Home Mental Health & Well-Being Gen Z Swapping Drinking Holidays for Hiking Retreats, a New Report Reveals

Gen Z Swapping Drinking Holidays for Hiking Retreats, a New Report Reveals

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As people look for new ways to wind down and rejuvenate from the buzz of everyday life, a shift in priorities for UK staycation goers has seen 29% of Brits place walking and hiking routes as their most important factor when booking a getaway – according to a new poll of 1,000 UK staycation goers by Sally’s Cottages. Seven in ten (71%) Brits say they look for outdoor recreation holidays when booking a staycation. 

The research, which surveyed Brits on their biggest priorities for booking a staycation, the outdoor recreation activities they participate in on their break, and their staycation destinations of choice, comes as searches for terms such as “walking holidays for beginners” rose by 200% and social media trends such as #softhiking continue to grow in popularity.

Lying by the pool may sound relaxing, but many Brits crave more adventure. Almost three in ten (29.1%) Brits say they prioritise walking/hiking routes when booking a staycation, the best way for many to see the natural wonders the UK offers. Whether a seasoned hiker or part of the #softhiking club, a trend which has racked up two million views in the past year, there are plenty of hiking routes to visit across the UK, from Carron Crag in the Lake District to Cubert Wildlife Walk in Cornwall.

Other key priorities include the quality of beaches (27.2%), outdoor activities availability (26.0%) and green spaces (22.2%). From surfing to beachcombing, plenty of outdoor activities are offered on the UK shores. With some beautiful Blue Flag beaches to visit across the UK, there are plenty of opportunities to admire the beautiful UK coastlines.

However, cultural and cuisine-led holidays are also proving popular, with local culture (27.0%) and quality of restaurants (26.8%) ranking highly on staycation goers’ priority lists. Interestingly, 18–24-year-olds are more than twice as likely to place outdoor recreation (37.7%) above drinking areas (16.4%) on their priorities list.

As many staycation goers placed hiking routes as their top priority, there is little surprise that hiking and walking for fitness (47.9%) placed at the top of the list. The biggest hikers are in the 65+ age group, with over half (54.7%) saying they participate while on holiday.

For those who prefer a more leisurely approach to the outdoors, wildlife watching (29.5%) and beachcombing (17.8%) are also incredibly popular activities to participate in on a staycation. In fact, “best wildlife holidays UK” searches are up 150%’, whether keeping a watchful eye out for Ospreys or hunting for ammonites.

Regarding more intense physical activity, 16% of surveyed favour running, jogging, or trail running, while 15% say they prefer road biking, mountain biking or BMXing.

Regarding the research, Sarah Pring, digital PR manager at Sally’s Cottages, said: “Although international travel is once again open, UK staycations have been incredibly popular among social media users, particularly those interested in outdoor activities like hiking and wild swimming. We wanted to delve further into the outdoor habits of Brits, with the UK offering so many beautiful walking areas, flyfishing areas, and swimming spots to discover.

“The Lake District is not only one of the UK’s most beautiful destinations but also provides plenty of opportunities for activities from Michelin star restaurants to water sports activities, so it was little surprise to see the destination rank top. We hope our research inspires more travellers to get out and explore the natural wonders the UK has to offer.”

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