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The best UK National Parks to explore this summer
The UK is blessed with 15 National Parks offering some of the most spectacular landscapes, dramatic coastlines and challenging peaks.
Our National Parks contribute to the mental and physical health of the nation. These wide-open spaces provide us with a place to enjoy nature, explore, inspire and reflect. Millions of people from around the globe visit our National Parks every year, but here in the UK we often forget how lucky we are.
Over 50% of the population live within an hour’s drive from a National Park, so if you’re looking for a change of scenery, why not take a look at some of the best National Parks the UK has to offer and take yourself on an adventure this summer.
The glorious New Forest National Park is located in Hampshire in the south-east of England. It’s known for its sweeping woodlands, wild heathlands, ancient trees, native ponies and free-roaming livestock. The New Forest offers more than 140 miles of footpaths and tracks across open moorlands, idyllic villages and woodlands.
Located in the north of England is the Yorkshire Dales National Park, famous for its rolling hills, rugged landscapes and rich cultural heritage. The Yorkshire Dales is home to the Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle-Carlisle Railway and of course the Yorkshire Three Peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. Every year, keen walkers flock to reach the top of all three peaks, known as the ‘Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge’.
The Peak District is the UK’s original National Park nestled in the middle of the country, loved for its incredible walks, breath-taking views, rocky landscapes and magnificent stately homes. The Peak District is 555 square miles covering parts of the counties of Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire. The most famous hill walks in the Peak District include Kinder Scout which is the highest peak in the area, Parkhouse and Chrome Hill.
Exmoor National Park is located in the south-west of England boasting magnificent coastlines, dramatic cliffs, expansive moorlands and woodlands. A visit to Exmoor National Park offers a variety of landscapes to explore across 267 square miles. It's home to a number of free-roaming wildlife including red deer and ponies.
The Lake District is England’s largest National Park and became a World Heritage Site in 2017. The Lake District is famous for its deep glacial lakes and home to Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. With over 3100km of rights of way, you can walk or cycle around the vast countryside and there are plenty of routes suitable for the whole family! For the little ones, Cat Bells is a great starter hill providing wonderful views of the mountains and lakes.
Staying safe and alert outside
To keep all visitors, rangers and residents safe, National Parks UK has introduced a 4-step guide for people who are planning a visit to one of the UK’s National Parks
1. Know and follow the latest Government advice
2. Plan ahead – check the latest local information
3. If it feels too crowded, it is too crowded
4. Be kind out there
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