Top 10 Amazing National Parks in England
Updated On: November 08, 2023
National Parks extend 1,386 miles of routes appointed as suitable for people with access challenges. Most people enjoy getting out into green spaces alone or with their families. It is noticed that being better connected to nature helps one to be more creative, healthier, and more relaxed. National Parks are unique, safe places to run on the journey of exploring nature.
The UK‘s National Parks welcome more than 100 million visits every year. People can visit the National Parks at any time, free of charge. They are perfect locations away from the crowd of everyday life. Let’s check out the list of the top 10 National Parks in England.
Peak District National Park
This National Park was established in 1951. It lies across five counties: Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, and Yorkshire. The park’s central location causes it to be the most accessible as it takes a 4-hour drive for 80% of the UK’s population.
The landscape consists of rough, rocky moorlands and verdant limestone valleys, guaranteeing it to be excellent for cyclists, hikers, and rock climbers alike. In fact, the most famous thing to do in the National Park is to make use of the many stunning walks in the Peak District, from the well-known Mam Tor in Castleton to the most elevated peak, Kinder Scout.
The Peak District also has various attractions, including the Blue John cavern in Hope Valley, one of the best caves and caverns in England, and the numerous magnificent historic homes like Chatsworth House in Bakewell.
|The best Time to Visit||September; for the lovely colours and fewer people.|
|The Closest City||Sheffield is the nearest city.|
|How to Get There||It takes 30 minutes by train from Sheffield, a train trip 45 minutes from Manchester, or a train trip for 2 hrs 30 minutes from London, as well.|
|Where to Stay||The YHA Castleton Losehill Hall or the gorgeous Airbnbs in the Peak District.|
Lake District National Park
Located in Cumbria, the Lake District is the UK’s largest National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage site is full of awe-inspiring landscapes, quaint rustic villages, and deep glacial lakes. The Lake District National Park has motivated numerous artists and writers throughout the years, such as Wordsworth.
The Lake District derives its name from its 16 sparkling lakes, which are excellent for swimming, windsurfing, kayaking, fishing, and sailing. Besides, the Lake District is a dream spot for hikers. Many trails keep you busy for weeks, such as the one-day hike to the top of Scafell Pike, 978 metres high. It is the highest mountain in England.
If you are an adventure lover, try gorge walking, rock climbing, and abseiling or even experience via Ferrata. If you want to unwind, you can explore some gorgeous villages, including Ambleside, Bowness-on-Windermere, and Hawkshead.
|The best Time to Visit||September–October|
|The Closest City||Manchester|
|How to Get There||5-hour drive from London, a car drive for 1 hr 30 mins from Manchester, or a 2-hour drive from York|
|Where to Stay||Stunning Airbnbs in the Lake District|
South Downs National Park
The picturesque South Downs is the UK’s newest National Park. It features rolling green hills, active market towns, and hidden coves. The excellent day trip from London involves hiking the well-known white cliffs at Seven Sisters. You will come across classic lighthouses, golden beaches, and an ice cream stand or two from Eastbourne.
If you want to expand your hike, the South Downs Way national trail extends 160 km long from Winchester to Beachy Head. If you are looking for a shorter hike, try the Halnaker tree tunnel walk. It is recommended to explore the South Downs on foot, on horseback, or by air on a paraglider.
|The best Time to Visit||Spring to early Summer|
|The Closest City||Winchester|
|How to Get There||60 to 90 minutes by train from London|
|Where to Stay||Winchester Royal Hotel|
Northumberland National Park
Northumberland is one of England’s most tranquil national parks. From Hadrian’s Wall to the Scottish border, its isolated hills are perfect for hikers. It is England’s least populated National Park and houses 700 miles of trails, making it easy to walk the beaten track.
During the day, adventurous activities are abundant, including climbing, cycling, horse riding, and watersports on the Kielder Water lake. At night, the skies become appealing since Northumberland National Park is among the least polluted areas of England. It also houses Europe’s most significant area of dark-sky preserve. That is why it is among the top places in the UK to observe the Milky Way and among the top things to do in England.
|The best Time to Visit||Spring|
|The Closest City||Newcastle|
|How to Get There||6-hour drive from London, 1 hr 45 min drive from Edinburgh|
|Where to Stay||The Hadrian Hotel|
Yorkshire Dales National Park
The Yorkshire Dales National Park lies in the central Pennines in North Yorkshire and Cumbria province. It is famous for its limestone view and underground caves. The panoramic landscapes of the National Park cause it to be one of the best to hike in.
