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23rd Jun 2024

Seaside town with ‘rowdy’ reputation named UK’s friendliest destination

Ryan Price

The unlikely winner beat Brighton and York to the top spot.

A town that has a rather unfair reputation for being bleak and tacky has just been named the UK’s friendliest destination in a recent study.

The research was carried out by London North Eastern Railway, and used information gathered by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The train company wanted to investigate a recent drop in families opting for staycations rather than going abroad. A study carried out by RSM UK earlier this year revealed that just  28% of families plan to organise a city break in the UK this year. 

(Image: Getty)

In the hopes of encouraging people to travel more sustainably, LNER decided to look into where the most friendly and welcoming people are in the UK.

The company combined the information they gathered from ONS with information from TripAdvisor and this combination helped determine a destination’s general level of hospitality.

After gathering all of the data, population size was taken into consideration, leaving each destination with a score out of 100 in the final rankings.

The results showed Blackpool in the top spot as the friendliest place in the entire country, followed by Brighton in second place, and York in third.

Blackpool has previously been dubbed ‘rowdy’ and ‘rambunctious’ on social media and has made headlines on many occasions for its high crime rate.

In a Reddit thread entitled ‘How bad is Blackpool really?’, users described it as “rundown”, “grotty” and “tacky”.

One user who goes by the handle @cantab314 wrote: “It suffers badly from poverty and deprivation, and it’s also a low rent stag/hen do destination.

“The seafront is alright but central Blackpool can be pretty run down,” they added.

“When I’ve been there I stay somewhere further out like Fleetwood or Lytham and take the tram in, but they don’t run late enough for coming back from a night out.”

(Image: Getty)

Despite the reputation, the latest ONS data suggests that Blackpool residents report high levels of life satisfaction, happiness and a sense of purpose in life.

The survey reads: “It could be said that this accounts for the city’s exceptional hospitality.

“Our in-depth research reveals that Blackpool boasts the highest number of five-star rated restaurants and hotels, with 143.3 per 100,000 people.”

Other people choose to highlight the good things about the northern seaside town.

Laurna Robertson on Twitter pointed out how tranquil and beautiful the beach can be.

She wrote: “I could definitely get used to starting my day with a walk along an isolated beach. Was not expecting this sense of peace and perspective.”

Others have praised it’s vibrancy and creativity, with a Reddit user named RhyGrooves proclaiming: “I can see Blackpool becoming a creative up and comer town in the next few years!”

Runner-up Brighton ranks high for life satisfaction and the feeling that life is worthwhile, it interestingly sits fourth from the bottom in happiness score among the 50 destinations analysed. However, this doesn’t stop it from shining at the top of our rankings.

The historic city of York, in third place, is described as an ‘ideal location’ for a UK city break because of it’s centrality between London and Edinburgh.

The report explains: “Roman settlements and Viking invasions have enriched the place with a complex – but more importantly unique – history, yet it still showcases a welcoming atmosphere within its ancient walls.

“Ranking sixth for life satisfaction and third for the number of five-star rated establishments per capita, this delightfully traditional and friendly destination is truly worth a visit.”

London didn’t make it into any of the top spots, ranking in 24th place with only 31.8 five-star rated establishments per 100,000 people.