A staycation boom driven by the royal wedding and three-month summer heatwave helped Sykes Holiday Cottages achieve record bookings last year.

The independent holiday home provider reported a 36% jump in bookings year-on-year with 1.5 million holidaymakers.

The trend shows no signs of stopping despite the current squeeze on household spending with January 13 breaking records, with bookings up more than a third compared with the same day in 2018.

Devon and Cornwall remained the most popular counties for domestic holidaymakers last year, ahead of North Wales and Cumbria.

The Cotswolds was the fastest-growing region, with bookings up more than 50% on 2017.

Chief executive Graham Donoghue said luxury properties and pet-friendly breaks had been particularly successful during the year.

He said: “Last year had already got off to a great start, but the royal wedding and then the prolonged heatwave that followed really did show off the best that Britain has to offer.

“With so much of this country to explore, holidaymakers increasingly opted either to stay at home or to top up their main holiday with another short break in unspoilt spots like Cornwall, the Cotswolds or Cumbria.”

With currency rates continuing to make holiday properties overseas more expensive, and growing demand from second home-owners in the UK to make the most effective use of their properties year-round, the number of new owner enquiries also rose by 37% during 2018.

Donoghue added: “Prolonged uncertainty and turbulent markets have made other forms of investment less popular recently.

“We are seeing more and more people buying holiday homes here in the UK and approaching us to maximise the income that these properties can provide.”

The company now offers more than 13,500 holiday homes in the UK and Ireland and employs 500 people.