If you are a big fan of outdoor activities, or you live near to one of our 15 UK National Parks, you have most likely visited one for a family day out, to hike, bike or explore. However, there are plenty of people in the UK who haven’t yet had that opportunity. To celebrate National Park Week on 23-29 July, here are a few reasons why you should spend time making the most of our National Parks this summer…
Does the thought of untamed, open countryside excite you? Thousands of holidaymakers love to stay in the National Parks each year, and there’s plenty of ways to enjoy it. A gentle walk through clearly marked paths, cycling through the country lanes, or getting off-road completely on a mountain scramble. Our locations are all within or near to a National Park and are perfect for a weekend, midweek or week-long break. Which National Park do you think you’d like to try first?
North York Moors
Picture wide open moors, beautiful swathes of purple heather and the call of birds. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, you’ve found it. But don’t think the moors are empty.
Hop onto the NYMR steam train to take in just a few of the popular destinations across the moors.
Near to: Keldy and Cropton
Must see: The natural wonder of the Hole of Horcum
The South Downs stretches from Winchester to Eastbourne in Hampshire, and along the 100-mile length you’ll find a diversity of stunning views. But one of the best times to visit is actually at night. As one of the world’s newest International Dark Sky Reserves, you’ll find incredible views of the stars – weather permitting, of course.
Near to: Blackwood Forest
Must visit: Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium
As Britain’s largest protected wetland, the Broads in Norfolk and Suffolk have a completely different atmosphere to the open moors. You can explore over 125 miles of waterways by bike or on foot of course – but why wouldn’t you choose to take a boat?
Near to: Thorpe Forest
Must try: Hire a boat for a day
Loch Lomond & the Trossachs
Dramatic mountain views, deep serene lochs and ancient forest, you’ll find it all in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Here truly is the wild, challenging scenery that more experienced hikers love.
Climb to the top of some of the towering hills and take a deep breath. Now you understand just what makes our National Parks so special.
Near to: Strathyre and Ardgartan Argyll
Must climb: Relatively gentle Ben A’an offers spectacular views
A land of ups and downs, Snowdonia’s nine mountain ranges make for a varied landscape. While there’s plenty of ways to discover this National Park, surely gorge walking must be one of the most exciting?
Near to: Beddgelert
Must try: Gorge walking
The name Dartmoor conjures images of misty, magical landscapes. One of the more archaeologically important National Parks, Dartmoor has stone circles, medieval villages and plenty of history to discover.
Near to: Deerpark
Must see: Grimspound
Rivers collide in the Brecon Beacons to form a series of cascading waterfalls, tumbling through narrow gorges. For family fun, wading and a refreshing walk on a summer’s day, this is the National Park to visit.
Near to: Forest of Dean
Must see: Waterfall Country
The Peak District was the first National Park and has nearly 200 square miles of open access land for walkers. But don’t let your lack of orientation skills put you off. There are miles of family-friendly, clearly marked trails to explore, including the popular stepping stones of Dovedale.
Near to: Sherwood Forest
Must do: Guided walks
The UK’s National Parks hold a treasure for everyone. Stay on the signposted routes or, for the more experienced explorer, find your own way through the open access lands. You’ll discover fresh air, nature, history and plenty of adventure.