The Sun '£9.50' Holidays
Stay in UK holiday parks from £42ish per family
The Sun calls these '£9.50 holidays', but in reality they're never quite this cheap. That doesn't mean it's not a decent deal though – you can bag a four-day holiday park break for just over £42ish simply by collecting tokens from The Sun newspapers.
You'll need to collect seven tokens or code words, printed in papers every day from Sat 18 Jul to Thu 30 Jul, for holidays between Aug 2020 and May 2021. They start from £9.50 per person and you have to pay for a minimum of four people. You also need to watch out for extra charges – this guide explains how to sidestep those to save £100s on a family getaway.
Coronavirus cancellation rights
If you've already booked a Sun Holiday for this summer, see its coronavirus info & FAQs. Travelling at the moment is a little uncertain, so here's what The Sun says are your rights if you need to cancel:
If you decide you don't want to go, unfortunately, you can't request a refund or rebook for a later date.
If someone in the holiday party has coronavirus, you can request a refund or rebook. You'll just need to prove they're in medically certified self-isolation (ie, have a doctor's note).
If you can't travel due to Govt restrictions or local lockdown, you can request a refund or rebook.
If your park is closed due to coronavirus, you can request a refund or rebook. The park operator should get in contact with you directly.
However, even if you're not able to get a refund, the amount you've shelled out is likely to be small compared to the normal cost of a holiday anyway, so you may choose to take the risk.
In this guide
The Sun's headline of '£9.50 holidays' looks stunning, and with park holidays costing in the £100s, the savings can be huge. While undeniably good value, truthfully, they're never actually £9.50 all-in. The sections below explain why you'll end up paying more:
Though the basic cost is indeed £9.50 per person for three or four nights, when you factor in extras, it mounts up.
For example, you always have to pay for at least four people, even if only two of you are going. So you'll pay at least £42.50 to get this offer – £38 for accommodation, £3.85 for seven newspapers (from 55p), and 65p for a second class stamp to send in your form.
151 of the 153 parks across the UK have a service charge that'll add £13.50-£60 to the total cost. The service charge covers the holiday home's cleaning, gas and electricity.
However, you can avoid paying a service charge by looking for dates which are "No extras" dates – listed as either "Pay only £9.50" or "Pay only £15" – or "FREE service charge" dates. These will be listed under each park in the in-paper brochure and on the online park pages.
Some parks also have a peak charge on top, where you could have to pay an extra £3.50 or £6 per person, per break during select dates. These are also listed under each park.
Bed linen and blankets are not included at any of the holiday parks. You should take your own, otherwise most parks offer bed linen and blankets for hire.
The cost of bed linen varies across the parks. The Sun told us that it doesn't quote these prices, so you'll need to check with your park operator if you don't want to bring your own.
Most tent accommodation includes pillows and blankets, but check with the park beforehand. It's also worth knowing cots, cot sides and high chairs may also require a supplement.
Parks offering entertainment programmes may charge for optional entertainment passes, about £2 to £32.50 per person, per break.
Some parks offer free entertainment on selected dates, so look out for the 'free entertainment' symbol when choosing.
We've asked The Sun if all entertainment facilities are open and it's told us this varies across parks, but they're expected to be open in time for the holidays.
No meals are included in the price, so save by self-catering. Some parks have catering facilities for breakfast and evening meals (listed as half-board), but this will be charged on top for between £14.53 and £18 per adult, per day and up to £7.50 per child per day.
We've asked The Sun if all catering facilities are open and it's told us this varies across parks, but they're expected to be open in time for the holidays.
Buy the paper, collect your tokens & form
To book your holiday, you need to collect seven unique tokens or code words, from seven different days' papers, printed every day from Sat 18 Jul to Thu 30 Jul in The Sun (55p on weekdays, 75p on Saturdays) and The Sun on Sunday (£1.20).
Therefore, the last day you can start collecting is Fri 24 Jul.
You can book online from Fri 24 Jul, using the code words on your tokens or by printing a booking form and filling in the info described below. These holidays are always popular, so have everything ready to roll as soon as you get the 7th token.
The Sun says it will try to get you a holiday of your choice, but it can't guarantee it. If your postal application is unsuccessful, your payment should be returned by Fri 21 Aug.
Choose your preferred dates & parks – though you may not get to decide exactly when & where you go
One reason these hols are so cheap is you can't always pick the exact location or dates of your holiday. You'll be asked to specify FOUR dates and FOUR parks you'd like to visit, and hope for the best.
Choosing a park
The accommodation includes caravans, chalets, apartments, tents, lodges, bungalows or cottages at over 150 parks in the UK (search the full park listings on The Sun's website). You'll need to pick a shortlist of FOUR preferred parks, but ultimately you won't be able to choose the exact park (unless you book online), and quality does vary, so do check reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor first.
Pets are not included in this offer, so if you want to take a dog, it'll cost you extra. You can add dogs and pay the extra when booking online, but not via postal applications. Though some parks do allow you to add dogs after you've made a booking, so it's a good idea to check directly with the park.
It's also worth noting the parks will not accept bookings from parties where everyone's under 21, and it's always down to each park's discretion whether to accept all-adult parties at all.
Choosing your dates
The hols can be taken on selected dates between Aug 2020 and May 2021. Weekend breaks are three nights and weekday holidays are four nights.
Friday-Monday (three-night breaks) can start: Hols from £9.50 2020 Sep 4, 11, 18, 25 Oct 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 Nov 6, 13, 20, 27 2021 Feb 5, 12, 19, 26 Mar 5, 12, 19, 26 Apr 16, 23, 30 May 7, 14, 21 Monday-Friday (four-night breaks) can start: 2020 Aug 31 Sep 7, 14, 21, 28 Oct 5, 12, 19, 26 Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 2021 Feb 1, 8, 15, 22 Mar 1, 8, 15, 22 Apr 19, 26 May 3, 10, 17, 24
Note: Not all parks will be available on these dates.
Book online or send off the form
As soon as you've all seven tokens or code words, book online at The Sun, by entering your seven codes and paying via credit/debit card. There's a £2.80 charge per booking, but if you can't travel for any reason and are struggling to get a refund, you could claim a chargeback if you pay on a card.
The other advantage to booking online is that you're told within minutes whether you've been successful, and you can play around with your booking until you get what you want, whereas by post, you get what you're given and you can't change it.
Or... post the form and tokens to: UK Holidays in The Sun, PO Box 1811, Colchester, CO2 8LF.
If you book by post you must pay by cheque or postal order and remember to include the basic charge of £9.50 per person. So, the total would be £38.
The application closing date for both booking methods is Fri 14 Aug.
For postal applications, parks will send holiday confirmation directly by post or email by Mon 17 Aug. If you're unsuccessful, your payment will be returned by Fri 21 Aug. If you have not heard anything by then, call 0344 543 9743 (calls cost the same as a landline). Make sure you keep a record of your selected parks and dates.
WARNING! You're unable to make amendments or cancellations after you've sent off the form. Only book if you're sure about the four dates and parks, and make sure you read the terms and conditions that IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation) enforces.