Finding out how to find the best UK vacation rentals puts some people off even trying to organize this great and economical way to visit the UK. The internet has made this kind of vacation easier to arrange than ever before - there are hundreds of websites that offer great rentals all over the place.
But that very number has also made finding the right vacation rental for you much more confusing. Where do you begin? How do you know where to look? Can you trust photographs? How long will it take to find what you want? Can you book online? Should you book online? It's a minefield out there.
My Top UK Vacation Rentals on the Web
These are the best sources of UK vacation rentals - self-catering as European's call it - that I've found on the web. These websites offer a good range of well described and fairly priced properties with sites that are fast and easy to navigate as well as clear information about how to book.
- HomeAway.com is a huge listing site with hundreds of thousands of paid vacation rental home listings in 100 countries. Just enter the name of the place you want to go on your are on your way. Navigation is incredibly easy. There are separate overview pages for:
Once you land on a country page you can choose by region, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, type of accommodation (cottage, castle, condo, flat, mansion), facilities, pet-friendliness. In each case, there is information about how many rentals meet your requirements. Each listing is well described with several good pictures. Detailed contact information including postal address, phone and email are included as well as clear information about availability.This company is definitely my favorite. The only downsides that I can see are that you cannot book directly online (though you can email owners) and the selection for Northern Ireland is not very strong.
- Under the Thatch now styles itself as "UTT" . It started out specializing in character cottages in Wales and, after 20 years in business, now includes Spain, France, Portugal and Poland as well. The original theme of very stylish character properties remains. If you've always dreamed of staying in a remote fisherman's cottage, a thatched cottage, a converted, white-washed stone barn or a gypsy caravan on the edge of a beach, this is where to look. Accommodations are beautifully described, with plenty of large, good quality pictures and some panoramic images, inside and out. Special or last minute deals are always listed.The online booking facility provides information about price before you've entered any personal details. If I have any quibbles at all, it is that the availability page is a bit busy and probably a nightmare if you are color blind. Luckly, if you pick a date that is unavailable, a floating box appears to let you know.
- Premier Cottages features luxury, 4 and 5 star vacation rentals throughout the UK and Ireland. Though not the cheapest cottages around, these are good value - especially when compared to hotel rates for equivalent standards. The site includes links to cottage owners' own websites and excellent pictures of well decorated rental cottages. The they have separate lists of properties that are dog friendly, have hot tubs or pools. And you can order their holiday brochure if you'd rather peruse their properties at leisure before booking - a kind of dream book, if you will. Plus, you book directly through the cottage owners - so you can get information from people who really know their properties. This is one I really like.
- Quality Cottages is a family run business that features stunning cottages, vacation homes and apartments all over Wales. We tried Moel Y Geifr. one of their substantial, dog-friendly vacation homes near Harlech on the edge of Snowdonia National Park and were blown away by the quality of both the accommodation and service. It far exceeded our expectations. Good information was provided in advance and a starter pack of groceries was waiting for us when we arrived. The website and a brochure you can request are packed with photos that give you a very good idea about what to expect.