School holidays special: Last-minute deals

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

It's still not too late to bag a bargain family holiday. Sarah Barrell rounds up the best for all budgets

If you've yet to book your summer break you're not alone.

This year, travellers have left it late, with many operators reporting a spike in bookings over the past four weeks. Availability is patchy, but there are still good deals out there. Self-caterers will find discounts in the bigger, more expensive villas (try agents including, and, while private holiday home agents (such as holidaylettings and still have a good range of economical summer lets, with many owners running special offers to entice late shoppers. And there are savings to be made in Alpine resorts: great for hiking, biking and lake/river activities (try or ernalow

If you fancy a short break close to home, lots of British seaside hotels are doing mid-week specials or offering good discounts for accompanying children ( tion). More summer staycations are offered by operators including Toad Hall Cottages (, which has some great self-catering deals in the West Country. Save 25 per cent at Grade II-listed Lime Cottage (sleeps four), in the seaside village of Minehead, Somerset, where seven nights cost from £390.

Book up to three weeks before you go, and Cumbrian Cottages (, along with its sister agencies Yorkshire Cottages and Scottish Cottages, will give you 15 per cent off hundreds of self-catering properties in Scotland and the north. Low Moor House (sleeps nine), an 18th-century country house near the Solway coast, costs a total of £880 per week.

And there's 10 per cent off stays at a new camping "pod" (little wooden cabins) at Woodovis Park ( on the Devon and Cornwall border, in August: £45 per night for a family of four. For holidays afloat, Waterways Holidays (waterwaysholidays .com) is cutting 10 per cent off narrowboat hire across the UK. A week's rental of a 56ft boat (sleeping four, plus a pet) on the Rochdale Canal, Yorkshire, costs £1,296, including fuel.

Cross to Ireland, and a week's self-catering between tomorrow and 22 August at Glenbeg Point Holiday Homes, within walking distance of Ardamine Beach, Co Wexford, costs a total of £700 for two adults and up to three children, including car ferry crossings ( the ferry to Holland, Belgium, Germany or France with DFDS and get discounted rates at Center Parks and Sunparks. Villas cost from €89 (£136) per night and ferry crossings for a car and four passengers cost £159. Or head across the Channel for a week's hiking, biking and swimming in Alps D'Huez, where a self-catering chalet (sleeping eight) is now half price, at £144 per person, including Eurotunnel crossings for two cars, with

Simply Perigord (simply-perigord .com) is offering discounts of up to 15 per cent on selected properties, from châteaux to cottages, across the Dordogne. Among them, a week's stay at a barn conversion, with private pool and games room, in a hill-top hamlet between St Alvère and Le Bugue costs £198 per person for eight sharing. Availability on P&O Ferries from Dover to Calais is still good, returns from about £80 per car. has identified a 35 per cent drop in Corsica bookings on last year, so late deals to this French island are fairly plentiful. The company is currently offering flights from £79 return and Direct Corsica ( has savings on coastal and inland villas, with a week's stay from €850 (£724), based on accommodation at Chez Therese, a two-bedroom apartment (sleeps four) in Calenzana, northern Corsica.

Single-parent families are offered 10 per cent savings on group activity holidays in France this summer with Mango Holidays ( Book by this Friday and a five-night break at a 17th-century château close to the beaches of Picardy costs £449 per adult, £349 per child (£309 under 12), departing 22 August, including full-board accommodation and all activities, from canoeing to volleyball.

In Spain, camping and mobile home specialist Vacansoleil (vacansoleil has peak-season savings in the Costa Dorada, including Camping Els Prats, where a seven-night stay in a fully-equipped tent now costs £458 per family (for up to six). Check online for regular deals with Mallorca Farmhouses (, which is offering discounts of up to 45 per cent during the holidays. Save £407 on a week in Pollenca at Burgues, a villa with three bedrooms (sleeping six) and a pool, close to the beaches of Puerto Pollenca. From £1,222, departing 28 August.

Casas (, which specialises in northern Spain and Portugal, has some good late-availability deals, including £100 off Le Casa de Manolin (sleeps six), a traditional-style stone/wood house with a little plunge pool and a spectacular location in the Picos de Europa mountains, from £730 per week. Don Toribio, a traditional Andalucian farmhouse (sleeps eight) with pool in Gaucin, costs £1,195 per week with CV Travel (

PCI Holidays ( has cut the cost of villas and apartments in some of the Costa Brava's best blue flag resorts. Sa Guilla, a spacious three-bed apartment with gardens and pool, costs €950 (£796) departing 24 August, down from €1,250 (£1,048). Flights to Gerona/ Barcelona are currently around £80 with Ryanair. is having a 50 per cent sale on select destinations, including mainland Spain and its islands. Seven nights in Menorca cost from £1,713 for a family of four staying all-inclusive at the four-star Carema Club Playa, in Playa De Fornell. It includes flights from Gatwick, departing 18 August.

Think Sicily ( is offering big savings. Book a week's break, departing 28 August, and high-season prices drop with discounts of up to €500 (£426) on a vast selection of villas. Try Il Gabbiano, a three-bedroom villa with a dramatic hillside setting and private beach access in Cefalu, down from €5,000 (£4,261) to €3,800 (£3,238).

Large parties can make large savings, too, in Tuscany (to-tuscany .com). Villa San Romolo (sleeps 10), south of Florence, has a private pool and has been reduced from £2,426 per week to £1,529, departing 28 August. Also in Tuscany, you can stay at Sangiovese, an old farmhouse (sleeps six) on a 450-acre Chianti Classico wine estate (tours and tastings offered). It has a private garden and shares a large outdoor swimming pool and extensive grounds with two other properties, available 14 to 27 August. Seven nights is reduced to £1,384, saving £346 with Flights to Pisa with easyJet are currently around £200 return.

The four-star Hotel del Faro, within the family-friendly Pugnochiuso Resort (, on the beach in Puglia costs €115 (£98) per adult per night half-board and children stay free when sharing their parents' room. Offer valid 21 to 25 August – quote "Independent Offer". Get savings of 20 per cent with Holiday Homes in Italy (holidayhomesinitaly A two-bedroom apartment (sleeps four) in Casa di Pietra, a stone house with private pool near Assisi in Umbria, costs £570 per week.

Following Goldtrail Holidays going into administration, there's been a 150 per cent seasonal increase in searches for flights to Turkey and Greece, according to, as people clamber to make alternative plans. But there are still some deals. Sunsail ( is offering good rates at Club Vounaki, a modern family beach club with a traditional Greek vibe offering water sports and sailing lessons. One week costs from £1,099 per person, departing 15 August, and includes flights, transfers, accommodation, half-board, free kids club for children aged two to 17, and a large choice of water and land activities.

And there's 20 per cent off a family adventure holiday in Turkey with GapAdventures ( Take a multi-activity, eight-day group trip from Istanbul overland out to the mountains and coast, from £552 per adult and £520 per child (minimum age five), departing 15 August.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower