Underrated staycations towns 2024

January 8, 2024

These Are The Underrated British Towns Giving UK Hotspots A Run For Their Money This 2024, According to Travel Provider Data

Another year of travel is on the horizon, with three-quarters of Brits planning to holiday in 2024, according to recent research

Domestic travel remains popular, with reports highlighting that Brits took 20.3 million overnight tourism trips in England in the first quarter of 2023 alone.

So, this year, it’s likely that many will be flocking to popular UK destinations for breaks, whether this be the sunny seaside of busy Cornwall or the well-trodden mountain ranges in the Lake District. 

However, interesting research from Independent Cottages has revealed that it's the lesser-known locations across the country which seem to be giving these hotspots a run for their money this year. 

This makes sense, especially given that research released in December 2023 found that two in five people were more inclined to visit new locations in 2024, and three in five are planning to visit a lesser-expected destination this year. 

The UK self-catering accommodation provider analysed its data from the last two years to find the destinations across the country which have grown in popularity the most. While much-loved tourist locations including the Peak District remain popular, surprisingly, some lesser-visited British towns seem to be rising to the top. 

Matthew Fox, CEO of the company, says “Our analysis shows that we’re seeing more people looking for lesser-regarded destinations for a getaway, showcasing just how many people are diverting their attention from the typical holiday spots to venture somewhere new and ‘underrated’.

“It’s great to see that more Brits are becoming savvy to the beauty that lies off the beaten path of the country’s most well-known destinations, expanding their horizons and taking a leap to discover them on their holidays.” 

Independent Cottages has revealed the five lesser-known British destinations that have seen the biggest increase in enquiries over the past two years, from pretty towns nestled in the Wye Valley of Wales to settlements on the outskirts of some of the country’s most popular National Parks.

Ashbourne, Derbyshire 

Ashbourne in Derbyshire was one of the lesser-known destinations that saw the largest increase in attention from Brits in recent years. 

Derbyshire has developed a reputation for its quirky spa towns, rich history, and its grand country homes. But, most of all many know it for being the home of the Peak District National Park, whose steep limestone valleys and rugged peaks are well-trodden by travellers from around the country and the world. 

But, Ashbourne, located on the southern edge of the park, is giving settlements within the National Park a run for their money. According to Independent Cottages’ analysis, it has gained more attention in recent years than the likes of arguably one of the most famed Peak District towns of them all - idyllic Bakewell. 

Located a mere 3-minute drive from the Peak District, perhaps this is an indication that Brits are beyond visiting the ever-popular locations within the National Park and are instead dipping their toes into its surroundings to discover what lies beyond. 

Taunton, Somerset

The town of Taunton in the rural county of Somerset has been catching the eye of Brits in recent years too and, according to the self-catering provider, it has bounced back in a big way in the South West of England as far as its data shows. 

Taunton has crept up the rankings from 2022 onwards, showcasing how the majority of people throughout the country are shifting their focus to this one charming market town in particular compared to its similar, and equally beautiful, Somerset counterparts. 

Whilst some of Somerset’s best-known settlements remain popular, including the beautiful city of Wells, coastal Minehead, and medieval Dunster, it appears that Taunton has won the love of travellers recently. And given the town’s fascinating history and ample shopping opportunities, it’s not difficult to understand why this is the case. 

Leek, Staffordshire

Steeped in heritage, known for its legends, and home to some of the country’s most popular attractions, it’s safe to say that Staffordshire is one of the UK’s most popular counties that promises a great day out, and delivers every time. 

So, when it comes to where Brits are diverting their focus to in this diverse county, it seems that there’s one destination that’s gained the largest amount of interest - Leek. 

Whilst its name may ring a bell for many, this quintessentially British market town hasn’t developed its reputation as much as other nearby and more famed Staffordshire locations, such as Stoke-on-Trent - situated just a mere 10 miles Southwest of the town. Independent Cottages were surprised to see that Leek is the county’s settlement which has gained the most attention since 2022 overall. 

But, it’s no surprise given Leek’s prime rural location, which makes it a peaceful escape away from the hustle and bustle of other Staffordshire hubs, whilst remaining close to the county’s most popular natural locations and famous hotspots. Not to mention, it is only a 20-minute drive from ‘Britain’s greatest escape’ - Alton Towers Resort.

Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria

Cumbria remains one of the UK’s most popular destinations for days out and breaks. From its bustling settlements to its tranquil countryside, it has topped the rankings in recent years as one of the most favoured counties. 

If there’s one reason why Cumbria receives so much love, it’s definitely due to this northern English county being the home of the Lake District National Park, which attracts a whopping 18 million visitors yearly, according to estimations

But, whilst visitors flock all around the Lake District’s rolling hillsides and charming countryside towns, it appears that Kirkby Stephen is its most popular location of all. So much so, that attention has been diverted to the town more than a selection of the area’s most famous settlements - Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere, and Keswick. 

The area of Kirkby Stephen remains off the tourist-trodden route compared to the aforementioned Lake District locations but boasts an equally beautiful and wild setting with spectacular scenery and close proximity to the national park. With heritage railways, impressive castles, and gorgeous natural surroundings, it’s hard to think of a reason why not to go to this market town.

Monmouth, Wales

Whilst many may picture the wild and wind-lapped Pembrokeshire Coastline or the vast expanses of Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons National Parks when they think of travelling to Wales, there are some gems hidden within the country’s borders that travellers seem to be taking a shining to. 

According to Independent Cottages’ analysis, it’s Monmouth in the south of the country, not far from the English border, that is beginning to work its way up the rankings compared to other Welsh favourite holiday locations.

The company revealed that the picturesque coastal village of Little Haven remains a popular, and well-established, Welsh holiday destination among many, but, it appears that Monmouth is beginning to give this firm-favourite a run for its money. In comparison, Monmouth has seen a nearly 11% increase in its popularity in the past two years, compared to Little Haven’s 3%. 

Known best for its connections with Henry V and its popular foodie scene, there’s much to do and see in this Wye Valley spot that will surprise even the most well-versed of UK travellers. 

Independent Cottages are specialists in self-catering accommodations across the UK, with stays in all of the aforementioned locations as well as off-the-beaten-path and underrated destinations throughout the country. To search for your next staycation  break, you can visit > https://www.independentcottages.co.uk