recommended family holidays blog

book your holiday accommodation now!!

Yes, it has come to that time of year again!  Below is an article on the pros and cons of booking your summer holiday now, in January, if you are looking for a large choice, good price & extra benefits, as opposed to booking last minute when choice is significantly diminished & you might not get just what you want.
Every year, after the busy Christmas & New Year holiday is over, the first thing my husband says to me on the first morning he goes back to work is, “Where are we going on holiday in the summer? I need something to look forward to!”  He always explains it by saying that it is just so depressing going back to work after a lovely relaxing break when the weather is rubbish and he leaves for work in the dark & gets home in the dark.  So every year, at this time, my task begins to find a holiday to suit the whole family.
Since our kids started school, we are sadly confined to school holidays which as we all know means more money.  If you are lucky enough to have non-school age children then, honestly, you are laughing – its not urgent that you book now as availability in the mid season will remain good for quite some time yet, however you will need to know term dates so that you can avoid them & get the best value accommodation for your money:
  • Summer Term is generally from 23rd April to 23rd July
  • Autumn Term is generally starting on 3rd September
  • Scottish Summer school holidays start earlier from around 27th June to 19th August
  • Public schools in the England & Wales are likely to start their summer holidays on 12th July
So what do these school dates mean to you?  Well peak summer holiday prices will be between 23rd July and around 19th August, high summer holiday prices will be from the 1-23rd July then again from 19th August to 3rd September, then mid-season prices are likely to cover most of May, June and September. 
If you have to holiday in peak summer holidays then NOW is the time to book.  The number of times people have come to me in May or June asking me for help in finding their “perfect” holiday with an endless list of “requirements” and sadly I just have to go back and say that unless you are prepared to compromise on something, everything is booked.  Booking last minute is great if you can be flexible – you will get good prices if you are not too concerned about where you are going & what accommodation you would like.  If you want your holiday accommodation to be “perfect” then booking late just isn’t an option, unless of course, you are one of those very lucky people out there – certainly I am not within that hallowed group!!
So, if for example, you want a 3 bedroom villa with private pool within walking distance to the beach, restaurants and with various sporting activities such as tennis, golf or playground in Spain, then please starting looking now so that you are not disappointed.
Or, you may just want to stay in the UK and are looking for a 2 bedroom cottage with access to a shared swimming pool, farm animals, indoor soft play and within driving distance to the beach in Cornwall, again, please book now otherwise you may have to settle on something which isn’t quite “perfect”.
Here at Recommended Family Holidays, I have a number of owners who subscribe to my website and advertise their holiday cottages, apartments & lodges privately i.e. I can put you in direct contact with the owner in order to book your holiday accommodation without any “middle man” i.e. there is nothing added to the price of your holiday to cover agents fees for example.
In addition, I have also partnered with a number of well-known holiday companies both in the UK and Europe who provide holiday accommodation direct so that offers a large selection of properties – villas, gites, townhouses, cottages, apartments etc.
Below is a full list of these partners and what they offer, all of them offer secure online booking & are ABTA registered giving you full protection against unforeseen circumstances. In order to help me keep the website going, if you do decide to book, please could you book online?  The reason I ask is that if you use the links either here or from my website, a small piece of code is added so that my partner company knows I have sent you and then if you book I receive a small commission, typically around 3% - thank you.

