We all love a summer holiday, but why wait for months to enjoy one when you can reap the benefits year-round? To get you started, Uswitch reveals the best places to buy a holiday home in the UK and shares expert advice on handling second-home mortgages.
We all love a summer holiday. For those of us living in the UK, we spend most of the year pining for warm weather and time away from the office.
But why wait for a summer holiday when you can reap the benefits year-round? Owning a holiday home in the UK can bring advantages such as additional income, saving money on holidays and, most importantly, increased quantity and quality family holiday time.
So, where is the best place to buy a holiday home in the UK?
Interested in finding out, the mortgage comparison experts at Uswitch conducted an original study, gathering data on climate, crime rates, bathing water quality and local amenities in England, Scotland and Wales. After analysing the findings, Uswitch can now reveal the best places for holiday homes in the UK.
Out of all locations in this study, we can reveal that the top three places to buy a holiday home in the UK are Hastings, Canterbury and East Suffolk.
The number one place to buy a holiday home in the UK is the historic town of Hastings. Scoring 7.29 out of 10 overall, the East Sussex seaside town also ranked highly for local amenities (9.06—third highest out of all places in this study). With a low crime score (1.44) and good average monthly sunshine hours (237 hours), Hastings makes for the perfect holiday home location.
The second best place to own a holiday home in the UK is Canterbury, with an overall score of 6.96 out of 10. The cathedral city sees more sunshine than Hastings (245 average monthly hours) and has a slightly higher average temperature (17.66 C). From Westgate Gardens (one of England’s oldest parks) to quirky bookstores, Canterbury is a desirable place to own a holiday home.
The third-best place to buy a holiday home in the UK is East Suffolk. The East Anglian district scored 6.82 out of 10 overall, with a high water quality score of 7.45 (ideal for swimming), plus good average temperatures (17.33 C) and average monthly sunshine hours (222).
So how does the rest of the UK measure up? We scoured the north, east, south and west of England as well as Scotland and Wales to find out where the best holiday home locations in the UK are.
The best place to buy a holiday home in East Anglia is East Suffolk. As the third-best location in the entire UK (see above), the district’s overall score of 6.82 out of 10 is well-deserved. If you’re looking for the best place to buy a holiday home along the Suffolk Coast, you can expect good sunshine (averaging 222 hours per month) and decent temperatures of 17.33 C. With its high water quality score (7.45) you can also make the most of the area’s best swimming beaches if you own a holiday home here.
The second-best place to own a holiday home is Great Yarmouth. Scoring 6.69 out of 10 overall, Great Yarmouth has the best local amenities score (8.34) and the second-lowest crime score (1.22) in East Anglia. Skimming the gorgeous Norfolk coastline, Great Yarmouth is also famous for its smoked herring, the Yarmouth bloater.
North Norfolk claims third place, scoring 5.71 out of 10. Despite having the highest crime score (8.11) in East Anglia, North Norfolk is renowned for its stunning coastline, which is guaranteed to draw in the crowds seeking to stay in the area.
East Anglia’s fourth-best location for holiday homes is Southend-on-Sea (scoring 5.42 out of 10 overall), which has the highest average temperature in the entire UK (18.28 C). Combine this with the best average monthly sunshine hours in East Anglia (244 hours) and the lowest crime score (0.89) and you’ve found the ideal location to own a holiday home.
Tendring District is the fifth-best place in East Anglia to own a holiday home (4.8 out of 10 overall). With low crime rates (1.67), decent average temperatures (17.59 C) and good average monthly sunshine hours (229), Tendring is guaranteed to make you or your guests want to extend their stay.
The best place to buy a holiday home within the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber is the East Lindsey District. Scoring 5.4 out of 10 overall, the coastal district in Lincolnshire is blessed with an average of 193 hours of sunshine each month and a good local amenities score (5.78). Holiday home guests can enjoy swimming in good quality water (6.76) and feel safe with the area’s low crime score (2.78).
The City of Nottingham is the second-best place to buy a holiday home in the East Midlands, scoring 5.36 out of 10 overall. Nottingham has an outstanding water quality score (9.15) and has some great open-water swimming opportunities.
