Lake District National Park UK

Hiking United Kingdom

Can you name all 15 UK National Parks?

Yes, I promise there really are 15 National Parks in the UK. And I have the photos to prove it!

During September and October, I drove around the UK visiting all the National Parks. I met so many people on my trip that were really surprised when I told them the UK had 15. Just to add, I will happily confess I had no idea there were that many National Parks until I came up with the challenge!

Now you might be thinking…. ‘I know there are 15 National Parks in the UK!’ Fair enough and well done if you knew  (anyone that works for one of the National Parks doesn’t count!).

So my question for all my readers (especially those in the UK). How many of the National Parks can you name? And don’t even think about Googling it yet!

Now considering I didn’t know there were 15 I struggled with this question. And there was one National Park I’d never even heard of!

Step 1 – Start counting on your fingers now (and toes if you can think of more than 10).

Step 2 – Write that number down or drop me a message in the comments. I’m really curious how many you know. I promise I won’t judge because I didn’t know all of them either!

Have you done your counting?

Ok, let’s see how many you got right! I’m going to take you on a photo tour through all 15 of our beautiful National Parks in the UK.

The list below is the order I travelled around the UK, no favouritism here!

1.

North York Moors National Park

Location: North England

Size: 1,434 sq km

Year established: 1952

North York Moors - Rosedale Railway (210) (1280x833)
Firstly, North York Moors gets a tough time as a lot of people can’t get their name right. Box of tissues at the ready! Apparently, it gets called North Yorkshire Moors, North Moors, Yorkshire Moors. But I can confirm it is definitely NORTH YORK MOORS.

Names out the way, what does this beautiful national park have to offer? Yes, it has moors as the name suggests. But it has so much more. There are 26 miles of coast, looking out to the North Sea. And a wonderful industrial history of the UK, slowly being hidden by nature creeping around it.

There are cute little villages with teahouses and the most delicious cakes. And the friendliest sheep too. Click here for more beautiful photos of North York Moors.

2.

Northumberland National Park

Location: North England

Size: 1,048 sq km

Year established: 1956

Hadrian's Wall from The Sill (3)
A national park famous for one particular wall. Any idea which one? I’ll give you a clue, it was built by the Romans! Yes, Hadrian’s Wall, stretching 84 miles/ 135 km from Wallsend in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to Bowness-on-Solway. You can walk the trail if you want to, although only a short section is within Northumberland National Park.

There are large parts of the wall still standing. And you can do some wonderful hikes along these sections, perfect because you can’t get lost following a wall. I’ll be sharing the walks I did so keep following me to read more.

Northumberland National Park doesn’t just have Hadrian’s Wall. Another stunning area I visited was Kielder Water and Forest. This area is one of the least light-polluted areas in the UK.

It is home to the Kielder Observatory where you can have wonderful views of the night sky. Even looking up from the garden of the B&B I stayed at there were so many stars. It’s the most magical feeling.

3.

Cairngorms National Park

Location: Scotland

Size: 4,528 sq km

Year established: 2003

Cairngorms - Glen Tilt Trail (61) (1280x771)
Travelling further north on my trip and crossing the border into Scotland. The Cairngorms is the largest of all the national parks (4,528 sq km/ 1,748 sq miles). And if I’m honest I barely touched any of it, not through choice.

But sometimes you can’t see everywhere when you visit a new place. I spent 3 days in a camping pod in the south of the Cairngorms National Park. Close to the wonderful and very interesting Blair Castle. So as well as some wonderful day hikes I spent half a day exploring the castle and its beautiful gardens.

4.

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park

Location: West Scotland

Size: 1,865 sq km

Year established: 2002

Falls of Dochart (12) (1280x853)
Do you remember the National Park I’d not heard of before my challenge? Well, this is the one. How many of your remembered this one? Come on own up, tell me it wasn’t just me.

