The top 10 locations for family staycations

With searches for ‘family breaks UK’ up by +175% in the last 12 months***, it’s clear we’re still keen to opt for a UK destination for a family holiday.

If you want to book a family-friendly staycation, but don’t know where to go, then you’re in luck. We’ve released the first edition of the Family Staycation Index. It ranks destinations across the UK according to their attractions, including number of entertainment options, accommodation, eateries and more. So, to find out where your next staycation could be read on…

Windsor and Maidenhead is the top family staycation spot

Windsor and Maidenhead come out on top for family staycations. Their high score is down to the museums, entertainment opportunities and healthcare facilities. Families love the area because there’s so much to do with kids – Windsor Castle, Legoland and the Windsor & Royal Borough Museum are just a few examples. There’s 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 for catching waves), there’s the perfect beach for you. Cornwall also scores highly due to its number of restaurants.

In third place is St Albans in Hertfordshire. Places to take the children here include the pretty Verulamium Park, which offers a big playground, a museum and plenty of birdwatching opportunities. St Albans also scores highly because of the number of accommodation options available, and the price of a meal. Plus, it’s only a 20-minute train ride away from London, making it a great option for families who might want to take a trip to the capital too.

In fourth and fifth place are Cambridge and Stirling, showing that beaches aren’t the only staycation attraction. Historic Cambridge has lots to keep the whole family entertained, including Cambridge University Botanic Garden and punting on the River Cam.

Stirling, the only top 10 destination in Scotland, boasts Stirling Castle, with its vaults and exhibitions. It scores particularly high in our ranking for food and places to stay. A meal in Stirling could cost you £35 for a three-courses for two in a mid-range restaurant.

Not every top staycation spot has a beach

Only three of the top staycation spots have beaches: Cornwall in second place, Hastings in sixth place, with three beaches; and the Isle of Wight in eighth position, with 39 beaches.

Historic cities come out on top, with Winchester, Oxford and Warwick all making it into the top 10. Warwick has secured its position because of the great amount of entertainment and recreation opportunities it offers, but all three of these destinations have lots of fun activities that kids will love.

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium should be the top place to visit on any Winchester staycation, while Oxford boasts a castle with its very own prison, spooky ghost tours for older children and a spy mission treasure trail that will get the little ones making the most of the outdoors.

Warwick is well-known for its castle too, but if you’re looking for some outdoor space, then St Nicholas Park is a must. Featuring a playground, outdoor paddling pool and a crazy golf course, it’s the perfect place for a family day out.

At the other end of the scale, the index also reveals the bottom three places for a UK staycation: Falkirk, Plymouth, and Wakefield. While we’re sure there are plenty of things for children to do there, they scored low because of having few museum and entertainment options.

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 recommend you book separate UK travel insurance, to cover you just in case anything goes wrong.

Brought to you by the travel insurance experts at comparethemarket.com.

Methodology

Using a weighted ranking system, comparethemarket.com’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.

Data Correct as of 16/02/22.

Sources for the factors analysed:  

  • 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: https://www.ons.gov.uk/

***Data for ‘family breaks UK’ was taken from keywordtool.io and is correct as of 15th February 2022.