Ideas for everyday living

Six budget-friendly UK getaways for your holiday bucket list

From hiking to culture crawls, you can find a low-cost staycation for your next break.

With international travel a greater luxury than ever, it’s the perfect time to discover the treasures right on our doorsteps. Get these low-cost ideas in the diary for when the weather warms up.

Get your cultural fix in Liverpool

Liverpool is one of the best-value weekend breaks in the UK. It’s the birthplace of The Beatles, for a start, so be sure to book yourself onto a free walking tour or check out famous sites such as Strawberry Field and the Cavern Club for yourself. If it’s more modern pop music you’re after, Liverpool will be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in May.

Tip: the city boasts several free museums, such as Tate Liverpool and Liverpool World Museum, so you can soak up the local culture without spending a penny.

Search for fossils in Dorset

From beautiful beaches to charming seaside towns and villages, the dramatic Jurassic Coast offers loads to do for all the family, and one of the best (and free!) activities to do is fossil hunting. Lyme Regis – and specifically the stretch of beach between Lyme Regis and Charmouth – is one of the best parts of the coast to explore if you’re looking to find a souvenir from your trip.

Accommodation-wise, Lyme Regis has a number of lovely and affordable caravan parks and B&Bs to stay in, or there are some fantastic low-cost campsites along the Jurassic Coast with breathtaking views. Keen runners and walkers should check out the Jurassic Coast 100 in June – a gruelling yet beautiful 100km walk or run along Dorset’s iconic coastline.

Soak up some nature in the Lake District

Whether it’s hiking the mountains and fells of Cumbria or kayaking and paddleboarding on Lake Windermere, the Lake District is brimming with things to do that are either free or cost little. There can be a lot of ground to cover (literally) in a short amount of time, so why not hop on a Stagecoach bus (unlimited daily travel from £9.50) to rest while you take in the spectacular views?

If it’s a party you’re after, music lovers won’t want to miss Kendal Calling festival. Half the price of Glastonbury, it promises a fantastic line-up and amazing street food from around the world.

Go cycling in Cardiff

When it comes to budget-friendly things to do in the Welsh capital, visitors are spoilt for choice. History buffs should visit St Fagans National Museum of History, an open-air museum chronicling Welsh history, while a cycle along the 10km Cardiff Bay Trail is guaranteed fun for the family.

Roath and Bute parks are also worth a stroll, as are the Victorian and Edwardian arcades, which are filled with welcoming cafés and delis. Sports lovers will also have a field day in Cardiff, with the Millennium Stadium close by. There are great train travel deals if you book ahead, and for cheap accommodation, Travelodge and Premier Inn have multiple branches in the area. Summer is the perfect time to book in that weekend away, as the Cardiff Mela 2023 – a free arts and cultural festival – is returning for the first time since 2006.

Explore the Norfolk coast

With its winding coastal path and plenty of towns and villages to stop off at along the way, Norfolk is a great destination for an affordable break, whatever the weather. But it’s the summer when the county really comes to life, with miles of sandy beaches to be explored (and seals to be spotted!).

In fact, the beaches at Cromer, Sea Palling, Sheringham, Mundesley, East Runton and West Runton were all awarded Blue Flag status in 2022, making summer 2023 the perfect time to get your toes sandy.

For food, fresh seafood, fish, chips and ice cream are typically the order of the day, and Cromer is a wonderfully budget- and family-friendly place to head for bustling cafés serving cheap lunches. Don’t forget to explore its historic pier while you’re there, too. Accommodation-wise, Norfolk boasts plenty of affordable places to camp, as well as beachside B&Bs, holiday homes and caravans for hire.

Have a foodie city break in Glasgow

Up there with Edinburgh, Bristol and London, Glasgow is celebrated worldwide for its food scene. Whether you’re after a neighbourhood café or a seat at an award-winning restaurant, you’ll find plenty of options. Glasgow’s markets are also well worth a visit too – for fancy food that won’t break the bank, don’t miss Park Lane Market on the last Sunday of each month.

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Kayleigh Rattle

Kayleigh is a freelance writer and editor who covers food, drink, travel and culture.

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