Escape the Crowds: The Top 5 Hidden Gem Staycation Destinations for Summer 2022
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Escape the Crowds: The Top 5 Hidden Gem Staycation Destinations for Summer 2022

Looking to go on a beautiful staycation this summer? Get in line! The pandemic has sparked an increase in staycations, but with travel chaos and continuing restrictions, it looks like this travel trend is here to stay. If you prefer to get off the beaten track, here are the top five hidden gem staycation destinations you won’t have seen on Instagram (yet). 

The Top 5 Hidden Gem Staycation Destinations for Summer 2022

The UK is a land of many beauties, but it is only in recent years that the UK’s interest in staycations has resurged. Between June 2020 and June 2021, searches for ‘staycation’ increased by 83 per cent, and searches for ‘staycation UK’ increased by 173 per cent in the same time period.

With this new travel trend, however, comes a new difficulty: crowds. According to holiday rental site HomeToGo, Whitby (North Yorkshire), Weymouth (Dorset) and Blackpool (Lancashire) are the most searched for destinations this summer. However, HomeToGo has ranked the best UK ‘hidden gem’ destinations – the locations that are picturesque with good amenities, but aren’t being searched for by consumers this summer.

The new 2022 Hidden Gem Index scores UK holiday destinations on their warmth, rainfall, pubs, scenic beauty, outdoor activities, price and general ‘under the radar’ quality. Whether to avoid travel mayhem, continuing Covid restrictions, or to reduce your travel carbon footprint, here are the UK’s top five ‘hidden gem’ destinations to book this summer.

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Blockley village church with cottages alongside

5. Blockley – Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

The Cotswolds is full of chocolate box staycation villages, but the beauty of Blockley remains a well-kept secret (despite being a filming location in the BBC series, Father Brown). Located near Upton Wold – the ‘hidden garden of the Cotswolds’ – this elegant village, once a silk trade hub, is, of course, the perfect destination for avid walkers. Wander through streets of golden cottages, embark on The Cotswolds Way, or simply use Blockley as a quiet base to explore the rest of the Cotswolds.

Read More: The C&TH Guide to the Cotswolds

A path to the sea Near Chapman's Pool, Jurassic Coast, Dorset, UK

4. Worth Matravers – Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Dorset might be one of the UK’s most popular staycation destinations, but Worth Matravers is a lovely hidden gem – especially if you love a classic, dog-friendly British pub. Scoring a perfect 10 for its balmy weather, Worth Matravers is a lovely staycation, and well-located for cliffside exploring, fossil hunting, and visiting nearby villages, Winspit and Seacombe.


Summer sunset over Bosham Harbour and village with the church spire of Holy Trinity Church, West Sussex, UK

3. Bosham – Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Staying on the south coast, in third place is Bosham – a small village perched on an inlet of Chichester Harbour in West Sussex. With sailboats gently bobbing on the, this picturesque village will remind you of European trips – especially with its ancient Holy Trinity Church, parts of which date back to the 10th century. Scoring particularly highly for its pubs and outdoor activities, there is plenty for everyone to do here – from visiting the church to wandering through the local Bosham Walk arcade – young and old.

Read More: The Best Hotels in West Sussex

Old Harry Rocks, Studland, Dorset

2. Studland – Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Back to Dorset for our runner-up, which earns a perfect 10 for its scenic beauty as well as its warmth: Studland. This sleepy village is an ideal scenic seaside escape, especially if you enjoy water sports, with swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking all at your fingertips. (Also good for fans of Coldplay – the Yellow music video was filmed in Studland Bay!). If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, walks along the Jurassic Coast will serve you well.

Cloudy morning sky over sea and Dunwich eath heather

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

HomeToGo’s winner is a true hidden gem, with consistently high scores across the board and a particularly high under-the-radar score. Dunwich is a serene settlement surrounded by countryside beauty, while still being close to gorgeous beaches. Visit Dunwich Heath and Beach for swathes of heather and gorse, and listen out for the songs of rare birds. Top it off with a pub lunch in a cosy coastal pub – idyllic.


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Featured image: Bosham, West Sussex (Getty)