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Scenic Scots area crowned among top tourist destinations for 2024 beating London



One scenic Scottish area has been named as one of the most popular destinations in the UK for tourists.

Ahead of the summer season, Sykes Holiday Cottages polled 2,000 adults about their favourite holiday spots across the nation as part of its annual Staycation Index. According to the results, the Scottish Highlands and Islands are the second most sought after holiday destination.

The Highlands and Islands are among the most picturesque areas in the UK and beyond, known for their rugged and jaw-dropping scenery. From the legendary Loch Ness and idyllic Cairngorms National Park to incredible islands such as Skye and Mull, it is easy to see why the region placed so highly on the list.

Other highlights of the Highlands and Islands include Britain’s highest peak of Ben Nevis, the prehistoric Skara Brae on Orkney, and the breathtaking Smoo Cave in Durness. The area is also home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, including Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris and Achmelvich Beach near Lochinver.

Meanwhile, according to the poll, Cornwall is the most popular holiday spot in the UK. The county, situated on England’s rugged southwestern tip, is renowned for its picturesque and charming villages.

The study also found 77 per cent will take at least one holiday on home soil this year. Additionally, the holiday home rental agency discovered that the average adult will take three UK breaks in 2024.

Orkney is famous for its ancient Skara Brae UNESCO World Heritage Site(Image: Jimmy Dunn / Getty Images)

More than four in 10 are planning a staycation for their main holiday instead of jetting off abroad. Experiencing more locations, enjoying more regular escapism, and the fact they’re easier to do with a busy schedule are the top reasons for choosing shorter breaks.

When it comes to travellers’ favourite type of staycation, cottage-style holiday homes were revealed to be the most popular option. According to the data, coastal and countryside walks are travellers’ favourite UK holiday activity, along with exploring local attractions and enjoying pub lunches.

Aside from visiting the more well-known areas, 36 per cent plan to travel to locations off the usual tourist trail. Argyll and Bute is among these lesser-visited places those polled would like to check out.

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CEO of Sykes Holiday Cottages Graham Donoghue commented: “Getaways in the UK offer a perfect blend of experience, convenience and affordability, making them an excellent choice for people looking to explore and enjoy the beauty of their own country — whether over week-long holidays or long weekend trips. We are hoping for another bumper summer for UK travel, with ever-popular destinations such as Cornwall and the Scottish Highlands continuing to lure in visitors.

“It’s been interesting to dig deeper into the travel trends impacting staycationers this year. As well as the growing desire for more regular escapism, amongst many we’re seeing a thirst for in-cottage experience and exploration of less-trodden destinations.

Luskentyre Beach on the Isles of Harris is one of many gorgeous beaches in the Scottish Highlands and Islands(Image: Tom McShane / Getty Images)

“There are so many options available to British travellers when it comes to staycations, from picturesque countryside retreats to vibrant city breaks. Although Cornwall is the most popular destination this year, there are lots of other, more unsung locations that shouldn’t be missed.”

Read on for the full list of the top 10 most popular holiday destinations in the UK. Meanwhile, the full list can be found on the Sykes Holiday Cottages website.

The top 10 UK holiday destinations in 2024

  1. Cornwall
  2. Scottish Highlands and Islands
  3. London
  4. Devon
  5. Yorkshire
  6. Cumbria
  7. North Wales
  8. Norfolk
  9. Dorset
  10. Isle of Wight
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