What with poor exchange rates and the worry of Brexit, staycations are on the rise in the UK. Visit England found that holiday trips taken in England rose by 6% in 2018, and with summer just around the corner, many of us are thinking about where to spend a few days to get away from it all on our own shores. But what is it that makes Britain such a great place to visit?
With a wide selection of 15 National Parks offering beautiful countryside, a wide variety of wildlife, and even a beach or two, it’s easy to see why thousands of Brits are packing up their camping gear and head to one of these beautiful parks each summer. Motorparks, who specialise in a range of practical used cars, have put together this useful guide to help you choose which National Park to spend your summer break in, should you decide to stay here this year.
Best for wildlife watching: the Cairngorms
The Cairngorms National Park boasts five of Scotland’s six highest mountains and is the largest National Park in all of the UK. With 55 peaks over 900 metres high, hikers will be in their element with the dramatic mountain landscapes with plenty of walking routes available to choose from that showcase some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery.
The Cairngorms is also home to a quarter of the UK’s rare animal species. Wildlife lovers and photographers will find a wide selection of interesting and unique animals, such as the golden eagle and Scottish wild cat.
Best for natural beauty: The Lake District
It’s easy to see why so many holiday-makers head to the Lake District each year. It is home to England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. The Lake District boasts tremendous views of some the most popular locations, such as Keswick, Derwentwater and Windermere. So it’s really no surprise that it is one of the most visited National Parks in the UK, with over 15.8 million visitors every year.
The park has recently become a World Heritage Site, joining the likes of the Taj Mahal and the Great Barrier Reef. With around 16 large lakes, you can take to the water in your canoes and kayaks or go scrambling down some of the waterfalls. However, If the water isn’t for you, then give one of their walks a go, as there are a number of routes suitable for all ages and skill levels.
Best for stargazing: Northumberland
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a relaxed holiday surrounded by miles of peaceful countryside, Northumberland has it all. Located in between the Scottish border and the industrial North East of England, it’s home to the remains of the iconic Hadrian’s Wall, dating back to Roman times. You can even take a stroll along Hadrian’s Wall path and walk amongst the wild goats which still roam the landscape.
Northumberland International Dark Sky Park offers visitors the chance to see the night sky as they’ve never seen it before. The park is protected from forms of artificial light to provide the truest stargazing experience and thereby promoting astronomy in the region.
Best for wild camping: Dartmoor
Interestingly Dartmoor National Park is the only park of its kind in the UK where wild camping is legally permitted. With almost unlimited freedom of choice as to where you can pitch your camping tent, you’ll have no trouble escaping the crowds. Camping right by the water makes it a perfect spot for water activities, such as canoeing and kayaking, and of course the park provides a constant soundtrack of wonderful lapping waves to send you off to sleep.
With a wide variety of walking and cycling routes open to the public, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make the most of everything this pretty National Park has to offer, whilst taking in some of the breath-taking views of the vast moorland and discovering the area’s rich military history. With plenty of choice of a wild places to camp, you can pitch your tent in a space that’s perfect for what you are looking for and something that’s a little different to other National Parks, offering an opportunity to experience and discover the outdoors and new wildlife.