Data Reveals The Best National Parks in the UK

Nestled within the emerald landscapes and storied history of the United Kingdom lie some of the most breathtaking natural wonders and diverse ecosystems in the world. From the rugged mountain peaks of the Scottish Highlands to the pristine coastal cliffs of Pembrokeshire, the UK’s national parks offer an unparalleled tapestry of awe-inspiring beauty and boundless outdoor adventures perfect for families.

These protected outdoor spaces are a testament to the country’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage and providing a sanctuary for both wildlife and intrepid explorers alike. But which national park is the best in the UK?

Harwoods have delved into search data, social media interest and TripAdvisor data to find out which National Park is the best! So, if you’re a nature enthusiast or wildlife lover planning a family adventure and seeking ideas for an unforgettable road trip to the UK’s best national park, then look no further than our Index on the best national parks in the UK.

Peak District named the BEST National Park

With the highest ranking in our Index, the Peak District is the best national park in the UK. The Peak District, located in central England, is renowned for its stunning landscapes, diverse terrain, and rich cultural heritage. It is one of the UK’s most popular national parks, attracting visitors with its picturesque villages, sprawling moorlands, limestone valleys, and rugged peaks. According to TikTok views over the past 12 months, #PeakDistrict has received a whopping 73 million views! Along with this, according to Google data, the term ‘Peak District’ is searched for 76k times a month, and there are more than 2.2 million hashtags on Instagram devoted to the British national park, showing its popularity as a great destination to visit! Within the Peak District, there are numerous attractions and landmarks worth exploring. Our research uncovered Mam Tor as the most popular point of interest within the Peak District, followed by Chatsworth House, a stately home with beautiful gardens, and the historic market town of Bakewell are among the popular cultural destinations. The area is also renowned for its numerous caverns and caves, such as the Blue John Cavern and Speedwell Cavern, which offer visitors a glimpse into the region’s geological history.

Snowdonia is the second-best National Park

Snowdonia, located in North Wales, is a stunning national park known for its majestic mountains, including Mount Snowdon, providing breathtaking views and outdoor adventures like hiking and climbing. It’s also possible to reach the summit of Mount Snowdon by train, making it an extremely accessible mountain for all members of the family! So it comes as no surprise that the diverse landscape that encompasses serene lakes, enchanting valleys, and captivating waterfalls, all home to a rich variety of wildlife, led to this Welsh national park being ranked as the second best in the UK.

A popular destination across social media, #Snowdonia has gained 42 million views on TikTok in the last 12 months and more than 1.2 million hashtags on Instagram!

Alongside its natural wonders, Snowdonia boasts a rich cultural heritage with ancient castles, charming villages, and a tapestry of Welsh folklore, making it a perfect blend of nature and history for visitors to explore and enjoy.

New Forest is ranked third best national park in England

Coming in third place as one of England’s best national parks is New Forest, ranking just below Peak District and Lake District. Located in the south of England, this charming national park is known for its ancient woodlands, open heathlands, and picturesque villages. This national park scored 83 in our index, with more than 44,000 monthly searches, 8 million views on TikTok and over 1 million hashtags on Instagram!

The forest offers a tranquil and natural setting for outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, and horse riding. With fewer monthly searches and views, the New Forest National Park could be a great place to explore if you are looking for a family adventure that feels a little more off the beaten track.

With that said, according to TripAdvisor data, New Forest National Park has the most to offer for opportunities to grab a warm cup of coffee with over 207 cafes and restaurants. So, if you’re looking for a nice hike and a cosy cafe, then New Forest is the best National Park in the UK for just that.

Along with its ancient woodland, New Forest National Park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including ponies, deer, rare birds, and even pigs – who, during the autumn months, can be spotted roaming the forest floor!

This practice, called Pannage, is where pigs are released into the forest to eat fallen acorns, beechmast, chestnuts and other nuts. Pannage is no longer carried out in many areas of the country but can still be observed every year in the New Forest National Park. It lasts for 60 days and is vital because acorns are poisonous in large quantities to the cattle and ponies who live in the National Park.

With its rich history of royal hunting grounds and traditional forest practices, the New Forest provides a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage for visitors to discover and enjoy.

For the best Autumn walks, Gillie Molland Lead Ranger from New Forest National Park Authority, recommends heading to Bolderwood: “Bolderwood is particularly beautiful at this time of year because the trees are turning golden, and it’s a great place for Autumn leaf spotting! You’ll find some of the oldest Douglas fir trees in the New Forest here. Some date back as far as 1860. It’s a great place to explore, either by bike or on our hiking trail.’’

Gillie said: “Whether you are looking for a peaceful cycle ride or forest walk, spending time in nature is a great way to exercise and is very good for both your body and your mind! We encourage everyone who’s interested in visiting the National Park to come and explore and discover the magic of immersing yourself in the natural world.” 

“One thing we ask of all our visitors, though, when they are planning their visit is to pay attention to the New Forest Code. The New Forest is a unique place with rare wildlife and free-roaming livestock, and by following the code, you can help protect the animals and plants. During Autumn, you’ll spot a number of interesting fungi growing in the National Park, and with the growing interest around foraging, we’ve realised it is very important to remind our visitors that foraging can disrupt the balance of the natural ecosystem and be very damaging, particularly in forests like Bolderwood.”

  • Amy

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