As the name, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs suggests there’s a lake, known as ‘loch’ in Scotland. But there’s not just one loch there are loads. Driving from the north to the south in the National Park was certainly a beautiful road trip. Be sure to plan your driving route in advance. Loch Lomond is the largest freshwater lake in the UK and creates a very large natural barrier.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs also has many beautiful Munros that you can climb (any hill over 3,000 metres). During my time I climbed Ben Lomond which is a great hike and gives you stunning views of the loch.

And finally, a wonderful memory of my trip was wild camping. In Scotland, you can wild camp most places (there are some restrictions in the National Park) I will be sharing more of my adventure soon. Including the little mouse that came to visit.

5.

Lake District National Park

Location: North England

Size: 2,362 sq km

Year established: 1951

Scafell Pike (67) (1280x790)
The Lake District National Park has recently been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Fantastic news to help conservation in the area as this is the most visited National Park in the UK so needs looking after.

Situated in the North of England it is home to England’s highest mountain Scafell Pike (978 m/ 3,210 ft). After years of talking about climbing, I finally summited on my trip. The great thing about climbing this mountain is the many routes to the top. For most of my walk, it was me, two female hikers and their dogs. By the time I reached the summit there were over 30 people at the top!

You might like to read about one of my weekend trips here Camping by Lake Windermere.



Booking.com

6.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Location: North England

Size: 2,179 sq km

Year established: 1954

Aysgarth Falls (13) (1280x741)
The beautiful Yorkshire Dales had many wonderful surprises for me. As a lover of waterfalls, I was excited to find there are many scattered through this National Park. There’s even an official waterfall walk you can do, although you have to pay for this. More information here Ingleton Waterfalls Trail.

There are many beautiful walks in the National Park. If you like a challenge you could try the Yorkshire Three Peaks. A 24-mile walk, including climbing Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, ideally completed within 12 hours!

Another place I explored was the beautiful Malham Cove. One of my favourite places, mainly because I’d not heard of it before and it was unique to anywhere else I’d been on my trip. It even has a claim to fame as Harry Potter was filmed here. I’ve not figured out which one so if anyone knows let me know!

7.

Peak District National Park

Location: central England

Size: 1,437 sq km

Year established: 1951

01_Featured photo (4) (1)
The Peak District National Park is the closest to where I live. And means I’ve visited many times over the years. This is where Wainwright’s famous long distance walk ‘The Pennine Way’ starts in the town of Edale. I’ve walked past the sign many times and one day I would love to do the challenge, all 268 miles/ 429 km of it!

The Peak District is made up of two areas, the White Peaks and the Dark Peaks. These areas are both very different and offer different walking options for all levels. A wonderful thing about the Peak District!

You might like to read about some of my walks here Dovedale walk and Derwent Edge

8.

Snowdonia National Park

Location: North Wales

Size: 2,176 sq km

Year established: 1951

Mawddach Trail - Snowdonia NP (10) (1280x605)
Now you think of Snowdonia and immediately you think of Mt Snowdon, well I do ha ha! Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales at 1,085 m/ 3,560 ft. I summited this beautiful mountain a few years back with my brother and two sisters. A beautiful summers day, oh no actually it rained buckets all day. But we still had a fun day out (I’m not sure my sister will agree with that!)

Snowdon is north of the National Park. However, on this trip, I ventured south and explored a different part. I had planned to climb the popular Cader Idris as I’d heard wonderful things about this walk. But at this point, on my trip, my ankle was hurting so I opted for a flatter route instead.

It turned out to be a completely different experience to what I had planned for Snowdonia. And instead, I explored the beautiful coast and old railway path during my time there.

9.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Location: southwest wales

Size: 621 sq km

Year established: 1952

Pwll Deri to Strumble Head walk (72) (1280x853)
The Pembrokeshire Coast is the only National Park completely along the coast. I guess that’s obvious because of the name!

There is a coastal path that is one UK’s long-distance hikes. If you like a challenge then you can walk the 186 miles/ 299 km from St Dogmaels to Amroth.

