Stride out! These are the UK's best National Parks

Laura Hampson
·2-min read
A man standing atop The Roaches in the Peak District National Park (Getty)
A man standing atop The Roaches in the Peak District National Park (Getty)

With spring well and truly here and summer on the not-so-distant horizon, it’s time to get out and explore the best of the UK, as lockdown measures continue to ease.

The UK is home to a range of beautiful national parks and a new study from Premier Inn has analysed Google reviews and Instagram data to reveal the very best.

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The Peak District, which was the UK’s first-ever officially recognised national park, tops the list. Spanning five counties, the park has 2,900 listed buildings and includes the charming town of Bakewell, home of the much-loved jam and frangipane tart.

Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf falls in Pontneddfechan, Brecon Beacons (Getty)
Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf falls in Pontneddfechan, Brecon Beacons (Getty)

The Lake District, Snowdonia in Wales, Dartmoor in the South West and Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park complete the top five.

The top 10 best National Parks in the UK

  1. Peak District, East Midlands

  2. Lake District, Cumbria

  3. Snowdonia, North Wales

  4. Dartmoor, South West

  5. Cairngorms, Scotland

  6. Brecon Beacons, South Wales

  7. South Downs, South East

  8. Yorkshire Dales, North East

  9. Exmoor, South West

  10. New Forest, South East

The Brecon Beacons in Wales and the South Downs, Yorkshire Dales, Exmoor and New Forest in England, make up the rest of the top 10.

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Premier Inn also used the data to determine the top “hidden gem” national parks in the UK - the parks that rank highly for good reviews but have the lowest number of visitors.

The Yorkshire Dales took the top spot as the UK's best hidden gem national park (Getty)
The Yorkshire Dales took the top spot as the UK's best hidden gem national park (Getty)

The Yorkshire Dales was named as the top hidden gem, followed by the North York Moors, the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales, the Cairngorms in Scotland and the Norfolk Broads. Exmoor and Northumberland completed the list.

The top 7 hidden gem National Parks in the UK

  1. Yorkshire Dales, North East

  2. North York Moors, Yorkshire

  3. Pembrokeshire Coast, Wales

  4. Cairngorms, Scotland

  5. Broads, East Anglia

  6. Exmoor, South West

  7. Northumberland, North East

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“UK breaks are going to be more appreciated than ever in 2021, and any one of our 15 National Parks here provides the ultimate getaway destination, with plenty of outdoor space and fresh air,” a Premier Inn spokesperson said.

“For those wishing to pursue some more remote adventures, we’ve also looked at the best hidden gem National Parks, for more peaceful options with less visitors. We’re thrilled that in both lists there are options in various corners of the UK, from Wales through to Scotland, and hope that this summer everyone gets a chance to experience one themselves.”

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