10 up-and-coming UK staycation spots for a last-minute summer break

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Lauren Geall
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Menai Bridge and Looe, Cornwall

Fancy a last-minute escape this summer? These up-and-coming UK staycation spots are the perfect places to relax and unwind away from the crowds. 

Travelling abroad may be getting easier as the vaccine rollout continues and coronavirus restrictions ease, but many of us are still opting to travel a little closer to home this summer.

62% of British adults are planning to spend their main summer break in the UK this year, with almost 46% now more likely to consider a UK staycation than before the pandemic, according to an annual report from UK-based travel company Sykes Holiday Cottages.

The annual ‘staycation index’, which combined data from the company’s booking records with a survey of 2,000 British adults, also found that 2 in 5 people are now more likely to visit new locations than before the pandemic, as people set out to explore everything the UK has to offer. 

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And if you’re one of those people looking to discover somewhere new this summer, you’re in luck. The report also revealed the 10 places growing fastest in popularity for a summer getaway, so you can check out the UK’s best up-and-coming destinations before everyone else.

Keep reading to find out which of the UK’s underrated staycation spots made the list.  

  • 1. Warton, Lancashire

    Warton Crag
    The view over Morecambe Bay from Warton Crag, the nature reserve which lies west of Warton village.

    Coming in at the top of the list was Warton, a village in north Lancashire located inside the Arnside and Silverdale area of outstanding natural beauty.

    Famous for the local Warton Crag Nature Reserve and its traditional brewery, the village also lies close to the stunning views of Morecambe Bay, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, making it the ideal staycation spot for those who love to explore the natural landscape. 

  • 2. Liskeard, Cornwall

    Hurlers stone circle near Liskheard
    The Hurlers stone circle near Liskeard.

    On the opposite side of the country to Warton lies Liskeard, which came in at number two on the list. A small town located on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor, Liskeard is another great place to stay if you want to get out and about in nature.

    Local attractions include the prehistoric stone monuments at Hurlers Stone Circles, and the stunning views over Siblyback Lake

  • 3. Barmouth, Wales

    Barmouth, Wales
    The harbour in Barmouth, looking across from the dunes.

    A number of seaside towns may have made the list, but Barmouth, located on the edge of Cardigan Bay in northwestern Wales, came out on top.

    Known as the spot where the mountains meet the sea, this small seaside town not only offers the opportunity to explore the natural world, but also has plenty of attractions you can visit, including two museums and a range of independent shops. 

  • 4. Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire

    Runswick Bay, North Yorkshire
    The houses on the cliff at Runswick Bay.

    If you’re on the hunt for a picturesque spot to relax and unwind, look no further than the idyllic town of Runswick Bay on the Yorkshire coast.

    Located within the North York Moors National Park, the town boasts a collection of pretty, red roof cottages and a glorious beach, making it the ideal spot for coastal walks. 

  • 5. Looe, Cornwall

    Looe, Cornwall
    Spring summer travel: Cornwall

    Just south of Liskeard lies Looe, a beautiful Cornish seaside town complete with a picturesque harbour and houses perched along the hills surrounding the water.

    Perhaps more popular than some of the other spots on the list, Looe is also known for its quaint, narrow streets and tasty seafood. 

  • 6. Menai Bridge/Porthaethwy, Wales

    Menai suspension bridge
    The famous Menai suspension bridge.

    Located on the northwestern side of the Menai Strait on the Isle of Anglesey, Menai Bridge (also known as Porthaethwy in Welsh) is a small town named for its proximity to the Menai Suspension Bridge (aka, the world’s first iron suspension bridge).

    With plenty of interesting restaurants and shops to explore, and the rest of Anglesey waiting on your doorstep, it’s not hard to see why more people are opting to visit the town on holiday. 

  • 7. Falmouth, Cornwall

    Falmouth, Cornwall
    The view across the bay at Falmouth.

    Falmouth is certainly one of the more well-known destinations on the list, and as such there’s plenty to do there for tourists looking to get a taste of the Cornish seaside dream.

    Alongside its idyllic beaches and harbour, Falmouth is also home to Cornwall’s National Maritime Museum and Pendennis Castle, so you can learn all about the county’s rich history while you’re there. 

  • 8. Bedford, Bedfordshire

    The River Great Ouse which flows through the centre of Bedford.

    If you like lots to do while you’re on holiday, why not take a trip to the historic market town of Bedford, which comes in at eight on the list of the UK’s fastest-growing destinations.

    Located just a 40-minute train ride from London, the town is home to a number of museums, parks and restaurants just waiting to be explored. 

  • 9. Dartmouth, Devon

    The colourful houses above the River Dart.

    Nestled (you guessed it) at the mouth of the River Dart, Dartmouth is one of those classic picturesque harbour towns that make Devon the perfect staycation spot.

    On top of its numerous beaches, Dartmouth is also located within the South Devon area of outstanding natural beauty and a short drive away from Dartmoor National Park, making it another great destination for those who love exploring the natural world. 

  • 10. Lynmouth, Devon

    The fishing port in Lynmouth.

    Last but by no means least is Lynmouth, another idyllic harbour town located on the North Devon coast in Exmoor.

    The area’s website describes it as a “romantic escape from modern living,” and it’s not hard to see why – with its picturesque harbour, charming fishing cottages and fully water-powered Victorian cliff railway (which also happens to be the highest and steepest of its kind in the world), Lynmouth is the perfect place to switch off and unwind. 

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.