In third place is East Riding of Yorkshire. East Riding scores pretty well across the board, from its overall score of 5.22 out of 10 to decent water quality (5.75) and local amenities (5.06) scores. It’s also unsurprising that, as part of the Yorkshire Wolds, East Riding has been nominated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). With its rolling hills and dramatic coastlines, this area is guaranteed to reel in tourists.
Claiming the highest local amenities score out of all areas in the UK (9.73), Scarborough is the fourth-best place to buy a holiday home in this region. The resort town, famous for its award-winning beach and historic harbour, has a low crime score (2.44), the highest average sunshine in the region (186 hours) and scores 4 out of 10 overall.
Rounding off the top five places to buy a holiday home in the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber is North East Lincolnshire. With dazzling landscapes and interesting heritage sites to draw in holidaymakers, North East Lincolnshire scores 3.02 out of 10 overall. Most notably, the area has the fifth-lowest crime score (0.56) in the entire UK.
The best place to buy a holiday home in the north of England is South Lakeland. Situated in the southern part of Cumbria, South Lakeland scores 5.51 out of 10 overall and is a popular holiday destination. Home to the Lake District National Park (ideal for road trips), this area scores second-highest for local amenities (9.45) in the entire UK and has a good water quality score (7.18) to boot.
Liverpool’s neighbour, Wirral, may not be one of the first places you’d think to buy a holiday home, but it’s actually the second-best place in northern England. Scoring 5.04 out of 10 overall, Wirral has good quality water for swimming (7.5) and a relatively low crime score (4). It’s also home to the longest promenade in Britain, offering holidaymakers just over two miles of seaside strolling.
In third place is Hartlepool, whichscores 5out of 10 overall. The port town has the third-lowest crime score in the entire UK (0.33) and the lowest in the northeast. With an average temperature of 15.61, however, you might want a wetsuit to make the most of the great swimming opportunities (Hartlepool has a high water quality score of 8.83).
Located on the outskirts of Liverpool, Sefton is the fourth-best place to own a holiday property in northern England (4.67 out of 10). From the award-winning Crosby Beach to a good local amenities score (6.61), Sefton is a good option to set up a holiday home.
Claiming fifth place for the best places to buy a holiday home in northern England, with an overall score of 4.49 out of 10,is Fylde. The Lancashire borough scores well for local amenities (5.89) and the Fylde Coast has plenty of summer holiday vibes, with offerings from Blackpool to Lytham.
There’s high competition for the best places in the southeast of England to buy a holiday home. Of the 22 areas we identified, however, Hastings isn’t just the best place in the southeast to buy a holiday home, but the best in the UK. Hasting scores highly overall (7.29 out of 10) and high for local amenities (9.06). The East Sussex town’s high water quality score (7.5) is reflected in its outdoor swimming opportunities, from the Hastings Bathing Pool lido to its tempting beaches.
The second-best place to buy a holiday home in the southeast of England (and the entire UK) is Canterbury. The UNESCO World Heritage site scores 6.96 out of 10 overall, with good sunshine (average 235 hours per month) and average temperatures of 17.66 C.
The City of Brighton and Hove is a popular tourist destination that easily draws city dwellers to the coast. Unsurprisingly, it’s the third-best place to buy a holiday home in the southeast, scoring 6.67 out of 10. Holidaymakers can find plenty of entertainment along the seafront and prom of both Brighton and Hove, with good water quality (5.69) and local amenities (6.83).
Brighton’s next-door neighbour, Lewes, claims the fourth-best place in the southeast for holiday homes. Scoring 6.56 out of 10 overall and covering nine miles of coastline, it’s a sure bet for holiday homeowners. Guests can enjoy high water quality (7.98) and many sunny days (217 average sunshine hours per month).
Rounding off the top five best places to buy a holiday home in the southeast is Dover. The Kent district scores 6.53 out of 10 overall, with good local amenities (6.95) and low crime (2.11) scores. There’s plenty of sightseeing and attractions here, from the famous White Cliffs of Dover to Dover Castle.
