Have you ever heard the term ‘Happy as Larry’ and wondered who on earth Larry is and what makes him so giddy? Thanks to Rightmove, we could be one step closer to solving the mystery. At least, we have a better idea of where Larry might live.
The property sales website has just released the results of its survey into the happiest places to live in Britain. Destinations in both the north and south made it into the top ten list.
But what does that mean for group travel? Do visitors to the destinations have as many reasons to smile as the locals? Group Leisure has looked at the index of happy places and worked out which locations are most likely to leave your group members feeling like the cats that got the cream.
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Leamington Spa took the top spot on Rightmove’s list of happiest places to live in the UK. The town’s cup runneth over as far as group trip activities go. At the Tourist Information Centre you can pick up two different self-guided walking tour maps and follow the trails around the town to brush up on its history, architecture and a few tales of intrigue.
Pictured: Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa. (Photo credit: VisitEngland and Warwickshire County Council).
The TIC is inside the Royal Pump Rooms, which is also home to the Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, so once you’ve finished walking you can move on to explore here. Other highlights of a group trip to Leamington Spa include the British Motor Museum, 20 minutes away, and Hatton Adventure World, 25 minutes down the road.
Chichester, West Sussex (lead image)
There are rich pickings for groups visiting Chichester. Starting in the city centre, there’s the 11th century cathedral. Specialist group tours are available here on everything from the cathedral’s role in the Civil War to the art of stained glass. Then there’s the Festival Theatre, which offers special lunch packages for parties and has a dedicated booking line for groups.
Venture 15 to 20 minutes beyond the city limits, meanwhile, and you’ll find group-friendly attractions at every compass point – from Goodwood House and Arundel Castle to the Weald and Downland Living Museum and Cass Sculpture Foundation; a 26 acre site featuring more than 50 sculptures.
King’s Lynn, Norfolk
Located in the crease of England’s south eastern hip, the historical market town of King’s Lynn is well worth a group visit. The Tourist Information Centre arranges private guided tours for groups that delve into the history of key points of the town, including the Town Hall, the Minster and a cluster of historical houses.
Pictured: Cycling along the waterfront at Kings Lynn, Norfolk. (Photo credit: VisitBritain and Rod Edwards).
Then there’s Stories of Lynn – an interactive museum located in the restored under croft of the 15th century Guildhall. A handful of attractions orbit the town, too. You can get to Sandringham Estate in less than 20 minutes and Castle Acre Priory and Castle in half an hour.
Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Food, drink, historical properties and natural wonders are part and parcel of a group trip to Harrogate. Take a town tour with a twist with Yorkshire Appetite. This company will lead private parties around the historical landmarks of Harrogate and stop off at spots to taste local food and drink along the way.
Add a tour of the Royal Pump Room Museum to the itinerary. And factor in time to explore Skipton Castle, Mother Skipton’s Cave and Ripon Racecourse on the outskirts of town, too.
Pictured: Valley Gardens, Harrogate. (Photo credit: VisitEngland and Visit Harrogate).
The Wirral often gets overlooked in favour of its famous neighbour Liverpool, but the area is worth exploring in its own right. In Birkenhead there’s the U-Boat Story, where visitors can wade through the history of World War Two by exploring the insides of a real German submarine that was rescued from the North Sea.
In Bebington there’s Port Sunlight – the model village that’s home to more than 900 listed buildings. And in Wallasey there’s Spaceport – an interactive museum where visitor can probe into the past, present and future of space travel.
Pictured: A landscape view of the Wirral.
Poole offers groups an arm-length list of things to see and do. Five coach drop-off points at Poole Quay give parties almost instant access to attractions like Poole Museum, where they can burrow into the history of the town, and Poole Pottery where parties can watch live demonstrations, shop and refuel in the café.
There’s also parking for 25 coaches at Poole Stadium, a five minute walk from the town centre, where groups can go on a self-guided Cockle Trail tour or a guided evening ghost walk. Add in the outlet shopping opportunities, RNLI College tours and a cruise around Poole Quay and you’ve got the makings of a packed itinerary.