AS THE credit crunch hits home holiday-makers could be tempted to stay in the UK but one travel website believes it is now more expensive to visit the Cotswolds for two weeks than holiday in St Lucia.

Easier Travel found a two-week holiday in the Cotswolds would cost £3,630 whilst the same amount of time in St Lucia, including flights, for a family of four is £3,576.

The cost of the Cotswolds holiday includes the cottage, petrol, day trips, meals out, and daily ice creams for a family.

Gary Smith, owner of the Old Bungalow Bed and Breakfast in Cirencester, said he had noticed a drop in UK trade this year.

"We have three large family rooms but since June we have only had a handful of families," he said.

"Anyone with a mortgage does not seem to be taking a break at all, we mainly get businessmen and pensioners staying."

But he said they still have a fair share of tourists from Europe thanks to a low exchange rate on the Euro.

Mr Smith said: "My wife and I went to St Lucia on our honeymoon and it was nice but very expensive and there wasn't much to do."

Linda Hill, events and sales manager at the Stratton House Hotel said occupancy rates were steady but agreed the Cotswolds is overpriced.

She said: "It goes with the area unfortunately and a lot of people from London are buying houses around here. It is an elite area."

But Cotswold District Council's tourism officer Sheila Jesson said it would be too early to compare this season's holiday trade.

"August is always a quieter month in the Cotswolds because we are not seen as a holiday destination, we are for short get-away breaks. We usually get busier in September with people who are not tied by the school holidays," she said.

And she said the Cotswolds was able to cater for all budgets.

"We have got something for everyone here," she explained. "Obviously there are people who will want to fly off to the Caribbean whatever the economic climate but you can get whatever you want in the Cotswolds."


The range of Cotswold holidays:

Luxury budget.

Accommodation: Two Weeks at Lords of the Manor Hotel in Lower Slaughter (‘Lords Bedroom’) £5,180.

Lunch: A homemade burger with bacon, cheese, coleslaw and chips at The Wild Duck Inn at Ewen - £21.90 for two.

Dinner: Lords of the manor –Tasting menu (maybe not the best dinner, but definitely the most expensive!) £130 for two people.

Things to do: * Hire an E-type Jaguar V12 convertible for 24 hours - £295 (Great escape Cotswold classic car hire).

* Two hot stone therapy full body massages for 80 minutes at Le Spa - £150.

* Champagne hot air balloon flight for two - £575.

TOTAL: £6,351.90.

Medium Budget.

Accommodation: Two weeks at Stratton House, Two people sharing a room - £1680.

Lunch: two Pies of the day at The Priory Inn at Tetbury - £16.

Dinner: Two sirloin steaks and two puddings at Harry Hares - £43.

Things to do: *Head4heights – double totem pole challenge and freefall for two - £28.

*Cotswold Wildlife Park - £20.

*An introduction course to Wakeboarding for two at the watermark club - £90.

TOTAL: £ 1,857.

Budget holiday.

Accommodation: Two weeks at The Old Bungalow for two adults - £910.

Lunch: Two Cornish Pasties from Whiddets - £3.80.

Dinner: 2 three–course meals at the fleece hotel - £29.50.

Things to do: *Admission for two adults into the Corinium museum - £7.90.

*Admission for two adults into the Cirencester open-air swimming pool - £6.

*Walk the Cotswold Way – free.

TOTAL: £957.20.