Last year, the domestic tourism industry shrank by about 60% - a huge loss to the millions of Britons who depend on the tourism industry. But with international travel still looking risky, 2021 is a great year to re-popularise the ‘staycation’.
Dyler, an online motor marketplace, have released an 11-factor study detailing where Brits should drive to for their next holiday. With comprehensive regional analysis, the research is a great resource for local tourism boards and industries for promotion, or development.
The UK’s top staycation spots
The research considered a variety of factors, from the safest roads to the most dog-friendly restaurants. Across all these factors, who came out best overall?
The popularity of Cornwall and Devon isn’t misjudged, as both counties score highly across the board. Devon came in third place overall and performed outstandingly for nature and accommodation factors. However, Devon’s scores poorly for ‘quietness’, and is more densely populated.
Perhaps due to its longer, winding coastline, tourists can find more tranquility in Cornwall. Again, this county outdoes itself on hospitality and things to do, making it the UK’s second best staycation destination.
But the overall winner is the North-Western region of Cumbria, England. Cumbria is not only home to the Lake District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it also encompasses parts of the Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines. It matches the Cornish Riviera’s accommodation, natural beauty and activities, but is better for drivers and boasts the safest roads in England.
The research also suggested places to avoid. North Lanarkshire lacks hiking routes and campsites, landing the Scottish region in third to last position. With limited hotels to choose between, the Welsh county Flintshire’s hospitality was found wanting, faring only better than Northamptonshire, England (which scored particularly poorly for drivers).
Best regions for road trips
Scotland accounts for eight of the top ten regions for driving and meets practical necessities (like safe roads and petrol stations) whilst also providing dramatic views. Shetland tops the list, followed by the less well known Clackmannanshire.
Merthyr Tydfil in Wales is officially the third best road trip destination. The region has a high density of car parks, making it easier to take pit-stops to enjoy the many attractions or walks the county offers.
Urban areas scored poorly for drivers, due predominantly to the amount of road accidents. Merseyside comes worst for overall drive-ability, with below average access to petrol stations and dangerous roads. The West Midlands comes second-worst, and is narrowly followed by Greater Manchester which has had a shocking 3212 recorded road-side fatalities since 2012.
Best regions for nature breaks
Two Scottish region are tied in first position for best nature breaks, the Highlands and Stirlingshire. The Highlands hosts an impressive 89 different routes to ramble round and more than 86 camp-sites to choose between. Stirlingshire offers a less saturated option to escape the crowds and get in touch with nature, scoring high on ‘quietness’ but low on ‘trendiest’. Cumbria, our overall winner, comes in third.
The regions scoring lowest for this factor are Buckinghamshire, Surrey and Northamptonshire. All score poorly for access to green space, walking routes and road safety.
Best regions for places to stay and things to see
To work out the UK’s ‘cultural destinations’, we considered the things to do in the area (museums, national trust destinations etc.), alongside the number of hotels, the number of pet-friendly restaurants and how ‘trendy’ the area is.
Cornwall has inspired many artists and writers, and has thousands of hotels to choose from, the most of any region after London. Those travelling with dogs should consider Devon which offers at least 182 dog-friendly places to stay. In third position is Cumbria, with a complex history as fascinating as its landscape, it has more than 238 attractions to keep visitors busy.
At the bottom of this list is Inverclyde, Scotland. According to the research, the county offers limited pet-friendly accommodation, and scores low to average on all other factors. Other underwhelming destinations are Flintshire, Wales (which ranks in the bottom three overall) and Blaenau Gwent, also in Wales.
The trendiest areas in the UK
To work out how ‘trendy’ destinations are, Dyler evaluated the google search metrics for each region. The cosmopolitan cities of London, Glasgow and Cardiff take the hot-spots, although — perhaps surprisingly — Edinburgh has fallen out of fashion, coming last. In fact, 18 of the 20 least-trendy regions can be found in Scotland, with Stirlingshire and Perth and Kinross in the bottom three.