Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh are revealed as the UK’s spontaneous hotspots

Equation created by identifies top spots for an impromptu getaway

With the trend for staycations continuing to rise, Brits can kick their over-crowded planners to the curb today as a brand-new equation has revealed the best places in the country to escape real life and enjoy a spontaneous getaway.

From making the most of your weekend or annual leave to not having to arrange a pet-sitter, there’s plenty of reasons to take a break here in the UK. In fact, VisitEngland recently revealed that Brits are heading off on more staycations than ever before, taking around four million more short-breaks per year than they did a decade ago; and with an abundance of stunning coastline, cultural cities, breath-taking scenery and historic attractions all on our doorstep, it’s no wonder why.

Based on’s new equation, Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh have been revealed as the go-to destinations for an impromptu break, closely followed by Sheffield, Bristol and Manchester.

The equation, used to analyse hundreds of locations from London to Loch Ness, has been developed to help those struggling to ditch their diaries and live life in the moment after it was revealed that 15 per cent of Brits had never been on a spontaneous getaway.

Taking into account key criteria that would need to be met in order to offer busy Brits a genuinely spontaneous staycation option, each town and city was scored out of 30 with up to 10 points awarded for the strength of the hotels on offer, inbound travel connections and visitor experience.

The top 10 best places to visit on a spontaneous getaway in the UK have been revealed:

  1. Birmingham
  2. Leeds
  3. Edinburgh
  4. Sheffield
  5. Bristol
  6. Manchester
  7. Coventry
  8. Halifax
  9. Stratford-upon-Avon
  10. Aberdeen


The hotel scene was assessed based on the average ratio of pet-friendly accommodation, cost per room per night and proportion of late availability from same day arrivals up to three days in advance of booking, with Aberdeen the best scorer in this category.

Travel connections were reviewed based on ease of getting there, taking into account travel time and number of connections from the UK’s top 10 train hubs, as well as average bus and car travel times with Birmingham and Leeds topping the table.

Local opportunities for a micro adventure, cultural attractions, foodie credentials, nightlife options and shopping scenes were factored in to the equation’s ‘experience’ category to ensure any impromptu getaway was fun-filled and memorable. Edinburgh, Bristol and Birmingham were all awarded the highest score.

Full details about the equation and the top 20 list in full can be found here.

In support of the findings, has surveyed 1,000 members of the public* to examine the reasons behind our love of an impromptu night away.

The survey revealed that a significant proportion of the UK have forgotten how to be spontaneous - a third (32 per cent) haven’t been on an impromptu break for at least three years, and 15 per cent never have. However, research by VisitEngland** revealed 16 to 34-year olds were the most likely to book a last-minute break, with city breaks proving popular.

Finding someone to look after the pets was perceived to be the biggest barrier in the survey (33 per cent), closely followed by work commitments and finding the free time. However, those that do take the plunge and break free from their diary report feeling refreshed and a sense of living life to the full (37 per cent) as a result.

Travel time was found to be an important factor for those embarking on a quick getaway. On average Brits choose to spend no more than two hours six minutes on travel to a destination, however the findings showed that Scots were willing to devote a little more time to reaching their perfect night of escapism, spending up to two hours 31 minutes travelling by rail or car.

Katherine Scott at, said:

There’s a sense of adventure that comes from acting on impulse and an impromptu break away from home can be hugely rewarding even if only taking a short break for this reason. With busy calendars to contend with, taking a little time out to live in the moment can help to reset and help us to feel refreshed, which is why we wanted to look at the most suitable places this country has to offer for a spur of the moment break. We encourage anyone who has neglected the spontaneous side of life to take a step back from the diary and just go.

Emma Gray, Director of Marketing and Communications at Visit Birmingham, the city’s leisure tourism programme, said:

With a 52 per cent growth in international visitors over the last five years, Birmingham is at the centre of it all, offering something for everybody. Whether it’s designer labels at the Mailbox, our historic Jewellery Quarter or our quirky independents at the Custard Factory, the city is a shopper’s paradise with over 1,000 shops within a 20-minute walk.
Many flock to Birmingham for its popular culinary offering, with a great selection of Indian eateries in our famous Balti Triangle and more Michelin starred restaurants than any other UK city outside London. With cultural gems such as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) and the Birmingham Royal Ballet, plus over 50 independent festivals and world-class sporting action, it’s no wonder we are welcoming record breaking numbers of visitors every year.



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