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Looking for the most recent version? The Sykes Staycation index 2022

An in-depth review of the current market for British breaks

Brought to you by Sykes Holiday Cottages

What’s in this report:

Welcome to the annual Sykes Staycation Index for 2021

Britain is bracing for a boom in summer staycations. After an undoubtedly difficult year, the UK’s staycation market has come back fighting – ready to welcome record numbers of British holidaymakers this summer.

According to our latest study, almost four in five of us plan to enjoy a staycation on home soil this year – with the majority of Brits choosing the UK for their main summer break.

This trend has obviously been fuelled by Covid and the ongoing uncertainty around foreign travel, but our consumer research suggests it will continue beyond that as Brits settle into new holiday habits post-pandemic.

In this report, we reveal what is driving this surge in popularity for staycations, alongside the top holiday hotspots in the UK according to our summer 2021 bookings data. We’ve also researched what’s trending when it comes to the types of trips we take and analysed our website search data to reveal the most sought-after holiday home features.

We’ve also looked at how the rising popularity of staycations has impacted the attractiveness of holiday letting as an investment opportunity, with second homeowners jumping at the chance to generate additional income.

With 30 years’ experience in holiday letting, we’re in a unique position to be able to provide fresh insight into the staycation sector over the last 12 months – as well as predictions about what’s to come.

– Graham Donoghue, CEO, Sykes Holiday Cottages

A summer of staycations

The most in-demand staycation destinations for this summer revealed

With the honeypot locations across the country booking up fast, we’ve seen a huge growth in demand for lesser-known – but no less enjoyable – staycation destinations. Coastal towns and walking destinations definitely dominate the list, as people are putting their passports away this year in favour of UK beach breaks. Here we reveal the most sought-after staycation destinations to visit through the UK during the upcoming school holidays, as well as the places growing in popularity.

The 10 fastest-growing regions in 2021 (from 2019)

The 10 most popular locations for the school summer holidays in 2021

The 10 fastest-growing locations in 2021 (from 2019)

Interesting Facts

  • East Anglia, Yorkshire Dales and Heart of England make it into the 10 fastest growing regions for the first time
  • 2 in 5 (37%) of Brits are now more likely to visit new locations versus before the pandemic
  • North Wales, Cumbria and South West England are the top three most popular regions for bookings in summer 2021 (by number of our bookings)
  • Whitby has lost its 1st place position, but still remains the second most popular staycation destination
  • Half of the most popular locations for 2021 are by the seaside, while the other half are popular walking destinations

What do people want from a UK break and how have holiday habits changed post-pandemic?

At Sykes, we’ve observed a number of changes in how Brits are holidaying in recent months, whether that be how and when they book or what’s on their list of priorities when it comes to accommodation. In the absence of jetting off abroad, many are more open to splurging more on their staycations if it means it will be a trip to remember. We’ve also noticed a growing demand for pet-friendly properties following a surge in pet ownership during lockdown, while a trend in ‘workcations’ is starting to emerge.


The holiday let owners – where and what to invest in?

We explore the ingredients for a successful holiday let

It has undoubtedly been a hard year for holiday let owners, but the silver lining is that they will benefit from increased staycation demand this summer. Overall, interest levels amongst new owners have remained robust, with second homeowners clearly recognising the revenue opportunity that lies ahead.

Whether it’s to generate income, supplement savings in retirement or simply cover the costs of owning a second property, here we look at how holiday let owners can maximise rental income.

Case Study: Scarborough farmer taps into new holiday letting trend

While the pandemic may have put a pause on new business ventures for many, Ashley Tyson, 46, a farmer based in Scarborough, used his time in lockdown last year preparing to enter the world of holiday letting.

After reading up on the predicted staycation boom, and doing his research into popular staycation trends, Ashley and his wife Nicola decided to build a shepherd’s hut on their farm.

The pair used some of their savings to kick start the project, spending around £11,000 in total. Keen to support those in the local area at a challenging time, they enlisted the help of two local tradespeople to help build the shepherd’s hut, while also using some of their own DIY and interior expertise.

Located within the grounds of Stepney Hill Farm on the outskirts of Scarborough, Ashley and Nicola have created a stunning shepherd’s hut with countryside views and a luxurious hot tub.

“Starting a new business venture during the pandemic was challenging at times, but also very rewarding. We loved seeing our guests’ reactions when we were able to first open up last summer and we look forward to meeting even more new faces this year.”

The quirky holiday let was able to open up last summer when travel resumed in July and this year is set to be even more fruitful for the couple, with back to back bookings throughout summer and beyond.

Ashley and Nicola are now planning to add a second holiday home to their roster, using their experience to build an extension to their farmhouse and converting this for guests.

The new property will feature a luxury kitchen and lounge, complete with a log burner and hot tub for those looking to enjoy a winter trip. It will also be fully accessible for disabled guests.

(Property ID: Shepherd’s Hut ref:1050044)

What we’ve found – our conclusion

A stronger UK staycation market will remain a fixture

The entire travel industry has undergone tremendous changes and disruptions over the past year, but the UK staycation market has fought back, with the appetite for holidays at home now stronger than ever.

As people eagerly await an escape from lockdown, opting for staycations is not only the safest option, but our research shows that the Great British staycation is fast becoming the holiday of choice regardless of restrictions.

With beautiful countryside and award-winning beaches on our doorstep, there are plenty of reasons aside from the pandemic to leave our passports at home this year and enjoy what our own country has to offer.

And as millions of Brits opt for holidays at home, our research estimates a whopping £30 billion boost to the UK economy as a result of holiday spending this summer. This will be a major help for UK holiday towns that might have suffered over the past year, and will also be welcomed by holiday let owners up and down the country.

Our research also reveals a significant uplift in interest from second homeowners looking to list their properties and make the most of the rise in bookings this summer, with holiday letting proving to be an increasingly attractive investment opportunity by the day.

My thanks go to all of our hard-working property owners, guests, and the full Sykes Holiday Cottages family who have worked incredibly hard over the past year. We look forward to enjoying a summer of staycations with you all by our side.

– Graham Donoghue, CEO, Sykes Holiday Cottages


Based on Sykes Holiday Cottages’ internal bookings data from January 2014 to June 2021.

Bookings data for the year ahead was used to provide a snapshot of the staycation market, while
comparisons with full-year data from 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 were used to identify market trends. Supporting consumer research of 2,000 UK adults was carried out by OnePoll in June 2021.


For further information on the report findings, methodology or press enquiries then please contact

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