Where to go for the best family deals on self-catering stays

Self-catering breaks are a great way to help families save cash and deal with dietary requirements, says Clare Vooght

It’s no secret that all-inclusive is a go-to choice for clients looking for value in the cost-of-living crisis, but self-catering breaks are a popular choice for families on a budget too. And keeping costs down isn’t the only reason families might choose to go their own way when it comes to dining – the flexibility to decide when and where to eat with young children in tow is one of many reasons to book a self-catered break.

For those keen to take their four-legged friend away, the UK is home to a wealth of dog-friendly holiday cottages that pay commission. Self-catering also makes it easier to cater for family members who have food allergies or eat plant-based diets. With those motives in mind, we’ve sourced three very different self-catering packages for families on a range of budgets – from dog-friendly digs in Cornwall to Floridian holiday villas in prime position for Walt Disney World.

Holiday Village Fuerteventura Origo Mare

Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

“Families have always loved the flexibility of mixing‑and-matching, doing their own cooking, choosing from some of the family budget-friendly eating options and maybe one blow-out dinner on their holiday. This is even more so the case now,” says Cathy Rankin, UK and Ireland sales and marketing director at Groupe Pierre & Vacances.

”Having a kitchen allows customers to prepare their own picnics for days out and plan their activities and excursions without being tied to set meal times, allowing a much more tailored style of holiday – with the benefit of somewhere to keep the beer and wine chilled to enjoy a few drinks once the kids are in bed.”

The self-catering specialist has three Holiday Villages in Spain, 11 in France and two in the French Caribbean, and Rankin says the sports, entertainment and range of food options on site give self-catering clients the “best of both”. Facilities at the Holiday Village Fuerteventura Origo Mare include a 5,000sq m water park with slides, a wave pool and a climbing wall, plus a poolside relaxation area for adults.

Families will also find free clubs for kids and teens catering for youngsters from the age of four to 17, tennis courts, a pétanque area and a mini-golf course, as well as access to watersports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing. There is also a free shuttle bus that takes guests to Cotillo and Corralejo beaches. Self-catering accommodation ranges from studio apartments to three-bedroom villas, all with kitchenettes and terraces for long lunches in the sun.

Book it: A seven-night stay at Pierre & Vacances Holiday Village Fuerteventura Origo Mare, arriving June 1, costs from £608 per person for a standard villa sleeping up to four people. The price includes transfers and flights from Stansted.
jet2holidays.com

Reunion Resort, Kissimmee

Kissimmee, Florida

With more than 30,000 holiday rental properties – ranging from one-bedroom boltholes to mega-mansions sleeping 30 – it’s little wonder Kissimmee, Florida, has earned itself the moniker of ‘vacation home capital of the world’. With many value options available, UK visitors tend to stay in rental homes here for longer than they do hotels, with an average length of stay of 14 nights, versus 10 nights for hotels.

“Kissimmee homes can work out considerably cheaper, as the more people in the home, the less the cost per person,” says Jo Piani, Experience Kissimmee’s trade director for the UK and Ireland. “But book early – Kissimmee homes are popular, especially during the school holidays. And booking clients’ theme park adventures in advance is the way to get the best deals on park passes.”

Suggest families try Reunion Resort & Golf Club, which offers easy access to the Walt Disney World Resort parks, with a free morning and evening shuttle bus to and from Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios helping families to save on car rental costs. The resort’s self-catering options range from one to 15 bedrooms, and come with fully equipped kitchens and private balconies or terraces, so they suit everyone from parents with a toddler to multigenerational families.

Within the complex, clients can enjoy seven pools and a two-hectare tropical-themed water park with a 300m lazy river and slide, water cannons and shaded cabanas to lounge in, as well as tennis courts, Italian bocce ball and pickleball (a mix of badminton, ping-pong and tennis). Serious golfers have a choice of three courses and a golf academy, while others can throw themselves into the miniature golf or a round of foot golf, which is played with a football.

Book it: Jetset offers seven nights in a five-bedroom vacation home at Reunion Resort from £6,360 for a family of six (four adults and two children). The price includes flights from Gatwick to Tampa on February 16, 2025.
jetsetflights.co.uk

Landal Gwel an Mor, Cornwall

Cornwall, England

Landal GreenParks UK is busy increasing its capacity in Cornwall this year and next, following a rise in demand. The self-catering specialist’s existing resort, Landal Gwel an Mor, which is sold as part of Hoseasons’ Go Active Breaks Collection, is just outside the fishing village of Portreath in north Cornwall, close to a sandy beach where families can try their hand at watersports such as kayaking and surfing. The resort’s clubs for kids and teens, Basecamp, offer activities ranging from soft play and build-a-bear workshops to climbing walls and archery lessons, while parents can hit the golf course or gym, or unwind with a detox scrub or massage in the spa.

