Want to escape to the country without uprooting your urban life? You’re not alone. Per year, here in the UK, we make around 358 million day trips to the countryside and, in some areas, more money is made from farm tourism than traditional farming.
Let’s be honest, here in Wales we have some of the best farm tourism and countryside that you’d find anywhere – but where do we like to visit and what is rising up the farm tourism charts?
POWYS has been named Wales’ best ‘agritourism’ destination, ahead of GWYNEDD in 2nd position and MONMOUTHSHIRE and PEMBROKSHIRE in joint 3rd.
Considering the number of farm stays, farm shops, country shows and events and hiking trails, Bower Collective’s study maps UK counties suitability for an authentic rural getaway in their new interactive tool.
Powys has the UK’s 3rd richest selection of working fam stays, with over 104 to choose from. Powys also has the 7th richest selection of country shows and events, with 10 listed online to attend.
But per category, the study yielded different winners. For foodies looking for a taste of the best fresh, Welsh produce, Pembrokshire, Ceredigon and Wrexham are respectively the top destinations for farmshops – with Pembrokshire alone offering seven choices. Ramblers should head to Gwynedd, which offers an impressive 316 listed hiking routes – significantly above Powys which ranked 2nd with 255.
How all Welsh counties in the study ranked for each factor
|Location||Rank in Wales||Rank in the UK||No. of farm stays||No. of farm shops||No. of hiking trails||No. of country shows and events|
With trends like the ‘cottagecore’ movement and a refreshed desire for open spaces and healthy living post Covid, the global agritourism market is expected to grow by 13% over the next six years. In the UK, the office of national statistics already suggests around one in ten rural businesses are tourist related and 15% of total rural employment is in the tourism sector.
Devon ranked in the top 10 for all factors in the study. Devon has more listed farm stays than any other UK county, with 187 listed options offering tourists the chance to taste life on a working farm. Devon also placed 2nd for the number of farm shops and 3rd for the variety of country shows and events. Completing the top three is neighbouring county Cumbria, which came top for the number of hiking trails – the only place in the UK with over a 1,000 walks listed.
Nationally, the best spot for a rural getaway in Wales is Powys, in Scotland is the Highlands, and in Northern Ireland County Down comes out top.
The council have some really great videos to show how accessible Powys is – here’s on of them. ACCESSIBLE POWYS.
The study also reveals the winners for each factor. For those looking to roll their sleeves up and dig into rural life, Devon, Cornwall and Powys in Wales offer holidaymakers the most working farm stays respectively.
A fun way to experience the diverse culture of agricultural life, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and – more surprisingly – London have the most country shows, events and agricultural fairs in the UK.
In fact, due to its great transport links to the surrounding rural areas, London is also the UK’s hub for farm shops. Shopping for local farm produce is a tasty way to support small British businesses and is a far more sustainable way to eat. After London, the next best places for farm shops are Devon and North Yorkshire.
Lastly, to reconnect with nature and soak in the beauty of the British countryside, the study compared the number of listed hiking trails in each county. Cumbria, Derbyshire and Hampshire offer ramblers the best choice of options, with 1432, 804, 801 walks listed respectively.
To supplement the study, Bower Collective also considered the changing search trends around agritourism. Searches for farm holidays in London are 378% higher than the UK average, and the highest in the UK overall, followed by Hampshire and the West Midlands. However, in regards to year on year change, searches for farm holidays in Northamptonshire have boomed by 300% since 2021, and by 200% in Worcestershire and Lancashire in the same period.
However, the UK seems more interested in the aesthetics of a rural getaway, than getting their hands dirty. Google searches for ‘cottagecore’ are 25 times higher than for farm holidays, and the topic is trendiest in London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.
For more information and to see the entire Bower Collective survey, with an interactive map to check out specific locations, just go HERE.