Holiday Lets & Holiday Homes Archives - Pikl

The top 10 UK staycation spots you should reconsider for summer 2021

With prospects of a holiday abroad looking increasingly unlikely, UK staycations are the hot topic in 2021. But, with so many Britons looking for a holiday, the top staycation spots are booking up fast and prices are on the rise. But Louise Birritteri, Founder and CEO of Pikl Insurance, has a solution.

“The UK is getting booked up fast for summer 2021, so holidaymakers need to get smart. The good news is that there are plenty of staycation spots that often get overlooked for no good reason.”

Louise has combed through thousands of destinations to find the places that provide the best balance of activities, natural beauty, and budget-friendly holiday-making. Here’s her list of top ten UK staycation spots that you should reconsider:

Margate

Maybe Margate isn’t currently knocking the Lake District or the Scottish Highlands off your list of UK staycation spots, but there’s a reason why Margate drew Londoners to its sands for hundreds of years.

For example, fans of museums will find a visit to Margate right up their alley. Kids and adults alike will love the Hornby Visitor Centre, a museum dedicated to all things Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi. If that isn’t your cup of tea, you’ve got plenty more options, from the Turner Contemporary art gallery, through the carefully-restored Tudor House, to the local history found in the Margate Museum housed in the old police station and court!

For those sunny days where it’s best to be outdoors, Margate offers its Main Sands beach as well as Palm Bay. The latter is for those who want uninterrupted sand and sea, the former who like to accompany their sand castles with restaurants and bars.

Both the picturesque Whitstable and Broadstairs are also within easy reach of a Margate staycationer.

Lastly, anyone visiting Margate must visit the Shell Grotto, a breath taking series of underground rooms and passageways decorated with an astounding mosaic of 4.6 million shells. No-one knows who made it or why, but you’ll be glad that you saw it with your own eyes!

Torquay

You might think Torquay is full of Basil Fawltys, but you’d be mistaken. With sea fronts full of palm trees giving it an almost tropical feel, you’ll find plenty to fill a staycation. For the adventurous, there’s sea kayaking and jet skiing to be had along the beautiful coast. For the explorers, there’s the likes of Kents Cavern, a set of caves still home to the remains of mammoths and sabre tooth tigers. And those looking for a more relaxed break can enjoy the local spas and perhaps even the annual Agatha Christie festival.

Torquay also makes a good base camp for some of the spectacular attractions in the wider area. Rick Stein’s native Padstow, the stupendous Eden Project, and Dartmoor National Park are all within driving distance of Torquay, making it a perfect spot for a jam-packed staycation without the eye-watering cost.

Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s claim to fame last year were the photos of jam-packed beaches during the pandemic. And there’s a reason for that: Dorset beaches are spectacular! Thankfully, there are quieter beaches available

Bournemouth is surrounded by incredible attractions. Neighbouring Poole features a warren of independent shops to explore and a beautiful Quay to walk with an ice cream in hand. Or take the ferry out to Swanage to take a ride on the steam railway, stopping off to explore the beautiful ruins of Corfe Castle.

Dorset offers plenty for explorers, too, with Brownsea Island (where the cub scouts were founded), the stunning New Forest, and of course the Jurassic Coast to wander. There’s plenty to do in Dorset, and Bournemouth is a great place to stay while you explore!

Scarborough

Simon and Garfunkel once asked us if we were going to Scarborough fair. Perhaps we should. After all, the beach is fantastic, with plenty to do for families, and the harbour is the perfect spot to relax and watch the world go by. Visitors can take a quiet walk through Broxa Forest, or visit the Scarborough Fair Collection and take a look at its magnificent working collection of vintage cars, steam engines, and fairground rides.

Venture just a little further afield and you’ll find neighbouring Whitby, with a beautiful harbour of its own, as well as a stunning beach and a lovely abbey that’s worth a visit. If both Scarborough and Whitby aren’t enough beach for you, nearby Filey is home to another stunning stretch of sand and sea. The Bird Garden & Animal Park is also perfect for kids!

We can also recommend a visit to nearby Runswick Bay, a beautiful village that rewards wanderers of its narrow lanes with a charming pub and a cosy cafe when it’s time to recharge after walking the gorgeous sweeping coastline.

Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth may have lost its status as a top UK staycation destination, but perhaps it’s time it was reinstated. This seaside town has a perfect balance of affordability, things to do, and surrounding attractions to be on your list of destinations this year.