Or if you prefer, you can visit smaller sections on day hikes and enjoy the beautiful views. The coast is a haven for wildlife and birds. So if you love your nature this is a wonderful place to visit with a pair of binoculars.

10.

Brecon Beacons National Park

Location: south Wales

Size: 1,344 sq km

Year established: 1957

Pen y Fan hike (52) (1280x570)
The third of Wales’ National Parks and a real surprise for me. I know it sounds stupid but I had no idea how beautiful it was, the scenery felt very different to any of the other National Parks.

The Brecon Beacons is home to the highest mountain in South Wales, Pen y Fan. Also the highest point in the of the south of England. Yes, from here onwards it starts to get flatter. But don’t worry if you like a challenge there are still a few steep hills you can climb in the remaining UK National Parks.

After completing the popular Pen y Fan hike I also explored some of the local walks directly from The Star Bunkhouse in Bwlch where I stayed Then from The Angel Hotel near Abergavenny, I hiked Sugar Loaf and Blorenge, perfect for a family day out.

11.

Exmoor National Park

Location: Southwest England

Size: 694 sq km

Year established: 1954

Haddon Hill - Exmoor - R (4)
Back to England’s National Parks. Exmoor stretches 55 km along the coast. But inland there are wonderful roaming hills and exciting stepping-stones to cross. I will tell you about those soon!

Another highlight was meeting the Exmoor ponies on my walks. They graze up on the hills in the wild but are still quite shy so be careful not to get too close if you’re visiting.

12.

Dartmoor National Park

Location: Southwest England

Size: 953 sq km

Year established: 1951

Haytor walk - Dartmoor (66) (1280x835)
Dartmoor came as another surprise for me. I absolutely loved the tors and rock formations scattered over the moors. And climbing up them as you can see here! In total, there are 305 tors on Dartmoor. During my time in the National Park, I only visited (and climbed) a few. But it would be a great challenge to do them all. Hmm, maybe my next challenge!

I stayed at Tor Royal B&B near Princetown, which was a great location. Princetown has one of the main Visitor Centres on Dartmoor. Here you can pop in and learn all about the wonderful history of the area. It’s particularly useful when out on the moors and to be able to identify pre-historic ruins (instead of thinking it was a pile of rocks). More to come on my time here, so keep following the latest posts!

13.

New Forest National Park

Location: South England

Size: 570 sq km

Year established: 2005

Lyndhurst walk (96) (1280x853)
New Forest National Park has some wonderful walks through the woods. It’s a very relaxing place to explore. And if you’re lucky enough then you’ll meet many of the New Forest ponies that live there too.

During autumn, it’s a wonderful time to visit, seeing the leaves changing colour. And watching the squirrels scurrying about collecting nuts ready for winter. I even spotted a wild pig out hunting for acorns too!

This is one of the smallest National Parks but there’s still plenty of places to visit and have a great holiday.

14.

South Downs National Park

Location: South England

Size: 1,624 sq km

Year established: 2010

Birling Gap to Beachy Head (28) (1280x853)
The most recent area in the UK named as a National Park. South Downs has only 14 km of coast but what a coastline it is! Those white cliffs are simply stunning and perfect for an afternoon walk. A word of warning don’t get too close to the edge. It’s beautiful but not very safe as you can see if you go to Beachy Head Visitor centre where there’s scary footage of the cliff collapsing!

There’s also a massive area that I didn’t have the opportunity to explore. I guess that means I will have to go back one day!

15.

The Broads National Park

Location: North England

Size: 303 sq km

Year established: 1989

Potter Heigham to Ranworth boat trip (178) (1280x620)
Each National Park has its own characteristics. But The Broads, often refered to as the Norfolk Broads is well-known for its beautiful waterways. Although on my trip I focused on sharing my beautiful hikes. The best way to enjoy this National park is definitely by a boat.

