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National Park Visits

National Park Visits

This July you are being invited to enjoy a little peace and quiet amongst stunning scenery as part of National Parks Week. With a total of 15 national Parks across the UK, two of which are on the doorstep of the south east there’s plenty on offer. Read on for more information.  

There are 15 national parks across the UK, whether you visit the ones close by or travel further afield below you’ll find the key areas of interest for each one and looks to find out more.

BRECON BEACONS

Mountains and moorland, standing stones and castles, lively waterfalls and unique geology

Key areas of interest

  • Dramatic mountain landscapes including 886m high Pen Y Fan
  • Walking and cycling for all abilities
  • Welsh mountain ponies and red kites
  • Global Geopark with unique geology
  • International Dark Sky Reserve
  • Less than an hour from Cardiff

Visit the Brecon Beacons National Park website

THE BROADS

Britain’s largest protected wetland was formed by the flooding of old peat diggings and is now home to some of Britain’s rarest wildlife.

Key areas of interest

  • A mosaic of landscapes with 7 rivers and over 60 broads, home to over a quarter of our rarest wildlife
  • Great for boating of all kinds
  • Gentle footpaths and cycle routes, fabulous fishing
  • A Roman fort, medieval churches and traditional drainage windmills
  • The River Wensum runs right into the city of Norwich, just 2 hours from London

Visit the Broads National Park website

CAIRNGORMS

Britain’s largest National Park containing its highest mountain range and its biggest native forests; spectacularly clean rivers and lochs; moorland and farmland and a stronghold for Britain’s wildlife

Key areas of interest

  • Dramatic mountain landscapes
  • Ancient Caledonian pine forests
  • Home to many of the UK’s unique wildlife
  • Great for hillwalking, climbing and cycling
  • Winter sports including skiing
  • Historic castles, towns, whisky and Highland estates

Visit the Cairngorms National Park website

DARTMOOR

Heather-covered moorland, rocky granite tors, stone circles and medieval villages, iconic Dartmoor ponies, and vibrant villages with traditional events.

Key areas of interest

  • Variety of walking and cycling routes for all abilities
  • Only National Park in England to allow wild camping
  • Internationally important archaeology, including longest stone row in the world
  • Inspirational location for films, books and music
  • Less than an hour from Exeter and Plymouth

Visit Dartmoor National Park website

EXMOOR

Moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland, high cliffs that plunge into the Bristol Channel, and cosy villages offering delicious local produce.

Key areas of interest

  • Ancient woodlands and swathes of bluebells
  • Wild red deer and Exmoor ponies
  • Burial mounds, standing stones, Roman forts and medieval villages
  • International Dark Sky reserve
  • Less than an hour from Exeter

Visit Exmoor National Park website

LAKE DISTRICT

High fells, deep glacial lakes and thriving rural communities, the Lake District has inspired writers and visitors for centuries.

Key areas of interest

  • Scafell, Englands’s highest mountain
  • 16 main lakes and many smaller tarns
  • Boat trips, sailing, canoeing and swimming
  • Wainwright’s famous 214 fell walks
  • Less than 2 hours from Manchester

Visit the Lake District National Park website

LOCH LOMOND & THE TROSSACHS

With 22 large lochs, 21 Munros and about 50 rivers and streams, you’re never far from a fantastic view across water.

Key areas of interest

  • Dramatic mountain landscapes
  • Great for hillwalking and climbing
  • Boat trips, sailing and canoeing
  • Less than an hour from Glasgow

Visit Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park website

NEW FOREST

An historic royal hunting forest, where ancient woodlands and open heathland have commoning rights for grazing ponies, cattle and pigs

Key areas of interest

  • Ponies, cows and pigs on the open forest
  • Ancient trees, some over 1000 years old
  • A coastline of shingle, saltmarsh, lagoons and mudflats, with a strong maritime heritage
  • Less than an hour from Southampton, Bournemouth and Salisbury

Visit the New Forest National Park website

NORTHUMBERLAND

England’s most tranquil area with rolling hills, gentle mountains and internationally recognised dark skies.

Key areas of interest

  • Remote tranquil hills and mountains
  • Northumberland Dark Sky Park, the largest area of protected night sky in Europe
  • Hadrian’s Wall Roman remains
  • Wild mountain goats
  • Less than an hour from Newcastle

Visit Northumberland National Park website

NORTH YORK MOORS

Wide open moors, big skies, amazing swathes of purple heather, and a beautiful coastline with traditional fishing villages, cliffs and beaches.

Key areas of interest

  • Heritage in action, from steam railway to artisan crafts
  • Enticing landscapes with fantastic cycling and walking
  • Peaceful woodlands, ancient trees, tranquil dales
  • Moorland birds, bluebells and native wild daffodils
  • Seaside breaks at Robin Hood’s Bay and Staithes
  • Less than an hour from York

Visit the North York Moors National Park website

PEAK DISTRICT

Britain’s first National Park, nestled between the cities of Manchester and Sheffield, is a land of contrasts: dramatic heather moorland hills and rock edges in the north, limestone dales and rivers in the south.

Key areas of interest

  • Dark Peak: gritstone country. Stanage Edge is a hotspot for rock climbers and wildlife watchers
  • White Peak: limestone country. Discover panoramic views from the trail at Parsley Hay
  • Nearly 200 square miles of open access land for walkers to enjoy
  • 34 miles of family-friendly trails ideal for walkers, cyclists and horse riders

Visit the Peak District National Park website

PEMBROKESHIRE COAST

Britain’s only fully coastal National Park with 418km of cliffs, beaches, harbours and coves.

Key areas of interest

  • Long distance walking trail along 300km of coastline
  • Seabirds, seals, dolphins and basking sharks
  • Walking, cycling, horse riding, canoeing and coasterring
  • Prehistoric tombs, Celtic crosses, Iron Age Hill Forts and numerous castles

Visit the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park website

SNOWDONIA

Dominated by the impressive Snowdonia mountain range, discover picturesque villages, steep river gorges and waterfalls and a coastline of fine sandy beaches.

Key areas of interest

  • Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales
  • Rich and varied landscapes including wooded valleys, peatlands and moorlands
  • Historic castles
  • 23 miles of coastline with sand dune backed beaches
  • The Welsh language, spoken by over half the population
  • Just 2 hours from Manchester

Visit Snowdonia National Park website

SOUTH DOWNS

Discover the world-famous white cliffs at Seven Sisters, rolling green and gold hills, ancient woodland and lowland heaths or explore ‘picture perfect’ villages, traditional country pubs and flourishing vineyards.

Key areas of interest

  • Walk, cycle or horse ride the length of the National Park on the 160km South Downs Way national trail
  • Chalk grasslands and woodlands rich in wildflowers and butterflies and dramatic chalk cliff coastline
  • Bustling market towns, hidden villages and historic estates
  • Just over an hour by train from London and a short bus ride from Brighton, Portsmouth, Eastbourne and Winchester

YORKSHIRE DALES

Rolling green valleys scattered with traditional field barns and drystone walls.

Key areas of interest

  • Lush valleys, heather moorland, rivers and waterfalls
  • The home of famous Wendsleydale cheese
  • Yorkshire’s Three peaks – Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent
  • Limestone pavement at natural amphitheatre Malham Cove
  • Only an hour from Leeds and York

Visit the Yorkshire Dales National Park website

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