What does the best offer?

By | Category: Travel destinations

About a fortnight ago, Just about Travel drew attention to the fact that British staycationers were opting for rural areas, villages and coastal resorts for summer breaks rather than taking advantage of our cities.

Chichester Cathedral, one reason the city is top of the list

Now the holiday rental search company, Holidu, has put together a list of what it says are the best places to visit in the UK and the top three include two cities and a town.

But how do you define what “best” means?

It has decided that “best” must include important summer factors such as the average number of hours of sun, average temperature, number of parks, lakes, beaches, (if a seaside location) swimming pools and ice-cream shops.

Holidu’s methodology in creating this list is as follows. The average number of hours of sun and the average temperature was used, based on the months July-September during the years 2009 to 2017, according to data provided by www.worldweatheronline.com. The density of the number of parks, lakes, beaches, swimming pools and ice-cream shops for 73 towns and cities in the UK was extracted from Google. The scores from 0 to 10 were given using a normalisation formula, then the final score was calculated giving equal weighting to each data point.

On Holidu’s analysis, Chichester, Ely and Southend-on Sea top the list.

Chichester, it says, has a city centre that is largely pedestrianised, making it easy to explore all that Chichester has to offer. Chichester is home to a 40-acre freshwater lake, perfect for summer activities such as paddle boarding, wakeboarding, water skiing and more. Priory Park is located in the city centre and is the perfect green space for a picnic and some sunbathing.

Oliver Cromwell’s house in Ely. Image – Visit Ely

For sunshine is gives its sun hours rating of  9.94 out of 10; for average temperature a rating of 6.35 out of  and for parks 10 out of 10. It awards the city 7.19 out of 10 for its lakes and 5.67 out of 10 for its pools. Even the quality of its ice-cream gets a rating – 5.83 out of 10!

In second place, Ely in Cambridgeshire is said to be rich in history and heritage and is most famous for the cathedral which, because of its intricately carved stonework, took 300 years to complete but which is still not quite as long as some cathedrals took to be built. Ely was also the home of Oliver Crowell for about a decade up to the mid 1640’s, a stained glass museum and, of all things, a sake brewery!

Its ratings out of ten are for sunshine 6.37; for average temperature – 4.71; for parks – 4.41; for lakes – 9.51 and it scores a perfect ten for its pools. The ice-cream quality comes in at just 3.86.

Third-ranked Southend is the first beach resort (the other two obviously scored 0 for their beaches since they have none) included. As you would expect it offers an amusement park equipped with fairground rides and water slides, an aquarium, the famed Southend Pier (the longest in the world) and many beaches.

It gets a perfect ten for its beaches and 9.22 for the amount of sunshine it gets on average each year along with a 9.26 for its average temperature. It falls down on pools scoring just 1.39 but do you need pools when you have a beach? The ice-cream rating is also pretty low at just 2.58.

Southend Pier. Image – Visit Essex

Following the top three came (in order) Bournemouth, Poole, Peterborough, St Albans, Brighton, Cambridge and Norwich.

I have to confess that, knowing all of these other cities, the one that surprises me most is Peterborough. It wouldn’t, I suspect, be on many people’s list so what is that prompts Holidu to rank it so highly?

Peterborough Cathedral, which boasts a Gothic facade that dates back to the 12th century is big draw to the city but given the housing developments in the fringe suburbs what else does it offer to the visitor? Holidu highlights the number of award-winning green spaces that are not just in the city centre but also in those ever-growing suburbs such as Crown Lakes Country Park and Bretton Park

But like the others in top ten it is the ice-cream that doesn’t fare well. It makes me want to ask where to go to find the best ice-cream. One suggestion I have heard is the little village of Llangrannog in west Wales and another is Portsoy in North East Scotland but it’s all in taste. What one person  like another might not. Just the same with lists really

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