For several years, The Sun has been working with Parkdean Resorts, John Fowler, Park Holidays UK, Pontins and others to offer holidays under it’s £9.50 headline price.
However, Haven recently dropped out of the promotion and launched a rival £49 offer so it seemed like a good time to assess the merits of The Sun's 9.50 Holiday deal.
How does The Sun's Holidays from £9.50 work?
You collect 10 tokens from the paper (or find the codewords online) and can then book 3 night weekend breaks or 4 night midweek breaks at a cut price. Most people book online, although there are postal options too.
In case you're searching for them, The Sun Holidays codes for 2022 are DOZE, STAY, ACRE, KENT, HIDE, PATH, BALL, WING, 3W4K and SWIM.
Is it really £9.50 for a holiday?
Well no, not exactly.
The £9.50 price is the lowest possible price, per person per break.
The actual lowest possible price by my calculations is £41 for a four night break, as you have to pay £9.50 x 4, plus a £3 booking fee.
Holidays are for three nights or four nights (either a weekend or a midweek break) and the minimum group size is four people so you’ll pay the same price even if there are three of you.
That price is for the most basic accommodation. There are optional extras too, including 'entertainment/clubroom passes, holiday home upgrades, bed linen, half board and a charge for taking your dog(s).'
These upgrades tend to be reasonably priced, in my opinion. For example, the entertainment passes are sometimes only £5 per person, per break. That's good value if it includes the use of an indoor swimming pool. For Isle of Wight holidays, you can get a special discount on the ferry.
So you can't actually get a holiday for £9.50, but £41 for a holiday is still pretty remarkable.
So, what holiday can I get for £41?
It's worth realising that the price of The Sun Holidays varies according to the time of year and what you want to do.
For example, we checked prices at Parkdean Resorts' Thorness Bay on the Isle of Wight and found that the £9.50 price was only available on four different midweek breaks starting during term time in late September and early October 2022.
During other times of the year, the prices are £19.50 per person, £29.50 per person or £39.50 per person. To save you getting the calculator out, that works out as £81, £121 or £161 per holiday.
Generally speaking, you’ll pay more for holidays when the sun is more likely to shine. A weekend in October is likely to be cheaper than a weekend in May.
At Thorness Bay Holiday Park, you also need to pay a supplement if you want to use the onsite facilities such as the swimming pool. It’s only £5 per person, per break which I would say is well worth it. For a midweek break, that's only £1.25 per day, per person.
That takes our total prices to £61, £101, £141 or £181 for your holiday depending on the time of year.
Can you use The Sun’s £9.50 holidays deal during school holidays?
It depends how picky you are.
When we searched, we could only find Pontins holidays available during the school holidays in August 2022. Admittedly, we left it a bit late to book so there may have been more choice earlier.
It’s worth noting that TripAdvisor reviews for Pontins resorts are not as good as rivals such as Haven or John Fowler Holidays (see our Pontins guide). Pontins resorts score somewhere around 4/10 or 5/10 from reviewers whereas some Haven resorts score 8/10 or 9/10.
We did manage to find a non-Pontins resort offering holidays during May half term from £49.50 per person (£201 per break) but there weren’t many.
Generally, these breaks from The Sun Holidays are best for a weekend during term time or a midweek break if you can work around school dates.
Which are the best holiday parks in the Sun’s £9.50 holidays promotion?
Previously, I would have enthusiastically recommended Haven’s resorts within the Sun’s £9.50 holiday deals. However, Haven has left the scheme and is now offering its own ‘best value’ deals from £49. More on that later!
Are The Sun’s Holidays from £9.50 better value than going direct?
Now that’s a good question!
The short answer is that you can save some money through The Sun's holiday deals if you are willing to be flexible and fit around the dates and resorts they offer you.
For example, The Sun was offering a four night break at Parkdean Resorts Breydon Water from October 10th for £16.50 per person. That’s for a Comfort Plus caravan and works out as £89 for a holiday once you’ve paid the modest booking fee and the cost of the entertainment passes.
Meanwhile, the cheapest deal available by going direct was £109 when we checked the same dates (£20 more expensive). The caravan grading is a little confusing, as the caravans aren't referred to as ‘comfort plus’ on the Parkdean Resorts websites.
Of course, if you didn’t want the entertainment passes then you could get the Sun’s deal for £69 which is £40 cheaper than the cheapest option by going direct.
Let's look at another example.
We searched for a three night holiday at Park Holidays UK's Martello Beach caravan site. The Sun Holidays offered a four night midweek break in a Premier Plus Caravan starting on September 26th 2022 for £93. That included 'clubroom' passes.
By going direct, the cheapest accommodation was £115 and that was a bronze caravan. Again, it's hard to compare accommodation. The Sun holidays site doesn't make clear whether a 'Premier Plus Caravan' is bronze, silver or gold by Park Holiday UK's ratings. However, it is an 'extra wide upgrade' so I would guess that it is at least a Silver Plus caravan which costs £128 by going direct.
So, you're saving about £35 by booking via The Sun Holidays.
However, it's worth mentioning that Park Holidays UK was offering a £30 food and drink voucher by going direct. If you were going to eat onsite anyway, then the saving by going via The Sun Holidays would only be £5.
What about Haven? How do they compare to the £9.50 deals with The Sun.
Haven dropped out of The Sun’s £9.50 holiday promotion in 2022. This is bad news for a lot of people who used the deal to get a good value break with a popular brand.
However, Haven has launched its own best value deals offering holidays ‘from £49’.
At first, this may seem like a price hike but (as previously discussed) the £9.50 deal is per person, whereas the £49 price is per holiday. Also, Haven don’t charge the £3 booking fee which comes with The Sun’s holidays.
When we checked, all of the £49 deals from Haven were for their Haven Hideaway holidays. That means you just get accommodation and you can’t use the onsite facilities apart from the restaurants. They were all four night midweek breaks during off peak times.
So, you’re paying £49 for something which is similar to the £41 deal with The Sun holidays. Personally, I would pay the £8 extra if it meant I could stay at a better or closer resort.
The cheapest ‘standard’ Haven holiday we found was £69 (i.e. one where you can use the onsite facilities).
Again, that’s a similar price to the cheapest breaks with The Sun’s £9.50 promotion (£8 more expensive if you’re being picky).
We did find a couple of cheap deals from Haven which were caravans which slept six people instead of four. For example, we found four nights at The Orchards in Essex for £60 in October 2022 (accommodation only, not including activities). That works out as £10, per person per break which is the same price as the Sun's £9.50 holidays once you've added on the booking fee.
Holiday Park Guru Blog
Occasional thoughts on holidays in England, Wales, Scotland and further afield, including the latest deals, discounts and last minute offers.
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