A summer staycation sell-out is being predicted due to unprecedented demand for UK holidays.

The prediction was made today by leading self-catering provider cottages.com which reported to be close to letting its entire portfolio properties in August.

The demand for cottages.com breaks has been reflected in agency sales of self-contained holiday homes via sister brand Hoseasons, with Tuesday seeing the best day for cottage agent bookings since January last year, and year on year sales up 267%.

Announcements by respective governments about the return of holidays in England and Scotland prompted record online sales on Saturday, with year-on-year cottages.com bookings claimed to be up by 415%.

Luxury and coastal breaks remain the most popular choice with customers – up 323% and 277% respectively.

Bookings for rural retreats have risen by 212% as holidaymakers seek out safe, secluded hideaways following months of lockdown.

Yorkshire, Cumbria and Cornwall have seen the greatest volume of bookings over the last seven days.

But Simon Altham, chief commercial officer of parent company Awaze UK said it is no surprise the greatest growth in demand is for off-the-beaten-track areas such as the Scottish Highlands and Norfolk, as well as lesser-visited destinations such as Hampshire, Gloucestershire and Shropshire.

He said: “We fully expected the traditional holiday hotspots to do well once the easing of lockdown was announced, but the preference for luxury properties and the rise of the rural retreat clearly shows that safety and seclusion are still very much front of mind for those looking for a post-lockdown getaway.”

Altham is awaiting an announcement on holidays in Wales – something both brands are looking forward to promoting once again as soon as it is safe to do so.

He added: “Anyone still thinking of booking a summer staycation needs to act fast to avoid missing out.

“There’s still some fantastic deals out there, but they won’t last forever – especially when customers know they’re guaranteed a full refund if they end up being affected by any future local lockdown.”