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Staycation inspiration: Britain's 10 most popular small towns and cities | Holidu

The most popular small towns and cities in the UK

The destinations most searched for online by British people in the last year

A little over a year since the start of the pandemic and the desire to travel is not diminishing. If anything, it’s stronger than ever! The travel restrictions have always been unclear, and despite this, we continue to dream of holidays and look for our next destination. In the past year, British staycations have been booming and this year will be no different. But where do people want to go? What will be the most popular destination in 2021?

Holidu, the search engine for holiday rentals, decided to carry out a study to determine which small UK towns and cities British people have been looking for in the last twelve months. All towns with less than 20,000 inhabitants were considered for this study. The ranking was drawn up using the average number of monthly searches on Google for these towns with the terms "what to do" and "things to do” to determine the most popular small towns with holiday-makers.

Holidu, the search engine for holiday rentals ( examined the search volume in the past year for the search terms "what to do in [town]" and "things to do in [town]" for all British towns and cities with a population of less than 20,000.

The result?

  • Whitby takes the crown with 6,280 searches per month!

  • St Ives and Llandudno complete the podium with 5,280 and 4,080, respectively

  • One Scottish town, St Andrews, secures a spot in the top 5

1. Whitby, North Yorkshire - 6,280 searches per month

The winner of this ranking is the glorious seaside town of Whitby and is the most searched small town by travellers this year with an average of 6,280 searches per month. This gorgeous town is a regular family favourite, especially in the summertime. Lovely beaches, quirky cafes and unique Gothic culture make this town the perfect destination for travellers of all ages and interests.

2. St Ives, Cornwall - 5,280 searches per month

In second place is St Ives, and it’s not hard to understand why. This southern seaside town is located on the Cornish coast and is frequently one of the most loved destinations in Cornwall. Frequently topping lists of Britain’s favourite staycation destination, St Ives has it all - sun, sea, surfing. The town is also famous for its vibrant art scene and frequently hosts art displays with the works of many world-renowned artists.

3. Llandudno, Clwyd - 4,080 searches per month

Claiming third place with 4,080 searches per month is the much-loved Welsh coastal town of Llandudno. The town is famous for its Victorian architecture and regularly attracts thousands of people to its pier and promenade, particularly during the summer months. With shops and eateries galore, you won’t be short of options when visiting this popular location.

4. St Andrews, Fife - 2,790 searches per month

The only Scottish location to make it into the top 10 is the coastal town of St Andrews. Located in Fife, this town is known for its links to the Royals, as well as its many magnificent golf courses. Most notably is it famous for its world-class university, the University of St Andrews, which behind Oxford and Cambridge universities, is the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world.


All British towns and cities with less than 20,000 inhabitants were considered for this study. The ranking was then drawn up using the average number of monthly searches on Google in the last 12 months for the terms "what to do in [town]" and "things to do in [town]" in order to determine which destinations were most popular with travellers.

About Holidu

Holidu’s mission is to finally make the search and booking of holiday rentals easy. Its search engine for holiday rentals allows travellers to book the ideal accommodation for the lowest price. The company also helps holiday rental owners multiply their bookings with less work through its software and service solution under the Bookiply brand. Brothers Johannes and Michael Siebers founded Holidu in 2014. The high-growth startup is headquartered in Munich and has local offices in the most attractive travel destinations in Europe and the US. For more information, see and


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