IS IT CHEAPER TO VACATION OR STAYCATION THIS SUMMER?

 

IS IT CHEAPER TO VACATION OR STAYCATION THIS SUMMER?

Flightgiftcard compares the cost of train travel to eight UK staycation destinations vs. airline fares to similar European destinations

When it comes to choosing a holiday destination, it can be tricky deciding between a jaunt abroad or a staycation in the UK. Unpredictable British weather and rising train ticket prices may seem compelling reasons to give the UK a wide berth, but is flying to Europe really a cheaper option?

If you can’t decide between Rome or Bath for a historical city break, or feel unsure whether to head to Edinburgh or Barcelona for a dose of culture, Flightgiftcard, the world’s only cross-airline gift card, has compared the costs of travelling to popular UK spots by train versus flights to similar destinations in Europe.

FOR HISTORY

UK: The northeast city of York is one of the best places to see history in action. As one of the UK’s earliest settlements, first founded in the 13th century by the Ancient Romans, the walled city has a multitude of historical attractions, including the sprawling Gothic cathedral, York Minster, walkway along the city walls on both sides of the River Ouse, and York Castle, a former prison and court house.

Europe: Just a short flight away, the Italian capital of Rome has 3,000 years of history. First founded in 753 BC, the ancient ruins of the Forum and Colosseum evoke the power of the former Roman Empire, while The Vatican City, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, hosts St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, with Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel masterpiece. With return flights costing only £78 return, it’s easy to see why Rome’s unrivalled historical artefacts and accessible flights attract millions of visitors.

Choose Rome for a £22 saving:

UK trains London to York £100 return (2hrs)*

Flights London Gatwick to Rome £78 return (2.5hrs) with easyJet*

 

FOR CULTURE

UK: Edinburgh, Scotland’s compact hilly capital, is crammed with charm. It’s also home to comedy clubs, art galleries and an independent music scene, but with a return train ticket from London setting you back £142, you may want to consider a trip abroad.

Europe: Spain’s lively second city, Barcelona, has Catalan culture in spades. Visit the bustling Santa Catarina market to sample seafood paella, Iberian ham and Spanish wines, Park Güell for Gaudi architecture and stroll or cycle along the laid-back beach promenade. Eschew the tourist trap eateries on Las Ramblas and explore the side streets in the Gothic Quarter for authentic tapas and people watching. With flights from £84 return, it’s easy to see why this Spanish city is a popular choice.

Choose a Barcelona for a £58 saving:

UK trains: London to Edinburgh £142 return (4.5hrs)*

Flights: London Gatwick to Barcelona £84 (2.20hrs) with Vueling*

 

FOR BEACHES

UK: Comprising three miles of golden sand and one the first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK, Swansea’s Rhossili Bay was recently crowned the best beach in Europe by Suitcase Magazine.

Europe: A round-trip to Swansea from London by rail will set you back £113 (£157 in first class), so you may want to consider a quick flight to Faro in Portugal instead for only £107 return. With beaches to rival Swansea, and the added advantage of guaranteed sunshine, the Algarve is a popular spot for Brits looking for sun, sand and beach escapes.

Choose Faro for sunshine and a £6 saving:

UK trains London to Swansea £113 return | £157 first class (3.5hrs)*

Flights London Luton to Faro £107 (3 hrs) with easyJet*

 

FOR WINE

UK: English wine is experiencing a boom in popularity, with more than 450 vineyards and 3.15m bottles produced every year. For wine lovers, award-winning Camel Valley Vineyard in Bodmin, Cornwall, offers tours and tastings, and recently became the first English wine producer to be granted a royal warrant.

Europe: A return train journey from London to Bodmin takes four hours and costs £147.90, but a two-hour flight to Tuscany is only £86. The Tuscan region is a wine-haven, with vineyards dotted all along the Tyrrhenian coast, home to Italy’s most notable wines.

Fly to Pisa and save £61.90:

UK trains London to Bodmin (for Camel Valley) £147.90 (off peak, 4 hrs)*

Flights London Gatwick to Pisa (for Tuscany) £86 (2 hrs) with British Airways*

 

FOR NIGHTLIFE

UK: Newcastle’s reputation as a party town is well-earnt, but a rail fare will set you back £224.50 for an off-peak return from London.

