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Nature Holidays in the UK

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Nature Holidays in The UK

Looking to get back to nature? With many of us living busy urban lives, it makes sense to leave the hustle and bustle behind for a bit, and immerse ourselves in the beauty of the natural world. Luckily, the UK is blessed with a great variety of breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, from rugged coastlines to majestic moors, and from rolling countryside meadows to lochs and lakes.

Nature Holidays in the United Kingdom: Top Holiday Lettings

Cottage Dinas Cross
23 Nov - 30 Nov
-4%
£76
£72 per night
Cottage ∙ 2 guests ∙ 1 bedroom

Cottage in Dinas Cross with Large Garden + Mountain Views

5.0
Outstanding (190 ratings)
Dinas Cross, Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom
Details
Vrbo
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Apartment Caswell Bay
5 Oct - 12 Oct
£111 per night
Apartment ∙ 4 guests ∙ 2 bedrooms

Holiday Apartment in Caswell Bay

4.5
Excellent (18 ratings)
Caswell Bay, Newton, United Kingdom
Free cancellation
Details
HomeToGo
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Cottage Prestatyn
9 Nov - 16 Nov
£67 per night
Cottage ∙ 2 guests ∙ 1 bedroom

Cottage in Prestatyn with Terrace

Prestatyn, Denbighshire, United Kingdom
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Arlington Row, Bibury, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, England
FINDING NEW STAYCATION INSPIRATION FOR SUMMER HOLIDAYS IN 2022

The HomeToGo 2022 UK Hidden Gem Index

© HomeToGo / Getty Images

Thinking about a UK break? To help holidaymakers find the best under-the-radar beauty spots in which to avoid airport chaos while escaping the staycation crowds this summer, HomeToGo has released the 2022 UK Hidden Gem Index.

Using search and inventory data, alongside information about outdoor activities, pubs, weather and photo-friendliness, we've pinpointed and ranked the top 24 hidden gem villages across the UK for trips in 2022. All of the locations you'll see in this study are picturesque, well-appointed and situated in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks - but none appear on our list of the top 500 most-searched destinations amongst travellers from the UK for this year's summer season.

Fourteen National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty feature, with hidden gems uncovered across Cornwall, Dorset, Strangford Lough, the Suffolk Coast & Heaths, Chichester Harbour, the Cotswolds, the Norfolk Coast, East Devon and South Devon, as well as the North York Moors, the Lake District, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, the Pembrokeshire Coast and the Yorkshire Dales.

From an idyllic lochside location in the Scottish Highlands, to chocolate-box settlements in Cornwall's cosy corners, find out which serene and secluded villages made the list of the UK's top hidden gems in the ranking below.

Staycations in 2022: The Statistics

The staycation craze continues: in June this year, 69% - more than two thirds - of searches for holiday rentals via hometogo.co.uk were for stays in domestic destinations.

Whitby, Weymouth and Blackpool are the UK's top three tourist towns for summer 2022, all appearing in HomeToGo's list of the 50 most-searched destinations for the season.

71% of British participants in a recent HomeToGo survey said they would rather visit under-the-radar hidden gems for holidays in the year ahead, as opposed to iconic tourist locations¹.

Ranking 2022's Loveliest UK Hidden Gems

Rank
Location
Warmth Score
Rainfall Score
Pub Score
Scenic Score
Outdoor Activities Score
Price Score
Under-the-Radar Score
Overall Score
1
Dunwich
8.9
9.4
6.0
9.4
7.8
7.9
9.2
58.6
2
Studland
10.0
9.3
7.0
10.0
9.0
7.5
5.0
57.8
3
Bosham
9.7
9.7
10.0
8.0
9.9
5.0
5.1
57.4
4
Worth Matravers
10.0
9.3
6.0
6.1
9.1
6.6
10.0
57.1
5
Blockley
8.7
8.9
7.0
5.1
9.2
8.1
10.0
57.0
6
Bibury
9.7
9.0
9.0
9.0
5.1
5.5
9.0
56.3
7
Patterdale
7.8
5.0
7.0
7.6
10.0
9.8
8.9
56.1
=8
Brancaster
8.9
9.8
6.0
8.9
5.6
8.5
7.1
54.8
=8
Branscombe
8.7
9.1
7.0
7.0
7.5
8.4
7.1
54.8
=8
Abbotsbury
7.3
10.0
7.0
9.9
5.9
7.3
7.4
54.8

Mapped: 2022 UK Hidden Gems

Learn More About The Top Hidden Gems for Summer 2022

1. Dunwich, Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

From Dunwich Forest to Dingle Marshes, this serene settlement is surrounded by stunning countryside landscapes. Stroll through swathes of heather and gorse at the National Trust Dunwich Heath and Beach, listening for the songs of rare birds, before stopping by The Ship for a bite to eat and local ale in a cosy coastal pub.

