Three-quarters of British holidaymakers will be taking a staycation this year after the COVID-19 pandemic blocked plans for a sun-soaked break abroad.
Social-distancing will be an important factor for many in deciding where to go for a well-earned holiday.
A new safecation report reveals the top 25 UK destinations which are perfect to explore in a socially distanced way.
So, forget crushing into overcrowded traditional beauty spots and head to the top UK destinations which could host 35,462,667 visitors safely this summer compared to just 4,608,269 for the traditional UK escapes.
The report takes the UK locations that are home to the largest public parks (according to Ordnance Survey) and compares them against the UK’s most-visited staycations destinations to reveal the safest staycations.
Criteria for the report includes: space (km2), contactless payment availability, free activities, dog friendliness, number of beaches within a 50km radius, number of caravan parks/camping sites within a 50km radius, crime rates for April 2020, visitors per year to the county, park entry fee and car parking charges.
Gower in Wales topped the list for the best new destination for a socially distanced staycation. With only 149,089 visitors per year to Glamorgan, the remote location offers plenty for those looking for a crowd-free option. Rhosili and South Gower coast could accommodate up to 2,230,410 socially-distanced visitors.
Keswick in Cumbria came in second position with forested mountain park Whinlatter Forest Park offering 13.49km² of walking and biking trails and able to accommodate up to 13,076,362 visitors, even when adhering to social distancing guidelines.
With only 103,447 visitors to the nearest county of Ayrshire and Arran, the town of Kilwinning in Scotland takes the third position in the report. Even better with only 15,908 reported residents, Eglinton Country Park offers up to 1,342,270 visitors the freedom to enjoy country walks across the park’s 4.67km² of open space.
Devon took the top spot for the most popular traditional UK staycation destination, but with more than 2,510,000 visitors to the county each year it is a hotspot for overcrowding - ten times as many visitors per year when compared to Gower.
Bowness-on-Windermere is another tourist honeypot with 1,510,000 visitors to the county each year. Outdoor attraction Brockhole on Windermere could only occupy up to 34,491 visitors with everyone maintaining a one metre distance.
Windsor Great Park scored highest for social distancing. The park has 28.53km² of space for 8,200,207 visitors to explore when maintaining a one metre distance.
In comparison, The Japanese Garden in Newquay could only host 1,150 visitors in its 0.004km² grounds.
When it comes to budgeting, Armagh in Northern Ireland came out on top for the new cheapest staycation destination with Slieve Gullion Forest Park offering walking trails, an adventure playpark and Giant’s Lair children’s story trail. Plus with no admission fee or car park charges the attraction is the perfect spot for a day out.
Top 25 safecations
- Isle of Harris
The safecation report was compiled by the money.co.uk website. The full report can be viewed at www.money.co.uk/guides/safecation-report
(all photos: Shutterstock; main photo: South Gower coast, Glamorgan, Wales )