Staycations are on the rise in the UK; Visit England found that holiday trips taken in England rose by an impressive 6% in 2018, and with summer just a few short months away, many of us have been thinking about where to spend a few days getting away from it all on our own shores. But what is it that makes Britain such a great place to visit?
With an array of National Parks (15 to be exact) offering beautiful countryside, a wide variety of wildlife, and even a beach or two, it’s easy to see why thousands of Brits pack up their camping gear and head to one each summer. Motorparks, who specialise in a range of practical used cars, have put together this helpful guide to help you choose which National Park to spend your summer break in.
Best for wildlife watching: Cairngorms
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 standing over 900 metres, hikers will be in their element with the dramatic mountain landscapes – there’s plenty of walking routes available to choose from that showcase some of Scotland’s beautiful scenery.
Cairngorms is also home to a quarter of the UK’s rare animal species. Wildlife lovers and photographers will find a huge selection of interesting and unique animals, such as the golden eagle and the Scottish wild cat.
Best for natural beauty: The Lake District
It’s easy to see why so many holiday-makers flock to the Lake District from far and wide each year. Home to the England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, the Lake District boasts tremendous views of some the most popular locations, such as Keswick, Derwentwater and Windermere. It’s no surprise it is the most visited National Park in the UK, with over 15.8 million annual visitors.
The park has recently become a World Heritage site, joining the likes of the Taj Mahal and the Great Barrier Reef. With around 16 main lakes, you can take to the water on your canoes and kayaks or go scrambling down some of their waterfalls. If the water isn’t for you, then give one of their walks a go – there are a selection of routes suitable for all ages and skill levels.
Best for stargazing: Northumberland
If you’re looking for a relaxed holiday surrounded by miles of peaceful countryside, Northumberland has it all. Located between the Scottish border and the industrial North East of England, it’s home to the remains of the famous Hadrian’s Wall which date back to Roman times. You can take a stroll along the Hadrian’s Wall path and walk amongst the wild goats which still roam the landscape.
Northumberland International Dark Sky Park offers tourists the opportunity 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 – promoting astronomy in the region.
Best for wild camping: Dartmoor
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 opt to 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, provides a constant soundtrack of lapping waves.
With an array of walking and cycling routes available, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make the most of everything the National Park has to offer whilst taking in breath-taking views of vast moorland and discovering the area’s rich military history. Providing a wild space to camp, you can pitch your tent in a space that’s perfect for your needs – something different to other National Parks, offering an opportunity to experience and discover new wildlife.