Two Dorset villages named best hidden gems for a summer holiday

A long, old pub is covered in green ivy and looks welcomingly out onto the road

The Bankes Arms, Studland - Credit: Herry Lawford, Flickr

Two Dorset villages have been featured in the top five hidden gem locations for a countryside holiday in 2022.

HomeToGo, the marketplace with the world's largest selection of holiday rentals, has today released a 2022 UK Hidden Gem Index to help holidaymakers find the best under-the-radar beauty spots in which to escape the staycation crowds while avoiding airport chaos. 

Using exclusive internal search and inventory data, alongside information about outdoor activities, pubs, weather and photo-friendliness, HomeToGo has pinpointed and ranked the top 24 hidden gem villages across the UK for summer holidays in 2022. All locations included in the study are picturesque, well-appointed and situated in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks - but none appear on the list of the top 500 most-searched destinations via for this year's high season.

The white rocks rise out of the sea with the Dorset coastline in the background

Old Harry Rocks near Studland - Credit: HomeToGo, Getty Images

Fourteen National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty feature in the index, with hidden gems uncovered across Cornwall, Dorset, Strangford Lough, the Suffolk Coast & Heaths, Chichester Harbour, the Cotswolds, the Norfolk Coast, East Devon and South Devon, as well as the North York Moors, the Lake District, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, the Pembrokeshire Coast and the Yorkshire Dales.

Eleanor Moody, UK Market Manager at HomeToGo, comments: "Even after the reopening of international travel, we expected many holidaymakers to opt for local getaways throughout 2022, following on from the pandemic-driven surge in the demand for domestic breaks. With flight cancellations now disrupting plans to journey abroad, we're seeing signs of an even more significant swing back to a staycation summer. In June this year, 69% of searches for holiday rentals via were for stays in domestic destinations. For those considering a holiday closer to home, whether it’s to avoid airport mayhem or simply to discover more of what the UK has to offer, HomeToGo’s Hidden Gem Index aims to provide plenty of inspiration for first-class, lesser-known spots to explore."

Two Dorset villages featured in the top five spots and Abbotsbury also made best ten. You can see the overall leader board and individual scores below.

The full list of best villages along with their scores in different key areas

The full list of top hidden gem villages - Credit: HomeToGo

Studland, Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Four miles of sandy beaches at Studland Bay make this sleepy village ideal for scenic seaside escapes. Dive straight in with swimming, paddleboarding and kayaking, or take a short walk to see the Jurassic Coast's awe-inspiring Old Harry Rocks. Prefer food with your views? The Bankes Arms' beer garden offers an incredible ocean outlook.

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Fun fact: Visitors can walk along the beaches to follow in Coldplay frontman Chris Martin's footsteps. The video for the hit Yellow was filmed in Studland Bay!

The Jurassic Coast stretches away covered with greenery

St Alban's Head near Worth Matravers - Credit: HomeToGo, Getty Images

Worth Matravers, Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Picture perfect stone cottages, a duck pond by the village green, and a CAMRA Golden Award dog-friendly pub with cider pressed on-site: this hidden gem is nothing short of sublime. Breathtaking cliffside viewpoints such as Winspit and Seacombe are close by, with plenty of scenic hiking trails by which to reach them. 

Fun fact: The unspoilt, stony beach of Chapman's Pool is a superb spot for finding fossils, and you can even see fossilised dinosaur tracks at the nearby Keates Quarry. 

You can find the full rankings and more amazing holidays here.

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The sandstone brick, thatched cottages stretch away in the sunset orange light

Abbotsbury - Credit: HomeToGo, Getty Images