Top 10 unmissable national parks in the UK

Authored by Sarah Parker
Posted: Friday, December 27, 2019 - 21:34

The United Kingdom is well known for being a nation home to beautiful landscapes and breathtaking scenery. Across the UK there are 15 stunning national parks, which should be visited by every nature lover and adventurous traveller at least once in a lifetime. You can find these parks all over the nation and if you live in a city and find yourself missing the fresh air and tranquillity of the green spaces, this list will not disappoint you.

Holidu, the search engine for holiday rentals, is here to help you update your travel bucket list. Using data from Google, Holidu has put together a ranking of the top ten national parks in the United Kingdom. Prepare to start planning your next journey to one of these spectacular locations.

Snowdonia National Park, Wales, United Kingdom

1. Snowdonia National Park, Wales - 4,9 ★ out of 18.522 reviews

The park that tops both the British and European ranking is Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Home to the highest point south of the Scottish border (Mt Snowdon: 1,085m), Snowdonia National Park is definitely a go-to location if you desire some breathtaking scenery. Home to green forests, clear lakes, torrential streams, this park is the epitome of tranquillity and the fresh air will leave your lungs feeling full and energised. Climb (or take a steam train) to the top of Mount Snowdon and you will realise at the top why this park is named “Eryi” - The Land of the Eagle.

2. Lake District National Park, Cumbria, North West England - 4.8 ★ out of 31.480 reviews

In second place, we have England’s largest national park – the Lake District, situated in the county of Cumbria. With important titles such as being home to the tallest mountain in England, Scafell Pike that reaches Scafell Pike at 978 metres (3210 feet) and the longest lake in England, Windermere, which is 10.5 miles long, it’s no surprise that the Lake District is one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations. Every year more than 15 million people takea trip to the national park to marvel at the beauty of its lakes, mountains, forests and wildlife that inhabit it. The Lake District was also given World Heritage Site status a few years ago, finally giving the stunning park the true recognition it deserves.

3. Peak District National Park, Central England - 4.8 ★ out of 24.927 reviews

Completing the podium is the first park in the UK to be given official national park status back in 1951, the Peak District National Park. Covering a whopping area of 555 sq miles (1,440km2), this park comes under the counties of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. The Peak District is especially well-known for its caves, which can be found over 400 metres below ground. People even actually lived inside the caves until 1910. Choose from a variety of leisure activities such as walking, climbing, caving and horse riding. You can also explore some of the many historic buildings and trails that can be found within the park, the options are endless.

4. New Forest National Park, Hampshire, England - 4.8 ★ out of 17.815 reviews

Next up, we have one of Britain's smallest national parks, which was only given national park status in 2005. Located on the south-central coast of England in the county of Hampshire, this park has an area of 218 square miles. Like many of the national parks, New Forest is the home for many different breeds of rare plants and wildlife. Deer, newts, bats, and even has British snakes living there, including the adder, Britain’s only poisonous snake. But perhaps most notably, are the 5000 New Forest Ponies who have been roaming freely throughout the forest for around 2000 years. If you need more reason to visit this wonderful park, then fans of Sherlock Holmes series will be interested to know that the author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is buried in the New Forest.

5. Dartmoor, Devon, England - 4.8 ★ out of 11.892 reviews

Heading to the southwest of England and we come to Dartmoor, situated in the county of Devon. A particular landmark worth seeing here is Canonteign Falls, England’s second tallest waterfall. On a more obscure note, Dartmoor holds a special claim to fame, as being known for many legends and myths about pixies and other mythical beings that haunt the park. As well as a number of free ranging ponies, you will find here an abundance of wildlife including deer, foxes and rabbits. If fishing, watersports, walking, horse riding or cycling is your thing, then a trip to Dartmoor will not disappoint. You can take part in all of these activities and more. Harry Potter fans listen up - Dartmoor was the setting for the Quidditch World Cup in the Goblet of Fire!

6. Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, England - 4.8 ★ out of 9.293 reviews

Given its name due to the rivers that flow through it, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is a true beauty. With a fascinating terrain which was shaped by the glaciers during the last ice age, the Yorkshire Dales are named after the rivers and streams that run through them. Established as a National Park in 1954, this park is also famous for its many beautiful waterfalls that can be found here. In particular, Aysgarth Falls in Wensleydale is known to be awe- inspiring, especially after a heavy rainfall. Head here to marvel at the cascading water that rushes down the steep waterfalls edge.

7. North York Moors, North Yorkshire, England - 4.8 ★ out of 9.227 reviews

Heather Moorland North York Moors gets its name from the quantity of heather moorland which sprawls throughout the park and covers one third of the entire landscape. This park wears the crown for being the most wooded park in England, with its forests covering 22 percent of its entire area. If you prefer the coast, fear not, as this park boasts a 26-mile long coastline with amazing cliffs to be marveled at. The park contains a number of quaint market towns and villages that tourists can visit and enjoy experiencing their ways of life. Explore the landscape, ancient churches and learn about the old folk tales that the locals like to share.

8. Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Wales - 4.8 ★ out of 8.828 reviews

The second Welsh park in our ranking is Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which is particularly special due to it being the only park in Britain to be mainly coastal. With an area of over 200 square miles, it even covers over one third of the whole of Wales. Another brilliant fact is that when you visit the park, you are never more than 10 miles away from the sea! This gorgeous park is also home to the smallest city in the UK, St Davids, which has a population of around 1600. Pembrokeshire Coast is perfect for people who want to explore the nature whilst also having an array of amazing beaches close by, over 50 to be precise. Aside from the beaches and lush green scenery, this park also offers many different attractions to suit everyone, including a water park and the Oakwood Theme Park!

9. Cairngorms National Park, North East Scotland - 4.8 ★ out of 8.407 reviews

The Cairngorms National Park is a park that holds many titles. Not only the biggest national park in Scotland (being home to one-quarter of Scotland’s native forest), this is also the largest national park in the whole of the UK. This park is situated in the Scottish Highlands, and its area covers parts of Aberdeenshire, Moray, Highland, Angus and Perth and Kinross. As well as being the largest park in Britain, the Cairngorms is also the proud owner of four of the tallest mountains in the UK, some of the cleanest rivers and lochs in Europe and homes a quarter of the rare and endangered species in the UK. Particularly beautiful during winter, grab your skis and head to one of the three ski resorts: Cairngorm Mountain, Lecht and Glenshee. This magnificent park is twice the size of the Lake District National Park, really proving just how enormous this natural area is.

10. Exmoor National Park, South West England - 4.8 ★ out of 4.264 reviews

The last park to complete the top ten ranking is Exmoor National Park in South West England, sitting within the counties of Devon and Somerset. The name Exmoor might ring a few bells and remind you of one of the parks famous residents - the Exmoor pony. This native breed of pony is actually is oldest in Britain! With a landscape that has a history dating back 200 million years, it’s no surprise that this park is another stunning reserve of British nature. With landscape made up of moorland, forests, valleys and even coastal cliffs, the highest sea cliffs on the British mainland actually! Due to its sweeping coastline and high positioning, Exmoor is the perfect place to visit for some panoramic views of the park and beyond.

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