Best UK towns and cities for a Staycation named by Which? including Liverpool, Bath and Edinburgh

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The rankings were based on the experiences since April 2022 of nearly 4,000 Which? members.

Which? has revealed the best locations around the UK for a lovely staycation.

Each city was rated based on eight categories: food and drink, accommodation, cultural sites, shopping, ease of getting around, lack of crowds, parking and value for money.

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The rankings were determined by the experiences of 3,967 Which? members who had visited for leisure purposes and stayed for at least one night in the past two years (since April 2022). A total of 7,187 experiences were shared in the study.

Scroll through to find out the best and worst large, medium-sized and small cities around the UK for a short break.

Best large UK cities for a staycation

Liverpool (£109 average hotel price) was crowned the best large city for a staycation with a customer score of 84%, four stars for food and drinks, accommodation, shopping, lack of crowds and value for money, and three stars for parking.

Search for the best places to stay on booking.com and find things to do on Viator.

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The city also scored five stars for cultural sites with some highlights being the museums at Albert Dock, the Walker Gallery, The Beatles museum and its two cathedrals.

One person said: “I had completely underestimated how much there was to see and do in Liverpool.” Many others also praised the friendliness of locals.

Gambier Terrace and Liverpool Cathedral. Image: Uldis Laganovskis/stock.adobeGambier Terrace and Liverpool Cathedral. Image: Uldis Laganovskis/stock.adobe
Gambier Terrace and Liverpool Cathedral. Image: Uldis Laganovskis/stock.adobe

In joint second were Edinburgh (£152 average hotel price) and York (£116 average hotel price) with an 83% customer score, five stars for cultural sites, and four stars for food and drink, accommodation, shopping, ease of getting around and value for money. Their downsides were parking (one star) and lack of crowds (two stars).

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Best medium-sized UK cities for a staycation

Bath (£138 average hotel price) was declared the best medium-sized city for a staycation with a customer score of 82%.

The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre best known for its beautifully preserved Roman baths, the Georgian houses of the Royal Crescent and its literary connections, celebrated at the Jane Austen centre.

Another highlight is their National Trust park Prior Park: an 18th-century landscaped garden designed by Alexander Pope and Capability Brown and home to one of only four Palladian bridges in the world.

Bath scored five stars for cultural site, four for food and drink, accommodation and shopping, and three stars for value for money, and ease of getting around. The downsides are parking (one star) and lack of crowds (two stars).

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Prior Park Landscape Gardens, Bath. The National Trust park is home to one of only four Palladian bridges in the world.Prior Park Landscape Gardens, Bath. The National Trust park is home to one of only four Palladian bridges in the world.
Prior Park Landscape Gardens, Bath. The National Trust park is home to one of only four Palladian bridges in the world.

In second place was Chester ( £107 average hotel price) with an 80% customer score, four stars for food and drink, accommodation, cultural sights, shopping, ease of getting around, lack of crowds and value for money, and three stars for parking.

Lincoln (£89 average hotel price) ranked third with a 78% customer score, four starts for accommodation, cultural sights, lack of crowds and value for money, and three stars for parking, shopping and food and drink.

Best small UK cities for a staycation

The best small city for a staycation was Somerset’s Wells (£93 average hotel price) with an 86% customer score.

The city received four stars for accommodation, cultural sights ease of getting around, lack of crowds and value for money and three stars for parking and food and drink.

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Wells is home to an 850-year-old Cathedral - the seat of the Bishops of Bath and Wells -, The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens and Vicar’s Close, which is described as the only complete mediaeval street in England.

Inside Wells' Cathedral. Credit: Tobias Frank via Wikimedia CommonsInside Wells' Cathedral. Credit: Tobias Frank via Wikimedia Commons
Inside Wells' Cathedral. Credit: Tobias Frank via Wikimedia Commons

In joint second were Durham (£107 average hotel price) and St Andrews (£159 average hotel price) with a customer score of 78%, four stars for accommodation and lack of crowds, and two stars for shopping.

Durham received four stars for value for money and cultural sights, three stars for food and drink, and two stars for parking and ease of getting around.

St Andrews scored three stars for cultural sights, value for money and ease of getting around, and two stars for food and drink.

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Worst large UK cities for a staycation

Derby (£74 average hotel price) was rated the worst big city for a short break with a 56% customer score and two stars for food and drink, accommodation, cultural sights and tourist attractions, shopping and ease of getting around.

It also received four stars for lack of crowds and three stars for parking and value for money.

Despite the lack of sights, one visitor commented: “There are a number of nice villages to explore nearby, many with paths by the river such as Barrow-upon-Trent.”

The Museum of Making, Derby. This museum is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Derby, and celebrates the area’s rich history of innovation.The Museum of Making, Derby. This museum is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Derby, and celebrates the area’s rich history of innovation.
The Museum of Making, Derby. This museum is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Derby, and celebrates the area’s rich history of innovation.

Worst medium-sized UK cities for a staycation

The seaside town of Bournemouth (£101 average hotel price) was ranked as the worst medium-sized city for a staycation with a 58% customer score.

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It score two stars for food and drink, accommodation, cultural sites, shopping, value for money and ease of getting around, three stars for lack of crowds and one star for parking.

Worst small UK cities for a staycation

Torquay (£84 average hotel price) and Fort William in Scotland (£135 average hotel price) were joint worst with a 58% customer score.

They both received two stars for food and drink, shopping and ease of getting around

Fort William also received two stars for accommodation, three stars for parking, cultural sites and value for money, and four stars for lack of crowds.

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Torquay received two stars for value for money and cultural sites, one star for parking, three stars for lack of crowds and four stars for accommodation despite famously being the home of the fictional hotel Fawlty Towers.

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