The best cities in the UK for a weekend break or day trip have been ranked by Which?, with York as the number one large city, Cambridge as the top ranked medium-sized city and Wells as the top small city rank.
At the other end of the table, Aberdeen is the worst-ranked large city, Ipswich is last in the mid-size city rankings and Hastings is bottom of the small towns and cities list.
The results come from a survey that asked respondents to rate 56 cities and towns in seven categories – food and drink, accommodation, cultural attractions, shopping, ease of transportation, lack of crowds and value for money. The? Travel says the top-rated destinations offer “vibrant food scenes, historic lanes and cultural wonders.”
The best cities in the UK for a weekend break or day trip were ranked by Which?, with York being voted the most popular big city. Above is The Shambles, a famously charming street in the city
Cambridge was identified as the top-ranked medium-sized city in the survey. The? Travel recommends punting along the city’s River Cam (above) for views of the “university colleges overlooking the willow-lined banks.”
Wells — a city full of “medieval nooks and crannies” — takes first place in the small town rankings. Pictured is the city’s famous Vicar’s Close
In the study’s “major cities and towns” ranking – a survey of more than 3,600 people – York receives an overall score of 86 percent and receives five stars for its cultural attractions and dining options. The? Travel says, “York has always attracted visitors with its unbeatable mix of historical and cultural attractions. These are now complemented by excellent food and drink options and great independent shops.’
Behind is second-placed Belfast (85 per cent) – which gets top marks for food and drink and its lack of crowds. In third place shared is Edinburgh – a city that boasts “vibrant street life, plenty of tasty food and drink options (rated five stars in the survey) and excellent galleries” – and Liverpool (both 83 per cent), where the recent “ Regeneration has helped ‘improve his rank in the poll’.
The remainder of the top five consists of fourth-placed Newcastle (80 per cent), and Glasgow and London, which are fifth at 78 per cent.
Aberdeen (21st), the worst-rated major city, scores 59 percent overall and receives just two stars for food and drink, shopping, ease of transport and value for money. However, which one? Defending the Scottish destination, Travel says: “Aberdeen is a beautiful city with tall granite buildings in the heart of 150 miles (241 km) of glorious coastline. It has a world-class art gallery, a thriving street art scene and is well located for sampling a variety of local foods.’
Belfast, which is second in the major city rankings, gets top marks for food and drink and its lack of crowds. Above is the city’s Titanic Belfast Museum
Aberdeen (pictured), the worst-rated major city, scores just 59 percent overall. It only deserves two stars for “Food and Drink”, “Shopping” and “Value for Money”.
Southampton fare similarly poorly, 20th from the bottom with a score of 61 per cent.
In the ‘medium-sized towns and cities’ ranking, gold medalist Cambridge has a score of 81 percent. The? Travel recommends punting along the city’s River Cam for views of the “university colleges overlooking the willow-lined banks.” It states: “Nodding around the 30 colleges and their immaculately manicured gardens is one of Cambridge’s great selling points and helps earn four stars for attractions.”
Canterbury – where the medieval streets create a “sense of traveling back in time”, so which? Travel – tied for second with Winchester (both 78 percent).
The results come from a survey that asked respondents to rate 56 cities and towns across seven categories
Canterbury – where the medieval streets create a “sense of traveling back in time”, so which? Travel – tied for second place in the medium-sized town ranking
Winchester ranks second in the ranking of medium-sized cities. Pictured is the imposing Cathedral of Winchester
Oxford, Chester and Harrogate are third with 77 per cent, followed by Worcester (fourth, 74 per cent). Fifth place is also a tie – Chichester, Dundee and Norwich each score 73 per cent.
The penultimate ranking is meanwhile Gloucester (14th, 56 percent).
While Ipswich (15th) is the worst-rated mid-size city with a score of 54 percent, which? Travel notes that the city has a bright future. It states: “The center of Ipswich may feel a little deserted but the waterfront is undergoing a massive redevelopment following government funding. Watch it rocket up the rankings in the future.’
Ipswich, pictured above, is the worst-rated mid-size city, with a score of 54 percent
Finally, in the small towns and cities category, first place winner Wells has a score of 88 percent. “If ever there was a perfect little cathedral town, it’s Wells,” says which? Travel. It adds: “Wells attracts fewer visitors than the big cathedral towns, hence it’s earned five stars for lack of crowds. All this gives you both the space and time to explore its medieval nooks and crannies.’
In second place is the Welsh town of St Davids (86 per cent), which holds the title of Britain’s smallest town – it ‘feels more like a village than a big city… with pubs, restaurants, galleries and souvenir shops clustered around a cute little square around’, according to which? Travel.
It is being chased by Bath (third, 84 percent), St Andrews (fourth, 83 percent) and Ely (fifth, 80 percent).
Royal Tunbridge Wells (19th) is penultimate with a 60 per cent overall score, while Hastings (20th) in last place has a 57 per cent score, with the town receiving just two stars for Eating and Drinking and Ease of Getting Around and Price-performance ratio.
Second in the list of small towns and cities is the Welsh town of St Davids (86 per cent), which holds the title of the smallest town in the UK
Hastings – bottom of the small town ranking – has a value of 57 percent. It does not achieve more than three stars in any of the survey categories
Guy Hobbs, editor of which?, commented on the survey results. Travel, tells MailOnline Travel: “While the UK’s stunning coastal and scenic destinations stole much of its glory during the recent staycation boom, our research reveals just how much Britain’s cities and towns have to offer those who seek after the perfect long weekend are a way.
“With a world-class selection of cultural and cultural sites, vibrant nightlife and culinary options to suit every budget, on the list of the best cities for 2022 by which? sure something that will seduce you.”
The? Travel adds: “What [travellers] Still to appreciate is a medieval cathedral with cobbled streets, lots of history, independent shops and a pleasant place to have a cup of tea and a piece of cake. But that’s not all: Sinister cities have shot up the rankings – Belfast in particular has become a popular destination for foodies and culture vultures.
“Likewise, Newcastle and Liverpool score with their mix of entertainment, good food and lively street life. Cities with fewer crowds like Harrogate, Ely and Wells also did well – proving that sometimes a city break can get away from all, or at least part of it.
For more information visit www.which.co.uk/l/travel.