We are travelling to Swansea Wales, the Cotswolds, Devon and Cornwall in Sept. Since we don't have a firm itinerary we were hoping to just book the night (or few nights) lodging as we go rather than preplan them. There seems to be lots of choices but have been warned that Sept can still get very busy and it might be difficult finding places for 3 adults. Has anyone else booked as you go on the night of your stay in any of these places? Also, we were hoping to find a cottage around Marazion for 3-4 nights, but it seems cottages are all for a week, so I'm thinking we will have to find B&Bs everywhere. We don't need high end places, just clean. We will also have a car so they don't have to be right in town. Thinking that might open up some extra places for us to choose from. Hoping for opinions or ideas from others who have travelled at the same time of year.
I've never made reservations in the area anytime or anywhere. I could be off on the Cotswolds, however, due to limited experience since my wife has to drag me into the area.
Premier Inns and Travelodge. Clean, inexpensive and easy to find with LOTS of locations. We averaged around 90-115 GBP per night at Premier Inns and around 60-70 GBP at the Travelodge. This was in May, 2014.
This was for family rooms (Travelodge has them in most of their hotels), as we were myself (5'2" tall), husband (he's 6'5" tall) and 15 year old son (he's 6' tall). We generally got a king-sized bed and a pull-out (guess which short person got the pull-out?!). No complaints from us for any of these places.
Premier Inns will call ahead for you and help with reservations for your next night with their company. Travelodge will not help with reservations, figuring everyone on earth has smartphones, etc. Nope, not all of us have these!
Still, in all, they weren't all that hard to find. Premier Inns have discontinued their paper map brochures with all the locations listed on them, make sure you print one off the internet, BEFORE YOU GO, if you don't have internet service as you travel! Travelodge has brochure maps available at every hotel.
B&B ARE very nice, but you can save some serious $$$ by using these chain hotels.
Save money on hotels and eat fancier meals!!!
Until our upcoming trip this September, we've hardly made reservations in advance. We know where we will be our first night and our last night. After that we fly by the seat of our pants but with a disclaimer. We will got to the TI in the town where we spent the night before and have them book something for us in or near where we want to stop that night. Our trips have nearly always been in September/October. When I travel with my husband it's a bit different. Bless his heart, he prefers hotels and we've stayed at Premier Inns several times. Liverpool, Helston and London more than a few times. I like to take a photo of our room(s) and with PI I can use the same one over and over. They do have and advantage. Outside of London especially and inside a lot of the time, they are less expensive than B&B's but you'll have to factor in the cost of your breakfast.
This year we have booked ahead. We're walking the Cotswolds Way and the idea of looking for a B&B on foot had no appeal.
I've used the "spontaneous" approach for travel in the U.K. in the past with somewhat "mixed" results. On one trip a few years ago, I arrived without any reservations, but had scoped out a nice hotel so had an idea what the rates were. However, when I showed up at the desk, they informed me that those were "pre-book" rates and "walk-in" was higher. By that time of the day, jet lag was starting to be an issue so I wasn't in the mood to wander about looking for something cheaper so paid the price. I made sure to recoup part of the charges next morning by enjoying a most ample buffet breakfast. The following night I moved to a nearby Travelodge, which was cheaper (getting a room there was a bit quirky too, but that's another story) and following that a small B&B. With three adults, getting two rooms could be an issue in some places.
September definitely can be busy, so for that reason I always prefer to pre-book accommodations now. I don't like arriving in a new and unfamiliar location and wandering about with a bunch of gear and looking for a place to sleep.
No specific advice for the region where you are looking but some general advice- do the math on cost of 4 nights at a b&b versus a week's rental. You may find it's cost effective as well as fun to rent, even if you won't be there the full 7 days. I am looking at 3 nights in the Loire valley for mom, sister, BIL, and me in October, and there are a number of 2 br cottages that are much less for a week's rental than the cost of 6 hotel room nights.
Have a great trip whatever you decide!
I would consider going west from Swansea into Pembrokeshire. Here you will find stunning coastal scenery and this would save you the long journey down to Cornwall. You could even work your way than up the west coast of Wales to NW Wales.http://www.coastalcottages.co.uk
Tenby is just over 1 hour's drive from Swansea.http://visittenby.co.uk
This is the Gower peninsula - just west of Swansea :http://www.visitswanseabay.com/destinations/gower/
These caves are about a 40 minute drive from Swansea. > http://www.showcaves.co.uk
Thank you so much for all of the wonderful advice. I had never thought of the chain hotels before, we'd always done small B&Bs. In France we stayed in one place for a week at a time and experienced self catering cottages, and certainly loved the freedom of staying in one place for a while, having a living room to sit in rather than just a small bedroom and making some of our own meals. This trip we don't have the luxury of staying in one place as long as a week. You've all given me a lot to think about and I really appreciate your help. My husband is from Swansea, but no family alive any more. It is going to feel strange being there again and this time looking for accommodation since the family home is no longer available. Our nostalgia trip...
I've used the book a bed ahead service that the tourist service offers. It's generally worked well for me and I was looking for a single which also can be challenging. In all my travels to the UK--plus ten trips--I can only think of a couple of times when I wasn't satisfied with the accommodations. Once I just moved on more quickly and the other time, I walked away from the deposit and found another place.
Since you have a car, and if you don't have your hearts set on particular accommodation, and budget is also flexible, I think you can keep your options open. Calling a day or two ahead can still work better than showing up at 5:00 p.m. without a reservation. The only places I've totally given up on finding a last-minute hotel were York on Easter Saturday and Rab Island, Croatia, on an August Saturday. I don't know the Marazion area, however.
We have never booked ahead. When we decide that it's getting close to the time we want to stop we just look for a
B&B sign, when we see one we stop and ask if they have a room available. One year there was four of us. We never spent more then 10 minutes looking for a room. Most places offer you to see the room before you take it. We will be in England in September also.