All aboard the train to hotspot Wigan!

Could the Leeds-Liverpool Canal be one of the places attracting ever-growing tourist hordes to Wigan?
Could the Leeds-Liverpool Canal be one of the places attracting ever-growing tourist hordes to Wigan?

It may not seem like a tourist hotspot but apparently British travellers can’t get enough of Wigan and are flocking to enjoy the borough’s delights.

New research by the Trainline app shows the town could actually be one of the most visited places in the land this summer.

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Wigan is in the top 10 most booming travel destinations, with an extraordinary 113 per cent rise in bookings to the borough on the railways in the past two years putting it in fifth place on the national list.

That puts it alongside major cities Manchester and Birmingham, retro seaside resorts enjoying a comeback Southend, Margate and Scarborough, Lincolnshire steel town Scunthorpe, St Ives in Cornwall, the New Forest and cathedral city Durham.

The train ticket booking service has also teamed up with travel expert Oliver Berry, co-author of the Lonely Planet’s guide to Great Britain, to suggest some of the hidden gems that may be behind the surge in visits.

Oliver reckons Wigan’s biggest attractions include the Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the quirky Wigan Roller Rink in Eckersley Mill.

He said: “It’s great to see that Brits are getting out and exploring their own backyard and it’s especially encouraging that people are seeking out some of Britain’s lesser-known spots and rediscovering a few old favourites that perhaps have something new to offer.”

The Trainline confirmed the research only took into account bookings that had Wigan as an end destination, discounting people using the borough’s stations to connect to further services going elsewhere.

Other events which could explain why more footfall is heading this way include the regular tour events now organised at Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).

The researchers say the whopping rises in rail journeys prove there is currently a great appetite for exploring in people’s own country, with 58 per cent of Brits asked admitting they are more likely to opt for a so-called staycation this year.

The long heatwave, which is likely to contribute to the UK’s hottest summer on record, is likely to prove a boon to anyone in the tourism and travel industry as residents find no need to jet off abroad to soak up the rays.

It is thought as many as 38 million British people will opt for a UK break of some kind this summer.