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High Nature Value Farmland In England | © David Hill/WikiCommons
High Nature Value Farmland In England | © David Hill/WikiCommons
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10 Spectacular National Parks In England

Picture of Maisie Hayden
Updated: 9 February 2017
England houses 10 of the UK’s 15 remarkable national parks. These world-renowned travel destinations have been dubbed Britain’s breathing spaces, as they are scattered throughout the country and present the opportunity to enjoy assorted landscapes, irreplaceable wildlife and rich culture. Each one conserves its natural environment and heritage in a distinct way, whilst guests from around the world are encouraged to relish in the exclusive qualities that each exciting park affords.
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The Broads National Park

The Broads National Park is England’s largest protected wetland and offers scenic waterways that are home to rare wildlife. Its rich history and irreplaceable ecosystems create a special place for visitors to interact with its flourishing community. Ever since the flooded man-made waterways built by peat digging produced this ecological treasure, The Broads has existed as the third largest inland waterway. The Broads Authority’s conservation efforts now cater to the plants and animals that infiltrated this region, enabling recreation while also caring for the park’s waterways. Market towns and villages decorate The Broads from the woodlands to the waters, and it is the only national park in England to stretch to the outskirts of a city. The Broads encompasses many preserved habitats, such as fen, carr woodland and grazing marshes, which entertain visitors and community members. Guests are encouraged to discover the park’s biodiversity through flat footpaths and cycle paths, while sailing, boating and fishing are also exciting ways to explore the grounds.

Yare House, 62-64 Thorpe Road Norwich, NR1 1RY

The River Bure In The Broads National Park | © M Hobbs/WikiCommons

The River Bure In The Broads National Park | © M Hobbs/WikiCommons

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Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor National Park is a thriving heather-covered moorland on the southwest tip of England that houses rocky granite tors and stone circles. Its medieval villages, which hold traditional events, grant visitors the opportunity to engage with its special community whilst enjoying the park’s historic archeology and brilliant wildlife. The Dartmoor National Park Authority ensures that the area’s natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage remain conserved. It also enhances these essential qualities by encouraging the public to understand and enjoy them through various activities and opportunities. Through the park’s many walking and cycling routes, visitors explore Dartmoor’s dramatic landscapes, such as its steep wooded river valleys, as well as its cozy hamlets. Because Dartmoor is the only national park in England to allow wild camping, visitors often encounter its stunning wildlife one-on-one. They often come across the Dartmoor ponies, which are native to the region, while discovering the many locations that have inspired films, books and music.

Parke, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ13 9JQ

Dartmoor National Park | © Herbythyme/WikiCommons

Dartmoor National Park | © Herbythyme/WikiCommons

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Exmoor National Park

Exmoor National Park encompasses a unique landscape of moorland, woodland, valleys and farmland that nature and humans crafted over thousands of years. Its medieval villages embrace their local produce, while burial mounds, standing stones and Roman forts provide compelling scenery for visitors to enjoy with their friends and family. Exmoor is an excellent place to explore the outdoors through walking, cycling and horse riding. Footpaths and bridleways weave through the park’s ancient oak woodlands and go alongside its rivers and open heather-covered moorland. The park’s high cliffs and exposure to the Bristol Channel make it a diverse area where vast exploration leads to new discoveries like its wild red deer and Exmoor ponies. Its dark skies further grant visitors the opportunity to stargaze, while its inland waters and seas offer tourists of all abilities the chance to canoe, kayak and fish. For visitors that choose to remain on land, Exmoor is the perfect place to rock climb, mountain bike and trail run.

