Just when it looked like some kind of normality was returning, the Omicron variant arrived, along with new travel restrictions, causing 600,000 passengers to cancel flights from Heathrow airport in December.

With continued uncertainty around international travel, it looks as though staycations – a major pandemic-era trend – are here to stay, as consumers opt to holiday closer to home rather than contend with Covid tests and risk long-haul trips.

Now, holiday rental firm Vrbo has revealed the UK towns and cities that have seen the biggest growth in customer demand in 2021 – and one of them is Bracknell.

Just west of London, Berkshire’s Bracknell Forest was described as conveniently located for urbanites in need of fresh air.

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Visitors were attracted to the picturesque woodland area, which saw a 110 per cent increase in interest last year, and the home of Windsor Castle and its surrounding Great Park, where red deer roam.

More adventurous visitors can get a bird’s eye view of the forest from the tree-to-tree zip lines at Go Ape.

Other popular destinations included:


The coastal town of Southend-on-Sea rose in popularity by 100% last year, while Essex as a whole jumped 80%.

The kid-friendly area has lots to keep little ones entertained, from Adventure Island fun park and the Sealife aquarium to the iconic Southend Pier (the longest in the world) and Railway, plus seven miles of sand and pebble beaches.


The opening of the V&A museum in 2018 helped put Dundee on the holidaymaker map, with interest in the Scottish coastal city rising by 80% last year.

Culture vultures will love the museum’s design-focused exhibitions, (not to mention the incredible Kengo Kuma-designed building) while the rugged natural beauty of Scotland is easily accessible with the likes of Baldragon Wood in the city and Monikie Country Park close by.

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The historic Lincolnshire town of Stamford was last year voted one of the best places to live in the UK by the Sunday Times, and visitors will find a lot to love about the market town, which boasts 600 listed buildings.

Impressive architecture is a big draw all over the county (which saw a 75% spike in interest last year), with two castles (Lincoln and Belvoir), a cathedral and stunning stately homes such as Harlaxton Manor.