Europe: A quick flight to the party island of Ibiza is far kinder to your wallet at £72 return.  Add to that the promise of sunshine, a much cooler clubbing scene, and beautiful beaches when you need respite from the partying, this Balearic island becomes a considerably more appealing option for clubbers.

Party in Ibiza and save £152.50 on travel:

UK trains: London to Newcastle £224.50 (off peak return, 3 hrs)*

Flights: London Stansted to Ibiza £72 (2.5 hrs) with Ryanair*

 

FOR ADVENTURE/OUTDOORS

UK: The spa town of Buxton in Derbyshire is a gateway to the Peak District; ideal for hiking, camping and zip-lining. But train prices from London come in at an eye-watering £376.

Europe: For £87 less, outdoorsy folk could fly to Slovenia, known for its ski resorts, lakes and mountains, for only £289. The town of Bled, famous for the glacial Lake Bled and cliffside medieval castle, is a hikers’ paradise. Journey across the iconic Tromostovje (Triple Bridge) for spectacular views across the Ljubljanica River.

A trip to Slovenia will save you £87:

UK trains: London to Buxton £376 (anytime return, 3 hrs)*

Planes: London Stansted to Slovenia £289 (2 hrs) with easyJet*

 

FOR CASTLES

UK: Aberdeen Castle, Dunnottar Castle and Castle Fraser are just some of the Aberdeenshire fortresses built in the Middle Ages, with displays of archery, falconry, jousting and battle re-enactments. Return train tickets from London to Aberdeen come in at £269, and takes around seven hours.

Europe: A short flight to Munich, in the heart of Germany’s Bavarian region, costs just £125. Famous castles include Neuschwanstein, Blutenberg and Hohenschwangau, and with many built directly into the mountainside, and featuring characteristic spires and turrets, Bavaria is truly a castle paradise.

Choose a vacation to Munich (and Bavaria) for a monumental saving of £144:

UK trains: London to Aberdeen £269 (off peak return, 7hrs)*

Planes: London Gatwick to Munich (to visit Bavaria) £125 (1.5hrs) with easyJet*

 

FOR SURFING

UK: Newquay, on the north Cornish coast, welcomes professional and amateur surfers every year, with the annual Boardmasters surfing and music festival taking place in August. Waves from the Atlantic Ocean create ideal surfing conditions in this well-loved seaside town.

Europe: For almost £25 less, surfing enthusiasts can fly to Lisbon and head to Peniche and Cantinho da Baia, a 3km long beach ideal for surfing beginners. Alternatively, Ericeria beach in the town of Foz do Lizandro hosts a major pro surfer event each year, with the adjacent town home to cafes, restaurants and a beautiful promenade, popular with visitors and locals alike.

Save £24.90 by choosing Lisbon:

UK trains: London to Newquay £147.90 (off peak, 5.5 hrs)*

Flights: London Stansted to Lisbon £123 (2.5 hrs) with Ryanair*

 

 

UK Trains

European flights

Choose flights to save

 

Destination

Cost

Destination

Cost

History York

£100

Rome, Italy

£78

£22

Culture Edinburgh

£142

Vienna & Barcelona

£84

£36

Beaches Swansea

£113

Faro, Portugal

£107

£6

Wine Camel Valley, Cornwall

£147.90

Tuscany, Italy

£86

£61.90

Nightlife Newcastle

£224.50

Ibiza, Spain

£72

£152.50

Adventure/ Outdoors Peak District (Buxton)

£376

Bled, Slovenia

£289

£87

Castles Aberdeen

£269

Munich, Germany

£125

£144

Surfing Newquay

£147.90

Lisbon, Portugal

£123

£24.90

*Costs sourced as follows:

  • All prices applicable for travel departing 28 June, returning 30 June.
  • All flight costs calculated from London airports via Skyscanner, as published on Wed 6 June.
  • All train costs applicable for departures from London stations via National Rail, as published on Wed 6 June.