Archive for category reports

Record number of visitors to UK in 2013

It’s official – the UK saw a record annual inbound spend and numbers of visitors during 2013.

The results from the Office of National Statistics show overseas visitors spent £21 billion in 2013, 13% more than the previous record breaking year of 2012 which saw £18.64 billion.

It was also a record number for tourists, with 32.89 million visits from overseas, exceeding the previous record set in 2007, which saw 32.78 million visits.

The increase is, in part, thanks to VisitBritain’s GREAT Britain campaign, said the tourist board.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive at VisitBritain said: “Not only have we managed to surpass the £20bn barrier for the very first time, but we’ve broken records for holidaymakers and visitors from key growth markets such as China and South Korea.

“Holiday figures are up across the whole of Britain with robust growth for Scotland, Wales, Rest of England and London.”

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Record for Britain’s inbound pound!

Britain is on course for a record inbound tourism spend in 2013, latest figures show.

Results suggest Britain needs £700 million of tourist spend in December 2013 in order to hit a record £20bn total, a sum never before reached in one calendar year.

According to VisitBritain, this will be “highly likely” as the average December spend has been around £1.3bn over the last five years.

It also looks to have been a record breaker in other aspects of tourism, according to Office of National Statistics figures released this week. So far, Britain has already seen full year records broken when only counting counting the 11 months from January to November 2013. These include spend at £19.3 billion compared to £18.6 billion in 2012. 12.02 million holiday visits compared to 12.01 million in 2011; and 4.86 million rest of World visits versus 4.74 million in 2012.

“For 2013 to be the best year in inbound history, we’d need to see a record December for visits, but it’s a certainty we’ll see record levels for spend,” said Sandie Dawe, VisitBritain chief executive.

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The Eden Project reports worst loss

Eden Project picture by Flickr User Karen Roe

Eden Project picture by Flickr User Karen Roe

Once a “must see” attraction, the Eden Project has reported its worst ever loss in its 2012-13 accounts.

In a report by the BBC, The Eden Trust’s accounts show a £6.3m deficit for the year ending March 2013, compared with a surplus of £136,000, the previous year.

The Eden Project is based in Cornwall and made up of huge greenhouse domes, and is home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest. It opened in 2001 as a showcase of nature, and in its first ten years more than 13 million visitors passed through the attraction.

The reasons for such poor figures were due in part, it said, to the 2012 Olympics, poor summer weather, and the economic downturn.

Malcolm Bell of VisitCornwall told BBC News: “Eden is a major attraction – a flagship – and when it opened it was a ‘must do’ both for local people and for visitors coming to Cornwall.

“Repeat and return business is harder for Cornwall than the likes of London – what is a ‘must do’ the first time, becomes a ‘maybe’ the second time and in 2012 the weather killed off new trade for Cornwall and therefore for Eden.”

The results might not sound brilliant, but perhaps visitors have more recently overlooked the Eden Project as an option to visit while on holiday in Cornwall. The Eden Project changes its programme of events seasonally, so there are often new things for visitors to see and do each time they visit. Here’s a top ten list of why you should visit:

  1. The world’s largest rainforest in captivity with steamy jungles and waterfalls
  2. Cutting-edge architecture and buildings
  3. Stunning garden displays all year round
  4. World-class sculpture and art
  5. Evening gigs, concerts and an ice rink in the winter
  6. Educational centre and demonstrations to inspire all ages
  7. Brilliant local, fairly traded food in the restaurants and cafes
  8. A Rainforest Aerial Walkway, where you can take a stunning walk among the treetops
  9. A living example of regeneration and sustainable living
  10. A free ride on the land train, often pulled by a tractor.
Eden Project picture by Flickr user antidigital_da

Eden Project picture by Flickr User antidigital_da

If you’re persuaded and fancy a visit next time you’re on holiday in Cornwall, then we have hundreds of cottages in and around St Austell so you can have easy access to the attraction. 

How about this lovely 2-bed apartment (sleeps 4 adults) with an additional child’s “pull-out” bed available. Converted from St Austell’s famous China Clay Drying House it has a chic modern interior throughout, and is perfect for exploring many parts of Cornwall, and of course, visiting the Eden Project.

10 Pochin Apartments

10 Pochin Apartments

Sleek, modern living room

Sleek, modern living room

Spacious double bedroom

Spacious double bedroom



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2013 round up

Happy New Year from all of us at Holiday Cottages! Before we start on the news and reviews for 2014, here’s a some highlights of what we covered on the blog in 2013:

We started the year with a report that we Brits are creatures of habit with our holiday choices, often returning to a previous destination and holiday cottage when we’ve had one good holiday there before. Last year was the Year of Natural Scotland, and was launched with an advert featuring Shetland ponies wearing onesies!

