Here in the UK, as surprising as it may be for my overseas readers, there’s so much on offer to visitors besides Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and, well, you get where I’m going with this, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I love London, but the UK as a whole has so much more to offer you than what you read in generic travel magazines, or what you read in the tabloids.
City breaks are all well and good, but what about when you want to escape the stresses of city life and enjoy some peace and tranquillity and get back to nature? Well, then, you simply must check out some of the stunning National Parks found in the UK.
If you enjoy the countryside, fresh air, gorgeous scenery, and the great outdoors, a visit to one of our many National Parks is vital.
To help you decide which one to visit first, here are se7en of the most awesome National Parks in the UK.
The Lake District
The Lake District, found in the county of Cumbria, is, without question, one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Yes, I really did say the planet, and I really mean it too.
The Lake District National Park is the largest National Park in the UK. With its glacial lakes, its high fells, its imposing mountains, its impressive coastline, and its lush green forests and farmland, it is an absolute joy to visit.
Those familiar with children’s author Beatrix Potter, will also know that she was born and grew up here, and took inspiration for her stories here whilst gazing at the natural beauty of the place.
The Lake District is home to many tourist hotspots, including Lake Windermere, which you should definitely visit.
For those of you who have a passion for narrowboats, a visit to the Broads National Park should be high on the agenda.
The Broads spans the counties of Suffolk and Norfolk, and is composed of over 125 miles of waterways, which are bounded by canals, lakes, fens, and marshes.
For a truly relaxing summer holiday, hire yourself a canal boat and enjoy a boating holiday on the Norfolk Broads. Here you can enjoy stunning countryside and enjoy a spot of bird watching.
You may even be lucky enough to spot Britain’s rarest and largest breed of butterfly – the Swallowtail.
Next, I’m taking you to Wales, Boyo (sorry for that lame attempt at a Welsh accent).
Specifically, I want to talk to you about Snowdonia National Park.
Snowdonia was created in 1951 and it spans miles upon miles of gorgeous rugged mountainous terrain in North Wales.
If you enjoy adventure, Snowdonia is perfect as there is so much to do here. Whether you’re hiking up Mount Snowdon, collecting fossils by the beach, or enjoying a go on the largest Zipwire in the world, Snowdonia has it all. And let’s not forget my favourite attraction of them all: the Alpine Rollercoaster at ZipWorld. Did anyone say “no braking!?”
Just remember, because it is so high up, and so exposed to the Atlantic Coast, the weather in Snowdonia can be very temperamental and rain is virtually guaranteed, no matter what time of year you visit.
The Peak District
Now we’re heading further inland, to the absolutely gorgeous Peak District National Park.
Now, in my humble opinion, the Peak District National Park is one of the most underrated parks in the whole of the British Isles, and I don’t know why.
It is absolutely stunning as it has virtually everything you could want from a National Park, other than a coastal location.
From gorgeous villages such as Bakewell and Buxton, to desolate moorlands and underground caves like those found at Castleton, the Peak District has something for everybody.
This was actually Britain’s very first National Park, and spanning more than 200 miles, it is as vast as it is beautiful. While I couldn’t possibly name each popular place to visit here, a few tried and tested favourites include: Castleton, Bakewell, Parsley Hay trail, Hope Valley, the plague village of Eyan, Stanage Edge, and the Surprise.
If you enjoy brisk hikes through beautiful countryside, topped off by a pint and a homecooked meal in a countryside pub in front of a real log fire, make sure you get yourself to the Peak District.
Northumberland National Park
Next, we’re going further North, to the North West coast, in fact, to visit Northumberland National Park.
Northumberland National Park is considered by many to be the most tranquil National Park in all of the UK, and I can see why.
It features panoramic views of rolling hills, majestic mountains, dense moorland, and ancient villages dating back centuries.
Because it is the least populated National Park in the UK, it is quieter than the other parks on my list, despite featuring plenty of tourist favourites, including Hadrian’s Wall, and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which was the first part of the UK to be attacked by Vikings. Yikes!
The Yorkshire Dales
Ay Up, am tekkin thee’ t’Yorkshire next.
Again, sorry for the Yorkshire accent, although if you are a Yorkshire lad or lass, you might hopefully appreciate it.
Heading further inland, I present to you the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales.
Here you will find open moorland, rolling hills, farmer’s fields, and more drystone walls than you could ever possibly have imagined.
Home of the Three Peaks, and with over 900 miles of footpaths, the Yorkshire Dales are very popular amongst walkers and hikers.
Don’t forget to stop off for a pint of ale and a plate of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding before you head home.
North York Moors
Finally, I’m keeping you in what many call ‘God’s Own County’ which is the county of Yorkshire, though now we’ll be heading closer to the coast.
The North York Moors National Park is located in North Yorkshire, and is very much a place of contrasts. Here you have seaside favourites, secluded coastline, desolate moors, gorgeous farmland and rolling hills, and weather-beaten villages.
Home to amazing fishing villages like Staithes and Robin Hood’s Bay, as well as the gorgeous fishing town of Whitby, those that love the seaside will be in their element here.
If you want to head inland, simply head up to the moors, and perhaps check out the village of Goathland, which you may recognise from the TV show Heartbeat, as the village served as the setting for fictional village Aidensfield.
For what I consider the perfect day, though, enjoy a hike along the Cleveland Way footpath into Whitby, check out the abbey, visit the shops, do some crabbing, and then enjoy what many, myself included, consider to be the best fish and chips on the planet.
I trust this list will make your life easier next time when you plan an outing closer to home.
Until then, stay curious and most of all, stay safe! As usual, don’t stop wandering!
Photo sources. Lake District 1, 2, 3, Broads 1, Snowdonia 1, 2, 3, Peak District 1, 2, 3, Northumberland 1, 2, 3, Yorkshire Dales 1, 2, 3, North York Moor 1, 2, 3