Yarmouth itself features a beautiful stretching beach, paired with a stretch of amusements and restaurants, along with Yarmouth Pier itself. True explorers can even find a tiny museum dedicated to wind farm technology to go with its own spectacular wind farm.

Yarmouth is also superbly placed to enjoy everything Norfolk has to offer. Quieter beaches such as Caister or Horsey are just a short drive away, and the Norfolk Broads will be right on your doorstep, full of walks and boat rides perfect for beautiful sunny days.

For those looking for more urban adventures, the market city of Norwich is a stone’s throw away. You can spend a whole day exploring the market stalls, and the Norwich Lanes are a stupendous collection of independent shops full of treasures.

Tynemouth

If you don’t have Tynemouth on your list for a UK staycation, think again.

Visit one of the surf schools for an exciting new experience on the water, explore the markets or visit the beautiful attractions such as the Priory and Castle. Home to the spectacular Longsands beach, you might be tempted to spend every day amongst the sand and the sea. If so, we recommend visiting one of the surf schools; it’s a fantastic chance to enjoy the sea in an exciting new way!

For a quieter day, venture inland to explore Tynemouth’s indoor market or visit the beautiful Priory and Castle. Kids will love Tynemouth Park with its boating lake, dinosaur miniature golf, and a maze with treasure hidden everywhere for the kids to find!

If you’re still on the fence, consider this: where else in the UK can you enjoy all of this and a quick jaunt over to Amsterdam too? Book the overnight ferry to arrive fresh the next morning and spend the day exploring. That’s a UK staycation with a twist!

Eastbourne

Londoners might not think to rush to Eastbourne when the weather is nice, but they’re missing out. Less than an hour and a half by car, Eastbourne features award-winning beaches as well as the stunning South Downs, a national park filled with incredible walks and breath-taking views, including the sort of chalk cliffs that people think can only be seen in Dover.

We recommend a day trip that takes in the Seven Sisters just around the corner and then on to the beautiful Seaford Beach.

There’s plenty here for families, too, from the Miniature Steam Railway Adventure Park to Fort Fun, a park of a far wetter nature! In short, Eastbourne is proof positive that you don’t have to travel the length of the country to find a staycation spot; there’s one right on the capital’s doorstep!

Blackpool

You might think there’s no more to Blackpool than the Tower and the Illuminations, but you’d be wrong. Anyone leaving Blackpool off their staycation bucket list is missing out on so much more.

Firstly, let’s not discount the Tower or the Illuminations themselves. The Eiffel Tower might get all the love, but the glass viewing platform at Blackpool Tower offers a stunning view (though perhaps not for those scared of heights!) And the Illuminations offer a different show every year, each seeking to surpass the last. You can spend hours marvelling at the displays, and kids especially will delight in the experience.

Beyond the tower and the lights, you’ll find plenty more in Blackpool. Families in particular will enjoy the Pleasure Beach, a fantastic theme park filled with rides for all ages, and the Sandcastle Waterpark offers even more thrills.

For days when you’re looking for a little less adrenaline, Blackpool Zoo is a good time for everyone, and Wyre Estuary Country Park, offering scenic walks, picnic spots, and special family-themed activities, is just a short drive away.

So, if you’re planning a family staycation in the UK, you can’t go wrong with Blackpool!

Llandudno

The beautiful spot in Wales is often overlooked when people talk about UK staycations, and we think that’s a very great shame. While it might not offer the family-friendly adrenaline of Blackpool, Llandudno is perfect for the UK holidaymaker who is looking for a holiday spot filled with quiet beauty.

For instance, the headland known as Great Orme offers views that are simply breathtaking. A cable car will take you to the peak, where you can enjoy picturesque walks. Alternatively, you can head down the Great Orme Copper Mine, which is part underground adventure, part museum, and all-in-all a fascinating walk back into the Bronze Age.

We can also recommend Angel Bay, which offers stunning views, peaceful walks, and a chance to see some seals! Happy Valley Gardens is filled with flora of all sorts of vibrant colours and varying shapes and sizes, not to mention nods to Alice in Wonderland in the forms of statues and dioramas (Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice, took holidays to Llandudno as a child).

Speaking of children, they’ll love the amusements and rides available on Llandudno’s incredibly long and beautiful pier! There’s so much there that you can spend multiple days exploring it. Llandudno also enjoys the dubious honour of being home to the smallest house in Great Britain, but don’t worry; the local rental properties are big enough to accommodate even the biggest families!