In February we found that 50% of Londoners prefer holidays in the sunshine, with many also stating that their holidays in the UK were some of the happiest they have had. We also gave you a run down of some of our most splendid cottages with pools, which are all still available now and could be great for a summer holiday vibe in winter!

Flybe announced flights from Manchester to Scotland in March, making for a quick and relatively cost effective way of taking a short break in Scotland. The Easter holidays were blighted by bad weather sweeping across the country. It didn’t affect Cheshire, though, as I shared my photography adventure in Tatton Park over the Easter weekend.

Our friends at Helpful Holidays swept the board at the Which? Travel magazine member survey in April. Meanwhile, in May, Blackpool was named the most popular British seaside resort at the TripAdvisor Choice Awards.

In June, research by VisitBritain found that more overseas visitors to the UK prefer visiting open green spaces such as parks and gardens than they do museums and galleries.

July started with the news that a change in the law in 2015, which means schools will decide their own term dates, will very likely drive up the prices of holidays year round. There was a rise in visits to UK attractions, helping to bolster domestic tourism.

We gave our top tips for festivals and activities over the August Bank Holiday; we also reported on the large number of UK piers under threat of coming under a state of disrepair if funding isn’t found.

September was a time for activities such as the Devon Open Studios, Frome Cheese and Agricultural Show, and pickling at Powderham.

In October, inbound tourism was on the up, and also Yorkshire was voted one of the top 10 places to visit in the world!

In November we recommended the North Devon Clovelly Herring Festival and reviewed the light fantastic Lumiere Festival, Durham. There was good news for Hull, as it was named the next UK City of Culture 2017.

Finally, in December, we found that we Brits are flavour of the month with Americans, as tourists from across the Pond have been increasing in number year on year. Christmas was also a great time for UK tourism as the number of overnight stays and short trips increased substantially over the festive period.

So, that’s it for 2013! Keep up to date with news and reviews in 2014 by following the blog, or you can like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter


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Christmas great for domestic tourism

Christmas is proving to be a good time for domestic tourism as overnight trips this Christmas and New Year will generate £1.9bn for the UK economy. 

VisitEngland’s Trip Tracker survey reveals a whopping 20% of adult Brits (10.1m) will make an overnight trip in the UK, with 17% (8.6m) planning the trip in England, generating £1.6bn for England alone.

33.7m people will travel to see friends and family, 18.1m adults plan to go shopping in the sales after Christmas, and 7.5m will take part in other festive activities.

Minister for Tourism Helen Grant said: “The Christmas holidays provide a great economic boost for domestic tourism.”

According to VisitEngland, just 4% (2m) of Brits plan to travel abroad over the Christmas and New Year period.

If you’re looking for a last minute Christmas break and a bargain, too, look at our Christmas Cottages blog post for recommendations.

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Americans love us Brits!

The UK is flavour of the month for Americans, it seems. According to research by TripAdvisor, visits by Americans to the UK are up 23% year-over-year.

Not only are they the largest inbound market to the UK, but they’re also showing as the largest increase in interest year-over-year, with Canadian visitors not far behind, with figures up 21%.

The most popular destinations for our visitors from across the Pond are London, Edinburgh, Yorkshire, the Scottish Highlands and Cornwall

TripAdvisor for Business VP marketing Alison Copus said: “In the year of the post-Olympics afterglow and a new royal baby to celebrate, it is clear that the UK’s place on the world stage is as strong as ever.

“Overall, interest in UK destinations is on the rise, and not just to the traditional holiday hotspots on the coast or in the capital – the UK’s inland countryside is thriving too, with Yorkshire and the Scottish Highlands both holding a place in the top five destinations.”

These figures are certainly promising, however they are in conflict with recent statistics from VisitBritain, which suggest that although the US is the biggest overseas market for the UK, visitor numbers are falling.

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Seaside piers under threat

Blackpool Pier, picture by Elisa Artesero

Blackpool Pier, picture by Elisa Artesero

Seaside piers should be taken into community ownership to stop them from disappearing from our coastlines, according to the People’s Piers report published by the trade association, Co-operatives UK. 

