What Is the UK’s Best National Park?

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snowdonia-national-park-wales

The UK is home to a variety of magnificent national parks, which provide visitors with breath-taking views and wonderful scenes of nature. The question is, which one outshines the rest?

To give you an idea of the national parks situated across the UK, here’s a few details about the most iconic locations:

The Lake District

lake-district-national-park

The Lake District National Park is known for its beautiful mountain and lake scenery. It occupies a large portion of Cumbria .

Location: Cumbria, North-West England

Area: 2,362 square kilometres

Year of designation: 1951

Average number of visitors per year: 16.4 million

Highest point: Scafell Pike, at 978 metres high

Length of coastline: 23 kilometres

Number of conservation areas: 23

Number of scheduled ancient monuments: 281

Settlements of note: Ambleside, Bowness, Coniston, Grasmere, Keswick

Unmissable attractions:

  • Scafell — the highest mountain in England
  • Wainwright — host to 214 fell walks
  • The Alfred Wainwright Memorial Walk — a 102-mile circular route which begins and concludes at Windermere
  • Latrigg — measuring 368 metres high and offering panoramic views of Derwentwater and Keswick at its peak
  • 16 main lakes to discover
  • The opportunity to participate in boat trips, canoeing and sailing

More information: http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/

Yorkshire Dales

yorkshire-dales-national-park

Location: The Pennines, Yorkshire, North England

Area: 2,178 square kilometres

Year of designation: 1954

Average number of visitors per year: 9.5 million

Highest point: Whernside, at 736 metres high

Length of coastline: There is no coastline across the Yorkshire Dales

Number of conservation areas: 37

Number of scheduled ancient monuments: 199

Settlements of note: Grassington, Settle, Hawes, Sedbergh

Unmissable attractions:

  • The Three peaks of Yorkshire — Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent and Whernside
  • Malham Cove — a natural amphitheatre home to a limestone pavement
  • Heather moorland, rives, valleys and waterfalls to discover
  • The place where Wendsleydale cheese is made

More information: http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/

Peak District

peak-district-national-park

Location: Southernmost end of the Pennines, stretching across parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and Yorkshire, all in England

Area: 1,434 square kilometres

Year of designation: 1951

Average number of visitors per year: 8.75 million

Highest point: Kinder Scout, at 636 metres high

Length of coastline: There is no coastline across the Peak District

Number of conservation areas: 109

Number of scheduled ancient monuments: 469

Settlements of note: Bakewell, Tideswell

Unmissable attractions:

  • Dark Peak — home to Stanage Edge, which is a must-see for rock climbers and wildlife fans
  • White Peak — host to the Parsley Hay trail
  • 34 miles of trails perfectly designed for cyclists, horse riders and walkers alike

More information: http://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/

The Broads

the-broads-national-park

Location: Norfolk and Suffolk, South-East England

Area: 303 square kilometres

Year of designation: 1989

Average number of visitors per year: 8 million

Highest point: Strumpshaw Hill, at 38 metres high

Length of coastline: 2.7 kilometres

Number of conservation areas: 18

Number of scheduled ancient monuments: 14

Settlements of note: Acle, Beccles, Brundall, Loddon, Oulton Broad, Stalham, Wroxham

Unmissable attractions:

  • Seven rivers, including the River Wensum which runs into the city of Norwich
  • A Roman fort
  • Medieval churches
  • Traditional drainage windmills
  • More than 60 broads

More information: http://www.broads-authority.gov.uk/

North York Moors

north-york-moors

Location: North Yorkshire, Northern England

Area: 1,434 square kilometres

Year of designation: 1952

Average number of visitors per year: 7 million

Highest point: Urra Moor, at 454 metres high

Length of coastline: 42 kilometres

Number of conservation areas: 42

Number of scheduled ancient monuments: 840

Settlements of note: Helmsley, Thornton-le-Dale

Unmissable attractions:

