Holiday home owners in the UK have been besieged by enquiries from citydwellers hoping to book for the whole summer, as returning to the office looks increasingly far-off.
Britain’s cottages and holiday homes have seen an unprecedented rise in customers looking for long term stays away from the city for when lockdown lifts.
Oliver’s Travels, who look after luxury villas and grand chateaux, said that they typically get “very few” long term bookings but this month 20 per cent of their UK enquiries are for stays of up to 12 weeks.
Oliver Bell, Co-Founder of Oliver's Travels said: “We have seen a great interest for six to 12 week stays in the UK where families are looking for somewhere to hunker down over a long period this summer, as well as increased demand for remote locations showing that there’s a desire to go off-grid and temporarily switch off from current affairs.”
As companies continue to ask staff to work remotely, families are realising that they can spend their summer by the coast, said Jamie Jamieson, a property search expert covering Norfolk and Suffolk.
He said: “It’s definitely a thing happening at the moment with numerous people asking about it.
“95 per cent seem to be coming from London where they have had small gardens and they want to be in a larger space inside and out with a garden and ideally not too far from the sea.”
He added that for parents looking to continue working “having good broadband is important, so one of them at least can continue working and then share looking after the children”.
But Darren James, director of handpickedcottages.co.uk, who has seen an upshot in high-net worth clientele looking for up to six weeks away, believes the rise is due to possible quarantine periods when travelling overseas.
“People book these length holidays when they go abroad but now they’re booking them in the UK because it’s more convenient.
“If you wanted to take a two week holiday to Greece I suspect you’ll have to quarantine and it will double the length of a holiday,” he said.
Vanessa Branson, sister of Richard Branson, who owns the private Scottish island of Eilean Shona with 10 properties for holiday rent has also seen the length of stay from her customer enquiries increase from one week to up to three weeks “for the first time ever”.
Ms Branson said that the good weather meant that the “the UK has become rather exotic".
She added that the "mood of guests" was that they "want to spend longer blocks of time in one place" and said she sees the trend continuing.
Meanwhile, Karen Mullins, Regional Director UK and Ireland, HomeAway said: "With British employees being advised to work from home, we have noticed an increase in interest from people wanting to stay in a holiday home for a longer period of time during the summer season, than we did last year.
"Working remotely during the day and then joining the rest of the family for a dip in the pool or a long country walk straight after, seems to be an attractive alternative to the living room-desk for a variety of urban living holidaymakers and is something to look forward to when we are able to travel again."