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National Parks of the United Kingdom

By: Cityseeker
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Take in the natural scenery and visit the amazing landmarks that dot the United Kingdom's thirteen magnificent national parks. Of these parks, ten can be found in England, three in Wales and two in Scotland.


Peak District National Park

Nestled in the eponymous region, the Peak District National Park is a sprawling destination, replete with plentiful scenic trails, winding pathways, spectacular massifs, azure lakes and so much more. Initiated with the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the region, the national park supports a host of native and rare wildlife, birdlife and plant species. Spanning multiple counties, this extensive parkland is teeming with exhilarating recreational opportunities. Reckoned as one of the most visited parks in the world, the Peak District National Park offers opportunities for hiking, swimming, fishing, hill walking, horse riding, biking and a whole lot more.

Hope Valley, United Kingdom
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Lake District National Park

Located in Cumbria county, the Lake District National Park is a world heritage site covering an area of 2,292 square kilometers (885 square miles). The lush and beautiful landscape is dotted with 12 lakes, which includes the largest natural lake in England, Windermere, as well as numerous small and large communities like Keswick. The park's undulating landscape, with its lakes and craggy mountains, is home to an abundance of flora and fauna like the Peregrine falcon, Golden Eagles and Arctic Char. A multitude of historical sites like Muncaster Castle and Rydal Mount, where Wordsworth once penned his verses, pepper the landscape and illustrate the region's cultural significance.

Kendal, United Kingdom
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Snowdonia National Park

In 1951, Snowdonia was established as Wales' first national park and remains one of the region's most visited nature reserves. The park takes its name from Snowdon, Wales' tallest mountain at a height of 1,085 meters (3,560 feet). It is the centerpiece of the national park and a favored spot for hiking expeditions. The highlands, called Eryri by the locals, span nine mountain chains that cover nearly 52 percent of the total area of this national park. Home to over 26,000 people, much of Snowdonia's sprawling expanse of 2,130 square kilometers (823 square miles) is given over to agriculture and farming. Amid the rural landscape and undulating massifs of Snowdonia, lies a vivid collage of forests, rivers, valleys, and lakes. To the west, the park is edged in by a spectacular coastline trimmed with sandy beaches while at its heart lies Wales' largest natural lake. A landscape of contrasts where forests, farms and beaches go hand in hand, Snowdonia holds the esteemed title of one of the UK's most popular national parks.

Caernarfon, United Kingdom
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Dartmoor National Park

The Dartmoor National Park is a unique destination, boasting a rich tapestry of natural attractions. Found in Devon County, this former expanse of countryside is a famed parkland now, welcoming thousands of intrepid travelers annually. The untamed landscape here is peppered with soaring massifs, azure lochs, vast moorlands, deep valleys and historic attractions. Aptly dubbed as the land of contrasts, this parkland astounds visitors with it eclectic bouquet of offerings and recreational opportunities. Walk amidst spectacular environs along the Meldon Viaduct, rekindle your love for history with visits to Fernworthy Stone Circle, Foggintor Quarry and Merrivale Prehistoric Settlement, or ascend heights on the slopes of Hound Tor, Pew Tor and the Great Links Tor. With the mélange of sights and landscapes found here, Dartmoor National Park will leave you spoilt for choice.

Bovey Tracey, United Kingdom
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Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is one of Britain’s foremost national parks and comprises an area of 629 square kilometers (243 square miles) riddled with a tapestry of forests, marshes, craggy cliffs, inland hills and predominantly, wonderful stretches of beaches bestowed with the Blue Flag status. Some of the beaches are better suited for adventure and adrenaline, and offer a host of activities such as water sports, beach games, rock pooling etc. while some beaches are more equipped for a serene and secluded afternoon under the sun. Also doubling as a wonderland for history aficionados, this park is a massive repository of vivid rocks, caves and archways, coupled with a troupe of pre-historic monuments, like the antiquated St. Govan's Chapel and the enigmatic ruins of Pentre Ifan. Come spring, the park is a sight to behold, when its dense woods brim unabashedly with a wealth of flora and fauna like tottering rabbits, ladybirds and the quintessential Atlantic Puffin.

Haverfordwest, United Kingdom
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North York Moors National Park

This national park opened in 1952 is recognized for its rare species of shrub known as the moorland that are only found in the grassland area. The natural beauty of the park is stunning featuring impressive cliffs, moorland plateau, ranges of hills and deep valleys. The park is open for sightseeing, hiking, cycling, mountain biking and horse riding. The steep edges of the park are used by the gliding clubs. The scenic beauty of the park has also been used as a backdrop in several British films and programs.