  • Cleveland Way — a 109-mile route which starts in Helmsley and ends in Filby, via the coast of Saltburn
  • Roseberry Topping — also known as the Yorkshire Matterhorn
  • A steam railway
  • The chance to discover artisan crafts at work
  • Robin Hood’s Bay
  • Staithes

More information: http://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/

Snowdonia

snowdonia-national-park

Location: North-West Wales

Area: 2,176 square kilometres

Year of designation: 1951

Average number of visitors per year: 4.27 million

Highest point: Snowdon, at 1,085 metres high

Length of coastline: 60 kilometres

Number of conservation areas: 14

Number of scheduled ancient monuments: 359

Settlements of note: Aberdyfi, Beddgelert, Dolgellau, Trawsfynydd

Unmissable attractions:

  • Snowdon — the highest mountain in Wales
  • Historic castles
  • Sand dune-backed beaches
  • Home to wooded valleys, moorlands and peatlands

More information: http://www.eryri-npa.gov.uk/

Pembrokeshire Coast

pembrokeshire-coast

Location: West Wales

Area: 621 square kilometres

Year of designation: 1952

Average number of visitors per year: 4.2 million

Highest point: Foel Cwmcerwyn, at 536 metres high

Length of coastline: 418 kilometres

Number of conservation areas: 14

Number of scheduled ancient monuments: There aren’t any scheduled ancient monuments at Pembrokeshire Coast

Settlements of note: Saundersfoot, St Davids, Tenby

Unmissable attractions:

  • The Pembrokeshire Coast Path — a 186-mile route which stretches between Amroth and St Dogmaels
  • St David’s Cathedral
  • St David’s — the smallest city across Britain
  • St David’s Head — where magnificent views of Ramsey Island can be enjoyed
  • Preseli Hills — home to Preseli Bluestone, which is the material that was used to construct Stonehenge
  • Prehistoric tombs
  • Celtic crosses
  • Iron Age Hill Forts
  • Castles

More information: http://www.pcnpa.org.uk/

Brecon Beacons

brecon-beacons

Location: South Wales

Area: 1,344 square kilometres

Year of designation: 1957

Average number of visitors per year: 4.15 million

Highest point: Pen y Fan, at 886 metres high

Length of coastline: There is no coastline across Brecon Beacons

Number of conservation areas: 11

Number of scheduled ancient monuments: 268

Settlements of note: Brecon, Crickhowell, Gilwern, Hay

Unmissable attractions:

  • Beacons Way — a 100-mile route which stretches across the national park. It begins near Abergavenny, finishes in Bethlehem, near Llandeilo, and takes in the summits of Corn du and Pen y Fan
  • The Global Geopark — host to unique geology
  • The International Dark Sky Reserve

More information: http://www.breconbeacons.org/

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs

loch-lomond-trossach

Location: South-West Scotland

Area: 1,865 square kilometres

Year of designation: 2002

Average number of visitors per year: 4 million

Highest point: Ben More, at 1,174 metres high

Length of coastline: 58 kilometres

Number of conservation areas: 7

Number of scheduled ancient monuments: 60

Settlements of note: Balloch, Callander, Tarbet

Unmissable attractions:

  • Mountain landscapes
  • Opportunities to enjoy climbing and hillwalking activities
  • The chance to take in boat trips, canoeing and sailing experiences

More information: http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/

Dartmoor

dartmoor-national-park

Location: Devon, South-West England

Area: 953 square kilometres

Year of designation: 1951

Average number of visitors per year: 2.4 million

Highest point: High Willhays, at 621 metres high

Length of coastline: There is no coastline across Dartmoor

Number of conservation areas: 23

Number of scheduled ancient monuments: 1,058

Settlements of note: Ashburton, Buckfastleigh, Chagford, Moretonhampstead

Unmissable attractions:

  • The world’s longest stone row
  • Wild camping opportunities — the only national park in England to allow such activity
  • Many internationally important archaeology discoveries
  • Various walking and cycling routes designed for all abilities

More information: http://www.dartmoor.gov.uk/

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