The author of the report, Jess Steele, believes that too many of the privately owned piers are trapped in a cycle of neglectful ownership with only periodic attempts at conservation. Owners who do not make provisions for high maintenance costs and insurance bills are just as much of a threat to the pier as the corrosive seawater. The report suggests 57 piers are under threat and the saviour should come in the form of co-operatively owned assets for the benefit of the community.

Piers are proving popular as ever, with six million people a year visiting them. However, they have endured some unfortunate press in recent years as several of the UK’s most loved piers have been damaged or destroyed by fires. Hastings Pier was nearly destroyed by an arson attack in October 2010, leaving 95% of the structure left burn-out. It has since been returned to local ownership by a compulsory purchase order from the registered owners who failed to do anything to the structure after the fire.

The pier is now owned by the Hastings Pier Charity ahead of a £14 million project to revive the Victorian structure. The majority of the money has been raised by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with help from Hastings Borough and East Sussex County Councils, the Coastal Communities Fund, and the Community Assets Fund. Restoration on the Grade II-listed pier will start this month to be completed in spring 2015, transforming it into the “People’s Pier”, according to officials.

Presently, 56% of piers are privately owned, 39% by the local authority and 5% in community ownership. The report calls for a fast-track compulsory transfer process in order to save these important community and heritage assets. It suggests local communities to take ownership.

“More people live by the seaside than live in Wales and 10 per cent of our national heritage assets are within a mile of the sea,” said Ms. Steele.

“Seaside piers make us smile. But too many piers are trapped in a cycle of neglectful ownership with only periodic attempts at conservation. We believe that there is a new option, now being pioneered for Hastings Pier, which is to take piers into local community ownership.”

John Penrose, Coalition Minister for Tourism and Heritage until 2012, said: “For piers across the country, exposed at all times to sea and weather, there is a real challenge in meeting the high financial costs of upkeep and insurance.

“I applaud the search for new solutions to our national assets that can harness the passion and commitment that comes with co-operative and community models.”

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The need for accurate short-term weather forecasts

One minute forecasters say it’s going to be wet, the next sunny, then windy. It gets confusing, particularly when some forecasts are referring to longer-term weather patterns. This has lead to a tourism chief calling for the Met Office to concentrate on more short-term accurate forecasts.

Last weekend the UK enjoyed sunshine and high temperatures, with resort managers reporting one of their busiest weekends of the year. However, only weeks ago, weather and climate experts met at the Met Offices in Exeter and said that we could be facing a decade of wet summers.

Director of tourism at Bournemouth council, Mark Smith, told the Sunday Times: “People are totally confused.

“One minute they are told global warming is going to result in hotter summers and the next minute they are told it is going to be soggy.

“We want accurate short-term forecasts.”

Sarah Holland of the Met Office said: “There is a link between warm surface temperatures in the north Atlantic and a higher frequency of wet summers in the UK.

“There is still a lot of research that needs to be done, but we could be in a phase where we see more wet summer.”

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The Grass IS greener in the UK

Dartmoor picture by Flickr user Thierry Gregorious

Dartmoor picture by Flickr user Thierry Gregorious

The grass is always greener on the other side; apart from in the UK’s case, which appears to posses the elusive ‘green grass’. This comes as research finds visiting UK parks and gardens is one of the most popular activities for overseas visitors.

The research, carried out by VisitBritain, shows that 36% of all visitors are likely to enjoy some green space. Of the 31 million people visiting Britain each year, it might be surprising to find that around 2.4 million with a green space preference are aged between 25-34 compared to 1.4 million aged between 55-64.

The love of parks and gardens ranks ahead of visiting museums, castles or art galleries; but is beaten by going to the pub, eating out and shopping.

Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain said: “We’ve completed three big pieces of research which all indicate that our parks, gardens and natural beauty are a valuable tourism asset, admired across the world and enjoyed by our visitors.

“It’s hugely encouraging to see our gardens are as popular with the younger generation as they are with 55-plus age groups.”


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Blackpool named most popular seaside resort

Blackpool picture by Flickr user Ingy The Wingy

Blackpool picture by Flickr user Ingy The Wingy

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside! And the most popular British seaside resort we like to spend our time on has been named as Blackpool!

The resort beat off stiff competition from other favoured destinations, such as Brighton, Croyde in Devon, and Southwold in Suffolk, in the latest TripAdvisor Choice Awards.

On the world scale, London was voted third most popular city, beaten by Paris and New York and followed by Rome, Barcelona and Venice.

Within the UK, the capital was the leading destination, closely followed by Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Belfast and Blackpool.

For more holiday cottages within the UK, go to our main site, or for villas abroad, try our sister site Villaseek.


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