Of all fifteen U.K. national parks, no fewer than ten of those are national parks in England. You’ll find them all over the country, from near the Scottish border to the southern coast and the deep lakes and towering mountains in between. They protect the classic English countryside and some of its cultural heritage, as well as offer wildlife a refuge and people the opportunity to recreate.
In this post, we’ll talk about the five best national parks
in England. They’re all different and feature their very own activities and
attractions. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the beautiful landscapes
of England, these are the places to focus on.
Top 5 of the Best National Parks in England
5. South Downs National Park
Situated along a stretch of the English south coast, South Downs National Park is one of the youngest national parks in England. It includes undulating green countryside, lowland heaths, photogenic villages and spectacular white coastal cliffs.
It’s a superb destination for outdoor enthusiasts, its long-distance walking paths and cycle routes offering the opportunity to explore the region in great detail. There are vineyards and typical English pubs as well, for those who enjoy a glass of wine or pint of ale.
4. Dartmoor National Park
Also in the south of England, Dartmoor National Park protects a beautiful moor in the heart of Devon, the southeastern peninsula of the British island. This is one of the prettiest regions in the entire country, a place of amazing wilderness areas, charming medieval towns, open moorlands, wild ponies and granite tors.
There’s plenty of cultural heritage in this national park, including iconic standing stones, thousands of hut circles and centuries-old farms. The region is riddled with legends and lore, the landscapes as English as they come.
3. Peak District National Park
In the very heart of England lies Peak District National Park. Established in 1951, it’s the oldest of all national parks in the U.K. Because it’s so close to major cities like Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester, it’s also one of the most-visited national parks in England, attracting millions of visitors every year.
It’s not just accessibility that makes it so popular, however. The Peak District is home to some jaw-dropping landscapes. You’ll definitely enjoy the breathtaking views of limestone dales, gritstone outcrops and expansive moorlands. And it wouldn’t be an English national park if there weren’t numerous historic sites as well.
2. Northumberland National Park
Northumberland National Park extends from the Scottish border to just south of Hadrian’s Wall. It’s the northernmost of all England national parks. Covering about a quarter of Northumberland County, it’s one of the remotest and least visited national parks in the country.
Yet, it’s a truly superb destination, especially if you want to get away from daily stresses. The rugged heather-covered hills and rolling moors of Northumberland National Park offer amazing solitude and contemplation. This is also one of the best places in the U.K. for Roman ruins. Hadrian’s Wall runs across the park from the North Sea all the way to the Irish Sea. It was once the northernmost border of the Roman Empire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The world-class Hadrian’s Wall Path parallels the wall, making for a fantastic 6-day hike.
Additionally, this is also the best place in England for stargazing. The park is home to the largest area of protected night sky in Europe.
1. Lake District National Park
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017, Lake District National Park is inarguably the greatest national park in England. It has everything you could want from a national park and more, from epic natural features to fascinating human history and wonderful wildlife.
This is by far the highest of all national parks in England—all
land in the country above 3,000 feet lies in this one park. This includes
Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. Additionally, the Lake District is
also home to Wast Water and Windermere, respectively the deepest and largest
natural lake in England.
From the high fells to the deep glacial lakes, the landscapes in the Lake District are nothing short of sensational. Besides all that natural beauty, the region is also famous for its historical association with the so-called Lake Poets, of which William Wordsworth is the most well-known. Other notable people with ties to the Lake District are art critic John Ruskin and children’s book author Beatrix Potter.
Lake District National Park also has its fair share of quaint villages to explore. Examples are Ambleside, Grasmere, Keswick and Hawkshead.
What Are Your Favorite National Parks in England?