More than half of UK adults have taken a domestic holiday this year, according to research for Travel Weekly, amid government attempts to boost the domestic sector.

A survey of 520 adults by Explore Research found more than one in three (36%) took a summer holiday in the UK and a further 20% had a domestic break in the first five months of the year.

Explore asked respondents when they last took a holiday away from home in the UK longer than overnight, other than staying with friends or relatives.

Three out of four (76%) had done so in the past two years, a considerably higher proportion than took overseas holidays in the period.

A recent survey of UK consumers for Travel Weekly suggested 48% had been on holidays overseas in the past two years.

The results come as tourism marketing body VisitEngland prepares a TV campaign for next year that will urge consumers to book domestic holidays through travel agents, using part of a £2-million fund set aside by the government to promote the sector.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport provided £4 million in marketing funds for the sector this year, backing a campaign which upset the outbound industry with its slogan ‘Why would you want to go away’.

Explore’s research suggests UK summer breaks were most popular among 35-54-year-olds, with 42% taking a domestic holiday during June to September. However, younger adults, aged 18-34, appear to take a greater number of UK breaks, with 59% having done so in the year to September.

UK summer breaks also appear most popular among the better off, with 41% of adults in households designated ABC1 (professional, managerial and skilled) taking a domestic break this summer and 64% so far this year.

Short breaks were most common: two out of five domestic tourists go away for two to three nights, one in five for four to six nights, one in four for a week, and about one in six for longer.