Helmsley, United Kingdom
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Yorkshire Dales National Park

Any visit to the historic county must include a trip to Yorkshire Dales National Park. Featuring an expansive wilderness sliced by footpaths and bridleways, spectacular geology and picturesque rural villages and towns, the park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and those inclined to exploring the bounties of nature. ‘Dales’ refers to the verdant valleys overlooked by limestone cliffs, escarpments and peaks punctuated by drystone walls and features synonymous with the English countryside. The eclectic landscape of the park is populated with cascading waterfalls, dense woodlands, historic ruins and more. The assortment of natural attractions lead to an equally diverse and impressive array of recreational opportunities on offer. While each of the many attractions here are novel and alluring, some simply cannot be missed. These include the likes of the dramatic Aysgarth Falls, the gorge at Gordale Scar and Ingleborough, one of the UK's most imposing peaks.

Leyburn, United Kingdom
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Exmoor National Park

Vast swathes of moorland, primal wooded hills, and miles of wild rugged coastline characterize the Exmoor National Park. This park has been designated as the first European Dark Sky Reserve, free from man-made light pollution, open to nature's own light show from the stars. From its plunging cliffs to its picturesque forests and heather-scented moorland where native ponies roam free, the park is home to more than a 1000 plants and 250 bird species that thrive within its tranquil borders. More than 8000 years of history can be traced through the thousands of archaeological sites that dot the parkland. Eco-tourists and adventure seekers make their way to the park for marathons on England's highest cliffs, glimpses of wild red deer or stargaze to their heart's content.

Dulverton, United Kingdom
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Northumberland National Park

Boasting an undulating topography backdropped by the rolling Cheviot Hills, Northumberland National Park is a sight of sheer solace and scenery. The park resides where rumbling moorland and verdant plantations give way to an array of pre-historic and archaeological monuments. Slicing through the heart of the forest is the legendary Hadrian's Wall, which lends it a certain kind of historical, otherworldly allure. Noted attractions at the park include the Hethpool House that is ornamented with an eponymous lake and the windbeaten Pele Towers, which are deeply accentuated by sweeping valleys and prancing rivers. Come spring, it is as if the park comes alive with a bright green wilderness where birds croon in their singsong voices and flowers bloom in all their vibrant glory. The national park also doubles as a stargazer's wonderland. Its pristine dark skies, soaked in celestial beauty unveil an astounding wealth of stars and incredible cosmic wonders.

Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
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Brecon Beacons National Park

The beauty of the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales is intertwined by the unique facets of astonishing attractions that lie within its depths, and a storied heritage shaped by years of human civilization. The park is framed by some of the highest mountains in southern Britain, such as the eponymous Brecon Beacons range, which towers at 886 meters (2,907 feet). Swirls of mist coat the summit of this olden natural landmark, while closer to its foothills, emerald pastures tumble down in an enchanting mosaic to meet the blue Llangorse Lake. The park's boundaries are sewn by the Black Mountain to the west and the Fforest Fawr in its heartland. Amid the park's breathtaking scenery, vestiges of age-old civilizations dot the landscape, from Bronze Age menhirs and Medieval fortresses, to Neolithic tombs and world heritage sites. The Brecon Beacons National Park offers a wealth of nature trails for outdoor enthusiasts who can witness the park's boundless extremes in all its glory, from long-distance cycling trails like the Taff Trail, to a 161 kilometer (100-mile) route that extends from Abergavenny in the east to Llangadog in the west.

Brecon, United Kingdom
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The Broads National Park

Home to boundless, serene landscapes, rich wildlife and a host of cultural monuments, the magnificent Broads National Park is an enticing destination for all. The numerous Broads, or open areas of waters, are the highlighting feature of the park. Additionally, the park boasts a rich network of seven rivers. Given the array of water bodies found here, the park attracts scores of outdoor enthusiasts looking to indulge in waters sports. While boating remains the most popular activity, opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding and sailing are also found in plenty. The stunning diversity of flora and fauna is sure to delight you, with sightings of rare butterflies only adding to the allure. One can also find historic buildings, windmills and many museums here. A haven for adventure seekers and a must-visit for nature lovers, the Broads National Park is a prized gem of UK.

Norwich, United Kingdom
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Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Gleaming freshwater lakes, idyllic glens and sinuous stretches of hills girdle the span between Scotland's Lowlands and Highlands. The result is a remarkable mosaic of dynamic landscapes that shuttle before the eyes, summing up the versatile natural beauty that makes up the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. The centerpiece of the park is the eponymous Loch Lomond, a freshwater islet-studded lake that straddles picturesque hamlets like Balloch, Tarbet and Rowardennan along its stretch. Framing the lake are mountains soaring above an altitude of 900 meters (2,952 feet), collectively known as Munros. About 20 of them swell along the park's verdant expanse, of which Ben More is the highest at 1,174 meters (3,852 feet). The West Highland Way, a natural footpath that slices through the heart of the park regales hikers with captivating sceneries, even as peregrine falcons and ospreys circle high above the boundless expanses of the park.

Balloch, United Kingdom
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