Seaside resorts dominate eviivo’s league table of favourite British long weekend destinations. Booking data from 6,000 small UK hotels and B&Bs reveals the nation’s favourite locations for a quick getaway
Analysis of long weekend booking patterns ahead of Valentine’s Day by online booking specialists eviivo reveals that the seaside is the favourite place for extended weekend stays. Immortalised in saucy postcards, seaside locations including Blackpool, Torquay, Scarborough, Weymouth and Brighton figure prominently in eviivo’s analysis, which is based on aggregate annual booking data from nearly 6,000 bed and breakfasts and small hotels UK-wide.
Gone are the old stereotypes of drizzly piers, donkey rides and shove ha’penny. Heavy investments in the arts and a flourishing food culture have created a surge of interest for these seaside towns. Classic staples have been updated for a new generation of visitors, who are equally enthusiastic spending their long weekends eating ‘beer-battered North Sea Cod, Maris Piper chips and garden pea guacamole’ as they would be fish, chips and mushy peas.
The British long weekend dates from the Bank Holidays Act of 1871 which created four holidays in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and five in Scotland. Weekends originally began to emerge as an idea as early as the 1630s, referring to the period from Saturday noon to Monday morning. The first recorded reference to a ‘long weekend’ is from 1900.
Spending a long weekend in London is still a popular choice, thanks to the pulling power of its cultural heritage and glitzy West End. The capital takes second place in the overall list to Blackpool, but the remainder of the top 20 list is largely comprised of seaside resorts.
Forward booking data for this year points to B&Bs becoming increasingly popular with UK and international guests. Bookings for this summer are already up 10.3% year on year. The renaissance in B&Bs is attributable to the emergent popularity of independent British accommodation providers and the weaker pound, which is acting as both a deterrent for international travel and a magnet for inbound tourist traffic.
Commenting on the findings, Ruth Whitehead, Director at eviivo, said: “Long weekend breaks, romantic or otherwise, provide an all-important punctuation mark for British workers and are a great opportunity to experience some of the UK’s hidden gems. Many of the UK’s more traditional holiday destinations, such as Blackpool, Paignton, Great Yarmouth and Weymouth, are enjoying a real renaissance, which is very encouraging to see!”
Away from the coast, inland cities that feature on the list include York, Norwich and Canterbury.
Anecdotal data from B&B owners also finds that holidaymakers tend to use long weekends as fact-finding trips for longer stays. One B&B owner said: “The advantage of staying in a B&B is that you do truly get the comforts of home, with authentic home cooking and a great night’s sleep. You also get to stay closer to destination. Owners have great local knowledge and are part of the local community, which makes a stay in B&B truly memorable.”
Methodology: Locations are ranked by the number of bookings of three-night stays, over a weekend (Friday to Sunday night breaks or Saturday night to Monday night breaks) over the course of 2017. Data is analysed from 6000 properties across the UK.*UK seaside destination
The nation’s Bed and Breakfasts will also be honoured by the inaugural National B&B Day on 24 March 2018, supported by the BandB Association, the trade body for small independent hoteliers, VisitEngland and eviivo. Participating B&Bs from across the country are offering a whole range of offers and deals to customers looking to book a break on National B&B Day, with more information available on the new National B&B Day website, including information on how to get involved as a sponsor, and how B&Bs can participate. The event is attracting growing support from the independent accommodation sector with a growing list of partners including The AA, National Express, TripAdvisor and toprooms.com as well as a number of local tourist boards.