Nostalgic holidays: the top UK childhood destinations revealed


Posted by Hannah on 12th July 2021

Durdle Door beach in Dorset

We all thought 2020 was the year of the staycation, but it seems that, in 2021, the return of international travel isn’t quite going to plan. But just because we might not be jetting off for an overseas escape, doesn’t mean we can’t all enjoy the long summer ahead!

This year, many of us are returning to the hotspots we holidayed in as children, keen for some feelgood nostalgia and the promise of making new memories. But which destination comes out on top, and what do we remember the most about our childhood summer trips? We reveal this, and more, below.

Cornwall wins the crown as the most nostalgic childhood holiday destination

The most popular childhood holiday destinations on a map

Over 15% of Brits regularly holidayed in Cornwall as kids, making it the most popular travel destination of our childhoods. In fact, Cornwall came out on top amongst all age groups, except those aged 55-64, who liked Devon the best. 

Devon, also representing the South West, comes in second place at 11%, but the south of the country doesn’t get all of the glory: North Yorkshire, North Wales, and the Lake District make up the top 5 nostalgic holiday hotspots, boasting stunning scenery and breathtaking views between them.

A lot of us have been craving some nostalgia and as such are taking our kids back to our holiday hotspots, with 14% of Brits going back to their chosen destination every year, and 27% going back at least every few years.

The biggest reason we go back again and again is because we love the location, but for many others, it’s the emotional attachment and nostalgia they feel for the area, and because they want to continue making the great memories they had with their parents, with their own children.

Our biggest childhood memory? Long car journeys!

Girl on a car journey holding a teddy bear

Wherever you holidayed as a child, chances were, the trip was turned into a full day’s event: you’d set off early in the morning, grab some breakfast at one of the service stations, and spend the entire trip playing ‘I Spy’, and asking "Are we there yet?!".

A classic feature of any British childhood staycation, it’s not surprising that the biggest memory for 43% of us is the long car ride. In second place are memories of being around family, followed by the classic seaside traditions of eating fish and chips, making sandcastles, and playing at the arcades – something that at least we can all enjoy in 2021 if we’re not all lucky enough to make it to somewhere on the green list!

With staycations on the cards for the second year in a row, 31% of Brits said they would be more likely to consider a staycation than travel abroad because of COVID, and 32% said although they would consider a domestic holiday, they would still prefer to go abroad. 

However, with so many different restrictions and the uncertainty surrounding them, international travel still feels very much up in the air; so, for many of us, a Great British summer will most likely be on the cards – which is definitely no bad thing!

Whether you love the shores of Devon and Cornwall, have fond memories of Norfolk or Wales, or are a true northerner and hear the Lake District, Yorkshire and Lancashire calling, we’ve got you covered. For a summer 2021 getaway, discover our stunning range of last-minute holiday cottages across the UK.

Last-minute cottages

Methodology and analysis

All data from this blog was conducted from a survey of 1,500 British respondents. 

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.