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National Parks of the United Kingdom

National Parks

Captivating, expansive, and breathtaking are all words that describe Dartmoor National Park, situated in southern Devon between Plymouth and Exeter.

For over five centuries, the vast forests of Exmoor in Somerset and Devon were protected by royal decree. Today the area is a national park and protected landscape.

The biodiversity in the New Forest, the largest contiguous forest in the UK, is immense, featuring lowland species of flora and fauna that died out in all other parts of the country.

South Downs National Park, located in south east England, is most popularly known for its chalk cliffsides, namely the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, as well as its rolling farmland.

Between Norwich and Great Yarmouth in East Anglia sits The Broads National Park, known for its 125 miles of winding waterways and numerous protected wildlife reserves.

The Peak District National Park is one of the UK's most popular tourist destinations. It is known for its uplands, hills, valleys, and gorges, carved from limestone and grit sandstone.

The beautiful Yorkshire Dales are characterized by their sweeping green hills, locally-owned farms and small villages, and humble houses and estates built from Yorkshire stone.

The North York Moors have it all -- mountain peaks, beautiful valleys, agricultural villages, and awe-inducing seaside enclaves. Over 1,400 miles of hiking trails are located here.

The Lake District, the UK's most popular national park, is located in England`s northwest. It is famous for its forests, waterfalls, literary traditions, and of course its lakes.

Northumberland National Park is a very beautiful and geographically diverse area. In the north, you'll find the Cheviot Hills, and in the south there is mighty Hadrian's Wall.

Snowdonia National Park in north Wales is home to three mountain ranges with some of the highest elevations in Britain. In the east, the River Llugwy flows through Gwydir Forest and Betws-y-Coed.

The Brecon Beacons comprise much of southeastern Wales. The gateway town to this gorgeous park is Brecon. From here you can explore its beautiful moors, high peaks, caves and waterfalls.

The Pembrokeshire Coast serves as an excellent base to explore Wales`s southwest coast. Jutting out into the Irish Sea, the Pembrokeshire Coast is an area just begging to be explored.

Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the United Kingdom. A Scottish alpine moorland, the Cairngorms are a well-regarded winter vacation destination with many ski resorts.

Loch Lomond is the largest lake in Great Britain. The munros (mountains) of Loch Lomond are among the most-climbed in Scotland and the wooded valleys of the Trossachs are picture-perfect.
Countries to Explore
England remains one of the most popular destinations in the world. Millions of people each year are drawn to the frenetic charm of London, the historical attractions of places such as Salisbury, York and Chester, and the rural splendor of the Lake District.
Scotland's landscape is dotted with dramatic fairy-tale castles, ruined abbeys, fascinating historic cities and picturesque villages. Edinburgh, its capital, is widely considered to be one of the most charming cities on Earth. To the west, Glasgow has grown into one of Europe's most exciting cities for culture and recreation.
Wales is a fascinating part of the United Kingdom not to be missed. Rich in history and culture, steeped in myth and legend, Wales rewards its visitors with more than 600 castles, the largest Impressionist art collection outside of Paris and a landscape just calling out to be explored.
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, was torn apart during `the Troubles` of the late 20th century, but this fascinating part of the UK has emerged to become one of the most influential cultural and economic hubs in the British Isles.
More to Explore

Shakespeare is arguably the greatest writer in the English language, and the towns of Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick couldn`t be prouder to have been his stomping grounds. Today the towns are home to the Royal Shakespeare Company and a number of theatres and performing arts centers.

England is a country which combines geographic beauty, architectural splendor, and rich history to create a tourist experience which will stay with you for the rest of your life. The historic city of Bath has been noteworthy in the English-speaking world for its hot springs since the time of the Romans. The cities of Oxford and Cambridge are home to two of the most prestigious English-language universities in the world, and have both been important centers of learning and innovation for hundreds of years. Together, these three cities are the true Charms of England, and must be seen and experienced to be truly appreciated.

England is the perfect location for exploring self-drive package options. Many travelers find the country easy to navigate and being able to forget about the sometimes-hectic schedule that comes with train or air travel allows for freedom, exploration, and relaxation. Visit the idyllic towns of the Cotswolds, meander through the majestic Lake District, or get to know the Land of Shakespeare - in England history unfolds among meticulous gardens, captivating landscapes made famous by the likes of Wordsworth, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Bronte sisters, and charming villages.

In the United Kingdom, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a conservation area, just below the status of a national park, that was selected for conservation because of its significant landscape value. There are 33 such sites in England, located in every region of the country, and these areas are conserved in the hope that the natural beauty that they possess can be further enhanced. Below you will find a sampling of 20 important Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty that you should see, with photographs accompanied by links to the nearest gateway city or area.
Experiences & Adventure
London Paris and Beyond
You will always have London and Paris and we won't take that away from you. After all, if this is your first trip to Europe, there is no better choice than London and Paris. (Don't take our word for it. Countless travel guides and travel gurus have said it before.) But why not throw in another city, for a change? After a fast train ride on EuroStar, hop on a short flight to Amsterdam, Prague, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Venice, Berlin, or Dublin. You won't regret it.
English Popular Culture
When people picture what England means to them in popular culture, they might think of a multitude of things. They might think of historical legends such as Lady Godiva and Robin Hood. They might think of tea and crumpets, and the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. They might think of iconic scenes from books, movies, and television series, ranging from Pride & Prejudice to Downton Abbey to Harry Potter. On our accompanied map you will find all of these important tourist sites, and many more.
Medieval England
Medieval England corresponds to the era between the mass adoption of Christianity among the Anglo-Saxons, in the 600s CE, and the end of the War of the Roses in the late 15th century. During this time England saw attacks from the Vikings, the Normans` invasion in 1066, and the Black Death. Even with the struggle and strife present during the Middle Ages, this era ushered in new achievements in technology, warfare, religion, arts, and architecture. Below are 20 sites integral to Medieval English history that we think you should see, with links to the closest gateway cities or regions.

The fifteen national parks of the United Kingdom are very popular tourism draws, and it is estimated that over 100 million visitors from Britain and abroad flock to the parks each year. Each national park is home to gorgeous natural splendor and unique sights, and no matter where you are on the island of Great Britain, you are most likely within two hours` drive of a national park. From the Cairngorms in the north to the South Downs and Dartmoor in the south, the United Kingdom is home to some of the world`s most picturesque national parks.


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