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Blackpool Crowned UK’s Bed And Breakfast Capital

New research by insurance provider Direct Line for Business reveals Blackpool is the UK’s bed and breakfast capital, with nearly 900 such establishments located in the seaside resort.

Covering an area of just 13.46 square miles, Blackpool boasts an average of 64 B&Bs per square mile, giving visitors plenty of choice when it comes to choosing the perfect accommodation to suit their needs.

Blackpool is followed by major cities London and Edinburgh, which are home to 569 and 394 B&Bs respectively. Inverness (232) and the Isle of Wight (229) complete the top five destinations by number of B&Bs, meaning that one in eleven (nine per cent) of all B&Bs in the UK are situated in these five locations.

Table One: Number and proportion of B&Bs in the UK by region, 2017 

Rank City or town Region Estimated number of B&Bs
1 Blackpool North West 862
2 London London 569
3 Edinburgh Scotland 394
4 Inverness Scotland 232
5 Isle of Wight South East 229
6 York Yorkshire and the Humber 194
7 Scarborough Yorkshire and the Humber 183
8 Weymouth South West 166
9 Bath South West 155
10 Bournemouth South West 133

Source: Direct Line for Business, 2018

Jane Guaschi, Business Manager at Direct Line for Business, said: “With its beaches, attractions and iconic tower it’s not hard to see why Blackpool is the archetypal British holiday hotspot. It is, therefore, good news that our analysis shows that it’s also the bed and breakfast capital of the UK, giving holidaymakers a wealth of options when it comes to choosing accommodation for their stay.

“B&Bs and guest houses offer cost-effective, personalised accommodation, often in a great location, making them the ideal place to stay when travelling around the UK. Many of these B&B operators pride themselves not only on their knowledge of the local area but also on going the extra mile to provide a great customer experience for their guests.”

Across the UK there are estimated to be over 25,000 B&Bs, with the South West (21 per cent), Scotland (17 per cent) and South East (13 per cent) home to the greatest proportion of guest houses. On average, there is one B&B for every 3.6 mi in the UK, with London (one every 1.1 mi), the South West (one every 1.7 mi) and North West (one every 1.9 mi) boasting the highest B&B density on a regional level.

Table two: The top areas for B&Bs in the UK, 2017


Region Estimated number of B&Bs Regional share of the UK’s B&Bs B&B density
(mi2 per lodging)
South West 5,288 20.5% 1.7
Scotland 4,319 16.7% 7.0
South East 3,227 12.5% 2.3
North West 2,837 11.0% 1.9
Yorkshire & The Humber 2,021 7.8% 2.8
Wales 1,890 7.3% 4.2
East of England 1,866 7.2% 4.0
West Midlands 1,331 5.1% 3.8
East Midlands 1,281 5.0% 5.0
North East 669 2.6% 4.8
London 569 2.2% 1.1
Northern Ireland 550 2.1% 9.7
UK total 25,848 100% 3.6

Source: Direct Line for Business, 2018

The last year saw a record number of visitors to the UK, with 37.3 million trips made over the course of the year, and visitors spending more than £22.2 billion in the process.

Guest accommodation statistics shows that room occupancy across the UK has remained consistent in recent years, with England enjoying the highest occupancy (63 per cent), followed by Wales (53 per cent), Northern Ireland (48 per cent) and Scotland (42 per cent). The average room occupancy for the UK as a whole is 61 per cent.

When broken down by accommodation type, the figures show that guest house and B&B room occupancy has increased over the past five years, with guest house occupancy rising from 40 per cent in 2013 to 44 per cent in 2016, while B&Bs have increased from 32 per cent occupancy to 38 per cent.

Jane Guaschi continued: “Holidaymakers in the UK have a vast selection of options available to them when booking accommodation. With over a fifth of all UK accommodation categorised as either B&Bs or guest houses, it represents a major British industry and it is encouraging to see that room occupancy in smaller accommodation is increasing as travellers look to take advantage of the bespoke, personal touch offered by independent hotels.”

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