Partners in the UK

  • Manor Cottages – are the Cotswolds' leading holiday cottage self catering accommodation provider. Their properties range from Stratford upon Avon to the north of the Cotswolds to Bath in the south, plus a collection in the Wye Valley. The types of property on offer range from city centre apartments, quaint period cottages, family homes all the way through to large properties accommodating 16+ people. They have a particularly large selection of accommodation in the Cotswolds Water Park
  • Hoburne Holiday Parks have seven top quality Holiday Parks to choose from, offering something for everyone with facilities and customer service aimed at surpassing the highest expectations. Parks are located across the South and South West of England in Gloucestershire, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset. All the parks have received either 4 or 5 star awards from the National Tourist Board for England - Enjoyengland.
  • Coast & Country Holiday Cottages, Devon - offers over 425 properties exclusively in and around Salcombe, Dartmouth and throughout the beautiful South Hams coast and countryside in South Devon.  Self catering holiday properties to suit every taste and budget, including cosy thatched cottages, farm cottages in rural locations, converted barns, family seaside properties, luxury waterside apartments, comfortable bungalows, stylish studios, pet friendly houses close to unspoilt beaches and larger properties perfect for a big group.
  • Park Holidays UK operate a great choice of caravan holiday parks in coastal locations across the south of England in Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent, Essex and Suffolk. The three key areas of business are holiday hire (caravans/chalets), holiday home ownership (caravans and lodges) and touring and camping pitch hire. Their holiday parks have a fantastic mix of great facilities and entertainment for the whole family and are conveniently located close to popular attractions for fun days out – visitors are never short of something to do!
  • Hoseasons Holiday Lodges & Parks, all over England - luxury holiday lodges, parks or cottages, swimming pools, hot tubs. With over 12,000 places to stay in coastal and countryside settings throughout Britain
  • Haven Holiday Parks, owns and operates 35 award-winning parks all over the UK - close to some of Britain’s favourite seaside resorts. Haven offers two distinct holiday types: self-catering holidays allow customers to stay in one of their modern holiday homes; and touring and camping holidays i.e. bring your own! Both types include full use of the swimming facilities, Kids Clubs, evening entertainment and more.
  • John Fowler Holiday Parks owns and runs 14 family holiday parks in the South West of England. Fantastic Coastal Locations in Devon, Cornwall & Somerset. John Fowler offer self catering holidays in a range of accommodation from caravans and chalets through to Lodges and Country Houses. The prices are fully inclusive of the use of swimming pools, Kids’ Clubs, Family Entertainment plus everything else you need for a fun filled family holiday.
  • Park Resorts gives families, couples and groups the choice of 39 award-winning Holiday Parks in UK coastal locations. They have a great selection of accommodation in a safe and secure environment, with plenty of FREE facilities that all ages will enjoy.
  • Toad Hall Cottages is one of the leading providers of holiday homes in the South West, with over 500 properties spread throughout Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset. Family run and now established for 25 years, Toad Hall Cottages have earned a deserved reputation for providing high quality accommodation and service with customers across the UK and western Europe. Toad Hall Cottages are 2013 British Travel Award winners- Best Small UK Cottage Agency!
  • English Country Cottages has a range of over 3,000 of the most sumptuous holiday properties, in some of the most stunning corners of England and Wales. From cosy coastal cottages, to relaxing rural retreats, all have been carefully selected and personally inspected to ensure they all meet our high standards.
  • Crieff Hydro Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland – probably the best family and child friendly resort with over 60 leisure activities for all age groups , six hours per day of free childcare, interconnecting and family hotes rooms or self catering holiday cottages & chalets plus an adult only Victorian spa & adult only eating areas.
  • Bluestone Wales, Pembrokeshire - Bluestone National Park Resort is a luxury short break destination situated in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, UK and is suitable for familes or couples of all ages. Awarded a five star rating by Visit Wales, Bluestone opened in July 2008 and has nearly 300 luxury lodges, cottages and studio apartments set in 500 acres of spectacular countryside. Situated in Narberth, within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park alongside the magnificent Preseli mountains, Bluestone is an all year, all weather destination offering free range fun and relaxation like no other.
  • Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales – the Ryder Cup Venue 2010 - 5 Star Resort with 3 Hotels, 3 Golf Courses, 2 Spas, 6 Restaurants and 7 Bars in Newport South Wales.
  •, France, UK, Ireland - offers over 9,000 self catered cottages for rental throughout England, Scotland, Wales, France and Ireland. offers a wide range of prices and accommodation in just about every location. There really is something for everyone!
  • Sykes Cottages is the largest independent self-catering rental agency in the UK. With over 25 years of experience, they currently have over 4,000 cottages across the UK and Ireland. All of our properties are personally inspected so we can guarantee that our cottages are of the highest standard and offer great value for money. From a small romantic hideaway in the Cotswolds to a large hen-party venue in Wales, they have a diverse collection of properties with something for everyone.
  • Macdonald Hotels Limited operates 48 well-located hotels (all 4 and 5 star establishments) throughout the UK. The company employs over 4,400 staff and operates in excess of 3,900 rooms. The company was awarded AA Hotel Group of the Year 2007-2008 and and prides itself on offering customers top level hospitality.
  • Imagine Ireland is one of Ireland’s leading self catering holiday specialists with over 1,500 holiday cottages throughout Ireland & Northern Ireland - from the Giant's Causeway in the North of Ireland to the Ring of Kerry on the South-West Coast. The properties range from detached thatched character properties to new built houses and sleep from 2 to 10+, plust they can also arrange ferry tickets and car hire in Ireland.
  • THORPE PARK® holidays, Surrey, Southern England - an official provider of ticket and hotel packages to this exciting theme park. As well as a thrilling day in the Park, their deals include a stay in a nearby hotel.  From The Crash Pad Hotel to retreats complete with swimming pools and fun facilities, there's something to suit every budget.
  • CHESSINGTON® Holidays, Greater London – an official partner of Chessington World of Adventures offering short break packages with tickets to the park and hotel accommodation, including the Chessington Resort Hotel.
  • LEGOLAND® Holidays, Windsor, Southern England - short break packages at Legoland, with both park access & accommodation. More than 47 million LEGO® bricks later, the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort continues to be one of the top family destinations in the UK. LEGOLAND have opened lots of new attractions recently including 4D film adventure LEGO® Legends of Chima, new land DUPLO® Valley with the UK's largest outdoor water play structure and giant DUPLO Village, the Hero Factory Interactive Zone and an amazing LEGO® Star Wars™ Model display.
  • Britannia Hotels are the largest privately owned hotel chain in the UK, with 44 hotels across the country, offering comfortable accommodation and excellent facilities. Our hotels offer quality accommodation and services at value for money prices.
  • Scottish Cottages has over 350 self catering properties throughout Scotland, situated in all the most popular holiday coastal and country locations. The Scottish Cottages brand has shown dramatic growth to become one of the leading self catering holiday cottage brands in Scotland, offering a range of cottages, houses and apartments to suit every budget.
  • Cumbrian Cottages is the leading self catering holiday cottage brand in the Lake District and Cumbria, with over 900 cottages, houses, apartments and log cabins situated throughout the region. Most importantly these properties are located in all the most sought after holiday hot spots.
  • Derbyshire Cottages has approaching 100 self catering properties throughout the region, situated in some of the most popular holiday locations within Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park
  • Northumbrian Cottages has over 300 self catering properties throughout the region, situated in all the most popular holiday locations on the Northumberland coast, in the Northumberland National Park and around Hadrian’s Wall.
  • Wales Cottages has approaching 100 self catering properties throughout the Wales, situated in some of the most popular holiday locations within the country.
  • Yorkshire Cottages has over 350 self catering properties throughout the region, situated in all the most popular holiday locations in the Yorkshire Dales, moors and coast.

