September and October can be the perfect time to book a bargain holiday at home or abroad. Temperatures are still warm but not sunburn-inducing and towns in the Med and around the UK are much less crowded.
Long-haul destinations also offer some great discounts in the off-peak season. With kids back at school airports are less frenentic, parks are quieter and swimming pools are wonderfully deserted.
Better still, hotels, cottages, B&Bs and villas offer some serious discounts as autumn arrives, and flights are cheaper too.
By shopping around you can save hundreds of pounds on your getaway.
Devon cottage rental special offer
The rather lovely Bentley semi-detached house, so named because it was built as quarters for the chauffeur of a local gin baron, has savings of up to £141 on week breaks throughout September.
Set in the heart of Dartmoor National Park, within 25 acres of land running down to the River Dart, Bentley is traditional stone-built, luxury, two-bedroom cottage.
With its own garden, a large meadow, a furnished patio, a barbeque area, and an impressive roof terrace, it’s a great place for a late-summer break.
Bentley can be booked for seven days from £623, saving £141.
See Blue Chip Holidays for more offers.
St Lucia: upgrade and save on Caribbean luxury
For those travellers setting their sights further afield, autumn is great for snaffling a bargain booking.
Save £690 per couple this autumn and escape to St Lucia’s exclusive Cap Maison, a boutique villa resort in the north of the island.
The resort is offering a 30 per cent saving on a seven-night B&B stay, with prices from £1,610 per couple (based on two sharing) in September and October, plus a free room upgrade in September.
Flights and wine tasting in Tuscany
Tuscany is a joy in September – the scorching summer heat has abated, school holiday crowds have packed their bags and the hillsides buzz with activity as the grape harvest grinds into motion.
Set in the heart of Tuscany between Montepulciano and Cortona, the atmospheric Borgo Tre Rose is a medieval hilltop hamlet that has been lovingly transformed into a serene country retreat.
Cookery classes, wine tasting, hot air ballooning, horse-riding and mountain biking are all available locally.
A seven-night stay in September through Sunvil costs from £777 per person (two sharing) including B&B, flights (Gatwick) and car hire. A significant saving on the July and August prices.
Cheap two-week yoga and sailing holiday in Greece
Hop from learning new sailing skills in dinghies in week one to chilling out with unlimited yoga and pilates during week two.
The price includes flights (Gatwick), transfers, unlimited sailing and RYA tuition, taster watersport sessions, and yoga, pilates and fitness classes.
Valid for departure on 31 August only.
15 per cent off treehouse cabins
For a romantic room for two, the tree house cabins from Forest Holiday are a great mix of luxury and adventure.
These log cabins range in size and are no summer camp, Pontins set-up. The luxurious lodges are set in the middle of beautiful forests with hot tubs, log burners and spectacular views.
The company has lodges around the UK. Accommodation ranges from one-bedroom lovers’ hideaways to open-plan family lodges and tree houses.
This year Forest Holidays is offering 15 per cent off its remaining cabins in the summer holidays (breaks starting on or before 31 August 2015).
Sailing in the Med offers
Explore Greece, Croatia, Italy or Turkey on your own boat and island hop to your heart’s content.
The Moorings is offering free nights for seven-night bareboat yacht charters booked before 8 September, departure between now and 31 October 2014.
Sunsail is also offering discounts on its sailing bareboat charter holidays.
There’s 15 per cent off its bareboat yacht charter holidays in Croatia, Greece, Italy and Turkey and free nights for bareboat yacht charter for Caribbean charters.
Book by 8 September, departure between now and 31 October 2014. Based on a minimum of seven nights.
Seven nights in a Kefalonia villa for £125 per person
Book seven nights at the beautiful three-bedroom Villa Gaèta from £748 in September. It is set in an elevated position, hidden among cypress trees, within easy walking distance of Fiscardo’s quaint harbour.
The three-bedroom villa has a concierge service, a twice weekly maid service, in-villa spa treatments on request, uninterrupted sea views, a private swimming pool, air conditioning and complimentary high speed Wi-Fi.
Seven nights at Villa Gaèta is £1,071 instead of £1,480 for travel between 7–14 September 2014.
From 14-21 September the villa costs from £931, and from 21–28 September the villa is available from £748 per villa.
For further information, or to book, visit Unique Villas. EasyJet, Ryan Air, Thomas Cook and Thomson offer direct flights to Kefalonia.
Stunning Cornish barn conversion with hot tub and pool
It’s easy to understand Polzeath’s attraction: a broad sandy beach, excellent surf, cliff top walks and restaurants serving fresh local fish. Choose from various cottages near Polzeath with Classic Cottages.
Mesmear Mill (sleeps ten) is bit of a gem with its heated outdoor pool, hot tub, gym/games room and acres of orchards and woodland to explore.
It’s a beautiful property, combining the comfort of a boutique hotel with the space and privacy of your own home.
A three-night stay in September costs from £158 per person (£1,575 total).
Three-night weekend break at Thoresby Hall Hotel, Nottinghamshire
Catch this £250 per person three-night weekend break from Friday 26th September at the grade I listed Thoresby Hall.
The offer is for two people sharing a standard room including half board (breakfast and a three-course dinner), and includes live entertainment and several of daytime activities (saving a total of £379.34).
You can relax in the state-of-the-art spa, complete with aromatherapy caves, steam room and hydrotherapy pool, or wander through Thoresby’s 30 acres of gardens.
If Thoresby is over your budget, Warner Lesiure Hotels also has breaks from £45 per person per night this autumn.
Valencia city break offer with roof terrace
This duplex apartment in the heart of Valencia’s historic centre is £83 per person for a three-night break in September and October (four sharing) or £332 total. Find it on Spain Holiday (property reference 20381).
The property is close to the cathedral and Mercado Central, as well as a vibrant collection of cafés, restaurants and shops, and has a delightful rooftop terrace with views across the city.
With miles of beaches and an increasingly popular restaurant scene, Valencia will soon by vying with Barcelona for the Spanish city break number-one spot. Get there before everyone else follows suit.
Top tips for booking a cheap holiday
If you can hold your nerve, leave booking your holiday as late as possible and you can grab the best bargains. Shop around and check if cottage rental websites and hotel websites are offering late deals.
Be flexible. When searching search for the whole of the Med or West Country, for instance, you’ll get more deals to choose from