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The Outdoor Trends Report holiday cottages

The Outdoor Trends Report

Content Writer 29 August 2023

For those travellers that enjoy the sounds of nature over the buzz of the city, have you ever wondered where the best places are to enjoy your favourite outdoor pursuits? From hiking to great heights to wild swimming in great depths, we’ve scoured the country to find the best areas for Brits to visit to enjoy their favourite outdoor hobbies.

The Outdoor Trends Report infographic

To do this, we surveyed 1,000 Brits on what makes their preferred UK staycation, from the types of outdoor recreation they engage in on holiday to the areas around Britain that they like to head to for adventure. From the results, we were able to create the Outdoor Trends Report, broken down by different demographics to help you find the best spots for outdoor adventures in the UK.


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Over a quarter of Brits are basing their staycations on the outdoor activities available

three kids in the woods balancing along a log for fun

When it comes to going on holiday, we Brits love to have something fun to look forward to – whether you’re someone who loves to lie by the pool or you like to pack as much as possible into every single day.

  1. Walking/hiking routes – 29.1%

    Nearly 30% of our respondents said that being able to find good walking and hiking routes nearby was what they would base their holiday destination on – which could contribute to our top ten list of destinations.

  2. Quality of beaches – 27.2%

    Whether you like to wander across them with your favourite furry friend, sun yourself on them for hours, or just love to know that you’re getting some invigorating sea air, having good beaches nearby is a requirement for a lot of Brits.

  3. Local culture (e.g., museums, art galleries) – 27.0%

    Learning about the local history and culture of a holiday destination also comes high on our list, with over 25% of Brits saying that being near historical and cultural information was important to them.

  4. Outdoor activities available – 26.8%

    Another quarter of our respondents also said that the proximity of their holiday destination to outdoor recreation spots and activity centres was important for them and would be more likely to sway them towards picking a specific area or place.

  5. Quality of restaurants – 26.8%  

    And at the end of the day, we all want to make sure we are near amazing dining spots, to eat our fill after all that exploring and adventuring!


The UK’s most popular outdoor recreation activities

extreme cyclist in snowy hills

Given that over a quarter of our respondents wanted to be near spots that had plenty of outdoor recreation spots and activity centres, what sort of activities are they most drawn to when they go on holiday?

  1. Hiking and walking for fitness – 47.9%

    Getting out and about for some bracing walks was the top activity that Brits love to engage in – having the free time to wander and see all the natural beauty that Britain has to offer is a great way to fill your days on holiday.

  2. Wildlife watching – 29.5%

    Keeping an eye out for all the different types of wildlife that you can see around the British Isles is another great pastime to indulge in on holiday, especially when you venture to a new area or an area rich with lots of different types of wildlife.

  3. Beachcombing – 17.8%

    Exploring different beaches for all the little treasures that nature presents is another top five favourite holiday activity for those surveyed.

  4. Running, jogging or trail running -15.6%

    Having the time to be active and partake in your favourite sports and activities is ideal when you’re on holiday, and lots of us like to take in new trails when we are running or cycling.

  5. Road biking, mountain biking or BMX – 15.0%

    Getting out on your bike, whether you like to tear up the trails on a BMX or tackle the tallest roads in Britain, is another top five favourite holiday activity. 

Looking for some outdoor recreation recommendations within the Lake District? From water sports, to fishing, to hiking there are so many excellent Lake District outdoor activities to dive into as well as other things to do in the region.


Gen Z are more than twice as likely to swap drinking staycations for outdoorsy holidays

Gen Z'ers having lunch

Not only did we find that Brits love active holidays, we also dug a little deeper into our stats to find out which demographics were the keenest to get out and about on their holidays. We discovered that for those aged 18-44, their biggest priority when booking a staycation is that outdoor recreation activities are available in the area. Meanwhile, for those aged 55+, the quality of the restaurants is the biggest priority for those booking a staycation.

And 18–24-year-olds are more than twice as likely to swap drinking staycations (16.4%) for outdoorsy holidays (37.7%). The most popular outdoor activities for 18–24-year-olds included:

  • Hiking and walking for fitness – 49.5%
  • Running, jogging or trail running – 26.0%
  • Road biking, mountain biking or BMX – 23.4%

The most popular staycation destinations

Mother and child at the beach

And finally, the top destinations our survey takers were likely to holiday at were:

  • Lake District - 25.4%
    Over a quarter of our respondents would choose the Lake District, and it’s not much of a surprise considering how much there is to do in this pretty corner of the country – check out our guide on the best outdoor activities to do in the Lake District to find out more!

  • Devon - 20.7%
  • Cornwall – 18.3%
  • Peak District – 15.1%
  • East Of England – 14.3%

Sarah Pring, Digital PR Manager at Sally’s Cottages, had this to say about the survey: 

“We conducted this survey to get a better look into the holiday habits of Brits, and what we found was that, unsurprisingly, they were most likely to flock to the Lake District. As one of the most serene and beautiful areas of the UK, it’s little wonder that it attracts so many staycationers, with so many amazing walking routes, top-quality restaurants, and, most importantly, comfortable and stylish accommodation for them to stay in.” 


Stay at one of our self-catering holiday cottages in the Lake District

Why not look into organising your own Lake District staycation this year with your family? You don’t need to look any further than Sally’s Cottages for the best quality accommodation. Check out our dog-friendly cottages if you want to bring along your pooch pals, or get the whole gang together in one of our large cottages. Visit our collection by clicking on the button below.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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