If you’re thinking of buying a holiday home, one of the first questions to ask yourself is, ‘Where should I buy?’ With so many wonderful places in the UK, this could be a difficult decision – do you set up home in the Cotswold countryside, along the coastline of Cornwall, or in the rural Yorkshire Dales?
When deciding on the best location for your holiday home, there are numerous factors that you should think about, to ensure that you have the best possible chance of success. For example: is the area popular with tourists, is it easy to get to, and are the property prices affordable?
In our previous article we revealed 10 of our favourite places in the UK for buying a holiday home. Here, we outline the most important things to consider, when trying to find the holiday let location that’s perfect for you…
Is the area easy to travel to?
Ease of access is hugely important when it comes to holiday homes. Although some guests will be seeking serenity and enjoy being ‘off the grid’, it’s important to get the balance right. You don’t want your property to be so remote that it’s difficult to get to.
Ideally, your holiday home should be accessible, whatever the weather (within reason), and in all types of car. You don’t want your guests to end up stranded because your holiday home is too far off the beaten track! For example, if you’re planning to buy a secluded cottage in the Lake District, it’s worth checking the roads around the area to ensure that guests won’t be faced with stressful journeys.
Don’t forget public transport either! Consider whether guests will be able to get to your holiday home without the use of a car – is the property within walking distance from a train station or bus stop, for example?
Aside from the travel itself, you should also think about parking. If you’re thinking of buying a holiday home in a busy tourist town or city, then parking might become a problem (if the property doesn’t have a driveway). How easy is it to park on the street, do you need a permit, will guests need to find a local car park and, if so, how much will that cost?
You should also question how easy it is for you, as the holiday let owner, to get to your property. Even if you have a manager running the day-to-day tasks, there is always the risk that something goes wrong or needs your attention at the property – in that case, it isn’t convenient to be faced with a five-hour drive to get there!
Is it easy to get around the area?
As well as the initial journey to your holiday property, it is important for guests to be able to travel throughout the area easily, during their stay. If they’re driving, guests will want to come and go throughout the day and perhaps go out in the evenings – they won’t want to face a drive that’s too much of a hassle each time. It’s not ideal if guests have to drive for hours to reach the local attractions – you want your holiday home to be easily accessible, in a central location.
When it comes to public transport, are there good local bus routes and trains for guests? For example, if you run an Airbnb in London, it will be extremely easy for your guests to travel through the city, whether that be by foot, tube, train or bus. On the other hand, if you buy a cottage in the Lake District, it might be difficult for your guests to get from one town to another.
Close proximity to local amenities will only ever be a positive for your holiday home – if they’re a five-minute drive away, great, if they’re within walking distance, even better. Either way, it’s something that people will most certainly look out for when booking their holiday; the lack of which could sway their decision negatively. Consider this: you’re torn between a country cottage which is located on the edge of a Cotswold market town, and one which is nestled in a hamlet, 10 miles outside of that same town. Which would you choose to book?
Guests will certainly appreciate the convenience of a supermarket or convenience stores nearby, especially if they’re staying for a longer period of time. Likewise, being close to good pubs or restaurants is a huge plus, as the majority of holiday makers will want to head out for dinner and drinks, without a long journey home afterwards!
What does the area have to offer?
It goes without saying that the more beautiful and interesting the area, the more popular it will be with holiday makers. The best holiday let locations in the UK will be those with something special to offer; people visit Devon for its famous beaches, travel to the Peak District to witness its incredible landscapes, and head to London to soak up some culture.
If you’re planning on buying a holiday home, have a think about what the location has to offer to tourists. Is it an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (like Cornwall or the Cotswolds), does it have a rich history (like Edinburgh or Oxford), is there stunning scenery (like the Lake District), or is it perfect for walking holidays (like Snowdonia or Pembrokeshire)?
You will want your holiday home to appeal to as wide a market as possible – including families. Whether you’re hoping to buy an Airbnb in Cornwall or country cottage in Yorkshire, it’s a good idea to check whether the location is family friendly. For example: are there parks nearby to allow the children to play, are the local eateries suitable for young children, are there attractions and activities for younger visitors?
We can’t forget that families also include our four-legged friends; it’s becoming more and more common for holiday homes to welcome dogs, especially those which are located in the countryside. As such, you should question whether the local area is suitable for guests with dogs – are there dog-friendly pubs and cafés, and are there places for dog walks nearby?
The best holiday let locations in the UK are those with an abundance of good local attractions close by. Whether guests are planning a romantic retreat, family getaway or walking holiday, they will want to visit somewhere with plenty to do and see! Think about the most popular holiday destinations in the UK – Cornwall, Devon, London, the Cotswolds, the Peak District – they all offer heaps of attractions, from beaches and market towns, to museums and heritage sites.
As mentioned above, it’s an added bonus if there are family friendly attractions too – wildlife parks, adventure parks and activity centres, for example.
What is the quality of holiday lets and other accommodation in the area?
If you’re buying a holiday let, it’s vital that you understand the local market. You should have a close look at the amount and quality of alternative holiday properties around the area – specifically, how much competition is there?
Whilst it’s probably not a good sign if there’s a complete lack of holiday homes and/or hotels (as this could signal that the location isn’t particularly popular with tourists), you don’t want to be facing too much competition, either. For example: if you buy a cottage in the Cotswold tourist trap of Bourton-on-the-Water, it will most likely attract interest due to demand. But, with so many other holiday properties in the area, how will you stand out against the competition?
Rules and regulations
Before you set your heart on a location for your holiday home, it’s a good idea to double check that there aren’t any restriction rules in place that might that limit or prevent holiday lettings. The prime example is the tourist town of St Ives in Cornwall – here, new build properties can only be bought for ‘full residential use’. Another example is London, where there’s a 90-day limit for renting out your home on Airbnb, meaning that you are not allowed to let out your property for more than 90 days within one year. Read more about restrictions here.
It’s also a possibility that restrictions have been placed on a property by the local planning authority. For example, in the Cotswolds, there are certain holiday developments that, according to the Cotswold District Council, ‘are subject to restricted occupancy conditions’. In other words, they ‘can only be used at certain times of the year or for certain reasons.’
If you’re undecided about the best places in the UK for buying a holiday home, find some inspiration by checking out our top 10 holiday let locations.
The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of writing, based on our research. Rules, criteria and regulations change all the time and so please speak to one of our Consultants to confirm the most accurate up to date information. Nothing in this article constitutes financial advice. Please always consult your accountant or solicitor for all financial, taxation or legal matters. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Pure holiday let, buy to let and commercial mortgages are not regulated by the FCA.