Festive Staycations Revealed as 2020s Top Travel Trend

In this country and around the globe, Christmas is celebrated by billions of people, where families and friends come together and enjoy each other's company. With the festive period just around the corner, people are now preparing for their very first ‘COVID-19 Christmas’, whatever that might look like. 


Christmas festivities in the UK often involve travelling to stay with grandparents on Christmas Eve, meeting up with your aunties and uncles to swap presents, or going for a Christmas Day pint with your friends - because of the current restrictions here, people are looking for different ways to celebrate.


We thought we could shed some light on this so partnered with our sister brand, LateRooms, and analysed internal booking data to see what types of stays people are booking, where and when. 


The results were very insightful, with the main takeaway being that bookings for the week leading up to Christmas Day had increased by 62% compared to the same period last year - which in terms of bookings is huge!


We also delved into the size of groups booking for festive staycations, and found that stays for couples were the most commonly booked throughout December, followed by groups of four, indicating that more families are looking to go away for Christmas this year.


When looking at which areas had been booked the most for the festive period, North Yorkshire is 2020’s most popular Christmas getaway location, in addition to receiving 75% more bookings this year during the week of the Christmas holidays compared to last year.


Yorkshire Dales National Park in North Yorkshire


The top five festive staycation destinations in the UK are, along with the percentage increase in bookings this year compared with 2019 for the week commencing the 21st December:



UK Popularity Location 2019 vs 2020
1 North Yorkshire  75%
2 Devon 77%
3 Cornwall 81%
4 Cumbria 106%
5 Norfolk 107%


North Yorkshire is the largest county in England by area, and is home to the picturesque Yorkshire Dales National Park and North York Moors National Park. Currently North Yorkshire, with the exception of the city of York which is in tier 2,  is in tier 1, and therefore not subject to the more severe government restrictions currently enforced in West and South Yorkshire. 


The findings also revealed that the number of people in the UK booking winter Staycations has more than doubled (+105%) compared with the same period last year. This isn’t very surprising considering many people have been unable to travel abroad through the pandemic, and during the summer many travel restrictions were still in place, so people were holding off until the sector opened up more in Autumn. 


Killantingan Bay on the Mull of Galloway


When delving deeper into the booking data from this year compared to last year, we also found which areas have experienced the biggest overall increase in popularity in 2020, with Dumfries Galloway (+190%) topping the list, followed by The Highlands (+172%) and The Isle Of Wight (+166%). 


East Sussex and Northumberland rounded off the top five, with an increase of 146% and 136%, respectively.


Matthew Fox, CEO of The Rest Easy Group, said,


“With the current coronavirus situation seemingly not going away any time soon, it’s unsurprising to see so many people looking for different ways to celebrate this Christmas. There’s always a slight rise in bookings across the festive period, however this is the highest we’ve seen in a good few years.


“It seems that people are anticipating not being able to celebrate Christmas in the traditional way this year, which may be why so many people have booked a festive staycation. The rise of the 'Flexi-worker' has enabled people to be more adaptable with their holiday this year and opened up more opportunities to book a festive getaway.”



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