Has the bubble finally burst for popular UK holiday spots

February 11, 2024

Has The Bubble Finally Burst for Popular UK Holiday Hotspots? Travel Provider Reveals The New UK Destinations Where Brits Want to Staycation

​​Cornwall and the Lake District have consistently been at the top of the UK's staycation hotspot list, with the destinations being ranked as firm favourites by Brits again last year in a survey about family holidays.

This is no surprise, as these destinations offer some of the most explorable landscapes, fun-filled attractions, and fascinating history, which have attracted visitors from far and wide for decades.

However, the bubble could be beginning to burst for these much-loved holiday destinations according to UK travel provider Independent Cottages

The staycation holiday provider analysed its internal enquiry data from January 2023 compared to last month, and popular locations like Cornwall, the Peak District, and the Lake District were nowhere to be seen.

Instead, the figures revealed the following top five locations as the most popular amongst Brits: 

  • Buxton, Derbyshire
  • Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Little Haven, Pembrokeshire
  • Lower Withington, Cheshire
  • Thorncliffe, Staffordshire

But why exactly might the popularity of long-standing hotspots in the UK be dwindling? 

Recent reports highlight that destinations like the Lake District are suffering from ‘over-tourism’ under the strain of the 18 million visitors that flock to the region annually, which is threatening to spoil its landscapes.

More recently, travel expert Simon Calder issued a warning that advised motorhome owners, in particular, to steer clear of the Lake District as a result of over-crowding, also citing Cornwall as a location to avoid too. 

The Southern hotspot too has had an influx of tourists in recent years, which is leading to growing concerns for overcrowding in the county. 

Fodor’s even added it to its ‘No List’ of destinations to avoid travelling to last year as a result and Visit Cornwall even became the first British tourist board to ask Brits to “stay away”, articles state, when tourism was at some of its peak levels. 

Alongside over-tourism, an increase in price in popular hotspots, specifically Cornwall, could have had an impact, with local media last year sharing that the county is home to some of the most expensive seaside resorts in the UK. 

And in light of the ongoing cost of living crisis, it’s no surprise that cost is going to be a major factor in Brits considering a staycation. 

Matthew Fox, the CEO of Independent Cottages, states: “Given our current economic climate and the issue of over-tourism that several UK holiday destinations have been facing in recent years, this may be the core reason why our data shows travellers are casting their eyes on new destinations.

“There’s no doubt that popular hotspots will not be neglected this year by Brits in search of a quick getaway or extended break, but it appears that it's the ‘lesser-discovered’ that’s piqued their interest more recently.

“If anything, this may help ease the strain that local authorities in these crowded UK holiday locations have felt from over-tourism in recent years.”

The self-catering accommodation provider has broken down the top five destinations its data revealed as the new popular holiday hotspots for Brits to see why exactly they may be catching the attention of holidaymakers from across the country:

Buxton, Derbyshire 

First in the rankings is the charming spa town of Buxton, nestled in the High Peak Borough of Derbyshire, which is England’s highest market town. 13% of all of Independent Cottages’ enquiries* were for stays in Buxton, and it has risen in the rankings from 16th place last year to be this year’s most trending UK destination.

Surrounded by verdant countryside, its thriving centre is home to quintessential Victorian and Georgian architecture and a bustling high street. 

Whilst there are ample things to keep holidaymakers active during a Buxton trip, its beautiful ornamental gardens are a firm favourite amongst visitors. Boasting 23 acres of gardens, including a boating lake, it's an oasis amidst the busy town for those in search of a moment of peace and to connect with the local wildlife. 

Bournemouth, Dorset

Whilst Dorset as a whole is regarded as one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations, it’s Bournemouth that has gained second place as the destination that Brits want to visit for their staycations, with 6.75% of all enquiries* being for this seafront town.

Known for its cosmopolitan nature and its highly-desired and award-winning shoreline, whether it’s a beach break or a food and shopping-filled getaway you’re after, Bournemouth has options. 

Its seven miles of sandy beaches offer ample space for a day out by the sea, with watersports activities galore on offer. And for a break from the beach, in town, you’ll find plenty of boutiques, restaurants, and shops to peruse, as well as the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, a magnificent collection of art in a quirky Victorian villa house.

Little Haven, Pembrokeshire

Another coastal setting to make the list, Little Haven is a charming seaside village nestled along the Pembrokeshire Coast of Wales in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Independent Cottages revealed that 5.14% of all enquiries* were for this small seafront settlement.

*Enquiry data for these destinations was pulled from Independent Cottages top 25 destinations between January 2023 and January 2024

With its tranquil atmosphere and picturesque coastal views, it’s no wonder that Brits may be favouring it for their holidays given they may be steering away from overcrowded tourist destinations, and especially in light of wellness travel rising in popularity

Not only this, but Little Haven offers beachfronts that are less crowded compared to other, better-known seafront spots across the country, with sandy shorelines and a rugged coast that offers a naturally beautiful setting to unwind in. 

And with wildlife-watching opportunities and water activities to match, from spotting seals to snorkelling in blue waters, it’s a nature and adventure lover’s paradise. 

Lower Withington, Cheshire

A quintessential British village nestled in the rural county of Cheshire, Lower Withington is the secluded, small settlement stay that Brits seem to be casting their eyes on. 

Drenched in countryside landscapes and surrounded by lush farmland, for a breath of fresh air on your next staycation, Lower Withington may be the place to fulfil your needs, away from the bustle of crowded tourist hotspots. 

To really experience the village’s rural charm, you can stop in its many traditional inns and pubs for a thirst-quenching pint and delicious pub grub. Or, thanks to its surrounding countryside, ample hikes, cycling rides, climbing opportunities, and more are just on the village’s doorstep to connect with the rural landscapes firsthand. 

Thorncliffe, Staffordshire

Another quaint village in the English countryside, Thornncliffe in Staffordshire takes fifth place in Independent Cottages’ rankings.  

Thorncliffe following Lower Withington in the data only further supports that Brits are prioritising getting away from tourist crowds and focusing on their wellness during their staycation breaks, with nothing more than peaceful surroundings and a simple getaway to unwind on the agenda. 

With quiet country lanes to explore, beautiful local wildlife to spot, and traditional pubs to have a locally-crafted ale and a cosy up to a fire, Thorncliffe is the getaway to get away from it all. 

Independent Cottages are specialists in self-catering accommodations across the UK. The British-based travel provider offers stays across the UK’s most popular holiday destinations, including those mentioned above. To find out more about the locations of the company’s properties you can visit > https://www.independentcottages.co.uk