What? Which? survey shows smaller seaside resorts are shining brighter

St Mawes Which staycation
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According to the latest data from consumer association Which?, staycationers in the time of Corona are eying smaller destinations more favourably than their busier counterparts.


For mainstream seaside resorts that cater for a larger number of visitors, the latest Which? staycation survey does tend to read more like a middle class snobs guide to UK seaside destinations.

A minuscule fishing village in Cornwall has placed number one in a new poll of the country’s highest-rated coastal destinations. Great news for backwoods destinations, but it’s certainly not going to revive the British economy, as the survey signals a growth in consumers looking increasingly for peace, quiet and a bit of social distancing in the era of Corona.

St Mawes near Falmouth took the gold in this year’s Which? guide to the British seaside, receiving a customer satisfaction score of 85 per cent that the consumer agency said was achieved in large part to the seclusion (and subsequent lack of crowds) of the village.

Bigger and busier resorts such as Newquay and Brighton fared less strongly in the new rankings meanwhile, with satisfaction lagging at 58 and 66 per cent (respectively) due to their typical hustle and bustle.

Indeed, according to Which?, St Mawes wasn’t a small destination placing within the upper echelons of the agency’s latest customer ranking survey, with a spokesperson claiming that “lesser-known seaside towns all over the country have scored highly, from well-kept secrets in Devon and Dorset through to the hidden corners of Northumberland and Scotland.”

And so they did: with top five places going to both Southwold (84 per cent) and Aldeburgh (83 per cent) – two smaller destinations on the Suffolk coast.

Last year’s winner, Bamburgh in Northumberland, also retained good standing with visitors – with an 83 per cent approval vote and a perfect score awarded for the quality of its historic beach.

Indeed, the only substantial seaside resort to buck the trend favouring off-the-beaten path locales was seemingly Dartmouth: which came in second to St Mawes despite a 3/5 rating for peace and quiet.

Of some concern meanwhile, were the markedly low rankings of established destinations like Skegness, Great Yarmouth and Clacton-on-Sea. Poor old Skeggy actually came in as the worst-rated seaside town as far as Which? respondents were concerned: scoring bottom marks in all but one of the survey’s categories (for overall approval of 44 per cent). Yarmouth and Clacton fared little better, limping barely ahead at just 48 per cent satisfaction.

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