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Uncovered: Britain’s best budget-value holiday at home destinations

It’s safe to say that Brits have never been more prepared for staycations. In fact, searches for ‘staycations’ have increased by 83%  in the past month, suggesting Britons are looking to holiday in the UK in 2020.

Britain has miles of open space, beautiful coastlines and some of the world’s most iconic attractions. With international travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, tombola has analysed the number of public spaces, budget value hotels and attractions in the 30 most visited towns and cities in Britain to reveal which destinations offer the best value for money for those holidaying at home.

Newcastle tops the leaderboard for the UK’s best value destination

In 2018, Rough Guides labelled Newcastle the world’s number one city that should be on tourists’ radars - and nothing has changed. According to tombola’s study, Newcastle takes the crown as the UK’s best budget-friendly staycation spot.

The city scored top marks for the number of budget-friendly attractions - providing more than any other city in Britain on Tripadvisor - as well as full points for the number of good value hotels it has available for tourists.

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York is the UK’s second-best holiday at home city

York, another Northern icon, takes second place for UK staycations. York received full points for the number of budget-friendly hotels for tourists. Additionally, tombola calculated the ratio of public parks, gardens and open play areas to individuals in the city, and York proudly scored fourth.

Dover and London - the UK’s most visited city - came joint third overall, scoring high for the number of public parks, gardens and open play areas per individual.

Newcastle might be the best-value destination, but Luton has seen the biggest increases in searches for holidays

tombola analysed 30 UK cities and towns to reveal which city had seen the biggest increase in searches for people looking for holidays, and the results are in. While Newcastle might offer the best value, Brits appear to be searching for ‘Luton holidays’ more than any other location analysed. The searches increased by a staggering 221%. This could be due to attractions, such as the UK’s biggest zoo, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Or, even the airport for domestic travel.

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Nottingham and Inverness have also seen spikes in searches, with a 141% and 135% increase in interest for ‘Nottingham holidays’ and ‘Inverness holidays’. This could suggesting Brits are looking for areas with wide, open space to relax after several months of staying indoors.

Dover and Bournemouth also received a 100% rise in the number of Britons searching for holidays in the area. This could mean that, while people are enjoying green space, they are also looking to seek sun, sea and sand in the UK as opposed to overseas.

Stratford-upon-Avon is the UK’s best holiday town for open space

Of the 30 most visited towns and cities analysed, Stratford-upon-Avon is the best for public parks, gardens and open play areas (of the destinations studied).

Offering over 123 areas of open space for families and individuals, you can safely keep your distance while enjoying the historic town. tombola calculated that there is an area of open space for every 988 individuals in the town - the best out of any other UK location analysed.

Windsor also scores high for the amount of open space, with a public park, garden and open play area available for every 1,042 individuals - meaning there is plenty of opportunity to keep at a safe distance if you are looking to holiday in the South.

Bristol, York and Inverness rounded up the top five, offering plenty of open space to get outdoors and even walk your furry friends.

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tombola also studied the number of NCP car parks within each city and found that Bristol scores highly for those looking to travel in their car as opposed to public transport. However, it is Manchester that, ultimately, offers the best parking for individuals, so that’s worth considering if you are looking to book your staycation.

Bournemouth and Newcastle are the UK’s top cities for budget rated hotels per number of tourists

For those looking to stay overnight, Bournemouth offers the largest number of budget-friendly Tripadvisor hotels per tourist. tombola calculated this by studying the number of budget-friendly hotels available on Tripadvisor and the amount of annual visitors to the city or town.

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So, you can enjoy your holiday in Bournemouth at at a safe distance, with 4,281 tourists for each budget hotel.

Likewise, Newcastle scores top again, providing a large number of hotels for the amount of tourists visiting the city. There are 8,294 tourists per budget-friendly hotel. Staggeringly, this is compared to 45,020 tourists per budget hotel in London.

Sheffield takes third place with a hotel per 8,429 tourists, followed closely by Northampton - offering a hotel for 8,857 visitors.

Newcastle and Dublin top UK staycations for 5-star budget-friendly attractions

With Newcastle sitting pretty as the best UK staycation, it’s no surprise the city also provides some of the greatest budget-friendly attractions for visitors.

Dublin has a huge 19, 5-star, budget-friendly attractions, with Newcastle offering a mighty 17 attractions - both scoring full points for activities.

London receives the highest number of tourists per year in the UK - around 19 million - but, surprisingly, comes in fourth place for the number of 5-star, budget-friendly attractions - just behind Edinburgh.

So, if you are looking to book your UK staycation, it appears the best-value can be found up North - namely, Newcastle. 

If you are also fans of the Full English, tombola has analysed the above cities and towns to reveal the best English Breakfast cities and towns.




tombola studied the UK’s 30 most visited towns and cities, analysing:

  • Search volume data
  • Number of public parks, gardens & open play areas
  • Number of parks per person in the city
  • Number of budget-friendly attractions (Tripadvisor)
  • Number of Budget-friendly hotels per tourists to the city (Tripadvisor)

tombola then scored each city 1-10 for each individual category. The scores were totalled up to reveal the best locations for staycations.