Partners in Europe including France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy etc

  • Madame Vacances (ABTA registered) is the 3rd largest accommodation rental provider in France specialising in villas with pools, ski chalets, hotels and self catered residences in both well known resorts and rural retreats. The properties range from 2* to 5*. This company is great as they offer a best price guarantee.
  • James Villa Holidays - With over 2500 hand-picked villas, all with private pools, in over 40 of the most popular holiday destinations around the Mediterranean, the Canaries, Egypt and Florida, you can be sure there's one that's right for you. With James Villa Holidays, you can tailor your holiday to suit your needs. In addition to your villa they can organize flights, car hire and travel insurance. We also cover the extras that make life easier, like airport hotels and parking, welcome pack on arrival, cots and high chairs. They also offer the largest range of Leisure Resorts by any one tour operator. Book a Leisure Resort holiday and you have the best of both worlds: all the freedom, privacy and space offered by your own private accommodation, whilst being based in a community setting which typically offers a superb range of leisure activities and facilities. Whether you’re looking for golf holidays, spa holidays, or simply to relax, Leisure Resorts offer something for everyone.
  • La Manga Club Resort, Spain - biggest choice of Villas and Apartments on La Manga Club in Spain.
  • Al Fresco Holidays – covers some of Europe’s very best holiday parks, each with superb facilities, incredible pools, water complexes slides, kids play grounds, sports areas, tasty eateries, kids clubs, entertainment impeccable organization and of course wonderful holiday atmosphere. Park sizes vary hugely but all offer the essentials like on-site shops, take-aways and laundry facilities. Choose from 54 stunning locations across France, Corsica, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Austria and Holland.
  • Eurocamp Holidays - offers self catering holidays for families and couples on 174 superb holiday parks across 12 European countries and islands. On park there are plenty of activities to take part in from canoeing to horse riding. We also offer free, age-specific kids’ clubs, with bespoke activities like Learn to Ride and Learn to Swim.
  • Siblu Holidays own 15 holiday villages across France, with upwards of 100,000 holidaymakers visiting each year. Siblu’s four-star holiday villages are in prime spots, set in coastal locations and their mobile homes offer self-catering in style for upmarket camping
  • Hotels Viva is a hotel chain with 16 hotels resorts in Majorca and Menorca, totalling more than 8500 beds. These hotels are excellently situated in the most spectacular and fun family destinations of the island, and they have the most complete and comfortable facilities.
  • Inghams - Since 1934 Inghams has grown into one of the UK's leading specialist tour operators with enviable market positions and brand loyalty for winter Ski and summer Lakes and Mountains holidays.
  • Jet2holidays provides hassle free holidays from Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Blackpool, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, East Midlands and Belfast Airports to 25 beach and 15 city destinations.
  • Club Med offers premium all-inclusive holidays to over 80 exclusive Resorts all around the world. With Club Med all-inclusive expect stunning locations, superb accommodations, gourmet food, endless bar drinks and snacks, fantastic children's clubs and a multitude of sports and activities.
  • Disneyland Paris – official partner offering holiday packages, accommodation & park tickets for all budgets.
  • Villas to go Ltd was established in 2002 offering quality accommodation in the Algarve. By 2008 the portfolio had grown to 800 properties in 14 destinations around Europe and Florida. We offer the broadest range of properties from budget apartments to luxury villas and include royal residences, beachside villas and even a villa with its own football pitch!
  • Olympic Holidays are leading specialists to Cyprus & the Greek Islands. In recent years Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal, Tunisia, The Red Sea & Goa have been added as this tour operator has grown in stature among consumers. They are now widely recognised as one of the best known names in leisure travel. Flights & holidays can easily be booked on-line with an amazing range of 2-5 star hotels, villas & apartments available.
  • Malta Direct is the UK’s number one holiday specialist to Malta, Gozo and Comino, with the widest product portfolio and over 40 years experience in providing holidays and tailor-made services. As Malta specialists, Malta Direct’s local knowledge and contacts enables its experts to source the most appropriate accommodation and negotiate the best deals for their clients. Whatever the client’s requirements the team can arrange and tailor-make a holiday to suit their needs. Returning clients, year after year, prove that Malta Direct holidays are great quality at the right price.

