Great Britain on a Budget - Finding Good Quality and Good Value Accommodation
No matter whether you are looking to stay in one place when visiting Britain, or you are planning to travel around when you are here, you will need a place to stay. There are a number of different options available, from hostels and budget cheap hotels to holiday cottages or luxury hotels. The options are similar whether you are going to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, though these can be a bit cheaper than English accommodation.
One of the cheapest options is to stay in a hostel. The biggest provider of hostels in the UK is the YHA (Youth Hostel Association). The website address:
Despite the name, anyone can stay in their hostels, it is not limited to young people. Prices are often from £15 per person and might be either in a shared room, or you can pay extra for a separate room. You can join the international YHA, and this gives you slightly cheaper room (£3 per day supplement for non-members), but you can stay if you aren't a member. Hostels are more often than not in more rural out of town locations, but there are lots in towns and cities too.
Cheap Hotels UK
There are a number of very good budget hotel chains in the UK, offering cheap private accommodation. As well as separate rooms these almost always have separate bathroom facilities, television and tv/coffee maker in the room and other amenities too. These can often be as cheap if not cheaper than hostels if there is more of one of you staying together. Some budget hotel companies only offer rooms through their own website, and even where they offer rooms through third party websites, their own sites are often cheaper. It is also beneficial to book in advance rather than turning up on the day as you will get a better price. If you book more than three weeks in advance you often get a better rate too.
Here are the best nationwide budget hotel chains:
Travelodge - Possibly the most budget of the budget chains, rooms are available from £19 per night if you book at least 3 weeks in advance. Despite being cheap, you get private bathroom facilities, tea/coffee making facilities and usually a desk in the room. Breakfast is not included and there is often not a restaurant where you can buy breakfast or other meals.
Premier Inn - Rooms available from £29 per night. All the amenities of a travelodge, but rooms a bit more comfortable and less sparse. Breakfast not included usually, but there's often a pub or restaurant either in the hotel or next door (and their website details amenities on it for each hotel).
Holiday Inn Express - Not strictly a budget chain, but it is the budget end of the Holiday Inn chain. Good private/room facilities, rooms available from £39 per night and breakfast is included (and very nice it is too).
Other budget chains worth considering include the Campanile and Ibis.
More UK Hotels
There are many decent hotel chains, as well as many great independent hotels. Popular premium chains include Hilton, Crowne Plaza, Malmaison, Ramada Jarvis and Thistle. As well as included breakfast there is usually excellent facilities and sometimes a health club and swimming pool.
You can either book through the hotel's own website, or through one of the many hotel websites. Unlike budget hotels, you can often get a better deal by going through a third party website. Some of the best are:
http://www.hotels.com - one of the world's biggest hotel chains.
http://www.lastminute.com - Lots of great deals on hotels, plus spa breaks, theatre/meal/hotel combo's and loads more. They also have 'Top Secret' deals where they tell you details (including star rating) and rough location of the hotel, but not the name of the hotel. You can often get a top hotel for much less than you otherwise would, and sometimes you can find out which hotel it is with a bit of detective work on google.
http://www.tripadvisor.com - Search for hotels, read reviews, see the top rated hotels in any given place, and book them too, all from the one website. I check out all hotels, B&Bs etc. on Tripadvisor before booking.
Bed & Breakfast / Guest Houses in the UK
B&B's, or guest houses as they are sometimes known, are small independent venues offering hotel style accommodation. These are usually family run and usually have up to 10 private rooms. As their name suggests, they usually include breakfast and may offer other meals, snacks and drinks too. Typically they are a comparable price to mid-range hotels but the best ones offer much better service and the friendly touch. As with hotels, you can search for and read reviews of B&Bs on Trip Advisor. I tend to use Tripadvisor to search for hotels, then visit the B&B's own website to book. Alternatively you could try Smoothhound, or use the accommodation finder at EnjoyEngland.com
There are a plethora of websites out there to book holiday cottages but the following are some of the best.
http://www.cottages4you.co.uk/ - the biggest holiday cottage booking website in Britain, with hundreds of holiday homes in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. For great deals it is best to book as close to the date of travel as you can.
http://www.discoverscotland.net/ - An excellent website for booking holiday cottages in Scotland, with hundreds to choose from. Some are in cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow, but most are in the small towns and villages and even more rural locations.
http://www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk/ - Book holiday cottages on National Trust estates. These are often in country parks or the grounds of stately homes (and even some apartments in stately homes and other historic buildings).
http://www.sykescottages.co.uk/ - A great range of cottages throughout the whole of the UK. Typically a little cheaper overall.
Finally...Stay in a Castle!
England, Scotland and Wales, have hundreds of castles, some of which have been modernised and offer hotel accommodation and restaurant facilities. There is really something special about staying in a castle. Search and book at CelticCastles.com
My British Travel Articles
Advice for Visitors
How to Get Around in Britain - An article about driving in the UK as well as bus, train and air travel, including the best websites to use to plan your trip.
Booking holiday accommodation in Britain - A look at the different types of accommodation you can book in the UK, including B&B's, budget hotels, hostels and cottages.
What Maps to Buy - All about maps in the UK, from road atlases to Ordnance Survey walking maps.
Britain - What to See and Do
Visit Britain - Where to Go, What to See - A brief look at some at the best things to see and do while you are in the UK.