With just days to go until al-fresco dining and the first phase of staycations are allowed across the country, new VisitEngland research shows that it is foodie experiences that are top of the agenda for sensory-starved Brits.

In a research poll of 2,476 nationally representative adults commissioned by the body, more than half of respondents cited eating out at a restaurant as the travel experience that they had missed most of all during lockdown.

This was followed by more than a third who had missed visits to pubs and bars and coffee shops and cafes.

The research showed that our taste buds are also driving our travel plans with foodie experiences taking the top three spots for activities Brits are hoping to enjoy this summer.

Almost half of respondents were most looking forward to eating out at a restaurant, market or street food truck, jointly placed with the chance to have a drink in a pub garden, with 44 per cent looking forward to visiting coffee shops and cafes.

VisitEngland director, Andrew Stokes, said: “From fine-dining restaurants and gastropubs to beach-side shacks and city street-food, England’s food and drink offering is as varied as it is exciting and an integral part of exploring a destination.

“From our coast and countryside to our city streets, England offers a huge diversity of sensory experiences and we encourage Brits to responsibly explore both their old favourites and discover our hidden gems this summer.”

Tantalising our tastebuds also scored highly when thinking about the sensory experiences Brits are looking forward to as freedom to travel begins to open up.
Fish and chips (51 per cent); ice-cream (51 per cent) and a cold drink in a pub (47 per cent) were the top three tastes Brits were excited about experiencing this summer.

The lockdown appreciation of nature looks set to continue as we venture further afield, with both the smell and sight of flowers in bloom and bumblebees buzzing, alongside the simple act of sitting on the grass, among the top three responses when asked about the experiences related to smell, sight and touch Brits were most looking forward to.

Image: Stuart Kelly / Alamy Stock Photo