National Park Index
The coronavirus has meant that we’ve all had to look a little bit closer to home when it comes to booking a trip away in 2020, but is that such a bad thing?
Here in the UK, we’re blessed with some stunning areas of natural beauty, especially within the borders of our 15 national parks.
From the moorlands of Dartmoor and North Yorkshire to the spectacular summits of the Peak District and, of course, the stunning lakes here in the Lake District, there’s a great mix of national parks to explore in the UK, each with their own unique charms.
While everyone has their favourites, we’ve attempted to rank each of the country’s national parks on a range of factors to determine which are the best to visit.
1. The Lake District
Not only is it the most visited of the national parks, and was recently made a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the stunning Lake District also came top for three of the factors that we looked at, attractions, walking routes and Instagrammability, while also scoring highly for outdoor activities and of course, its abundance of beautiful lakes which give it its name.
While you might have to put up with the odd rain shower (even in summer), the Lakes are a special destination for all kinds of reasons, whether you want to explore the fells and lakes on one of the famous ‘Wainwright’ walks, or the many indoor visitor attractions such as the World of Beatrix Potter.
2. The Broads
At just 117 square miles, the Broads are definitely the country’s smallest national park, but there’s still plenty squeezed in there to see and do. In fact, with 120 miles of navigable waterways and lakes, the Broads are actually home to more lakes than the Lake District (although each on a much smaller scale).
Whether you want to explore this beautiful corner of England by boat or traverse the many riverside paths by foot or cycle, the Broads also benefit from the best weather of all the national parks, with less than half as much annual rainfall as the Lake District.
In rugged North Wales, you’ll find the gorgeous peaks of Snowdonia, which actually had the highest average review score of all of the national parks. It also scored highly for excellent walking routes, with Mount Snowdon being the most famous of all, as well as for its lakes.
The Lake District is officially the UK’s best National Park, so why not stay at the Craig Manor, which is the perfect bolthole for hotels in Bowness. An ideal location for those weekend breaks in the lake district.
We ranked each of the UK’s 15 national parks on the following factors, giving each park a normalised score out of 10 on each factor, before taking a final average score.
Both the number of attractions and outdoor activities were sourced from Tripadvisor, with the following exceptions (note that figures were not available for the Pembrokeshire Coast, so we looked at Pembrokeshire as a whole).
The Broads – Broads National Park
South Downs – Visit Hampshire
The Cairngorms – Visit Cairngorms
The number of walks listed on Walking Britain.
The number of bodies of water such as lakes and broads, according to Wikipedia.
Dark Sky Discovery Sites
The number of Dark Sky Discovery Sites according to Dark Sky Discovery.
The park’s average user review score on Google.
Average Annual Sunshine Hours
Average Annual Rainfall
Both sourced from the Met Office’s UK climate averages.
The number of Instagram posts mentioning each national park using hashtags, correct as of 30/10/2020.Blog Archive