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The Most Popular Small Towns And Cities In The UK

Whitby 1

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.  

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. 

5. Penzance, Cornwall – 2,380 searches per month 

The second destination in Cornwall securing a space in the top 10 is Penzance with an average  of 2,380 searches per month.

As well as offering great pubs, restaurants and attractions,  Penzance is home to one of the mildest climates in the UK, making it the ideal destination for  a summer break.

6. Matlock, Derbyshire – 2,160 searches per month 

At number six is the first non-coastal destination in the list, Matlock, with an average of 2,160  searches per month.

Located in the south-eastern part of the Peak District, and its beautiful  scenery led Daniel Defoe to nickname this area “Little Switzerland”.  

7. Cirencester, Gloucestershire – 1,920 searches per month 

Next up is Cirencester, a town that is bursting with traditional English charm and gained an  average of 1,920 searches per month.

Known as the Capital of the Cotswolds, the buildings in  this market town have stunning architectural features and the town also boasts great transport  links throughout the Cotswolds region. 

8. Penrith, Cumbria – 1,810 searches per month 

A bustling market town and the hub of the Eden Valley, number eight is Penrith with an average  of 1,810 searches per month. The town lies just outside of the Lake District National Park,  making it the perfect base for a summer trip to the mountains. 

9. Aberystwyth, Dyfed – 1,560 searches per month 

Aberystwyth is the second Welsh town in this ranking, with 1,560 searches per month. During  the academic year, Aberystwyth is a well-known university town and in the summer months, it  is a thriving seaside location.

Brimming with thousands of years of history, this is a quaint town  that is perfect for a relaxing getaway. 

10. Skipton, North Yorkshire – 1,510 searches per month 

The tenth and final destination in this ranking is Skipton. The small town located in North  Yorkshire has an average of 1,510 searches per month.

There is no shortage of things to do  in this market town, with a wide range of food and drink places, a famous market, stunning  countryside and seeping in history.  


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