As we move further into 2023, searches for ‘wellness retreats’ have risen +5000% over the past 30 days, and the Great British outdoors can actually “be the most effective places to find a sense of peace and calm”. To help Brits find their next UK break to relax and unwind away from the buzz of everyday life, holiday letting agent holidaycottages.co.uk has revealed the UK’s top well-being hot spots.
An index was created and ranked five factors that can benefit health and encourage positive lifestyle habits including air quality, population density, number of national parks, animal species, and Blue Flag beaches.
UK’s top 10 well-being hot spots
|Rank||County||National parks||Blue flag beaches||Number of animal species||Population density||Air quality||Total score|
Getting out in nature improves our wellbeing
Sharing her thoughts, Nic said: “The benefits are often related to how our senses connect us to the environment around us, from unusual shapes to the scents that trees produce and the soft fascination that nature can stimulate, ultimately helping our minds rest. In a world where over-stimulation is common, nature can provide a peaceful alternative.”
But, where are the best landscapes to head to for a well-being-boosting staycation? Nic said: “Natural environments such as forest settings, a beach or a natural park can be the most effective places to find a sense of peace and calm as the sounds there are likely to be more calming. In a natural setting, it may be easier to move into a parasympathetic state whereby our system can unwind and relax.”
So, if you’re looking to take a relaxing UK staycation, below are the top five in more detail to discover some wellbeing-boosting activities:
Famous for its mix of beautiful, lush green landscapes and Mediterranean-worthy beaches, Devon ranked top with a total index score of 3.78. Boasting an air quality score of 8, you can take in the crisp Devon air with a brisk walk in one of the county’s two national parks – Dartmoor and Exmoor.
Whether cliff-lined or surrounded by dunes, Devon is home to a whopping 13 Blue Flag beaches. You can even bring your pooch pals along for a walk along South Sands Beach which welcomes dogs between October and April.
As a shining example of Wales’s beautiful landscapes and fauna, Pembrokeshire is a must-visit for those that want a wellness escape away from the crowds. With glorious views across Ireland, the coastal area is home to 10 blue flag beaches. Four of them are located in Tenby where you can enjoy a breathtaking morning run along the sands.
Pembrokeshire is also home to more than 5,000 wildlife species, so there is plenty to spot whether taking a stroll or enjoying more pulse-raising activities such as coasteering or kayaking.
Teeming with stunning stretches of golden sands, glistening clear waters, and plenty of heritage, Cornwall ranked third on the list for a well-being break. The southwest peninsula is most famous as a surfer’s paradise, with nine Blue Flag beaches where you can ride the waves, or enjoy the views as you walk along the shore.
With plenty of quaint villages to rest your head at night, Cornwall is the perfect home away from home. Dotted with plenty of boutique shops and Michelin-star restaurants, you never have to feel too detached from society.
The second Welsh spot to make the top ten, the county of Gwynedd is perfect for a relaxing well-being break away from the buzz of society. Most famously home to the Snowdonia National Park, featuring the highest mountain in Wales and England at 3,560ft, embark on a circular lake walk, or take in the sights from new heights with the world’s fastest zip line.
The county is also home to Portmeirion village which has been named the hidden “Italy” by users on TikTok.
Norfolk is a beautiful blend of the coast and countryside. Home to Britain’s largest protected wetlands, Norfolk Broads National Park, the area is full of beautiful nature reserves to spot some of the 3,586 wildlife species in the county.
With six Blue Flag beaches to choose from, Cromer is recommended as a wonderful area for family fun and is on the Norfolk Coast Path. The fresh sea air will shake the cobwebs off and have you feeling rejuvenated and relaxed in no time!
Commenting on the research Sarah Pring, Digital PR Manager at Holiday Cottages said: “January and February can be busy months for many of us, as we adjust back into workday routines and everyday life, but it is important to take time for ourselves. Although when people think of well-being breaks, they may think of spas or the European sun, you don’t have to travel far for a detox with all the beautiful landscapes and fauna here in the UK.
“We hope the research has helped people decide where to head for their next well-being retreat, whilst also showcasing the beauty the UK has to offer.”