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Unique travel trends for 2023
Unique travel trends for 2023Unique travel trends for 2023

Here is the new year; bringing with it a change of pace for some, a chance to start anew for others, and a yearning for a sense of (physical and metaphysical) place for the rest. We seek all that’s fresh and new, and shirk the predictable. But as it pertains to UK travel trends, we’ve found there’s balance to be had in keeping the best of the familiar (we’re looking at you, cosy spaces where real fires roar and there’s hampers of luxury goodies on arrival); this year, it's about raising the bar where it really matters. Think helipads, moated castles, and wood-fired pizza on waterfront decking.

As we look ahead to 2023, we’re seeing out-of-the-box thinking (and travelling) on the horizon. Here, we round up our pick of the top unique travel trends for 2023; from isolated homes in Britain’s geographic extremes and the inside-outside snow globe aesthetic, to UK homes that feel more Med than Brit, and places fit for Shinrin-yoku. Plus, an insight into what homestays are topping the leaderboard for popularity (and why).

New wave wellness

GP2546 - Terrarium

Pictured: Terrarium

Plunge pools, saunas, and yoga decks are among the wellbeing extras we predict to feature hugely in 2023 travel destinations. But as January marks the kickstart of the season of health, this trend is set to stay. We have already received enquiries for venues where guests can incorporate all sorts of alternative therapies during their stays, including snake massages, goat yoga (yes, you read that right!), and forest-bathing (or Shinrin-yoku as the Japanese call it). Properties like Forestkeepers in The New Forest and Idlewylde, hidden in Snowdonian woodland, are among the most popular for wellness-seeking travellers in 2023. Newly launched in December 2022, Grand Designs home Terrarium is the embodiment of biophilic design, a concept that aims to increase the occupants' connectivity to nature; inspired by the boulder-weaving forest spas of Thailand and the life-giving force of genteel Japanese garden, it's already leading the new wave pack for 2023.


Sublimely secluded

GP2542 - Tincture and Solas

Pictured: Tincture and Solas

Last year, we noticed that guests (couples in particular) are increasingly seeking the feel of ultimate seclusion when booking a UK staycation. The result? Spiked interest in the most off-the-beaten track properties on the Unique Homestays portfolio. Off-grid cottage Tincture in Wales, for example, has secured an 85% occupancy rate since it joined in August 2022. With a collection of properties in some of the most remote areas across the British Isles, we anticipate demand for these locations will continue to grow in 2023. By way of example, Snowdonia as a destination has seen a year-on-year increase of 1000% in pageviews. It’s little wonder that one of the newest arrivals to the Unique Homestays collection Solas, a paradisiacal dwelling on the remote Isle of Harris, was the most popular addition last summer.


Snow globe-style design

GP2543 - The Glasshouse and Ukiyo

Pictured: The Glasshouse and Ukiyo

When we look at Unique Homestays’ most successful properties (and the imagery that garners the most engagement across our social media channels), there’s an intriguing crossover. It seems guests have fallen in love with what we have dubbed the inside-outside snow globe aesthetic; in other words, glass-robed spaces immersed in the wilds of nature. These types of properties seem to be growing in popularity year-on-year, as evidenced by the success of aptly-named The Glasshouse in Cardigan and Ukiyo in Cornwall (within the top five most popular property pages out of approximately 200 throughout 2022). Holidays, staycations included, are luxuries, so it’s no surprise that the rental homes that offer uninterrupted vistas of some of the most beautiful spots across the UK (from inside and out) are coming out on top.


Al fresco English living

GP2544 - The Limit and Gulliver's Hall

Pictured: The Limit and Gulliver’s Hall

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the Unique Homestays’ properties with extensive outdoor facilities that topped the leaderboard in terms of popularity last year; a trend we predict has no sign of waning. Al fresco feasts are no longer exclusive to those balmy evenings in the Med but something guests are eager to do whilst holidaying within the British Isles. Recognising this growing trend, several Unique Homestays properties feature outdoor kitchens (such as Gulliver’s Hall in the Cotswolds, where you’ll find a prep area, pizza oven, and paella burner) or gloriously-located al fresco living spaces like The Limit on the dunes of Cornwall's Holywell Bay. Facilities that enable inside-outside living are more popular than ever - from outdoor pools to tennis courts, and hot tubs to helipads - with just short of 60% of the Unique Homestays portfolio now offering such unique facilities.



Private home escapes

GP2547 - Found Tower and Castle Trinity

Pictured: Found Tower and Castle Trinity

The results are in. Expedia’s 2021 Q4 Travel Recovery Trend Report revealed that holiday home rentals edged out hotels in popularity for future bookings. Similarly, according to the American Express Global Business Travel programme, chain hotel booking rates are set to rise in 2023 in response to the industry's rising inflation, energy costs, and post-pandemic recovery plans. In response, the short-term rental market continues to see growth in independent accommodation, including castles, towers, and private homes across the UK. Let's face it, there’s something incredibly exciting about taking exclusive hire of a private home, hosting family and friends as if it were your own place, especially when it’s a Martello Tower (like Found Tower on the shores of Suffolk) or a moated castle with all the bells and whistles (such as Castle Trinity in Yorkshire). What's more, as some of these destinations you can even extend your stay with a longer rental, holing up for the whole season!

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