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The Most Lucrative Locations for Holiday Cottage Investment

A study into crime rates, potential rental yield and nearby tourist attractions has listed a selection of the top holiday cottage locations in England.

Schofields Insurance has used a mixture of various data sets combined with a survey of over 1,000 people aged over 18 in the UK, to identify locations across England that make for a good investment in a holiday cottage.

Their research combines these factors to highlight the most sought after locations for potential property investment to get the best return due to comparatively lower property prices, the potential revenue based on booking rates throughout the year, and the number of tourist attractions nearby that make an area more attractive to holidaymakers.


The research also considers the crime rates of the specific area. This is a very important figure for both tourists, who want to know that they are staying somewhere that is known to be safe, and holiday home owners who will not need to pay as high a premium due to it being lower risk for the insurers. There were 53 villages in England identified with a zero crime rate, and a few of these have made this list due to their excellent locations and nearby attractions.

As a result of all the above factors, the list highlights a number of villages and towns that do not often feature on popular holiday resort destinations, revealing some hidden gems and giving options against more popular localities.


South West

St Agnes, Cornwall - This spot in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the unspoilt Cornish coastline is among the top 10 safest small towns in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Not only does it boast four gorgeous beaches where it’s possible to spot wildlife including sharks, seals and dolphins, but it also has two international surfing competitions and is close to attractions including Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm. St Agnes also benefits from Cornwall’s mild maritime climates meaning it often enjoys warmer temperatures than the rest of the UK.

Harford, Devon -Harford is a hamlet in South Devon that has been marked as the safest village in Devon with a zero crime rate. Located close to Ivybridge, it draws tourists with its excellent opportunities for fishing, kayaking and wild swimming making it a fantastic alternative to the typical seaside holiday resorts while still remaining a part of Dartmoor National Park, situated alongside the Ugborough Beacon with panoramic views of the moor. It is also excellently located for other tourist destinations including Dartmoor Zoo and the National Trust’s Saltram, a Georgian mansion and garden.

Corfe Mullen, Dorset - There aren’t many places that can claim as ancient a past as Corfe Mullen, not only as far back as the Domesday Book, but the Saxons and Romans settled there, and there’s even evidence of early nomadic tribes as far back as 3000BC. With such a rich history, there are many reasons this small town has been inhabited for thousands of years! 

Today holidaymakers love this area for its proximity to Dorset’s famed Jurassic Coast and the seaside resort of Bournemouth. Not only is Corfe Mullen Dorset’s safest small town, but it also boasts a number of local tourist destinations to appeal to solo travellers, couples of all ages and families, including Poole’s Splashdown water park, the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy mansion, White Mill, and Brownsea, and several coastal nature reserves including Hartland Moor and Studland and Godlingston Heath.


North West

Middlewich, Cheshire - Middlewich is a remarkably safe small town, in fact the safest in England with a crime rate of just 0.42 crimes per 1000 people! Once known for its production of Cheshire cheese and silk, today it is famed for its canals, rich history and heritage events such as the Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival that takes place every June. Its location makes it the perfect base for your guests to explore Cheshire, within 20 miles of Chester and Chester Zoo, the famous Anderton Boat Lift, the National Trust’s Tatton Park, and Jodrell Bank Observatory.

Brereton, Cheshire - The parish of Brereton is actually a collection of three small hamlets and is one of nine villages in Cheshire with a zero crime rate. It is famed for Brereton Heath Country Park, and nearby you can find the National Trust’s Biddulph Grange Garden. A little further afield, but still within 40 minutes driving, you’ll find BeWILDerwood Cheshire, an outdoor woodland adventure park for the whole family and Delamere Forest with its Gruffalo trail. This area of Cheshire also boasts an excellent return on investment for holiday cottages with a potential 5.27% rental yield, the second highest in England.

Eskdale, Cumbria - The valley of Eskdale in the Western Lakes is an often overlooked area for holidaymakers in favour of busier destinations like Windermere. The most popular reason that people visit this area is for walking, and this is the perfect location for that, situated close to Scafell Pike, Stanley Ghyll Waterfall and many other hikes along the beautiful River Esk. For your guests who are not into outdoor pursuits, you can recommend the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway with its locally known La’al Ratty miniature steam train which is just a short drive away as is the scenic Cumbrian coastline with Drigg Sand Dunes nearby and St Bees, a lovely seaside village with a Seaside Beach Award for cleanliness along its mile long sandy beach.

