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Eastbourne is the UK’s most holiday-friendly town

  • Check out Bournemouth and Brighton as well but give Wells a miss
  • Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds are the top city breaks
  • Virgin Money Travel Insurance ranks Holiday Friendly towns

Eastbourne is the UK’s most holiday-friendly area edging out competition from Manchester, Birmingham, The Cotswolds and Leeds, new research1 from Virgin Money Travel Insurance shows.

The East Sussex holiday destination, which holds the record for the highest recorded amount of sunshine in a single month in the UK2, knocked south-coast rival Bournemouth off top spot having been rated top for holidaymakers looking for the best stay-at-home summer destination. Wells in Somerset came in last place in the analysis of 66 popular UK getaways.

The Virgin Money Travel Insurance research, now in its second year, aimed to find the best stay-at-home holiday destinations ahead of what is – yet again – predicted to be a great British summer, with forecasts of record-breaking temperatures3.

Last year’s holiday season proved to be the staycation summer with recession belt-tightening seeing a 17%4 drop in UK tourists heading overseas.

If the hot summer does happen then Virgin Money research shows Eastbourne could be at the centre of the heat wave, having performed strongly in the analysis for weather. Eastbourne also outperformed many of its competitors on cost – making it ideal for holidaymakers on a budget – and scored highly in its number of hotels, attractions and restaurants, meaning that visitors should not be at a loss for things to do on their holiday.

Some of the UK’s biggest cities, including Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Liverpool, also performed well in this year’s analysis with classic seaside resorts Brighton, Bournemouth, Southend and Clacton, along with picturesque region The Cotswolds, completing the top ten.

But other popular holiday destinations such as Wells in Somerset, Scottish island Orkney and Cornwall’s Bude did not perform so well this year, partly due to poor weather or lack of attractions and restaurants.

Grant Bather of Virgin Money Travel Insurance said: “Everyone’s idea of a great holiday is different and the UK has plenty of great places to visit but this year it’s definitely Eastbourne for the all-round experience. For the classic seaside experience, Eastbourne wins hands down.

“Finding the formula for a perfect holiday is not a science, but good weather and a diverse selection of restaurants and hotels go a long way to making a good break, while tourist attractions and the overall cost are important too.

“Every town on our list is sure to evoke fond memories for fans of the destination. Indeed, each town is selected on the basis that it is a classic holiday destination. The research though is designed to find the most holiday-friendly town and provide a guide on where to go.”

The most holiday-friendly towns are listed below along with the 10 least friendly:

Top 10 holiday friendly

RANKINGTOWN/CITY
1Eastbourne
2Manchester
3Birmingham
4Cotswolds
5Leeds
6Bournemouth
7Brighton
8Southend
=9Clacton-on-Sea
=9Liverpool

Top 10 least holiday-friendly

RANKINGTOWN/CITY
1Wells
2Orkney
3Bude
4Shetland Islands
5Padstow
6St Andrews
7Portrush
8Loch Ness
9Tenby
10Newquay

Full list of 66 towns and cities attached below

The best areas for good weather are Oxford, Cambridge and Lavenham.

London inevitably tops the hotels rankings while other major cities such as Edinburgh and Manchester score highly, but smaller destinations such as Blackpool and the Cotswolds also offer visitors a broad range of accommodation.

For restaurants again it is London by a factor of 10 ahead of Glasgow, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham. But London, of course, scores nothing for beaches where it is Bournemouth, the Isle of Wight, Brighton, the Gower Peninsula, Scarborough, Clacton-on-Sea that do well with Skegness, Whitley Bay and Llandudno also showing up strongly.

Cleethorpes has the cheapest hotels, followed closely by Leeds, Scarborough and Blackpool, all charging an average of under £60 per night for a double room.

Top 66 towns and cities by rank

TOWNRANKINGSCORE
Eastbourne116.43
Manchester217.71
Birmingham318.14
Cotswolds418.43
Leeds519.86
Bournemouth620.29
Brighton720.86
Southend821.57
Clacton-on-Sea=922.29
Liverpool=922.29
Cardiff1122.43
Gower Peninsula1222.86
Canterbury1323.00
Whitby1423.14
Portsmouth1523.86
Blackpool1624.29
Cambridge=1724.43
Glasgow=1724.43
Torquay1924.57
Great Yarmouth2025.29
Exeter2126.14
London=2226.29
Weston-Super-Mare=2226.29
Isle of Wight2426.71
Bristol2526.86
Oxford2626.86
Belfast2727.71
Camber Sands (Rye)=2827.86
Edinburgh=2827.86
Scarborough=2827.86
Whitley Bay3128.14
York3228.57
Lake District3330.71
New Forest3431.14
Hastings=3531.43
Swanage=3531.43
Morecambe3731.71
Skegness3832.00
Dorchester3932.14
Cleethorpes4032.29
Chester4133.57
Bath4234.43
Cromer4335.29
Bognor Regis4435.43
Lyme Regis4535.57
Isle of Skye4636.00
Salisbury4736.14
Lavenham4836.29
Stratford-Upon-Avon=4936.43
Windsor=4936.43
Peak District5138.00
Llandudno5238.71
Channel Islands5340.29
Weymouth5441.43
Southwold5541.86
Pennines5642.57
Newquay5740.29
Tenby5844.14
Loch Ness5947.29
Portrush6045.00
St Andrews6145.29
Padstow6245.86
Shetland Islands6346.86
Bude6447.86
Orkney6548.57
Wells6649.86

-Ends-

1 Research conducted in April 2010 by Virgin Money researchers using publicly available sources including www.expedia.co.uk, www.enjoyengland.com, www.visitwales.com, www.visitscotland.com, www.yell.co.uk, http://www.blueflag.global/. Total for each town/city/area were calculated using rankings for average weather, hotel availability and cost, attraction availability and cost, restaurant availability and beach cleanliness.
2 Met Office data. Recording of 383.9 hours during July 1911.
3 Forecast by Positive Weather Solutions
4 According to ONS data in Overseas Travel and Tourism, August 2009”, published on 15 October 2009.

For further information:

Grant Bather at the Virgin Money
07834 844 427 
Grant.Bather@virginmoney.com

Kevan Reilly/Chris Jarvis/Toby Clark
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 0207 638 9571

About Virgin Money

Virgin Money is Virgin’s financial services arm and was established in 1995.

Virgin Money has over two million customers and offers a wide range of financial products across lending (e.g. credit cards and personal loans), savings (e.g. deposits, investments and pensions) and protection (e.g. life insurance, home insurance and car insurance) to the UK market. Virgin Money Personal Financial Service Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Registered Office: Discovery House, Whiting Road, Norwich NR4 6EJ. Registered in England no. 3072766. Entered on the Financial Services Register (www.fsa.gov.uk/register), Register Number: 179271