Bognor Regis

A Which? survey named Bognor Regis one of the worst seaside resorts in Britain, but there are plenty of reasons why travellers should think again before dismissing this beautiful seaside town.

For a start, you’re not going to find a sunnier place to spend your summer: Bognor Regis enjoys an average of 1,902 hours of sunshine per year! It’s perfect for families, too. The local Butlin’s is perfect for a day visit, and there are plenty of local attractions to fill the days. Hotham Park, for instance, offers miniature golf, a boating lake, a train and a nature trail, perfect for entertaining the little ones for hours.

And, of course, there are the beaches. Aldwick and Pagham are the best. They’re both shingle beaches and both perfect for quiet strolls. For those with little ones, we would recommend Pagham as that has an amusement arcade for when the little ones get bored of the shore.

Hidden treasures no longer?

Of course, now that we’ve published this list, these often-overlooked holiday spots won’t be available for much longer. If you’re thinking about a UK staycation this year, don’t delay. Book your place to stay now!

Oh, and if you’ve got a short-term rental property in any of these areas? Get it spruced up and ready now. Louise has some advice just for you:

“Firstly, provide guests with hints and tips about the local area. After all, you’ve got the knowledge that your guests need to have a good time! Secondly, take a look at your competition and make sure your listing really highlights the things that make your property unique. Finally, make sure you’ve got specialised insurance; you’d be surprised what isn’t covered by likes of AirBnB and Booking.com, so make sure you’re won’t be left out of pocket if something happens.”

Lousie Birritteri is Founder and CEO of Pikl Insurance, a Norwich-based provider of insurance to those letting property to holidaymakers through platforms such as AirBnB and Booking.com. She didn’t share her favourite staycation spot because she wants it all to herself, but she does quite like Llandudno.

How to holiday let your property: 10 essential tips to get you started.

Estimated Read: 10 minutes.

If you have a spare home or holiday home, turning it into a holiday let could give you a lucrative revenue stream. In this article, we discuss what a holiday let is, how to do your research, and how to get started.

What is a holiday let?

Put simply, a holiday let is a property that is let out to short term visitors that are on holiday. If you have an additional property located in a popular holiday destination then this could be an option for bringing in additional income.

How much effort can you put into it?

Between meeting visitors, cleaning, dealing with admin systems and logging accounts, running a holiday let can be a lot of work. Consider whether you have the time to dedicate yourself to these activities or whether you can afford to pay someone else to run it for you.

Is your property in a popular holiday location?

Luckily, this should not be too difficult to assess. If you live near somewhere like London, you probably know the answer already. Look at a map of your surrounding area. Do you live near any attractions or beautiful landscapes? Are there many hotels? Do you have many visitors during the holiday season? Take a look at popular holiday let websites and see how many listings are in your surrounding area. If there are a lot then the chances are that there is potentially significant demand. If you do not think your property is in a popular destination, do not let that put you off. You can still try and test the waters but do not be surprised if you do not pick up as many bookings.

Make sure your property is ready

Your visitors will expect the same experience in your home as they would in any hotel and so it is essential that it is kept clean and safe at a minimum. Check out our guide to being an Airbnb host for more useful information about this and how to comply with legal regulations.

Think about your audience

Type in ‘holiday lets’ or related terms in your area and have a look at the competition. How are the properties presented? How have they been marketed? Think about the type of people that might come to these properties and present your home accordingly. Your price and property description should appeal to these target markets as well.

How are you going to market it?

There are several places to market your holiday let but the easiest place to start with is a holiday let website. These will have specific target audiences that are already looking to rent out a holiday let.

Another alternative could be to start your own website. Given that this can be quite a competitive market however, marketing your website to get it in the top search results online or getting people to click on your ads is a lot of work and can be expensive. If you are planning on running the holiday let yourself then it may be best to outsource the marketing of the website to someone else if you can afford this. You may struggle to have the time to do everything otherwise. For people who cannot afford to do this, it may be best to just list your property on a holiday let website or platforms like Airbnb instead.

To maximise the number of bookings you get, consider listing your property on several holiday let websites (but do not forget to to sync your calendars to avoid overbooking).

