staycation, but it also offers great value for money.

– Graham Donoghue, CEO, Sykes Holiday Cottages

Accommodation recommendationsHoliday Cottage Icon

  • Deekswood (Ref. 904025) | Piling near Blackpool, Cumbria and The Lake District (904025) | Sleeps two guests with one bedroom and one bathroom
  • Foxes Den (Ref. 968777) | Thornton, Cumbria and The Lake District | Sleeps four guests with two bedrooms and one bathroom
  • Willow Cottage (Ref. 1074326) | Sabden, Cumbria and The Lake District | Sleeps four guests with two bedrooms and one bathroom

Dining options in the area for under £10Restaurant

  • The No 10 Ale House – Blackpool’s first micro-pub serving Thai cuisine and British pub classics | Beef Thai curry £9.45, Homemade steak and ale pie £9.95, desserts £5.25.
  • The Sea Fish & Chips – Traditional F&Cs cooked fresh to order | Large crispy cod with lemon and parsley £6.30, Salt & Pepper squid £4.95
  • JK’s Café and Grill – Family-friendly café serving traditional favourites | Homemade beef lasagne £9.45, Scampi with chunky chips £8.95
  • Ambrosinis – Italian restaurant and takeaway | Pizzas from £8.95. Garlic breads from £3.95

Now to test your knowledge…

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Are you inspired by this guide on affordable holiday UK breaks? Secure your next getaway by browsing these Sykes Cottages discount codes and special offer cottages. Or uncover even more types of holidays by reading our guide on the top 10 UK holiday destinations for 2023.

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