Worldwide Travel Partners

  • Walt Disney Travel Company: Florida Holidays - Walt Disney World is a dream holiday destination for all ages – popular with families as well as adults. The yearlong sunshine excites visitors throughout all seasons and its variety of fun, entertaining and relaxing activities ensures everyone can have their perfect holiday. The Walt Disney Travel Company is based in the UK with first hand experience and knowledge of Disney World Theme Parks and Resorts offering expert advice in planning magical stays. Our extensive product range is sold through and includes ticket only, all onsite Disney Hotels, nearby non-Disney hotels and even Villas for guests who want to fully explore the Orlando area.
  • Kuoni are a multi award winning holiday company offering around 100 beautiful destinations. With more than 100 years of expertise, it's no wonder Kuoni is regularly voted Britain's favourite holiday company. Showcasing thousands of holidays to hundreds of exotic destinations on seven continents, and covering every holiday interest from relaxing beach getaways, to tailor made escapes, weddings & honeymoons, safari’s, plus so much more.
  • Letsgo2 offer exceptional value luxury holiday options to over 50 destinations worldwide including: city breaks, beach holidays, twin-centre breaks, family holidays, all inclusive vacations and honeymoon packages.
  • - Save up to 50% on Hotel Room Prices. has over 50,000 sharply discounted hotels rooms. These discounts have been obtained due to their massive buying power which is also used to provide many of the top holiday company's their rooms.
  • Cosmos Holidays - Having been in operation for some 50 years, Cosmos Holidays is one of the oldest and best established brands in UK tour operating, and provides holidays to over 780,000 customers in 65 destinations annually.
  • Hilton Worldwide offers business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. With more than 3,750 hotels in 84 countries, their trusted portfolio of hotel brands includes Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations.
  • Atlantis The Palm Resort in Dubai - Atlantis is the majestic resort in Dubai situated on The Palm, a man-made island that has captured the world’s imagination with its magnificent scale and ingenuity. Be immersed in a dazzling world of imagination, pleasure and luxury of 5 star hotels. Inspired by the ocean and its wondrous marine life, everything about Atlantis is larger than life. Designed to exhilarate and destined to impress, huge gilded doors open to reveal the ultimate entertainment destination.
  • Barceló Hotels and Resorts - is among the world's top 25 hospitality and travel companies. The family-owned company has been world-renowned for more than 75 years for its excellence in service and its innovation within the tourism industry. The company owns, manages or franchises more than 185 properties in 16 countries. Barceló’s hotels and resorts are found in key destinations and cities throughout Europe, North America, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • British Airways is one of the world's leading scheduled international premium airlines, carrying around 33 million passengers worldwide to 148 destinations. They offer long & short haul flights, hotels plus flight holiday packages, accommodation only & car hire.

Article By Lucilla Paull

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