Learn how to use the system(s)

As with any business, the key to running a successful holiday let is providing a service your customers are happy with. That said, most holiday let websites have their own review systems and way of promoting properties. To maximise your potential revenue, you may need to get used to how each one works. To start with, write a description for your listing and compare it with the potential competition. Pick the competitor with the most reviews. How does your listing stand out against the competition? Are your photos better than theirs? If they are not, the chances are that you will not get as many bookings. Get used to how each platform works, obtain more reviews and you should have a better chance of succeeding.

Consider a holiday letting agent

The benefit of using an agent is that they can manage practically everything on your behalf from meeting guests, taking control of paperwork, and looking after your property. A good agent should have local knowledge of your area. They can also help market your holiday let to maximise the chances of you getting better returns. Bear in mind that an agent will charge commission and you may want to consider how this could affect your profits. Whether you think it is worth it will depend on your appetite for time-consuming activities or your ability to market your property. If you think someone else would be better doing this and provided you can afford it, you may be better off appointing an agent instead.

Think about tax

You might have to pay tax on any income you earn. The first £1,000 of your property earnings is tax-free but regardless of how much you earn, it is important to consider the tax implications of running a holiday let before you start. If you plan to rent it out for most of the year, your property may qualify as a furnished holiday let. If you are unsure about tax, it may be best to consult with an accountant or HMRC.

Check your mortgage

A vitally important step is to check the terms and conditions in your paperwork. If your property is currently covered by a residential mortgage, your terms and conditions may forbid you from running a holiday let. There are specialist mortgages available so it is important to check you are covered and that you do not risk breaching the terms of your agreement.

Are you insured?

Before you start, you may want to check that you are covered by your insurer for having paying guests to stay at your property. Ideally, a specialist insurance policy designed to cover you for holiday lets will give you the most comprehensive level of cover. Check out our holiday let insurance guide for more information.

What insurance do you need for holiday lets?

Estimated Read: 10 minutes.

With more people looking to take advantage of alternative holiday experiences, letting out your holiday home to paying guests could be a smart way to bring in extra cash. Before you attempt to capitalise on this trend, it is important to make sure you are protected if something happens. Here are some of our top insurance tips.

Residential home or landlord insurance may not cover you

If your property was previously a home that you lived in, a residential home insurance policy is unlikely to cover you. If you previously let the property out to tenants, your landlord insurance policy may not be suitable either. It is best to check what you are covered with your current insurer before you let your property out. However, if you have not switched your insurance over yet, you may need to find an appropriate insurance policy that can cover you for holiday lets.

Check with your holiday home or second home insurer.

If your property is an additional home, you may already have a holiday home or second home insurance policy. You will, however, need to make sure this cover also includes insurance for claims caused by having guests in your property. A traditional holiday home or second home insurance policy are often designed to cover personal use of the property by yourself, friends, or family members and so cover for paying guests is usually inadequate. Cover for things like theft or liability insurance for injuries may be excluded if you let a paying guest into your home. In the first instance, it is best to check with your current insurer first and ask them if there is anything specific that you are not covered for.

You may need specific insurance for holiday lets

When running your property as a holiday let, one of your main concerns should be getting cover for any claims caused by having paying guests in your property if you want a high level of cover. A specialist insurance policy that can cover you for holiday lets may be the best option for you. Write down a list of things you would like to have cover for before getting quotes. A good holiday let insurance policy can cover you for things like:

  • Theft by a guest if you have let them into your home.
  • Legal cover and liability insurance for things like guest injuries and 3rd party damage.
  • Malicious or accidental damage by your guest.

What cover does Pikl offer?

Pikl provides specialist insurance for short-term letting, including cover for properties that are run as holiday lets. If you already have insurance elsewhere, we offer a ‘Top-Up’ insurance policy. Your insurer can still continue to cover you whilst our cover can insure your home for any claims caused by your guests. You will still need to let your insurer know that you are intending to do this but alternatively, we can also cover your primary property insurance as well as cover for your guests. Our insurance for when you have short-term guests can cover you for:

  • Public liability including cover for guest accidents involving bodily injury.
  • Legal cover to defend or pursue legal claims against guests.
  • Accidental, malicious damage and theft cover if caused by a guest.
  • Alternative accommodation for you or your guest if your property is being fixed as the result of a guest related claim.
  • Fire and escape of water damage caused by a guest.
  • Loss of keys and replacement locks cover if renting out your entire property.

The above is an example of some of the cover we offer. If you are not comfortable with the level of cover your insurer provides, getting a specialist insurance policy is a relatively straightforward way of covering this gap in insurance.