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The sea breeze, baking and fish and chips top list of nation’s favourite smells

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The sea breeze, cut grass and pine trees are amongst the nation’s favourite smells, a new survey has found. The study of 2,000 detailed the 50 most commonly loved smells for Brits and found a tendency to choose scents that evoke nostalgia and remind them of particular places and people.

A slice of the outdoors and English countryside proved popular, while freshly cut flowers, wood smoke and forests are other loved aromas, along with rose, lavender and honeysuckle bushes.

The research, commissioned by AirWick, found people are drawn to the great outdoors with alluring aromas found at the beach or rambling through countryside popular.

More unusual smells commonly found outside included creosote on fence panels, barbeques, rain, petrol and bonfires.

A spokeswoman for the AirWick National Park range said:

“It is no surprise that the smells of nature top the list. Whether it’s that longing for fresh air, or a desire to be out in the great outdoors, scents can be highly evocative.

“Other, more unusual inclusions on the list feature because they make people feel really sentimental and wistful.

“Often a smell can take us right back to our childhood, and evoke wonderful memories of times gone by.

“If you spent hours and hours enjoying the great outdoors when younger, a familiar scent such as lavender bushes or pine trees can really take you back.

“The new AirWick National Parks collection is inspired by Britain’s breathing spaces and crafted by AirWick’s Master Perfumers to bring fresh scents and natural aromas into the home.”

The study shows that certain foods also appear on the list for their deliciously distinctive fragrance – in particular lemon, vanilla, chocolate, cherries and coconut.

Baking takes second place in the survey, as people can’t resist the mouth-watering aroma of bread rising, cakes cooking and muffins cooling.

Furthermore, Britain’s best loved takeaway – fish and chips – takes third place in the poll, proving the nation can’t resist the allure of salt and vinegar on a hot portion of battered cod and fries.

Another British favourite, the traditional Sunday roast, takes seventh place, while other food favourites include bacon, cinnamon, popcorn and biscuits.

More insightful entries to the top 50 list include the interior of a newly bought car, cigars, babies, and a freshly cleaned house.

Fresh linen, log fires, aftershave, new books and leather also feature as smells adults love.

More than half of those polled admit there are certain places that they just love the smell of, with the beach, the countryside and woodlands being the favourites.

And when it comes to associating smells with people, 38% say their partner has a very recognisable scent, while a fifth relate certain scents to their parents.

Astonishingly, 18% of people polled admit there are even some smells that remind them of particular work colleagues.

Remarkably, just under a quarter of people can still remember how their ex-partner smelt, and say they could be easily identified by their aftershave, shampoo or ‘natural smell’.


1. The sea breeze
2. Baking
3. Fish and chips
4. Cut grass
5. Coffee
6. Pine trees
7. Sunday roast
8. Bacon
9. Fresh linen
10. Freshly cut flowers
11. Perfume
12. Roses
13. Lavender
14. Wood smoke
15. The forest / woods
16. Honeysuckle
17. Log fires
18. Freshly cleaned house
19. Lemon
20. Vanilla
21. The beach
22. Candles
23. Barbeques
24. Chocolate
25. Coconut
26. Cinnamon
27. Country air
28. Babies
29. Aftershave
30. Freshly washed hair
31. Doughnuts
32. New car
33. Leather
34. New books
35. Rain
36. Christmas cake
37. Petrol
38. Matches
39. Cherry
40. Biscuits
41. Lilies
42. Marzipan
43. Bonfires
44. Sun cream
45. Popcorn
46. Creosote
47. Cigars
48. Cheese
49. Home fragrance
50. Wine