I suspect there will be many families taking self-catering holidays in the UK this summer due to travel restrictions to many countries we are still having to deal with due to Covid.

We will be one of those families and although I like my trips abroad, I LOVE my UK self-catering holidays.  I was brought up with them, but it was not until I started taking my own family that I had a new appreciation of my parent’s hard work. I quickly learnt just how much organisation and preparation is required for a self-catering holiday to run smoothly and not become an endurance test but a relaxing holiday that everyone can enjoy.

Practice and experience make a big difference! I have been doing it for 17 years now and thought I would share with the less practiced at this type of holiday, the process I go through to ensure you can relax when you get there and not be tied to the kitchen or spending a fortune on eating out every night!


Main meals are always my first step. I would not plan a main meal every day, but plan for some meals out or take aways too. For the days you are going to cook focus on family favourites to keep everyone happy.  There are a few categories to think about to keep it quick and easy:

  • Meals that can be made ahead, frozen and taken with you eg shepherd’s pie or lasagne
  • Meals that can be part made and taken to minimise on ingredients and equipment when you get there eg sauces for curry or chilli
  • Meals that are quick and easy to whip up when you are there eg fajitas or stir fry

It is a good idea to check the rental has the equipment you will require for the dishes you will be making there.

Planning for staying healthy is my second step.  We all want to let our hair down a little on holiday and enjoy some treats but to stay on track most of the time I make and take my favourite healthy treats like Blackbean brownies or cookie dough bites.

Don’t forget about breakfast and lunches, think ahead about what you would like to eat and make sure they are on your shopping list or you take them with you.  We usually have brunch before heading out for the day with just a snack so eggs, avocado, fruit, yogurt and good coffee are always on the list!


Once you have your plan this is the biggest and most important step.  The more effort you put in before you go the more time you will have to relax when you get there.

Get ahead of the game and use the week before you go to make some dinners or part dinners and snacks and freeze them ready to take with you.  I promise you will thank yourself for it.


Your meal plan will give you a shopping list and the ideal is to book an online delivery for when you arrive.  Your regular service may not deliver to your destination but shop around and you should find a supermarket that will.  Currently deliveries are more difficult to get hold of so consider click and collect.  If neither of these are available investigate where the nearest supermarket is.


Do some research before you go and choose the restaurants you would like to try and book a table.  Under current social distancing rules this will be important to avoid disappointment.  You can always cancel if you change your mind.  Many of the restaurants also offer take away which is another great option to consider.


So you have a plan and you have done your preparation and research, my last piece of advice for a relaxing self-catering holiday is BE FLEXIBLE.  There will be things which may not go to plan but that does not matter, move things around, adapt to go with the flow and you will all have a fantastic time.

Happy Holidays Everyone!