Torridge claims the best place to buy a holiday home in southwest England, scoring 6.67 out of 10 overall. The district hugs Devon’s north coast, offering holiday homeowners the opportunity to tempt guests with the Hartland Devon Heritage Coast and the seaside village of Westward Ho! With the highest water quality score in the southwest (9.63) and a high local amenities score (6.17) Torridge is a great place to buy a holiday home.
The New Forest is the second-best place to own a holiday home, scoring 6.51 out of 10 overall. A family favourite, there are endless activities to enjoy in the national park, from walking and cycling routes to camping, canoeing and thrilling theme parks. Wild swimming is a great option (scoring 8.35 for water quality) and the area is fortunate to experience an average of 217 hours of sunshine each month.
Placing third is the beautiful area of Teignbridge in south Devon. Scoring 6.27 out of 10 overall, Teignbridge compromises the city of Exeter and borders Dartmoor National Park—both of which appeal to holidaymakers. Teignbridge scores particularly high for local amenities (7.39) and has a good water quality score (5.64).
Teinbridge’s close neighbour, South Hams, claims the fourth-best place for holiday homes in the southwest. With an overall score of 6.07 out of 10 and high amenities score (8.5), the south Devon district is home to holiday-favourite destinations, Salcombe and Dartmouth.
The fifth-best place to own a holiday home in southwest England is Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Firstrecognised as a unitary authority area in 2019, the area spans both Hampshire and Dorset. Scoring 5.87 out of 10 overall, the region has the most sunshine (average of 227 hours per month) in the whole of the southwest.
Dundee City is the best place to buy a holiday home in Scotland, scoring 4.8 out of 10 overall. The coastal city has the highest average temperature (14.55 C), second-highest water score (8.3) and lowest crime score (7.22) in Scotland. Holidaymakers in Dundee can enjoy water sports, wildlife and culture among the city’s many attractions.
In shared second place for Scottish holiday home destinations is the lively City of Edinburgh and the port city of Aberdeen, both scoring 4.49 out of 10 overall. Despite having the highest crime rate score (9.89) in the entire UK, the Scottish capital scores highest for local amenities (8.06) in the country. Edinburgh has also been recognised as the best place to live in the UK. Aberdeen city has a high water rating (8.03) and having the second-highest average sunshine hours (173 per month) is sure to draw in visitors.
Aberdeenshire (not to be confused with the City of Aberdeen) is the fourth-best place to own a holiday home in Scotland. Scoring 4.45 out of 10 overall, the Aberdeenshire area has the best water quality in Scotland (8.51) and has a rich and enticing historic heritage to reel in visitors looking for holiday homes.
Rounding off Scotland’s top five locations for holiday homes is East Lothian with 4.13 out of 10. Encompassing sightseeing opportunities, such as Bass Rock, castles, sandy beaches and pretty towns, East Lothian is the ideal destination. It also has a good water quality score (5) for brave holidaymakers looking to dip a toe in.
Bro Morgannwg, the Vale of Glamorgan, is the best place to buy a holiday home in Wales. With a good overall score of 6.31 out of 10, the Vale has the highest sunshine score (208 average monthly sunshine hours) in Wales. It’s a great area to explore unspoilt nature and, with its high water quality score (7.5), the Vale’s sandy beaches are a tempting spot for holidaymakers.
The second-best Welsh place to buy a holiday home is Sir Ynys Mon, the Isle of Anglesey, with an overall score of 6.02 out of 10. A great holiday hotspot for family getaways, with good water quality (7.02) and local amenities (7.72) scores, Anglesey has plenty to offer visitors. From wild coastal paths to The Copper Kingdom, this northern isle is a great option for holiday homeowners.
In third place with 5.07 out of 10 is Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr, Bridgend. Boasting the highest water quality score in Wales (9.68), Bridgend is known for its blue-flag beaches and surfing breaks. Other attractions include the historic town of Maesteg and the attractive seaside town of Porthcawl.