Aughton, Lancashire - Aughton, a residential parish adjoining Ormskirk, is well regarded as one of the most attractive residential districts in Lancashire and is now famed as being a haven for foodies with more Michelin stars in this small town than Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool combined! Three Michelin star restaurants, Moor Hall with two stars, the Barn and Sō–lō have really put Aughton on the map for those with a discerning palate who will be looking for somewhere nearby to rest up after a delicious meal!

Aside from its food, Aughton is home to Gorse Hill Nature Reserve and is excellently located to explore local nearby tourist attractions such as the National Trust’s Formby coastline and the red squirrel reserve, Knowsley Safari and is close enough for a punt at the races at Aintree. It is also the safest small town in Lancashire and the 36th safest out of all towns, villages and cities in Lancashire too.


East Midlands

Stotfold, Bedfordshire - Bedfordshire’s safest small town doesn’t just make this list for its low crime rate, Stotfold is in a beautiful rural location where the River Ivel passes the Stotfold Watermill and Nature Reserve by old cottages along the village green making it particularly picturesque. In the summer months, Hitchin Lavender Farm makes for a lovely day out with its beautiful lavender field backdrop, cafe and shop. Your guests will also love that it is an easy drive to Wrest Park, a French style mansion, the Sharpenhoe and Sundon Hills with stunning views and walks, and Letchworth, the world’s first garden city with wide green spaces and neatly organised streets.

Knapwell, Cambridgeshire - In the diocese of historic Ely, Knapwell is a tiny hamlet that makes an excellent base to explore the best of Cambridgeshire. Within 10 miles of Cambridge, all the sites and sounds of this historic university city are within easy reach including the classic punting on the River Cam, the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Botanic Gardens. The benefit of your holiday cottage being a little further afield from the bustling city is that guests are easily able to explore more of the beautiful surrounding countryside including the RSPB’s Hope Farm and the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate. And for holiday home owners, property prices will be lower being further away from the city, but you can still command good booking rates and charge a good fee for safe countryside location and nearby amenities.

Monyash, Derbyshire - Instead of staying in tourist hotspot Bakewell, consider Monyash. This is a hidden gem of a village with a remarkably low crime rate of 12.05 crimes per 100 thousand people, making it the 32nd safest village in Derbyshire. It is famed for its 5 ponds, 20 wells and thriving community, but it is also located perfectly in the rolling hills of the stunning Lathkill Dale making it an excellent base to explore the Peak District. You can walk straight out of the village across the White Peak landscape with walks to suit everyone, from 4 mile circulars to the long distance trail, The Limestone Way.

Just a short car journey away, you can access all the best the Peak District has to offer, including the Monsal Dale Headstone viaduct and the Monsal trail cycling route along the old railway line, the iconic Chatsworth House and the spa town of Buxton. And of course, you’re just a stone’s throw from Bakewell’s famed tarts, puddings and pies!


North East

Staindrop, Durham - Staindrop in County Durham is not usually on most tourists’ wishlists, but its proximity to the North Pennines Area of Natural Beauty as well as other popular tourist attractions including Raby Castle, deer park and its bespoke Plotters’ Forest adventure playground, and the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle really put Straindrop on the map. You could easily spend an entire trip exploring this area of the North East, whether your guests are typically more interested in history, including Beamish, the world famous open air museum just 30 miles away, or the outdoors at Hamsterley Forest with its Gruffalo trail.

This area of the North East will also benefit holiday home owners thanks to the lowest average property prices in England. When marketed and managed well, this will result in excellent returns.

Beadnell, Northumberland - Beadnall, and its accompanying bay on the Northumberland Coast National Landscape, is an often overlooked tourist destination. The rugged beauty of this coastline is brought to life even more by its backdrop against stunning sights such as Dunstanburgh Castle and the imposing Bamburgh Castle. Many enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle around Beadnell, with scuba diving, kite surfing and sailing being popular along the protected waters and sandy beaches.

A little further inland, Alnwick is only a 20 minute drive from your base at Beadnell, home to Alnwick Castle, famed for its part in the Harry Potter movies, the stunning Alnwick Gardens and the new huge adventure playspace Lilidorei. You can also head further north from Beadnell to Seahouses, known as the gateway to the Farne Islands where you can catch a boat to see seabirds and puffins at these glorious outposts in the North Sea.


Yorks & Humber

Stamford Bridge, East Riding - For those visiting the historic city of York but who want a base that’s a little more rural, Stamford Bridge is the perfect escape. This small town has a remarkably low crime rate of just 19 crimes per 1000 people, compared to the average of 92 crimes per 1000 people across the East Riding in general, but is just a stone’s throw from the many tourist attractions of York including the Shambles, the National Railway Museum, the ancient Roman city walls and a wealth of independent shops and cafes.