Exmoor House, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9HL

The East Lyn River In Exmoor National Park | © Jamsta/WikiCommons

The East Lyn River In Exmoor National Park | © Jamsta/WikiCommons

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Lake District National Park

The Lake District National Park, with its high fells and deep glacial lakes, is England’s largest national park. It is home to Scafell Pike, the country’s highest mountain, as well as England’s deepest lake. Explorers of all abilities are encouraged to investigate the ambles around the lakes and the high ridge walks, where climbing over rocks may be necessary. 26 miles of coastline and estuaries make up the national park and visitors are encouraged to seek out its many dramatic views. The rivers coalesce with the sea, creating dunes and estuaries that house the area’s rich sea life and the birds that feed on it. The national park also caters to thriving rural communities that live around its 16 main lakes, smaller tarns and coastline. Because of its abundance of water, there are opportunities to go rowing, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and fishing. Guests are also free to splash about on the shore and go swimming. The Lake District offers many activities on land, allowing guests the chance to cycle, paint and visit the area’s historical places that have inspired visitors and writers for decades.

Murley Moss, Oxenholme Road, Kendal, LA9 7RL

Road Passing Through The Lake District National Park Countryside | © Diliff/WikiCommons

Road Passing Through The Lake District National Park Countryside | © Diliff/WikiCommons

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New Forest National Park

New Forest National Park’s significant landscapes make it a unique national park in southern England and a conserved area that is appreciated internationally. This historic royal hunting forest offers many things to do and places to visit. New Forest’s ancient and ornamental woodland and open heathland make it an exciting place for visitors to explore the land, culture and arts community. From its coastline of shingle, saltmarsh, lagoons and mudflats to its ancient trees, some of which are over 1000 years old, its vast landscapes make it a great place to for walks and bike rides. New Forest supports horse riding and golf as well, offering visitors a wide variety of activities to pursue. Its maritime heritage allows guests to visit places of historical interest, while various places to grab a bite and a drink are also widely available. Ever since William the Conqueror set this land aside for hunting 900 years ago, it has been a grazing hotspot for cattle, deer, ponies and pigs. These animals have shaped the landscape over the years and have made it a great place for people to explore its rivers and valley mires as well as its historic villages.

Lymington Town Hall, Avenue Road, Lymington, SO41 9ZG

The Beaulieu River In The New Forest National Park | © Jim Champion/WikiCommons

The Beaulieu River In The New Forest National Park | © Jim Champion/WikiCommons

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Northumberland National Park

Northumberland National Park is known as England’s most tranquil area courtesy of its rolling hills, dark skies and gentle mountains. Because it is the least populated national park in the country, Northumberland is the ideal place to get away from busy, everyday life. 700 miles of paths and trails crawl throughout the park’s vast landmass, offering nature enthusiasts the opportunity to get active in nature while taking in Northumberland’s stunning wildlife and landscape. The locals are happy to take in visitors for a drink or pudding, as eating out and shopping are highlights in this area. Through museums, historic sites, houses and gardens, guests are cheered on as they take in the many experiences a trip to Northumberland has to offer. Its lack of pollution offers the largest area of protected night sky in Europe, giving Northumberland the darkest skies in England. This sky allows visitors to stargaze at the Milky Way before waking up to a day full of climbing, horse riding, cycling, running and walking. Water sports are also widely available as a part of the Northumberland experience thanks to a number of rivers and reservoirs as well as Kielder Water, the largest man-made lake in Northern Europe.

Eastburn, South Park, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 1BS

Hadrian’s Wall Stones In The Northumberland National Park | © Northern Point/Flickr

Hadrian’s Wall Stones In The Northumberland National Park | © Northern Point/Flickr

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North York Moors National Park

North York Moors National Park was created by nature, but it has come to life as a result of the generations of visitors and community members that have shaped it into the national park it is today. It thrives on the peace and beauty that its enticing landscapes allow, while its rich history lets it flourish as it incorporates guests into its unique heritage. The protected landscape in North York Moors is home to market towns, villages and museums, while food and art are also attractions within this domain. Wide open moors and swathes of purple heather live beneath the park’s big skies. A steam railway further sets the backdrop for the artisan crafts that guests enjoy when taking a break from cycling and walking. This part of Yorkshire consists of tranquil low dales and high mores that extend throughout the area. The park also reaches the coastline, where its traditional fishing villages, cliffs and beaches seek to entertain guests. Visitors may come across moorland birds, bluebells and native wild daffodils as a part of their wildlife watching. Other adventure activities allow them to enjoy North York Moors’ forests and woodlands.

