Fancy a holiday where you’ll be welcomed with open arms? The UK’s top 10 most welcoming places revealed, from Kirkwall to Cleethorpes
- Ranking has been drawn up by Booking.com from analysis of property reviews
- Read more: Top 50 gastropubs in the UK for 2023 named
There’s nothing like a warm welcome.
And these are the places in the UK where you’re most likely to get one, according to Booking.com.
The travel site has analysed which places have the highest number of positively reviewed properties in relation to their size to draw up a top-ten ranking. Scroll down for the results…
1. Kirkwall, Scotland
Soak up the Viking history and heritage in the UK’s most welcoming destination – Kirkwall
Kirkwall is the largest town in the Orkney archipelago, off the north coast of Scotland.
Booking.com says: ‘Soak up the Viking history and heritage, and wallow in the stunning natural beauty and local wildlife on one of the island’s many nature or beach walks.’
Where to stay: Highland Park House, ‘an impressive Victorian mansion, a short drive from Kirkwall town centre, and the Unesco World Heritage Site, The Ring of Brodgar’.
Planes fly direct to Kirkwall from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness with Loganair. Visit www.visitscotland.com/destinations-maps/orkney.
2. Newcastle, County Down
Newcastle in County Down ranks second, with the amazing nearby Murlough Beach with its 6,000-year-old dune system one of the top attractions
One of the top attractions here is four-mile-long Murlough Beach, just to the north and set beneath the Mourne Mountains.
It features a 6,000-year-old dune system with a network of paths.
Read more here: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/northern-ireland/murlough-national-nature-reserve.
3. Newry, County Down
Newry, according to Ireland.com, is a ‘heady mix of retro and modern’
According to Ireland.com, Newry is ‘the Gateway to the North’ and ‘sits snugly amid the natural splendour of the Mourne Mountains and the Ring of Gullion’.
The site adds: ‘A heady mix of retro and modern gives this city a distinct edge, and Newry has firmly established itself as shopping heaven with locals on the island of Ireland.’
4. Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
Enniskillen is a stunner, according to Booking.com, and is blessed with surrounding picturesque scenery
‘It’s stunning,’ says Booking.com, adding: ‘Enniskillen is surrounded by picturesque scenery, vast lakes, and natural beauty. When you’ve had your fill of landscapes and walks – or if you need a wet-weather option – you can visit a castle, gallery, museum, or even a cosy cafe, and soak up Enniskillen’s warm hospitality.’
Where to stay: Willowbank House, where you’ll ‘wake up to a delicious home-cooked and locally sourced breakfast whilst you admire the views of Lough Erne’.
5. Pitlochry, Perthshire
If outdoor pursuits are your pursuits of choice, head to Pitlochry
Pitlochry is an ‘excellent’ base for exploring Perthshire, says Visitscotland.com, which adds: ‘Breathe in fresh air and stand back to admire the view, or delve into a whole host of outdoor activities in Perthshire’s natural playground. Here traditional pastimes such as fishing, golf and walking stand side by side with more adrenaline-filled activities, such as bungee jumping and mountain biking.’
Where to stay: Fonab Castle – a ‘beguiling, luxurious property’.
6. Ballycastle, County Antrim
Ballycastle is ‘a lovely old heritage town with lots of charming shopfronts and historic buildings’
‘If you’re exploring the coastal scenery of County Antrim, in the northeast of Northern Ireland, you will come to the lively seaside town of Ballycastle,’ explains Ireland.com, which adds: ‘The town is not only a great base for exploring the beautiful Causeway Coast and Glens, but it has lots to see and do, boasts a thriving food scene and is a gateway to Rathlin Island.
‘The first thing you’ll notice about Ballycastle is that it’s a lovely old heritage town with lots of charming shopfronts and historic buildings. A good way to get a sense of the history of the place is with the Ballycastle Heritage Trail. One of the highlights of the trail is Ballycastle Museum in the 18th-century courthouse on Castle St, which covers everything from a folk history of the Glens to Bronze Age archaeology.’
7. Glastonbury, Somerset
Above is seventh-placed Glastonbury, with the mystical Glastonbury Tor in the background
Everyone knows Glastonbury has an incredible festival, but don’t overlook the village, which is very pretty and ‘has lots to offer budget-conscious visitors’, says Booking.com.
A ‘must do’ is a hike up to nearby Glastonbury Tor, a ‘mystical beacon known as one of the most spiritual sites in the country’, according to visitsomerset.co.uk.
Where to stay: Orchard Farm Luxury Glamping, which is set in a beautiful, leafy, green site in Butleigh, just outside Glastonbury.
8. Stamford, Lincolnshire
If you have a yen for an olde worlde vibe, Stamford could be right up your (cobbled) street
Stamford boasts eye-catching 17th-century buildings and five medieval churches, as well as a ‘bustling’ high street.
Where to stay: Old Bank Apartments, which has ‘stylish, modern interiors’ that ‘contrast nicely with the town’s rich history’, says Booking.com.
9. Frome, Somerset
Frome lays claim to over 350 listed buildings – more than any other town in Somerset
‘Frome has a welcoming charm, which is instant,’ says Visitsomerset.co.uk, adding: ‘The picturesque town is the perfect destination for a day trip or short break. Explore medieval streets lined with independent stores, experience award-winning markets, soak up the thriving arts scene, indulge in local culinary delights and venture into the beautiful surrounding countryside.
‘Once one of the largest towns in Somerset, Frome boasts a rich industrial heritage founded in the wool and cloth industry and later metal-working and printing. Although these industries have since declined, their legacy lives on with Frome laying claim to over 350 listed buildings – more than any other town in Somerset.’
10. Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire
Seaside town Cleethorpes boasts a coastal light railway and the freshest fish and chips
Cleethorpes is a ‘beautiful seaside town’ with a sandy beach that has a ‘rich heritage and family friendly attractions’, says visitlincolnshire.com.
Things to do? Eat fresh fish and chips, visit The Jungle Zoo, and stroll along the ‘Central Prom’ and beach.
There’s also the amazing Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway to ride.
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