Home #WHERETONEXT UK The UK’s best hidden winter destinations for a quiet retreat

The UK’s best hidden winter destinations for a quiet retreat

A new study by Sally’s Cottages has revealed the UK’s top hidden winter destinations based on seven factors such as average snowfall, and social media metrics

View of Derwentwater lake from Lattrig moorland, England, United kingdom

As ‘hidden escapes’ have seen a 136% increase in searches in the past 12 months1, many Brits are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of busy tourist spots for quieter getaways during the festive period.

However, with 1 billion monthly active users on TikTok alone², many travelers are looking to social media for inspiration, and with social media buzz comes popularity, defeating the purpose of a quiet getaway. So, where are the best winter staycation spots for those looking to beat the TikTok crowds?

To discover this, staycation experts at Sally’s Cottages conducted a study analyzing seven factors including social media metrics, the number of permanent residents in the destination, festive sentiment, average snowfall, and number of walking routes to reveal the UK’s top hidden winter destinations.

The top 10 hidden UK winter destinations were revealed as:

RankLocationSecrecy Score
1Bakewell, Derbyshire4.12
2Grasmere, Lake District4.00
3Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District3.93
4Loch Awe, Scotland Highlands3.85
5Ambleside, Lake District3.84
6Chipping Campden, Cotswolds3.54
7Fort William, Scottish Highlands3.33
8Stow-on-the-Wold, Cotswolds3.27
9Beddgelert, Snowdonia/Eryri3.27
10Llanberis, Gwynedd3.25

Taking a look at the top three destinations in more depth:

1. Bakewell, Derbyshire 

Taking the top spot is the charming market town of Bakewell in Derbyshire. With a total of 65 walking routes and a festive sentiment score of 42.9, the town is adorned with twinkly lights and festive decorations at this time of year, allowing visitors to absorb the festive atmosphere while exploring one of the many walks such as the Hassop and River Wye Circular.

You can immerse yourself in the festive spirit in the Bakewell Christmas Market and Chatsworth Christmas Market where an array of handcrafted gifts and local delicacies infused with the spirit of the season are waiting to be discovered.  

2. Grasmere, Lake District

The Lake District is a popular tourist destination all year round, however, Grasmere in particular is a sight to behold at Christmas time. With only 523 residents, enjoy taking a stroll at the festive markets at your own pace, try out the famous Grasmere Gingerbread or take a visit to Dove Cottage, once home to romantic poet William Wordsworth. 

The village has an average of 17 snowfall days and 60 walking routes, so if you’re one to explore the stunning landscapes of rolling hills and serene lakes that come alive during Christmas, look no further.

3. Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District 

Ranking third we have another Lake District town, Bowness-on-Windermere. With 51,051 hashtags on Instagram, it’s a great destination for those looking for a hidden escape with a cozy ambience of traditional pubs and eateries like Hole in t’Wall, the oldest pub in the Lake District3.

With a festive score of 50, the town offers special Christmas events, ranging from carol concerts to festive boat rides on the lake, so you can immerse yourself in the joyous spirit of the season against the backdrop of the Lake District’s breathtaking landscapes.

Commenting on the research, Sarah Pring, Digital PR Manager at Sally’s Cottages said: “Away from the tourist hotspots, there are many hidden gems in the UK, and as the festive season draws closer, we wanted to highlight these serene escapes for those looking to switch off and experience the Christmas magic.

“From Loch Awe in Scotland to Ambleside in the Lake District, we hope our research has inspired holidaymakers looking for refreshing breaks in the winter season.”