We are pleased to announce our annual Best Value UK City Index. This year, Plymouth is the best value city break in the UK for a hotel stay, while London is the worst value.
The index combines hotel price data with aggregated user reviews and ratings. The list of 26 includes cities with at least 50 hotels and an average of at least 150 reviews per hotel.
While the strategic port town of Plymouth might not have the looks to rival the rest of Devon, the city is currently enjoying something of a cultural revival – thanks in part in to on-going waterfront regeneration and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage set closeby.
A lively student city surrounded by rural scenery, Plymouth is a great starting point for exploring both the local countryside and the coast: visitors can take to the water with a kayak, surfboard or on board one of the famous ferry crossings or simply head north to Dartmoor National Park – just 30 minutes away.
The historic capital of Devon, Exeter proudly shows off the tell-tale signs of its significance throughout the centuries: from the remains of the medieval Exe Bridge and the ruins of Roman Rougemount Castle to the Gothic Exeter Cathedral and the formerly industrial Exeter Quay.
But the city isn’t merely living in the past – today Exeter is home to a thriving student population, as well as the modern shopping centre Princesshay, which was completely demolished and redeveloped, opening in 2007.
A historic cathedral city in the heart of Wiltshire, Salisbury is a charming and traditional English town. Visitors to the city will find a picturesque old centre boasting many Tudor houses, as well as a market place which has held a regular market since 1227. The city’s most recognisable landmark, however, is Salisbury Cathedral, which has the tallest spire in England.
Other sights close by include the world-famous Stonehenge and the remains of Old Sarum, a former prehistoric settlement and predecessor to modern Salisbury.
The northern-most city in the United Kingdom, Inverness is popular gateway for exploring the magnificent Highlands – but the Scottish city has plenty of charm itself. Situated on both sides of the pretty River Ness, Inverness has a compact but charming town centre and is home to two impressive churches, Inverness Cathedral and the Old High Church, as well as the imposing Inverness Castle.
The city also plays host to several important events, including the annual Highland Games and the Northern Meeting, a bagpiping competition dating back to 1788.
‘A fine city’ located in the East of England, Norwich boasts a thriving city centre, complete with an impressive cathedral and 12th-century castle. Shoppers can choose between two shopping centres, one of the largest outdoor markets in England and an eclectic mix of independent shops in Norwich Lanes – the city’s network of winding, cobbled alleyways. The Forum is another important landmark, housing the Millennium Library, BBC East and various art exhibitions and events.
For those wishing to explore further afield, the Norfolk Broads and the beautiful, largely untouched beaches of Cromer and Hunstanton are just a stone’s throw away.
Sheffield might be best known for producing steel (and Sean Bean), but there’s a lot more to this Yorkshire city. Sheffield has strong music ties (the Arctic Monkeys and Pulp hail from the region) and hosts an annual free music festival, Tramlines, which takes over the city centre with pop-up stages and live music acts. Boasting a large student population, Sheffield also has a thriving nightlife centred around West Street and Division Street, though the Leadmill is probably the city’s most iconic venue.
Located on the edge of the Peak District, the city is just a short distance from one of the UK’s most beautiful national parks and can claim to be one of the greenest cities in Europe.
Known as the Queen of the Midlands, Nottingham is the lively and attractive home of Robin Hood, one of the most famous legends around the world. Sights in the city include: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, the oldest pub in the United Kingdom; Nottingham Castle, which sits atop a network of sandstone caves and Wollaton Hall, which stood in for Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises.
Further afield, visitors can find Chatsworth House, a beautiful manor house and landscaped gardens seen in Pride and Prejudice (2005), as well as the legendary Sherwood Forest, found in North Nottinghamshire.
One of the UK’s most popular destinations, York brings in tourists from all over the world thanks to its impressive historic landmarks – the most iconic of which is York Minster, one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe. The city also has well-preserved city walls and a photogenic old street of ancient and leaning houses, aptly named The Shambles.
Of course one of York’s biggest claims to fame is the important role it played during Viking rule in Great Britain. The family-friendly JORVIK Viking Centre was opened in 1984 and is today one of the most visited attractions in the country.
A classic seaside town on the South Coast of England, Bournemouth has long been popular with families seeking sun, sea and sand. Originally marketed as a health resort, Bournemouth today draws in visitors thanks to its reputable nightlife, Victorian architecture and its location on the UNESCO-listed Jurassic Coast.
Other sights close to Bournemouth include the bustling town of Poole and the natural landmark of Durdle Door, a limestone arch found on a golden sandy beach.
Founded by the Romans in 79AD, Chester has a long and interesting history – the remains of which can still be seen today. The town boasts the most complete city walls in the country and the Roman amphitheatre is the largest ever found on British soil and was only uncovered in 1929. In addition, Chester has many medieval buildings with traditional black-and-white frontage.
Today, Chester has a lively nightlife and is a popular destination for those in the surrounding areas, as well as from further afield.
What do you think to our list? Have you been to any of the cities listed above?