Heading away from the city, Stamford Bridge is home to the Dreamery Gardens at Northwood, an exciting fairy trail through the woodland. Within 10 minutes, you can also visit Breezy Knees Gardens in summer, Piglets Adventure Farm, Murton Park and the well regarded Balloon Tree farm shop and cafe.

Harome, North Yorkshire - Harome in North Yorkshire has an excellent crime rate at just 7.52 crimes per 1000 people and is perfectly situated to explore the North Yorkshire Moors and surrounding area. Home to the Star Inn, a Michelin star restaurant located in an old thatched cottage, Harome is a beautiful example of an ancient Yorkshire village. This village makes an excellent alternative for tourists looking for a base to its neighbour Helmsley which has been named multiple times as a top place to live in the UK thanks to its picturesque market square home to award winning deli and baker Thomas of Helmsley, Helmsley Castle, the Helmsley Brewing Company, the National Centre for Birds of Prey and even an outdoor swimming pool.

Further afield, holidaymakers to this area will enjoy English Heritage’s Rievaulx Terrace and Temples, the Kilburn White Horse and numerous walks across the nearby heathered moorland.

Spennithorne, North Yorkshire - Just a couple of miles away from the traditional Yorkshire dales market town of Leyburn is Spennithorne. Spennithorne is one of North Yorkshire’s safest villages, being among six that have a zero crime rate. It is also well located for a number of tourist attractions, including the unique Forbidden Corner just 5 miles away, Braithwaite Hall owned by the National Trust, Constable Burton Hall and Gardens, and a little further afield, England’s third smallest city, Ripon, and the nearby National Trust property Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.

Heading further into the Yorkshire Dales, Spennithorne is only 8 miles from Bolton Castle and 30 minutes from the famous village of Hawes where you can visit the Wensleydale Creamery visitor centre and cheese shop.

Woodsetts, South Yorkshire - Located just north of Worksop and east of Sheffield, Woodsetts is the 2nd safest out of South Yorkshire’s 109 towns, villages and cities, and is situated in a fantastic area for those looking to explore the tourist attractions of South Yorkshire. Just a stone’s throw away is the Tropical Butterfly House at North Anston, or for families with more thrill seekers, Gulliver’s Valley theme park is just 15 minutes away. There’s also plenty of outdoor fun to be had nearby with Anston Stones Wood and Langold Country Park, which has a lovely lakeside walk, opportunities for fishing and even the Sea Scoundrel Water Play splash pad, within 5 miles. The National Trust’s Clumber Park, despite being in the county of Nottingham rather than South Yorkshire, is also just a short drive away.

Yorkshire also has a surprisingly low average property price in most areas which makes it an easily accessible first step for new holiday home investors.

Addingham, West Yorkshire - Tourists flock to West Yorkshire’s Bolton Abbey for its stunning ruined architecture and walking opportunities around the Strid Wood, but many choose to stay in Skipton instead. Addingham is a lovely village in West Yorkshire, the third safest of all villages in the area, and has plenty more to see and do nearby. Not only is it located near Ilkley Moor for more stunning hiking routes, but you can visit the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, explore Hesketh Farm Park with farm animal feeding and a straw maze, and visit Billy Bob’s Parlour for a fun 50s diner experience complete with a play barn and ice cream.


South East

Chaddleworth, Berkshire - Nestled amidst rolling hills and picturesque farmland, Chaddleworth offers a quintessential English village experience with a twist: there are believed to be several haunted tunnels under the village leading to RAF Welford! Aside from the rumoured haunted tunnels and beautiful village church, Chaddleworth is a perfect base to explore the wider Berkshire region.

Brockham, Surrey - Brockham, Surrey, is a welcoming village located between the North Downs and the Surrey Hills. This beautiful small town in the English countryside has nothing other than the classic values of rural life. There are plenty of traditional festivals and events to take place. You can explore scenic paths by the River Mole or head into the North Downs for amazing views. Betchworth Castle, overlooking the River Mole, is a reminder of Surrey's past. Built in the 11th century, it started as a manor house and later became a fortified castle.

The South East is typically renowned as an expensive region for properties which does ring true with average property prices, but with good marketing and management, you can still command a high rental yield thanks to the high demand for short term accommodation in the area. Its proximity to London means that properties here don’t just appeal to families, but to those looking to commute into the big city, as well as being close to Gatwick airport as a quick stopover for tourists arriving on international flights.

