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Which? Holiday’s 10 favourite UK places to visit

2009 could be a bumper year for UK tourism
North Devon

North Devon has steep ascents

Taking more UK holidays

With the pound struggling against the currencies in many countries where we traditionally take our holidays and the UK in recession, rather than go without a holiday, indications are that more of us are making the choice to holiday at home this summer. Research from The Future Foundation confirms these decisions and indicates that there is a general trend towards taking more of our holidays in the UK, particularly short breaks.

Which? Holiday recommendations

To help you with ideas on where to go, Which? Holiday brings you ten of the places we love to visit across this great land.

Barnes, London 

Nestling in a loop of the Thames, the affluent riverside suburb of Barnes is a favourite place to visit. Pretty little country lanes, cosy olde-worlde pubs and peaceful bank-side walks let you forget that you’re actually still in London. (But the 15 minute journey from Waterloo or the bus ride from Hammersmith is proof!) There’s also the 120 acres of Barnes Common, a beautiful nature reserve that makes you feel a million miles away from the capital, (in fact you’re around 6 miles south-west of Charing Cross).

Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District

We love strolling around the shops, rowing on the lake and stopping off at an ice-cream parlour or a café for a hot chocolate and a snack in Bowness-on Windermere. There’s a very relaxed atmosphere and the scenery is amazing – great for walking around at any time of year.

Colonsay, Hebrides 

The island of Colonsay, in the Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland, is remote, wild and well worth a visit. If you’re looking for tranquillity and unspoilt natural beauty, you won’t be disappointed. We think the beach at Kiloran Bay is one of the Britain’s best – gorgeous golden sand which seems to stretch for miles.

North Cornwall

With its many picturesque fishing villages, sandy coves and towering cliff faces, the coastline of North Cornwall never ceases to please when it comes to inspiring scenery and rugged charm. The little fishing village of Port Isaac is a particular favourite – with its winding lanes and higgledy-piggledy multi-coloured shops and houses, it provides a great base from which to explore the area. The whole area contains a shroud of mystery and intrigue. From tales of smuggling and piracy (exacerbated by the many caves dotted along the coastline) to the medieval legend of King Arthur and Tintagel, there’s something to fuel everyone’s imagination. It is truly an emotive landscape that inspires more with every visit.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds are quintessential England – as it was two centuries ago (if you avoid the high-season crowds). Between the rolling patchwork hills are dozens of charming honey-stone villages with thatched cottages, almshouses and Norman churches galore. There are several splendid stately homes and gardens in the area and no shortage of attractive places to stay.

Kew Gardens, London

You can while away a whole day in Kew Gardens, losing yourself within this vast 300 acre site. Amble through the Arboretum, or wander along one of the original ‘board’ walks – radiating from the main Kew garden entrance to the palm house (one of the most iconic buildings of the gardens). Find the wonderful collection of bonsai trees, discover the Bee Garden along the river’s edge or, if you have a head for heights, trapeze along the Treetop Walkway 18 metres above the ground.


Located right on the boarder of Devon and Cornwall, Plymouth is completely undervalued as a tourist destination, despite having so much on offer. With Dartmoor only ten minutes’ drive from the city centre, and the beaches of South Devon or Cornwall only a few minutes drive, Plymouth is the perfect destination for anyone wanting to combine a city break with an escape to the country.

Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent

We enjoy shopping in the Pantiles – the famous colonnaded walkway – and fine dining in local restaurants (or supping afternoon tea at the Spa Hotel). Royal Tunbridge Wells is a grandiose Georgian spa town in the Kent countryside – a picture perfect location within an hour’s commute of central London.

Rye, East Sussex 

We love Rye and its cobbled streets and beautiful old buildings, particularly on historic Mermaid Street – and it’s less than an hour from London. A trip up Ypres Tower provides wonderful views of the harbour, and when your feet are in need of a rest the delightful tea rooms provide a welcome retreat. East Sussex has a great variety of countryside that makes it perfect for long walks, and its undulating hills, full of pretty villages and towns, Norman churches and stately homes are also close at hand.

Saltaire village, West Yorkshire

Saltaire is a beautiful and well-preserved Victorian industrial village on the edge of the Yorkshire moors. In the mid 1800s, industrialist and philanthropist Sir Titus Salt built a textile mill from yellow sandstone and went on to create an entire village surrounding the mill, building homes, almshouses, schools, churches, a hospital and shops (but no pub!) for the workers. Salt’s Mill now houses boutiques and restaurants, and notably, The 1853 Gallery, displaying the works of artist David Hockney, who hails from the local area. The whole village was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2001.


Lorna Cowan, Editor Which? Holiday said: ‘When it comes to holiday destinations, Britain has so much to offer – there are great places to visit up and down the country. Who needs to go abroad for a break this year when there is lots to see and do on our doorstep. Get out there and enjoy it!’

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