The Old Vicarage, Bondgate, Helmsley, York, North Yorkshire, YO62 5BP

Sutton Bank At Dusk In The North York Moors National Park | © Welcome To Yorkshire/WikiCommons

Sutton Bank At Dusk In The North York Moors National Park | © Welcome To Yorkshire/WikiCommons

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Peak District National Park

The Peak District National Park is Britain’s first national park and a great place to discover breathtaking views and a range of pastimes. Through cycling, walking and wildlife watching, visitors may explore the park’s heather moorland hills, rock edges and limestone dales. Stanage Edge is the perfect location for rock climbers and wildlife watchers, while the Peak District’s 200 square miles of open access land allows endless possibilities for walkers to further explore the grounds. The trail at Parsley Hay makes a good place for panoramic views, while walkers, cyclists and horse riders are also free to roam through 34 miles of trails. The Peak District offers great camping locations and is an excellent location for all types of learning. Although no areas in this park remain untouched by human activity, the Peak District thrives on the notion that technology and people have the potential to change the environment and the landscape’s appearance in a beneficial way. Visitors and the Peak District’s community alike are able to contribute to the park’s sustainable future. With a focus on living and working amidst managing the area, the Peak District aims to entertain guests while maintaining its biodiversity.

Aldern House, Baslow Road, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1AE

The Peak District From Stanage Edge | © Nessy-Pic/WikiCommons

The Peak District From Stanage Edge | © Nessy-Pic/WikiCommons

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South Downs National Park

The South Downs National Park is a haven for any nature-lover with its rolling green and gold hills and busy market towns. It offers a range of views with its white cliffs at Seven Sisters, farmland and flourishing vineyards. The park’s landscapes are home to magnificent wildlife, which offers peacefulness amid its bustling tourist attractions. Guests are led to interact with people and the place, coming together to explore the hidden villages and historic estates within the areas of ancient woodland and lowland heaths. A number of traditional country pubs entertain guests who may spend the day walking, cycling and horse riding along the chalk grasslands. Through trails like the South Downs Way national trail, which is over 160km long, visitors will encounter wildflowers, butterflies and other intriguing plants and animals. The South Downs land gives residents and visitors food, wildlife, clean water and access to the countryside. This landscape, which has been shaped by human use and natural causes, has become a source for unmatched geology, soils and biodiversity.

North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9DH

Beachy Head In The South Downs National Park | © Ian Stannard/WikiCommons

Beachy Head In The South Downs National Park | © Ian Stannard/WikiCommons

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Yorkshire Dales National Park

Yorkshire Dales National Park is known for its impressive limestone scenery, with pavements and underground caves well worth exploring. Its green valleys, heather moorland tops, rivers and waterfalls serve as a backdrop for outdoor activities, arts and crafts. In the midst of farm landscapes and their field barns, stone-built villages rest amongst drystone walls and flower-rich hay meadows. The people who live and work within the national park’s boundaries influence this brilliant landscape, enhancing its detailed heritage. The remains of the area’s industrial past coalesce with its astounding waterfalls and ageing broadleaved woodland. Whether guests taste-test the famous Wendsleydale cheese or visit Yorkshire’s Three Peaks – Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent – nature and people work together enjoy this amazing landscape.

Yoredale, Bainbridge, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 3EL

Cautley Home In Cumbria In The Yorkshire Dales National Park | © Peer Lawther/WikiCommons

Cautley Home In Cumbria In The Yorkshire Dales National Park | © Peer Lawther/WikiCommons