With mesmerising, vast expanses of glorious coastline, woodland and countryside, England’s national parks are some of the best ways to take in this country’s incredible natural beauty. There are ten of these wonderful spaces spread across England, spanning mountains, lakes, forests and so much more. They are perfect for getting away and becoming one with nature. Here’s six of our favourites, each with their own unique appeal.
Lake District National Park
Covering 885 square miles of the Cumbrian countryside, the Lake District is the largest National Park in England, with its main appeal being the several picturesque lakes offering a tranquil atmosphere and some truly unforgettable views. A short, six-mile trek up the 368m-high Latrigg allows you to take in the best panoramic views of Keswick and Derwentwater below, though if you’re looking to make a full break of exploring the park, the Alfred Wainwright Memorial Walk is a six-day, 102-mile-long walk that promises to take in every lake, mountain, and valley. Our Boathouse at Knotts End is the perfect base for Lake District explorations.
New Forest National Park
Located in the heart of Hampshire, the New Forest National Park takes in a variety of landscapes, including ancient woodland, mudflats, farmland, heathland and coastal salt marshes. At the Blackwater Arboretum, an array of lesser-seen trees such as redwoods and Douglas firs carpet the land, while children will love the Sensory Trail, which starts at Blackwater. The sixty mile Solent Way also takes in a good deal of the park land, travelling from Milford-on-Sea to Emsworth Harbour. If you’re considering staying in the New Forest, consider Chewton Glen and Lime Wood, two of our favourite English Chic Retreats.
North York Moors National Park
For more than 60 years now, the North York Moors cover over 550 square miles of rolling hills, sweeping valleys, and pretty villages. The Cleveland Way takes you through over a hundred miles of the park on foot, meeting the coast at Saltburn before meandering through coastal towns and villages to Filby. It then takes you over miles of scenic countryside, with the Yorkshire Matterhorn, Roseberry Topping, dominating the horizon.
Northumberland National Park
Covering one-quarter of the county of Northumberland, the Northumberland National Park is just a stone’s throw from the Scottish border, steeped in fascinating history and home to a variety of wildlife. For a wilderness of plant and wildlife, the Cheviot Hills are home to lively skylarks and red kites. The iconic Hadrian’s Wall can also be found in this park, and you can follow the entire 73-mile length of the wall, which was first built in 122 AD to defend the Romans from the Picts and the Scots. Other historical highlights located within the park include the hut circles on Cochrane Pike and the Bronze Age burial site at Turf Knowe.
Exmoor National Park
Once a royal forest and hunting ground, the 267 square miles of Exmoor National Park span woodland, valleys, farmland and moorland. The Two Moors Way runs from Lynmouth on the north coast of the park through an array of varied landscapes before connecting to Dartmoor National Park further south, with plenty of high moorland and wooded valleys to discover on the way.
South Downs National Park
One of Great Britain’s newest national parks, the South Downs was awarded National Park status in 2010, and is also one of the most populated, stretching from the cathedral city of Winchester in the west to the market town of Lewes in the east. The park can be explored in its entirety via the South Downs Way, which connects Winchester to Beachy Head at Eastbourne on the south coast. This route can be travelled in its entirety within around a week, or smaller sections, such as the coastal stretch between Cuckmere Valley and Eastbourne, can be explored in more depth. Our favourite South Downs escapes include the White Hart and the Running Horse.
These stunning National Parks also have no shortage of incredible luxury hotels that really can be enjoyed at its best when you book a stay with us.
Image: Jake Cook, available under Creative Commons