The UK’S top 10 family staycation hotspots
The average Brit takes 2.3 staycations a year*, so if you want to book a family-friendly staycation, but don’t know where to go, then you’re in luck. We’ve ranked various destinations in the UK according to several metrics, including the number of entertainment options available, accommodation, eateries and more to find out where your next staycation could be.
Windsor and Maidenhead is the top family staycation spot for the second year in a row
For the second year running, Windsor and Maidenhead has come out on top as the number one family staycation spot, scoring highly due to its number of museums (it has more museums per 1,000 people than any other destination on our list), entertainment opportunities, and healthcare facilities. Families love the area because of the sheer number of things there are to do with kids – Windsor Castle, Legoland, and the Windsor and Royal Borough Museum are just a few examples. There are also tons of open green space, including Ockwells Park and Grenfell Park – both ideal spots for letting the kids have a run around.
The one thing that Windsor admittedly can’t provide is beaches, which is something our second top staycation spot offers in abundance. Boasting a total of 142 beaches, Cornwall is perfect for a summer staycation. Whether you want to sunbathe, swim (Perranporth is renowned for its sandy dunes and shallow waters) or surf (Trevone is a favourite amongst surfers), there’s the perfect beach for you. Cornwall also scored highly due to its sheer number of restaurants – although we wouldn’t blame you if you opted for fish and chips on the beach every day.
In third place is the centrally located St. Albans, with the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, the biggest attraction for families staying in the area. However, there are so many other places to take the kids to, including the pretty Verulamium Park, which offers a big playground, a museum, and plenty of birdwatching opportunities. There is also Knebworth House, where kids will have a great time spotting the dinosaurs that are dotted around the gardens. The city is only a 20-minute train ride from London, but is more affordable, with the average cost of a meal totalling £50, instead of the capital’s £70.
Whilst the top three have remained unchanged for the second year in a row, Winchester makes it into fourth place, and Scarborough in fifth knocking Cambridge and Stirling out of the top 10.
Winchester scores well for its museums, with the Science Centre and Planetarium at the top of the list for any staycation; but it also scores highly because of its entertainment and healthcare facilities. There’s lots of things for kids to do too in Winchester such as Marwell Zoo, which is set within 140 acres, and is home to rhinos, giraffes and more; or if you drive 16 miles out to Paultons Park, you can stop at Peppa Pig World.
Scarborough’s main draw is its sandy beaches, where South Bay is lined with souvenir shops and ice-cream parlours. You can also enjoy a donkey ride, making it a classic, old-fashioned British staycation. Alternatively, if you prefer a quieter beach, then head to North Bay.
50% of our top staycation spots have beaches
In the summertime, you can’t beat a day by the seaside, whether you prefer to sunbathe and read, build elaborate sandcastles, or swim in the sea.
Five out of our 10 top staycation spots for 2023 are by the beach, which is up from just three last year. Hastings, the Isle of Wight, and Brighton and Hove have all made it into the top 10, with three, 39, and four beaches respectively.
Non-beach resorts that also feature in our list include Warwick, with its castle a huge draw for families looking to get away; and Oxford, where you can punt down the Cherwell, and take the little ones to the Story Museum.
How do the results compare to 2022?
Windsor and Maidenhead, Cornwall, and St. Albans all clung to their positions for two years in a row, showcasing what great staycation options they are for families. Most of the top 10 stayed the same with some switches, but Scarborough climbed up from position 11 to 5, and Brighton and Hove from 12 to 10; whereas Cambridge and Stirling both dropped out of the top 10.
Before you start your staycation adventure, make sure you check your travel insurance. Not all policies cover domestic trips, so if yours doesn’t, we’d recommend you book separate UK travel insurance, to cover you and your family for any unforeseen circumstances.
- Museum Data: number of museums per 1000 people in each location via Which Museum
- Food Price Data: the average price in pound sterling, for a three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant, for each location via Numbeo
- Accommodation and Food services: estimated number of businesses that provide accommodation and food services per 1000 people, via ONS
- Entertainment and recreation opportunities: the estimated number of businesses that provide entertainment and recreation opportunities per 1000 people, for each location via ONS
- Green Space: Average amount of green space within a 1km radius (m2)", shows the average combined size of parks, public gardens, or playing fields within 1,000 m radius (m2), for each location, according to ONS
- Beach Data: shows the number of beaches, for each location via https://www.thebeachguide.co.uk/
- Healthcare facilities: estimated number of businesses that provide healthcare services per 1000 people, for each location via ONS
- Population Data:
Using a weighted ranking system Comparethemarket’s ‘family staycation index’ was produced by creating a ranking table based on seven different factors, to find the best "Staycation" locations in the UK. Every factor was looked at for 367 locations across the UK, of these locations only 75 had all the data available to be able to be indexed and ranked based on the chosen seven factors. All factors were based on per 1,000 people except for a ‘cost of a meal’, which was calculated via the average price in pound sterling for a three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant for each location. To calculate the overall "Staycation" ranking, each factor was indexed to give a score between 0 and 1, with a total possible score of 7. These scores were then summed across every factor for each location, to provide a total score, which was then used to rank the locations.