If you are a challenge lover, you should consider the Yorkshire Three Peaks: Whernside, Ingleborough, and Pen-y-Ghent. If you want something less strenuous, you can climb Malham Cove and enjoy the breathtaking waterfall views.
For cheese fans, you can find the Wensleydale Creamery at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which houses the well-known Wensleydale cheese. Monks were the first to establish this creamery a thousand years ago. It is open to visitors who want to know more about the cheese-making process and, for sure, experience the real thing.
|The best Time to Visit||September|
|The Closest City||Leeds|
|How to Get There||4 hours by car or train|
|Where to Stay||Ribblesdale Pods|
Broads National Park
The Broads National Park lies in Norfolk. It is the largest protected wetland in England. Also, it offers 200 km of picturesque waterways. It is also among the most biodiverse National Parks in the UK and houses more than a quarter of the nation’s rarest wildlife.
It is known as the “Venice of the East”. You can explore the Broads on cycle routes, flat footpaths, or, most commonly, by boat. While sailing the waterways, you will have various opportunities to fish and explore the lovely towns, wonderful bars, and unique windmills.
There is also an abundance of other watersports, such as stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing, that fit an action-packed micro gap adventure.
|The best Time to Visit||Spring to watch birds, and November is excellent for watching baby seals on the beaches|
|The Closest City||Norwich|
|How to Get There||2 hrs by train maximum from London|
|Where to Stay||Hotel Wroxham|
Dartmoor National Park
The Southwest tip of England houses the wild wetlands of Dartmoor National Park. Also, its wild ponies, stone circles, and ancient granite tors are well-known. Dartmoor is one of England’s best all-year-round National Parks.
The views are bright whenever you visit, from Bracken in summer, gorse in the spring, and golden tones in Autumn. The most remarkable aspect of Dartmoor in comparison to the other National Parks in the UK is that wild camping is allowed. Just remember to follow the rules. It is also recommended to visit the mediaeval market towns of Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Tavistock, and the stunning Buckfast Abbey.
|The best Time to Visit||September|
|The Closest City||Exeter|
|How to Get There||4 hours by car or train from London|
|Where to Stay||The Three Crowns|
Exmoor National Park
Exmoor National Park lies in the southwest of England. It features forests, moorlands, valleys, and scenic coastlines. The park is ideal for climbing, horse riding, mountain biking, and trail running. The Exmoor National Park also houses The South West Coast Path. The trail is at the back of the coast and is 630 miles long. It turns around Cornwall and the south coast of Devon, passing through towns, including Exmouth, before ending in Weymouth.
While exploring the park, you will most likely get a chance to watch the adorable Exmoor ponies. You can try sea kayaking on the water or canoeing in Wimbleball Lake if you want to stick to the lakes.
|The best Time to Visit||Late Summer or Autumn|
|The Closest City||Taunton|
|How to Get There||3 hr 30 mins drive from London|
|Where to Stay||Tarr Farm Inn|
New Forest National Park
The New Forest National Park is not all woodlands and features wild open heathlands and stretches of gorgeous coastline. One of the New Forest’s most impressive aspects is the wild animals roaming free, such as the horses and ponies that are almost assured to be seen feeding on the heather. Thus, it is no wonder the New Forest National Park is one of the UK’s best spots to go horse riding.
If you choose to use your two feet, there is plenty of walks, historic villages, and museums in the New Forest to visit.
|The best Time to Visit||Spring|
|The Closest City||Southampton|
|How to Get There||1 hr 40 mins drive from London|
|Where to Stay||Glamping sites in New Forest|
North York Moors National Park
The North York Moors National Park lies along the northeast coast of England. The area features woodlands, open heather moorlands, and a magnificent coastline extending from Scarborough to Middlesbrough. The park is ideal for biking and hiking. The National Park is also an excellent spot to watch some of England’s most spectacular dark skies.
For visitors, there is a lot of attractions in the North York Moors, from ancient sanctuaries to timeless villages and a steam railroad that will take you back in time.
|The best Time to Visit||August–September, for the heather in full bloom|
|The Closest City||Scarborough|
|How to Get There||4-hour drive from London|
|Where to Stay||Holiday cottages in Whitby|
After viewing the top 10 National Parks in England, have you chosen which one to start with?