Abertawe, Swansea, is Wales’ fourth-best place to own a holiday home, scoring 4.84 out of 10 overall. With amenable scores across the board for crime (5), water quality (5.69) and local amenities (4), you could do worse than buy a holiday home in Swansea. Nearby Owich Beach is dog-friendly and has great water sports options for holidaymakers.
The fifth-best place to buy a holiday home in Wales, with an overall score of 4.82 out of 10, is Sir Benfro, Pembrokeshire. Rated by National Geographic for having the second-best coastline in the world, the region has plenty of activities and sightseers for everyone of all ages. Most notably, Pembrokeshire scores highly for water quality (8.62) and is on the lower end of the scale for crimes (4.89).
Our mortgages expert, Florence Codjoe, shares her tips on what steps you should take to find the right second mortgage for your holiday home:
“Decide whether you want a fixed or variable-rate deal. Variable rates can be lower, but you can end up paying more overall if rates suddenly shoot up during your repayment time.
Take mortgage fees into consideration. Upfront fees might seem like a con, but mortgages that come without fees may charge a higher interest rate, so it’s worth weighing up your options.
Consider paying off your current mortgage first. Repaying more or all of your current mortgage can help you get a better deal on a second home mortgage.”
Although this might sound intimidating, there are some great benefits to owning a holiday home. Florence adds “a second home can often be a great opportunity to make additional income whilst the property is vacant. Websites such as Airbnb are popular for short-term rentals. Some cities in the UK have specific rules on such listings, so be sure to check the terms and conditions before you list your property.”
Aside from choosing the best place to buy a holiday home, there are several factors you need to consider before taking the leap. Buying and owning a holiday home can be a costly business and you’ll need to apply for a second home mortgage. Because of the expenses required to set up and run a holiday home, including holiday home insurance, it’s highly recommended to learn how to budget accordingly.
Obtaining a second home mortgage is likely to involve tougher application checks if you’re already paying back a first mortgage.
It’s highly recommended to check your credit score before you apply (you can use credit reference agencies, such as Experian, Equifax or TransUnion, to do this). If you’ve missed any debt payments or taken additional credit then it might be more difficult to gain approval for a second home mortgage.
If you’re worried about applying for a second mortgage, don’t fret! There are some simple steps you can take to increase your chances of approval:
Reduce your spending by cutting back on subscriptions and bills at least three months before applying
Compare mortgages across the market to find the best deal
Gather documents that prove that your income will cover two mortgages at the same time
You can find more information on how to get a mortgage in our expert guide.
Uswitch.com conducted this study to evaluate the most favourable locations in the UK to purchase a holiday home. The assessment criteria covers factors including climate, crime, bathing waters and restaurants. Data for this research has been collected primarily from government statistical outlets.
District boundaries from the Ordnance Survey Boundary-Line dataset along with population estimates from the ONS were first collected and used throughout this research to reverse-geocode ranking variables to individual districts and calculate per capita values. Note boundaries for Northern Ireland are not included and are not considered in our research.
Over 18 million geolocated crime incidents were collected from data.police.uk between 2019 and 2022 then reverse-geocoded to and aggregated by district boundaries. The number of burglary and damage/arson incidents along with violent crime counts (sexual and non-sexual) per capita were then calculated. Crime counts were split based on summer and non-summer months. Similar aggregations were performed for Scottish local authorities using recorded crime reports from gov.scot.
Gridded climate observations with a 5km spatial resolution collected from the HadUK-Grid dataset were used to calculate the average monthly sunlight hours and temperature across each local authority between 2015 and 2021.
Bathing water quality samples collected from the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Natural Resources Wales website were used to create a ranking metric assessing the 95th percentile of intestinal Enterococci and E.coli (both bacteria present in animal faecal matter) for each bathing location.
An internal database of geolocated restaurants was then used to calculate the number of restaurants per capita along with average ratings (food and overall) for each local authority.
Finally, an index was used to rank each local authority based on the metrics calculated above. Per capita figures were presented per 1,000 inhabitants.
About Florence Codjoe
Florence writes and edits personal finance content for Uswitch, including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts, ISAs and various types of insurance.
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