Want to know the Family Traveller team’s favourite holiday rentals in the UK? Here, we reveal our best family staycation homes via Vrbo. Take a look.
What’s Vrbo? The website lists more than two million homes around the world and is the secret weapon of travel-industry insiders who use it to find their own holiday rentals. Vrbo stands for “Vacation Rentals by Owner”, which means the website brings holiday homes direct from the owner to you, saving time and money by cutting out the middleman.
The UK’s top 3 family holiday rentals for 2023
Family Traveller Editor at Large, Katie Bowman, uses Vrbo to set up her own family trips: “I’ve stayed in an English castle for a family reunion; I’ve celebrated my daughter’s birthday in a Cape Cod cottage, and found winter sun with a last-minute Marbella villa – always using Vrbo and always paying around half what a villa agency would charge.”
Swanage, Dorset for life on the beach: 3 bedrooms, sleeps 6, from £266 per night
Belvedere Lodge is a butter-yellow Georgian townhouse right on the seafront at Swanage. Your apartment takes the top two floors, which means views of the water, but also of leafy Durlston Country Park.
Outside, it’s easy picnic-carrying distance to the beach, where parents can rent stripey deckchairs and kids can work their way through the gelato flavours at local Giggi kiosk. There’s even a Punch ‘n’ Judy Show on the shoreline – with family-friendly storylines in 2023. Inside, it’s classic beach-house décor, with Shaker kitchen, tongue-and-groove, club-style armchairs and a pretty fireplace.
Waterfront Northern Ireland for a new adventure: 3 bedrooms, sleeps 8, from £238 per night
Lamb Cottage in Ballycastle is one of the best holiday rentals from which to get to know Northern Ireland’s beautiful coast. We love its modern architecture, with giant picture windows making the most of the views, as well as sky lights and glass walls bringing the outside in.
On a clear day, you can see Scotland’s Mull of Kintyre and Rathlin Island. Plus, you’re within driving distance of Blue Flag beaches, and Kinbane Castle and Portrush are nearby too. You’ll also find big hitters like the Giant’s Causeway in the area. And, if you want to earn Brownie points with teens, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge is local Games of Thrones’ territory.
Great value in the Cornwall countryside: 2 bedrooms, sleeps 6, from £114 per night
You can probably blame the boxsets for the perennial popularity of Cornwall holiday rentals. We love this cute, listed cottage in Calstock village as it’s driving distance from big sights like Dartmoor, Bodmin and the Eden Project. But it’s also close to south coast surf beaches and surrounded by the Tamar Valley: an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Kids will love the bunkbeds, and grown-ups will love the country pub less than 100 paces away. And all this can be yours for under £120 a night.
Vrbo reveals its own 2023 Holiday Homes of the Year
This week Vrbo also reveals its own 2023 Holiday Homes of the Year, based upon star ratings, guest reviews, host status, and standout extras such as hot tubs, great views, or astonishing architecture. These are the worthy winners.
Edinburgh, Scotland: 5 bedrooms, sleeps 10, from £1,293 per night
Lovingly restored from a ruin, The Old Millhouse makes a tranquil base just 20 minutes from Edinburgh city centre.
Its concierge service has you covered from hiring a private chef to setting up fishing lessons on the Millhouse’s stretch of river. You can even use their driver for Scottish tours. And after a busy day of activities, you can sink into the heated Swim Spa Hydro Pool, then wake up refreshed in your Hypnos bed.
Peak of the holidays rentals in Cumbria: 6 bedrooms, sleeps 16, from £485 per night
Situated on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, High View Barn is a captivating stone cottage with something for everyone in your group.
Mezzanine games room? Check. Full size bowling green, private sauna, large outdoor jacuzzi? Check, check and check. Its modern open plan living room, impressive kitchen and dining area are ready for hosting. Although you may prefer the patio dining and deck area with built in BBQ on sunny days.
A quirky character in Abergavenny, Wales: 6 bedrooms, sleeps 12, from £459 per night
If quirky home rentals are your thing, look no further than Llancayo Windmill in Wales.
Standing tall in picturesque Abergavenny, Llancayo has six bedrooms and several reception rooms spread out over four floors. There’s a spacious kitchen, as well as a dining room, and living room with a balcony. Then, right at the top of the windmill, you’ll find a snug. So more than enough interesting spaces for a larger than average family to feel perfectly at home.
Pick of holiday rentals in the Cotswolds: 6 bedrooms, sleeps 12, from £1,122 per night
Mulberry Barn, a magnificent Cotswold conversion, dates to the 17th century and creates the ideal space for a luxury escape. One of those enviable holiday rentals which marries original features with high quality contemporary touches, it’s also spread across a very generous 6,000 sq ft.
As well as communal areas inside and out where families can spend time together, there are plenty of quieter spots for alone time too. Look out for the Welcome Pack full to the brim with local produce.
Beside the seaside in Woolacombe, Devon: 5 bedrooms, sleeps 10, from £656 per night
Who can see the sea? Everyone, staying at Thorpe. This contemporary coastal home has stunning views over Woolacombe Beach, with seaside walks on its doorstep. It also has a well-equipped kitchen and plenty of living space for ambitious multi-gen get togethers.
The sense of luxury extends outside, as glass bi-fold doors lead to a sun-trap terrace with sunken hot tub. And if you need a soundtrack for your stay, a jukebox with hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s provides that too.
Island life in Anglesey, Wales: 5 bedrooms, sleeps 10, from £212 per night
This stunning contemporary house set on the peaceful island of Anglesey, sleeps 10 across five ensuite bedrooms.
After exploring the idyllic local area, there’s plenty to do at home as well. Hop in the seven-person hot tub or kick back in the cinema. Head to the games rooms, or make use of the sensational dining room with its double-height cathedral ceiling and glass windows onto the patio.
One of Vrbo’s pet-friendly holiday rentals, the house also has bedrooms downstairs, so it’s another good choice for multi-gen family breaks. Look out for their welcome gift of local jam, cheese and wine.