Britons spent the least on holidays out of four major European countries this year, a new study reveals.

Travellers from the UK spent £3,417 a head compared with the French at £3,786, the Germans at £4,261 and Italians at £5,974, according to the research by Trainline.

Brits also had the least holidays, averaging 3.1 holidays or short breaks in 2016, compared to 5.4 for the Italians, 3.8 for the Germans and 3.3 for the French.

The average spent on holidays across the four countries surveyed was £239.7 billion.

People from the UK were the least interested in travelling in their own country, suggesting the staycation might be dead, the poll found.

One in ten (10%) did not travel at all in the UK compared to less than 1% of Italians in Italy; 6% of Germans in Germany and 3% of French in France.

Instead, they preferred to join the majority of Europe in heading to Spain, with almost a third of all age groups saying they visited the country in the past year.

All nationalities, with the exception of the Italians, chose Spain as the number one holiday destination for 2016.

The most popular way for Britons and wider Europeans to travel on holiday was in a couple, followed closely by ‘with the family’.

The main reason for going away was to ‘discover somewhere new’ for a significant number of leisure travellers from the UK, France and Italy.

The French, Germans and Italians were more interested than Britons in seeing nature and scenery, with almost half giving this as a reason for travelling, compared to just over a quarter of Britons (28%).

Instead, British holidaymakers preferred to spend time relaxing on the beach (39%) and sightseeing (36%).

A Trainline spokesman said: “The results of our survey mirror what we see in our travel bookings.

“Despite economic challenges we continue to see people travelling for leisure, a clear sign that holidays and short breaks aren’t seen as a luxury we are willing to give up. That said, it is disappointing to see Brits choosing to travel farther afield for their holidays rather than enjoying what the UK has to offer.

“We’re lucky to have easy access to a wealth of amazing cities, beaches and countryside situated right on our doorstep – which can easily be enjoyed as a short break by train over the weekend as well as a longer holiday.”