Top Ten National Parks in the UK For a Perfect Staycation

We are lucky that the United Kingdom is home to a large number of breath-taking national parks and nature reserves. Take a look at our list of Top Ten National Parks in the UK for a perfect staycation:

  1. Peak District
  2. Snowdonia National Park
  3. New Forest National Park
  4. South Downs National Park
  5. Pembrokeshire National Park
  6. Dartmoor National Park
  7. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs
  8. Yorkshire Dales
  9. Lake District
  10. Cairngorms National Park

Peak District

1. PEAK DISTRICT

The UK’s first national park, the Peak District set a high standard for the beauty you can expect from national parks! Lying between Manchester and Sheffield, the Peaks cover 200 square miles of open access land for its visitors. There is no limit to the adventures you can have there!.

A haven for activities, the Peaks classics include walking and cycling. But for the adrenaline junkies out there, climbing and caving opportunities can get your heart pumping!

Why not try your hand at fell running? A classic British pastime.

Peak District, Courtesy of Dean Longmate – Unsplash.com

Snowdonia National Park

2. SNOWDONIA NATIONAL PARK

Home to the highest mountain in Wales, Snowdonia National Park is renowned for its rugged landscape and ancient Celtic ruins. Remember to pack your waterproof clothing! Snowdonia is one of the wettest parts of the UK!

For climbing fans, Snowdonia National Park is a must. Mount Snowdon forms part of the National Three Peaks Challenge, where the climbers take on the task of summiting Mount Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis within 24hours. If climbing isn’t your cup of tea, then why not try the various waters sports, cycle routes or horse rides the park has to offer? You can fill your summer days with new, exciting activities for the whole family.

Visiting Snowdonia isn’t just for exercise enthusiasts. It also boasts a rich history including its boom in the industrial revolution. To learn more about the history of the park and its surrounding areas, the narrow gauge railways are the place for you. A fleet of 7 railways throughout the park, each giving a unique view of the natural sights and history about the use of the trains and their purpose.

Snowdonia National Park, Courtesy of Josh Kirk – Unsplash.com

New Forest National Park

3. NEW FOREST NATIONAL PARK

This royal forest, with its rich hunting history, is home to ancient trees, sprawling moorland and famed ponies. The New Forest is the perfect destination for the whole family.

If you are an experienced walker, or simply prefer a Sunday stroll the New Forest has something for everyone. Covering 219 square miles, the national park is a haven for both indoor and outdoor activities.

For those Brits who are fans of the great outdoors, there are horse riding trails, cycle paths, boat trips and fishing lakes. For the rainy British summer days, indoor activities can include the National Motor Museum, Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway and more tea rooms than you can dream of!

Helpful reminder: The New Forest ponies roam free within the park and have the right of way over vehicles in the road. Be cautious when driving around!

Top 10 UK National Parks for your Summer Staycation - New Forest
New Forest Pony – Courtesy of Annie Spratt, Unsplash.com

SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK

4. SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK

The newest national park in the UK, having been designated in 2010!
Covering an area of 628 square miles, the South Downs stretches across Southern England across Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex.

Looking for famous UK sights? The Seven Sisters chalk cliffs are sat in the heart of the South Downs and see approximately 350,000 visitors each year.

There is something for everyone, for walkers, they can take on the South Downs Way. Water babies can take a dip in the English Channel. If the great outdoors isn’t your cup of tea, you can spend the day exploring the rich history of Arundel Castle or take in the sights Brighton has to offer.

South Downs National Park, Courtesy of Luca Upper – Unsplash.com

Pembrokeshire National Park

5. PEMBROKESHIRE NATIONAL PARK AND COAST

Covering the coast in west Wales, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park was established in 1952 and is one of the three national parks in Wales. Made up of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and moorland, the National Park makes for interesting geology. If you are a fan of breathtaking coastal views, Pembrokeshire National Park has over 186 miles to explore and enjoy!

Top 10 UK National Parks for your Summer Staycation - Pembrokeshire National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast, Courtesy of Daniel Morris – Unsplash.com

DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK

6. DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK

Beautiful, glorious, wild. Three words you commonly will hear to describe Dartmoor National Park. Famously known as the setting of classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Dartmoor has a reputation for being the home to weird and wonderful myths and legends.

Home to the largest open moor in Southern England, its tranquillity and remoteness provide you with a unique outdoor experience for your inner wildling. Activities in the park are rich in variety; whitewater kayaking, canoeing, geocaching are popular along with the oldest pursuit, hill walking.

Top 10 UK National Parks for your Summer Staycation - Dartmoor National Park
Dartmoor National Park, Courtesy of BT Dub – Unsplash.com

loch-lomond-and-the-trossachs

7. LOCH LOMOND & THE TROSSACHS

Set against the dramatic mountain landscape; Loch Lomond and the Trossachs is made up of 22 lochs and 21 Munros. Officially opened in 2002 and has become a popular spot for both locals and guests.

Encompassing 720 square miles, hillwalkers and climbers can find their heaven in this Scottish paradise, with a variety of routes for all experience levels.

For the best views, a sunrise hill climb is recommended to take in the natural beauty around you. Why not enjoy a flask of tea at the top as well?

Loch Lomond, Courtesy of Gary Ellis – Unsplash.com

Yorkshire Dales

8. YORKSHIRE DALES

Find your perfect staycation in the Yorkshire Dales. There is everything a nature lover could dream of and more. With thousands of square miles of moors, valleys, hills and villages, there is always something to do in the Dales!

It’s not a haven for the keen walkers and hikers, it also provides a labyrinth of caves open to the public to explore. Currently, there are over 2500 known caves within the National Park.

If you want to make the most of the natural sights surrounding you, then the glamping sites let you take in the beauty with a touch of luxury! To see naturally beautifully British highlights and incredible character, visit the Yorkshire Dales for your summer break. 

Yorkshire Dales, Courtesy of Jakob Cotton – Unsplash.com

Lake District

9. LAKE DISTRICT

The most popular of the national parks, the Lake District welcomes over 16 million visitors each year. In 2017, it was named as the newest UNESCO Protected Sites

From its namesake, it makes sense that it is home to some of the largest and deepest lakes in the UK, including Lake Windermere and Wast Water.

Valleys, Woodlands, Fells, Lakes and Coastline – the Lake District has everything you need for a wonderful nature-filled break!

Top 10 UK National Parks for your Summer Staycation- Lake Windermere
Lake Windermere, Lake District – Courtesy of Jaqueline O’Gara, Unsplash.com

Cairngorms National Park

10. CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK

The newest national park in the collection, the Cairngorms became a national park in 2003. It also carries the title of largest UK national park. Against the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, the Cairngorms offers a vast variety of wildlife, activities, and nature for its visitors.

For avid climbers, hikers and skiers, the Cairngorms provide several great alpine challenges. Home to 5 out of 6 of Scotland’s highest peaks, the national park contains the finest collection of landforms in the UK. From valley basins to glacier peaks – there is something for the whole family to enjoy!

The Cairngorms, Courtesy of Lonely Planet

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