Let’s be honest, we’re pretty lucky with all the nature around us here. After all, we’ve got shed loads of the best national parks in the UK that are as varied as they are beautiful.
From the oldest national parks like the gorgeous Peak District, the stunning lakes of the Lake District to the Brecon Beacons, there’s a whole heap of stunning natural beauties that’ll have you racing for the hills.
Whether you’re exploring the best places in England, traversing the Scottish Highlands, or seeing the beautiful spots of Wales, there is a pretty big mix of national parks to choose from. Better still, many of them are relatively easy to get to if travelling by train, car or bus.
Honestly, they’re just beautiful and there are so many gorgeous spots. Expect blustery cliffs, misty moors, and mostly untouched landscapes that’ll inspire every traveller to our wonderful country.
Best national parks in the UK
Take a look, below, at the best national parks in the UK to visit on your next trip.
1)Explore Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
The whole area is set along a gorgeous strip of pristine coastline the Pembrokeshire National Park is rather unique, especially as you’ve got a chance to spot some puffins and visit St. Govan’s Chapel too.
Also, for a little picturesque town, make your way (40 mins south-east) to the town of Tenby. A historic fishing village that’s well worth a visit. That being said, if it’s castles you’re after, head over to see Carew Castle that is just stunning too.
Now, to see it at its best, ramble along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path that stretches for 186 miles. Just remember to take your comfy walking shoes!
2) Find Exmoor National Park
Exmoor National park actually used to be an upscale area of royal hunting ground that the King and Queens used to hunt (way back in the day).
Nowadays, thankfully, you can expect hundreds of square miles of unspoilt woodlands, moors, and lush valleys. All safe in the knowledge that you won’t be hunted down by an overzealous Queen.
Keep your eyes peeled for deer and also the medieval Tarr Steps that are in the park itself. It really is one of the best national parks in the UK to explore when around North Devon.
3) Stroll through North York Moors National Park
If you want to stroll over some prime moorland and hills, then the North York Moors is certainly the place to come. This especially in the colder months when the foggy moors become a magical landscape that is just so picturesque. That being said, always take care if heading out in wintery conditions as snow flurries and icy snaps can come by quickly.
Once here, take in the area on foot, by bike, or muster up the courage to ride them by horse, there’s a whole intertwining range of trails and bridleways all across this stunning National Park.
4) Walk the coast at South Downs National Park
If you’re a lover of rambling and have a week to dedicate to exploring, the South Downs Way makes up hundreds of miles of terrain that takes you all the way to Beachy Head in Eastbourne.
Now, much of the route takes in pretty coastal areas such as Cuckmere Valley – where you might even spot the odd English pub or an ice-cold cider in the summer heat.
Afterwards, take a trip to see the iconic Seven Sisters chalk cliffs and walk the coastal paths along the shore; it’s a totally gorgeous area of South Downs National Park.
If it’s the history you’re after, stop off at Arundel and explore the incredible Arundel Castle that towers over the whole area. It really is huge and so impressive. plus, you can even check into your very own castle room at Amberley Castle. It really is one of the best national parks in the UK to explore
5) Explore Northumberland National Park
So, if you’re a bit of an archaeology buff, you shouldn’t miss the chance to explore Northumberland National Park and its surroundings. It’s one of the best national parks in the UK and also an area with the most castles in all the country.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Turf Knowe, a burial site that dates from the Bronze Age as well as the Cochrane Pike hut circles that are amazing to see. Afterwards, head to the coastline and explore Bamburgh Castle and see the site where the Viking Age truly began at Holy Island.
6) Discover a redwood, or two, at New Forest National Park
The New Forest National Park is best known for its interestingly named trails such as the Sensory Trail.
Here you can get up close with nature including imposing Redwoods and Douglas firs that call this stunning National Park home. It’s pretty easy to visit when you’re in the south of England and easily one of the best national parks in the UK to explore.
Oh, and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the New Forest Pony that roams the area.
7) Visit the Cairngorms National Park
Being the largest national park in Britain, the Cairngorms National Park stretches a whopping 1,748 square miles. Pretty huge, right!
Now, the park’s other claim to fame is that you will find five out of six of Scotland’s highest peaks here, which you can climb if you’re with an expert. Obviously, never try this alone and always go with local advice on when and how to climb. No one likes a careless climber.
8) Explore Brecon Beacons National Park
Wales is a stunning country on the west coast of the UK. It’s the perfect place to discover the natural beauty, picturesque charm and delicious food that makes this area one of the best national parks in the UK to explore.
Stretching from Abergavenny to Llandeilo, the Brecon Beacons National Park is a favourite place to experience the tranquil wilderness of Wales.
The park covers 519 square miles and features the 100 mile Beacons Way trail that’s less than 1 hour or so from the capital city, Cardiff.
9) Hike Snowdonia National Park
Snowdonia National Park was created in 1951 and spans miles of gorgeous terrain in rugged North Wales. It’s a totally beautiful area and one of the best national parks in the UK to explore if you love adventure.
Once here, take a trip up Mount Snowdon itself where you can still try and collect fossilised seashells on its summit (due to the area once being at the bottom of the ocean).
Afterwards, head over to one of the world’s fastest zip lines (at ZipWorld) and explore the beautiful lakes and tarns that make this area so special.
10) Explore the Lake District National Park
Officially created a park in 1951, the Lake District National Park is one of the most famous and not just for Beatrix Potter!
Not just that, it’s now one of the UK’s newest UNESCO Protected Sites.
If you have six days, or so, to spare then the Alfred Wainwright Memorial Walk has the claim to fame that it winds past every lake, mountain, and valley in the park – a perfect way to see the diversity of the beautiful region.
Plus, make sure to spend some time around one of the sixteen lakes that call this park home. Ullswater Lake is still my favourite and a totally stunning spot to stay, paddleboard and hikes the mountains. It really is one of the best national parks in the UK.