Plus there’s a fishing lake, lawn croquet and boules, an indoor heated pool and an outdoor children’s play area. It’s also home to Feadon Wildlife Centre, which has reindeer, goats, ferrets, porcupines and reptiles. Families can try fire and den-building sessions with a bushcraft expert, spend time with birds of prey, or cosy up in the hide with cake and a hot drink after dark to see if they can spot a badger or fox in its natural habitat.

But the best thing about this resort? For an extra £50 a week, pets can stay in many of its lodges, which are in prime position for plenty of dramatic clifftop dog walks overlooking quintessentially Cornish beaches and coves.

There are lodges, most of which are equipped with kitchens, for smaller families and multigenerational groups. The two-bedroom timber Scandinavian Lodge, sleeping up to four people, has a balcony and sea views, while a luxury four-bedroom Signature Lodge, sleeping eight and with a hot tub and wood-burning stove, is built with sustainably sourced materials and carries an ‘excellent’ eco-home rating. The resort is wheelchair-accessible too, with two accessible lodge types sleeping five and six guests respectively.

Book it: Hoseasons offers seven nights in a pet-friendly four-person Scandinavian Lodge at Landal Gwel an Mor from £849, arriving on October 28.
hoseasons.co.uk


5 of the best family activities in the Canaries

Fuerteventura: A pirate-themed cruise on board the Pedra Sartaña invites kids and parents to rig the sails and play games. It’s also one of the few boats on the island licensed for whale watching. From £60.32 adults, £30.16 for kids, via viator.com

Tenerife: Siam Park – ranked one of the world’s best water parks – features thrilling rides, so it’s a great place for the whole family. A one-day ticket costs £40 for adults, £30 for under-12s, with free burger, via dosomethingdifferent.com

Gran Canaria: Maspalomas Nature Reserve offers 400 hectares of dune-based wonder. Kids can play on the dunes, run across to the beach, or even spot grey herons through telescopes.

Lanzarote: Rancho Texas is a fun-filled ode to the Wild West with a water park. It hosts regular country and western nights, blending an all-American dinner show with sangria and horse riding lessons for kids. From $40 for adults, $26 for under-12s via musement.com

La Gomera: Garajonay National Park’s fairytale laurel trails include the two-mile Las Creces, which serves as a family-friendly introduction to the unique ecosystem. There is also a quiet picnicking area.


What’s new in Florida’s theme parks

It’s set to be a bumper year for Florida’s theme parks. At Universal Orlando Resort, DreamWorks Land is opening on June 14, giving guests the chance to meet animated characters from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and more.

Over at Walt Disney World Resort, a much-anticipated ride is set to open at the end of June. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will take visitors on a log flume adventure through scenes from the Princess and the Frog.

SeaWorld Orlando is launching a couple of waterslides: family-focused launch-coaster Penguin Trek twists through a penguin habitat, while the other travels through an Aussie-inspired seagrass meadow.

SeaWorld’s sister resort Discovery Cove has just opened a habitat for flamingos, which is equal parts a conservation effort and a learning experience: families can observe the pink birds close-up, while guided by an expert aviculturalist.


Ask the expert: how to book a self-catering stay

Simon Altham, group chief commercial officer at Awaze, Hoseasons’ parent company

“The huge range of self-catering options available – from luxury lodges or holiday homes to cabins, yurts and even boating breaks – makes it easy to find accommodation to suit every customer’s needs.

“Our data shows that 52% of all Hoseasons bookings are being made for family groups. Self-catering is perfect for those who appreciate the blend of flexibility and affordability – something that is really important for those looking to have a great holiday while managing cost-of-living pressures on household budgets.

“And there are many options for dog-friendly breaks when it comes to self-catering, with amenities including gated gardens, dog beds, treats and even doggy showers. With pet ownership at an all-time high, more people than ever want to get away with the whole family – including the four-legged members.”

PICTURES: Francesco Polito; Emanuele Reguzzoni; Adolfo Gosálvez; Experience Kissimmee


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