From the 25th July to Sunday 31st is National Parks Week, and if you’re lucky enough to have planned ahead and booked a stay in one of these beautiful locations to celebrate, then well done! If not, don’t worry - there’s still much to celebrate and future holidays to enjoy. In the UK we have tendency to take our National Parks for granted but these areas of important and natural beauty certainly deserve a bit more attention and make perfect holiday destinations.
If a Summer Holiday abroad is not your thing we may have the answer. From the Cairngorms to the South Downs, wherever you live in the UK, there’s a National Park not too far away. So with the theme for National Parks Week 2016 being adventure, why not run with this? Literally! Go and explore the many different activities your closest National Park has to offer, and to help, we’ve put together a round-up of our very favourites…
This is Britain’s only completely coastal National Park and that alone should put it on the must-see list. As well as the requisite sandy beaches and blue seas, the Pembrokeshire coastline is dotted with historical sites (not just castles but also prehistoric tombs and Celtic crosses) and harbours many different walking opportunities, horse riding activities, and spots for watching birds, dolphins and basking sharks. Hard to believe you can get all this in the UK, but it’s true. This National Parks Week you can experience The Age of Adventure at Castell Henllys Iron Age Village and if you want to plan a future family adventure holiday inPembrokeshire, Bluestone Wales can offer excellent deals and packages.
The most famous attraction in Sussex is surely the city of Brighton, but surrounding this bustling and vibrant centre is the wonderful South Downs National Park that stretches from West Sussex through to Eastbourne. One of its most well-known sites has to be the White Cliffs of Seven Sisters Country Park, but the rolling hills moving back from the beaches are everything you could want from this picture-perfect English countryside. Explore the many villages and coastal towns or try and cycle the entire length of the 160km South Downs Way National Trail. This week there are adventure days taking place at Queen Elizabeth Country Park and Lancing Ring as well as a Dog Fun Day on Sunday 31st July and as it’s only an hour from London by train or a short drive from Brighton, there’s no excuse not to visit if you live in the South-East.
Perhaps the UK’s most famous and My Favourite Voucher Codes favourite National Park, does the Lake District really need much of an introduction? Its world famous sites are on many a destination bucket list – the 16 lakes and Scarfell, England’s highest mountain to name but a few - and over the year’s its beauty has featured in many films and television series. There’s plenty to do in the Lake District this National Parks Week including an Esk Estuary Escapade, bird watching at Brockhole and a guided cycle ride at Windermere, but if you want to plan an extended stay, perhaps in time for next year’s National Parks Week, Lakes Cottage Holidays offer secluded cottage holidays to get away from it all whilst still channelling that spirit of adventure.
It may be a slightly less obvious tourist hotspot than the Lake District, but Northumberland National Park is one of England’s most secluded and tranquil areas. It’s most famous attractions are the remains of Hadrian’s Wall, but if you come for the history, you stay for the rugged landscapes, wild goats and the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, the largest area of protected night sky in Europe. This week, Northumberland is celebrating with writing workshops, storytelling sessions and the Wooler Common Safari on Foot, and you can plan your next Northumberland stay with Sykes Cottages to ensure secluded accommodation in this peaceful location. But if you need a dose of city life while you stay, Northumberland National Park is within easy reach of Newcastle.
To get to Britain’s largest National Park you must travel north of the border, but your journey, long or short, will be rewarded by some of the world’s most breath-taking scenery. Here you will find the UK’s highest mountain range, largest native forest and home to some of the most unique wildlife in the country. Explore on foot, horseback on by bicycle, or in this part of the UK, you also have the option to book a skiing holiday. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during National Parks Week, why not partake in one of their ranger-led guided walks, wildlife walks through eagle territory or go the The Ugly Bug Ball Family Fun Day?
It’s hard to believe that all of this is right here in the UK, but this isn’t all our National Parks have to offer – there are also National Parks across the Yorkshire Moors, the New Forest and in the West Country. So when you book your next UK holiday or break, make a National Park visit a priority or even base your whole holiday around one of these great natural spectacles.
By Anna Scott, 25th July 2016