How Yorkshire became a hot-spot for staycation tourists

Staycation tourists are making a beeline for Yorkshire.

By Charlie Bullough
Tuesday, 06 August, 2019, 18:07
Whitby harbour. Picture: Gary Longbottom.

The trend, where tourists holiday within their own country or make day trips from home, is on the rise in the White Rose county.

Statistics from tourism agency VisitEngland show there were 5.1 million domestic overnight holiday trips to Yorkshire and The Humber in 2018.

This was up one per cent on 2017 but this accounted for £1.1 billion expenditure, which was up seven per cent on 2017.

Central Sheffield.

It’s a growing market as in 2016 there were 4.43 million domestic holiday trips there, accounting for £931 million of expenditure.

Nationally, Scarborough was second in the most visited towns and cities for overnight holiday trips in England by Britons. Only London beat it.

VisitBritain /VisitEngland Director Patricia Yates said: “There is so much variety and choice when choosing a holiday in the UK, from our seaside towns and vibrant cities to our outstanding attractions and picture-perfect countryside. And we have been hearing from many destinations across the country that they are looking ahead to a strong summer season.  

“With the school holidays upon us and the weather warming up now is the perfect time to book a staycation with the certainty of budgeting for a holiday at home and the ease and convenience contributing to making the UK a top holiday destination.”

Harrogate is the hub for the 2019 UCI Road World Championships for cycling.

The lure of the coast has also been good news for Whitby, which as named as the most popular destination in a staycation study earlier this year.

The North Yorkshire seaside town was named the UK’s most sought-after staycation destination in the Sykes Staycation Index 2019. Scarborough and Filey also made the top ten of places to stay.

The index analyses Sykes Holiday Cottages’ bookings data and consumer research to reveal the most popular places for a UK break. It also sheds light on the nation’s views on holidays at home and the current traveller trends shaping staycations.

It revealed more than half of Yorkshire residents (52 per cent) were planning to choose the UK for their main summer holiday this year. And more than a fifth said that Brexit has encouraged them to staycation.

Leeds should be on peoples bucket list for a city break .Picture: Gary Longbottom.

Graham Donoghue, CEO of Sykes Holiday Cottages, said in his conclusion to the 2019 report: “A growing awareness of the environment, warmer weather in the summer months, and the Brexit related uncertainty are all factors which are shaping our preference for UK breaks – a trend that’s set to stay.

2019 is set to be another bumper year for staycations within the UK.”

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Wider statistics show it is just not seaside towns that are benefiting from the trend. Although the coast accounted for 35 percent of domestic overnight trips, national data from VisitEngland shows that 32 per cent of domestic holidays were to a large city/town. That translates to 14.5 million overnight stays. Meanwhile, 20 per cent headed to the countryside or village (8.9 million) and 14 percent to small towns (6.5 million).

Yorkshire has a wealth of city and countryside destinations to enthral travellers. And tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire showcases many of the best places to visit in its publications.

A fine view of The Yorkshire Dales. Picture: James Hardisty.

Its ‘Coast to Country’ guide highlights various places like Yorkshire’s three National Parks: The Yorkshire Dales, The Peak District and The North York Moors. It says “The Yorkshire Dales is home to outstanding scenery, great castles,abbeys and a breathtakingly peaceful atmosphere.” Highlights include the Three Peaks: Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside.

While The Peak District’s “rugged gritstone uplands and rolling limestone dales offer endless scope for walking, cycling and a wealth of outdoor activities.”

And The North York Moors boasts “fabulous countryside, heather moorland, woodland and rugged Dinosaur Coastline”.

Welcome to Yorkshire also shines a spotlight on the county’s tourism treasures in its ‘This is Y Magazine’. It also includes features on Yorkshire’s major cities and their attractions.

York is described as a must-see destination with its Minster and Viking history. Whereas Leeds is billed as “one of the hottest spots for food and drink right now”. This is Y boldly states “this is definitely a city break you need to add to your bucket list.”

The magazine also extols the virtues of Sheffield, which offers the best of both city and country. The Steel City is also known as “The Outdoor City” because of its proximity to the Peak District and other green spaces. Sheffield is also steeped in industrial history and has a vibrant food and drink scene. The tourism body describes it as a true all-rounder, capable of attracting “culture vultures, history buffs, adrenaline junkies and foodies from across the globe”.

York Minster as seen from the citys walls. Picture: Marisa Cashill.

Yorkshire’s towns also have plenty to offer tourists. 2019 is shaping up to be a big year for Harrogate. The Victorian Spa Town, with its famous Betty’s Cafe and Turkish Baths, is set to host the UCI World Championships for cycling in September. The week-long event will also visit a host of Yorkshire towns and cities, like Bradford and Doncaster, but each race will culminate in Harrogate.

So the world will be watching Yorkshire later this year and seeing its eye-catching destinations pop upon their screens. Perhaps they will come to realise what Yorkshire staycationers have long known - you can’t beat a holiday in God’s own county.

For more trip ideas see www.yorkshire.com

Graham Donoghue, CEO of Sykes Holiday Cottages. Picture: David Lindsay.
VisitBritain /VisitEngland Director Patricia Yates Picture: Fiona Hanson.