Fun fact: As detailed in the village museum, Dunwich was once a bustling port town - until much of the settlement was lost to storms and the sea around the 13th century.

2. Studland, Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Four miles of sandy beaches at Studland Bay make this sleepy village ideal for scenic seaside escapes. Dive straight in with swimming, paddleboarding and kayaking, or take a short walk to see the Jurassic Coast's awe-inspiring Old Harry Rocks. Prefer food with your views? The Bankes Arms' beer garden offers an incredible ocean outlook.

Fun fact: Walk along the beaches and you'll be following in Coldplay frontman Chris Martin's footsteps. The video for the hit single Yellow was filmed in Studland Bay!

3. Bosham, Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Perched on an inlet of Chichester Harbour with sailboats bobbing at the quay, the atmosphere in this West Sussex village is undeniably idyllic. Relax over afternoon tea in the Millstream Hotel, or pop by Wendy's cafe for a slice of cake before wandering through Bosham Walk arcade, admiring the local art and eclectic finds on display.

Fun fact: Bosham's ancient Holy Trinity Church, parts of which date back to the 10th century, is depicted in the famous Bayeux Tapestry.

4. Worth Matravers, Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Picture perfect stone cottages, a duck pond by the village green, and a CAMRA Golden Award dog-friendly pub with cider pressed on-site: this hidden gem is nothing short of sublime. Breathtaking cliffside viewpoints such as Winspit and Seacombe are close by, with plenty of scenic hiking trails by which to reach them. 

Fun fact: The unspoilt, stony beach of Chapman's Pool is a superb spot for finding fossils, and you can even see fossilised dinosaur tracks at the nearby Keates Quarry. 

5. Blockley, Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

This elegant village of golden-hued cottages was once a bustling hub for the silk trade. Now, its mills sit peacefully as pretty homes on the Blockley brook. Wander through Upton Wold, the 'hidden garden of the Cotswolds', or take a table at Blockley Café for a seasonally inspired supper selected from an elevated menu. 

Fun fact: Blockley's church is a star of the small screen, featuring as a key filming location in the beloved BBC series Father Brown.

6. Bibury, Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

7. Patterdale, Lake District National Park

=8. Brancaster, Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

=8. Branscombe, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

=8. Abbotsbury, Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

11. East Prawle, South Devon Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty

12. Challaborough, South Devon Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty

13. Arrochar, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

14. Rosedale Abbey, North York Moors National Park

=15. Salthouse, Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

=15. Cawsand, Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

=15. Solva, Pembrokeshire National Park

18. Burnsall, Yorkshire Dales National Park

19. Strangford, Strangford Lough Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

20. Ravenscar, North York Moors National Park

21. Glaisdale, North York Moors National Park

22. Helford, Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

23. Polruan, Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

24. Porthgain, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

How We Produced This Guide

We used HomeToGo search data to identify the villages located in UK National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty which did not appear in the list of the top 500 most-searched destinations via hometogo.co.uk for summer 2022. We then created a shortlist of the destinations with sufficient accommodation offers. Any locations that appeared in the HomeToGo 2021 UK Hidden Gem Index were excluded. To rank these destinations, we researched seven data points: the average summer temperature, the average summer rainfall, the number of pubs in each village, the number of outdoor activities available in the local area, photo-friendliness, the median nightly price for accommodation in summer 2022 and search volume for summer stays in 2022 via hometogo.co.uk.

After obtaining the raw data, we assigned each data point a representative numerical value between 5 and 10, with 5 representing the lowest data point and 10 representing the highest data point. The hypothetical "perfect score" would be 70 out of 70. We used the following equation in order to calculate this for every factor:

Score(i) = 5 · (x(i) - xmin ) / (xmax - xmin ) + 5

Warmth score: We used data from each village's nearest climate station, made available by the Met Office, to calculate the average temperatures during the months of July, August and September. The destination with the highest average temperature across all three months was given a score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher.

Rainfall score: We used data from each village's nearest climate station, made available by the Met Office, to calculate the average rainfall during the months of July, August and September. The destination with the lowest average rainfall across all three months was given a score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher.

Pubs score: We used data provided by The Good Pub Guide to record the number of pubs located in each village. The destination home to the most pubs was given a score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher.

Outdoor activities score: We collected data from Komoot to determine the number of outdoor trails and activities available within a 5 mile reach of each village. The destination with the most outdoor trails and activities on offer within a 5 mile reach was assigned a score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher.