Hughenden, Buckinghamshire - Hughenden is the safest and smallest place in Buckinghamshire, with a low crime rate of just 19 crimes per 1,000 people. Hughenden Manor is a big draw for tourists locally and from further afield who will likely be looking for accommodation. For families, just a 15-minute drive away is the Roald Dahl museum. Dedicated to Roald Dahl's childhood, inspirations, and writing process, get up close to original manuscripts and see his iconic writing hut, the birthplace of many beloved characters.

Ightham, Kent - Located about four miles east of Sevenoaks and six miles north of Tonbridge, Ightham is a lovely village located in the heart of the peaceful countryside. Most famous for the nearby Ightham Mote, a grand medieval manor house owned by the National Trust. This area attracts history enthusiasts and tourists alike.

The village itself is even older than the manor house. You'll see a collection of half-timbered buildings and a traditional pub called The George and Dragon. Tourists from near and far are drawn to typical English villages like this, and the opportunity to stay in one makes a fantastic selling point for a holiday cottage.


West Midlands

Craswall, Herefordshire - Craswall is a charming village located in Herefordshire, England, at the foot of the Black Mountains. Craswall's location makes it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding natural beauty. The village sits near the source of the River Monnow, offering opportunities for leisurely walks or even a spot of fishing. The Black Mountains provide endless opportunities for hiking, cycling, and simply being surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Tourists will love the fact that this area is just a quick skip over the border to Wales, giving them the opportunity to explore two countries in one stay. Craswall has recently put itself on the map with local pub The Bull’s Head being awarded a Michelin star meaning that it is likely to see an influx of new foodie trade in the coming year.

Upton Magna, Shropshire - Upton Magna is located in a picturesque area with plenty of outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, and bird watching available. Located close to the Wrekin - Shropshire's prominent geographic feature - there are many outdoor activities in the surrounding area. The locality of the village to the easily accessible neighbourhood also introduces and induces many people to the exploration of the diverse landscape along the long-distance footpath of Shropshire Way.

Be it out looking for a quiet day in the midst of one of England's most natural beauties or looking through history itself, Attingham Park has something for everyone. A rich heritage, stunning scenery, and diverse nature of the estate create an enchanting escape right in the heart of England.

Thorpe Constantine, Staffordshire - Nestled in the heart of Staffordshire lies the charming village of Thorpe Constantine. Many local attractions are only a short drive away, from outdoor activities in the National Forest to the market town of Tamworth. Further afield are the heritage and attractions in the historic city of Lichfield.

Tamworth Castle, within a short drive from Thorpe Constantine, is considered one of the most ancient and perfectly kept by some standards in England. Also nearby is Drayton Manor, a huge 180-acre, family theme park, zoo and accommodation. If you’re able to identify a property to make a holiday cottage for families in this area, you’ll be sure to find yourself swamped in bookings.

Charlecote, Warwickshire - Charlecote is a small village located near Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle. A big attraction is Charlecote Park, a Victorian home located in the village that gives you a chance to explore the scenic landscape and rich history of the home. 

Dog friendly holiday cottages will likely win the bookings in this area. Welcombe Hills is a nature reserve where visitors can enjoy walks through beautiful fields and woodlands making the village a great place for nature lovers, dog lovers and those looking to contribute to environmental conservation.


East of England

Tattingstone, Suffolk - Tattingstone is situated on the Shotley Peninsula about 5 miles south of Ipswich. Tattingstone is a village home to several historical sites, including the Tattingstone Wonder which was built in 1790, the Church of St Mary and nearby attractions such as Jimmy’s Farm. Tourists will love its proximity to the sea, and the beautiful unspoilt RSPB Stour Estuary is a haven for birdwatchers.

St Ippolyts, Hertfordshire - St Ippolyts is known for its Cotswolds-like beauty. The village features stunning homes, both modern and historic. The Hertfordshire Museum is located in Hitchin, just a short drive away. You can also recommend to your guests an outdoor adventure, such as nearby parks like Broadway Gardens and Chorleywood Common, or nature reserves such as Oughtonhead Common Nature Reserve.

Heacham, Norfolk - Norfolk's Heacham is a scenic village known for its lavender fields and shallow beach waters. It's on the Peddars Way trail, near the Norfolk Coast Path, and the village has an RSPB site, which is great for birdwatching, meaning that holiday homes in this area appeal to hikers and nature lovers alike. This is a traditional Victorian seaside resort, complete with the classic stretch of beach huts. There are two beaches in Heacham, both facing west and known for being perfect for families. The North Beach has an amusement arcade, cafe, and fish and chip shop, while the South Beach has a cafe and gift shop.


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