The waterways are wide enough so even with a little experience you can enjoy a boat trip visiting the little villages along the way.

On the last day of my trip instead of hiking, I spent a day on a Starlight Picnic Boat from Herbert Woods and enjoyed playing captain.

It was certainly a wonderful way to end my trip.

Right let’s get serious, that sounds scary ha ha! How many of our National Parks in the UK did you know? Drop me a comment or send me a message via my Facebook page Becky the Traveller

Now I’m back from my National Park challenge and what an amazing time it was. I can’t believe I’ve finally visited all the National Parks in the UK. To be fair I should have done it a lot sooner, but better late than never.

I hope I’ve given you some inspiration to explore more of the UK. This is one of the reasons I decided to take on the challenge. I wanted to share some of the beautiful places we have. And now that Brexit is looming it’s predicted more of us Brits will holiday in the UK instead of going abroad. And why not, it’s an amazing country with so much to offer.

Which is your favourite National Park in the UK? Tell me in the comments below.

Save me to your travel Pinterest boards for later

After driving around the UK visiting all the National Parks. I'm putting the challenge can you name all the National Parks in the United Kingdom. There are 15 in total 10 in England, 3 in Wales and 2 in Scotland. Includes some of the landscape photography taken on my trip.

*Becky the Traveller contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. These help to me continue running this site, sharing free advice and tips from my adventures. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Comment


By submitting this form, you are granting: Becky the Traveller, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy (http://constantcontact.com/legal/privacy-statement) for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

Comments (20)

  1. I loved this post! And this is such a great idea for traveling, especially if you like nature.
    I just got back from Edinburgh and I was amazed by Arthur’s Seat and the nature around it.
    I will definitely use your post in the future 😉

  2. I am not from the Uk so, I wasn’t able to name even one park. But, as a fan of National Park here in the United States, I am really happy to learn about these beauties. I guess there is no way you can get bored there.

  3. I forgot the South Downs. But then I am a Brit, and I’ve been to all of them (including the one I forgot) except Pembrokeshire. I love that you went to Kielder Water too; that’s one of my favourite places where you can pretend the world has gone away, and it’s just you and the landscape.

    1. That’s pretty good, I love how you forgot one that you had been too as well!! Pembrokeshire Coast is lovely, since you’ve visited all the others I guess it would be nice to do the full set!! Yeah I really enjoyed it there and I loved walking by the waterside, so relaxing and quiet 🙂

  4. Definitely could not have named all 15 parks! I’ve only been to Loch Lomond, seems I need to add a park to my must visit list for my next UK adventure!!

  5. Loved this post! Had to quiz my husband. He was able to get 12 and was disgusted with himself for not getting the other 3. I knew about 5 of these. I have only visited the Lake District. I definitely want to see more of them. Pinning for future reference.

    1. Ah that’s brilliant, I love how you quizzed your husband. Well I think 12 is the best anyone has got so far. He’s in the lead, hope that makes him feel better!! I will be writing more detailed posts on each place too. Hopefully can give you some ideas for future walks 🙂

  6. I love this post Becky! I walked the West Highland Way in Scotland back in May so went through Trossachs. And I knew of some of the other parks but certainly not all of them. I’m American and not sure I could name all of ours. But I am bookmarking this so I can refer back to it as I love traveling to this part of Europe.

    1. Ah that’s wonderful, I met so many people as I stayed in a campsite that was on the walk. And it made me want to do the hike!! Well I’m impressed that you knew a few of them if you’re not from the UK 🙂

  7. Oh dear… I did terribly. I could only name 4 before I started reading the post! I knew of quite a few more once I started reading though in my defence!

  8. Lovely post Becky! I’m possibly slightly biased since I live, work and play on Dartmoor. As a child all I ever wanted to do was visit the wild ponies on Dartmoor. Now I live amongst them on the open moor in a tiny, beautiful village on the wild side of the cattle grid!