Scenic score: We used Flickr to identify the number of photographs featuring each village as the subject. The most photographed destination was given a score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher.

Price score: We used HomeToGo internal price data to find the median price per night for holiday accommodation in each destination with a check-in date between 21st June - 23rd September 2022. The area with the lowest median price per night was awarded a maximum score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher. Data was collected in June 2022, prices are subject to change.

Under-the-radar score: We used HomeToGo internal search data to find the number of searches for holiday accommodation in each destination with a check-in date between 21st June - 23rd September 2022. The area with the fewest searches was awarded a maximum score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher.

¹ Survey insight: Research conducted by HomeToGo among a sample of 1,900 respondents in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States. To participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 or older. The survey was carried out online between 22nd March 2022 - 11th April 2022.

Popular Destinations In The UK To Visit For Nature-Lovers

Popular Destinations In The UK To Visit For Nature-Lovers

Does the coast call you? Do you dream of rolling green hills and woodlands, or do you fancy bird-watching at a beautiful nature reserve? Try these destinations for a fantastic nature break.

  1. The New Forest

    Just 90 minutes away from London, the New Forest boasts mile upon mile of forest and woodland, heathland, open moors, wild ponies, and majestic glades. Choose from an excellent range of accommodation, from glamping tents and wooden lodges through to luxurious B&Bs, and enjoy high ropes, horse riding, and long peaceful walks.

  2. The Peak District

    One of the UK's most beautiful national parks, the Peak District is a nature paradise. Walk up Mam Tor, take a ride in a cable car at the Heights of Abraham, and visit the Peak Wildlife Park. Carsington Waters is a great spot to enjoy the great outdoors with facilities that include cycling tracks, watersports and a visitor centre with cafés and a shop.

  3. Dumfries & Galloway

    This spot is less well known by many of the UK's visitors, but it offers some of the most stunning countryside that you'll ever see. See red kites at the Mabie Forest, look out for dolphins and porpoise at the Mull of Galloway and visit the official Dark Zone of the New Galloway Forest at night, to see the stars in all their glory and without any city light pollution. Look out too for local foraging courses, where your expert guides will help you to pick edible plants, fungi, and seafood, before doing a cook up on one of the beaches.

  4. Inner Hebrides

    Head to the Isle of Rum to see the annual red deer rut in all of its wild glory. With over 300 deer competing over females between September to November every year, the view of the wild deer rutting is one that has thrilled human watchers for centuries. See the local native wild ponies too, as you relax in one of the excellent local pubs with fine food and a whisky or two.

  5. Devon

    Head to Dartmoor for a butterfly safari with local guides in summer. Your guide will show you local species such as the high brown fritillary and the pearl-bordered, as you walk through beautiful green countryside, surrounded by colourful butterflies amongst the wildflowers. It's a lovely choice for those looking for a more laid-back approach to nature, with plenty of cafés and eateries nearby to recharge in afterwards.

Best Places to Stay for Nature Holidays in the United Kingdom

Cottage Stirling
12 Oct - 19 Oct
-28%
£109
£79 per night
Cottage ∙ 2 guests ∙ 1 bedroom

Cottage in Stirling with Barbecue & Garden

4.5
Excellent (100 ratings)
Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom
Free cancellation
Details
HomeToGo
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Cottage Newton Stewart
2 Nov - 9 Nov
-46%
£102
£55 per night
Cottage ∙ 2 guests ∙ 1 bedroom

Cosy Cottage in Newton Stewart with Private Parking

Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Details
HomeToGo
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House Lower Largo
9 Nov - 16 Nov
£194 per night
House ∙ 6 guests ∙ 3 bedrooms

Wonderful House in Lower Largo with Garden & Barbecue

4.5
Excellent (15 ratings)
Lower Largo, Fife, Scotland
Free cancellation
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HomeToGo
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Information about Nature Holidays in the UK

💳 Highest rates in August
😎 Quietest month June
🛏️ Popular accommodation types Apartment rental and Cottage
🌡️ Warmest weather 17 °C in July and August
🥶 Coldest weather February and January
🌧️ Rainiest months August and July

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of holiday accommodation are available for Nature Holidays in the UK?

There's plenty of variety available when it comes to holiday rentals for Nature Holidays in the UK, with 79,709 Cottage and 55,616 Apartment rental on offer.

Nature Holidays in the UK: what's the average price for the accommodation?

Vacation homes cost £14 per night in the United Kingdom.

Can I find holiday rentals for Nature Holidays in the UK that can host a family or large group?

Mostly a Cottage is 123 m² and average capacity is 5 guests - ideal for medium-sized groups and families.

Nature Holidays in the United Kingdom: Top Destinations

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