Britain has been widely hailed as a “Staycation Nation” in recent years. With good reason, too!
According to statistics from VisitBritain, domestic tourism grew by 6% year-on-year in 2017, with holidaymakers taking an incredible 47.2 million trips within the UK. Around two-thirds of these were short breaks (between one and three nights), which indicates that more Britons are spending long weekends exploring some of the nation’s most beautiful and inspiring destinations.
This got us thinking; if people are increasingly keen to stay within the confines of Britain when booking their next holiday, how many are looking for a break within the borders of their own county?
The cottages.com English Staycation Barometer
We wanted to find out which parts of England have the most appealing staycation hotspots right on their doorstep.
This is how we went about it:
- Using Google search data, we carried out a location-specific deep-dive into how many people were searching for holiday options in their own county
For example, how many searchers in Derbyshire were looking for a “break/holiday in Derbyshire” or the “Peak District”?*
- Once we had mined all of this search data (using a sample between May 2017 and April 2018), we scoured government websites to source the estimated population of each county. This would allow us to calculate the demand for staycations per capita.
An example calculation for Wiltshire:
Annual Holiday Search Volume of 480 ÷ Estimated County Population of 706,300 = Index Score of 0.00068
- Having married up the search data and the population figures, we created our English Staycation Barometer, mapping out a list of counties where the locals are the most and least likely to take a holiday.
*Due to the nature of the data, we’ve restricted our study to England only
Here are the results…
Residents of Cornwall are three-times as likely as anyone else in England to take a holiday in their own county.
Given the huge number of glorious destinations across the country – from the Lake District to Kent and plenty in between – this is a seriously eye-catching outcome.
Becky Millington, Communications Officer at South West Coast Path, commented on the findings:
“Cornwall offers some of the most beautiful, secluded and wild landscapes in the country. With its sandy beaches, rugged cliff tops and azure blue seas, it’s no wonder people who live in Cornwall don’t venture far for a holiday!
“It also boasts a rich and diverse mix of art, literature, culture, history and of course, world-class walking. However, what makes Cornwall truly special are the people. Wherever you go, people greet you with a big smile and friendly hello and that’s what keeps people coming to this amazing part of the world.”
cottages.com pointed out that neighbouring Devon also featured towards the top of the list, demonstrating even further that the South West of England has a multitude of ideal staycation hotspots:
“There’s no doubt that Cornwall and Devon are among the most popular holiday destinations in England; so much so that people who live there are more than happy to holiday there too. There’s so much breadth of choice in this part of the world.”
Planning Your Holiday in Cornwall? Here’s Where the Locals Go…
As our Staycation Barometer shows, Cornish people are by far the most likely to take a holiday within the confines of their home county.
So what’s all the fuss about?
To help you plan your own holiday in Cornwall, we reached out to a host of locals and people who visit the area frequently, who gave us the inside view on what makes the place so special.
Hidden Gems – Places You Need to Visit in Cornwall
As holidaymakers, you always feel a tingling sense of achievement when you find beautiful spots that are off the main tourist paths.
From secluded coves to jaw-dropping scenic walks, Cornwall is full of hidden gems.
Elizabeth Dale of The Cornish Bird is well placed to recommend little-known delights in Cornwall:
“On crossing into Cornwall, visitors head south for the best-known beaches and tourist attractions, often missing North Cornwall completely, but some of my favourite stretches of coast are in this area. Its villages abound with stories of smuggling and wreakers and the views from high cliffs down on to turquoise water and sandy bays are stunning. So slow down when you cross the Tamar!”
Stevie Couch of A Cornish Mum also pointed holidaymakers in the direction of her favourite secluded Cornish hideaway:
“One of my favourite places in Cornwall is a little place that gets less attention than the likes of St Ives and Padstow, but which is just as beautiful – Mousehole. [There are] some wonderful shops there, small independent ones. Out of the main tourism season, it can be lovely and quiet and at Christmas it is lit up everywhere, including in the actual harbour, which people come from miles away to see. If you haven’t been to Mousehole before, you definitely should visit, it is a definite gem.”
You can find more information about Mousehole in West Cornwall right here.
The Best Dog-Friendly Hotspots
The cat is out of the bag (pardon the pun!) – Cornwall is without doubt one of the best pet-friendly holiday destinations in the UK.
However, it’s still super-easy to find new places to take your furry friend that are outside of the usual tourist haunts.
Stephanie Walton, who you can follow on Instagram @SpanielLife, explained why Cornwall is a firm favourite when it comes to dog-friendly holidays:
“It’s the most dog-friendly place we’ve ever been, with the majority of cafes, pubs, restaurants and even shops allowing your pet to join you. Not only that but the beaches are stunning and a lot stay dog-friendly even in the summer time.”
Nicky Burton of All Four Paws recommended some dog-friendly beaches that are off the beaten track:
“With its old-world charm and unspoiled banks, the Helford Passage is a blissful way to spend a sunny day in Cornwall with your pooch. On the North shore, we always make sure we fit in a trip to Crantock Beach – its sandy dunes and sweeping bay has stunning views and fantastic stretches of sand for paws to patrol. Filled with rock pools, our spaniel also adores St Agnes beach. Smaller than the wonderful Watergate Bay, this charming spot also has lovely spots to wander to post-splashing about.”
Things to do in Cornwall with the Kids
Staycations understandably hold a lot of appeal to families. As you’d expect, Cornwall doesn’t disappoint when it comes to keeping the children entertained.
Lisa O’Keeffe, brand manager at Day Out With The Kids, shared her recommendations:
“Looking for something to get the adrenaline pumping? Head to Flambards [in Helston], the ultimate family theme park in Cornwall! With a mix of rides from toddler-friendly to ultimate thrill, you can travel into the stratosphere on the Space Shuttle or take to the high seas on the Rocking Tug, plus there’s a great dinosaur zone the kids will love.”
Sophie Baker of Muddy Stilettos offered the following advice:
“For family days out, we love The Lost Gardens of Heligan, which puts on great outdoorsy activity programmes in school holidays, and then on sunny days we usually stop at Pentewan Sands before heading home, which is a safe and easy swimming spot. When we’re feeling active, you cannot beat a day kayaking and paddle boarding on the Gannel River. We also love a good walk and recently cajoled the kids up Rough Tor on Bodmin Moor – so worth it for the views!”
The Best Surfing Beaches in Cornwall
Cornwall is like a magnet for surfers and with 250+ miles of coastline, there are no shortage of options for adrenaline-fuelled staycationers.
We spoke to Sam at Over the Dune to get some tips on the best surfing spots in Cornwall:
“Watergate Bay is one of my favourite spots. Like all beaches around Newquay, it’s quieter in spring and autumn. Right up in the north corner [it] is good for size and it can feel a world away. As for the more popular spots… Fistral. You probably already know it; [it’s] the best all-rounder.”
Jorrin D Massingham of Cornishwave.com also shared a few insider surfing tips:
“For those who are a little more adventurous, Cornwall has a great network of little bays and slightly less-known beaches for the experienced surfer looking to escape the popular tourist beaches. From the beaches of Crooklets in North Cornwall in and around Bude, or hidden gems like Constantine, Crantock or Holywell Bay just to name a few.”
You can find even more ideas on the best places to visit in Cornwall right here.