Tourist Information UK

Self Catering

Self catering is where you hire a house, cottage or chalet, usually by the week, and cater for yourself.

The accommodation is fully furnished with the more expensive houses having swimming pools and tennis courts. The UK has thousands of self catering options from seaside apartments to cottages in the mountains. Self catering can provide good value for money if there are lots of people in the travel group, for example a large family. Going self catering also gives you a lot of freedom to come and go as you please and the privacy of having your own retreat.

Self catering is incredibly popular with British tourists in the summer and hotspots like Devon and Cornwall get booked up early in the year. It is therefore advisable to do some research on the type of house you need and the area you would like to visit so that you can book early to avoid disappointment.

When searching for a property you will be given details on how many beds are available, whether there is a cot, smoking or non smoking and if pets are allowed. There are usually three price brackets: low season, medium and peak season. Peak season will be during the English school summer holidays, so from the middle of July to the end of August. Medium season will be half-term schools holidays, Easter and bank holidays. Low season will be during winter and when children are in school. In quieter times, houses are also available for weekend hire and because they do not have as much business you can always try negotiating on the price.

Many cottages are managed by agencies who advertise on the internet or through brochures. They manage the booking, arrange payment and delivery and collection of keys. You may find that you deal with the house owner directly which might offer you a better deal as there is no commission for the agency.

When booking self-catering accommodation you will be asked for a deposit to secure the booking and for the rest of the payment just before your holiday dates or when you arrive. You may be asked for full payment if the booking is at peak times. There may also be a deposit required to cover any damage that is done to the house during your stay. If there are no breakages then the money is returned. Most owners will ask you to check through an inventory (a list of items in the house) so that you both agree what is in the house and what condition it is in before you rent.

Here are some websites that offer self accommodation throughout the UK.