On the natural world, Anne Frank wrote: "as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow", so aren’t we lucky to live on an island whose landmass is over 90% countryside, and have 15 National Parks to choose from? Here, we take a tour through these protected areas of natural beauty, reveal the secret hideaways to stay in nearby, and round-up the best places to eat post-stomp. 


Dartmoor National Park 

Wild ponies at Dartmoor National Park

This expansive, 386-mile area of moorland in Devon is beloved for its Wuthering Heights-esque craggy landscape and resident wild ponies. Nearby at The Horn of Plenty, local produce such as wild Dartmoor venison loin with salt-baked celeriac can be enjoyed by tired walkers looking for a well-earned treat. 

Where to stay: Botania or Over Lemon River


Exmoor National Park

Heather at Exmoor National Park

Devon's second National Park, named after the River Exe, might be one of the UK's smallest, but well and truly makes up for it with its beautiful rolling hills, dense woodland, and impressive coastline. The Stags Head Inn is a welcome local stop for hearty classics like homemade soup with warm crusty bread or a Sunday roast... because what's a countryside walk without a pub finish?

Where to stay: Castle on the Well 


New Forest National Park

The New Forest

Originally named "Nova Foresta" by William the Conqueror in 1079, this 140,000-acre expanse of natural beauty bordering Hampshire and Wiltshire is famous for its ancient trees and hoards of wildlife — from donkeys to Dartford Warblers. For a light lunch, head to The Pig's original site for its 25-mile menu celebrating hyper-local ingredients cooked simply, such as its staple "walled garden" salad.

Where to stay: Forestkeepers or Pepper Shack 


South Downs National Park

The Seven Sisters in the South Downs National Park

New to the group, "The Downs" wasn't officiated until 2010 — but we all know it's the taking part, not coming first, that counts. Cutting through Hampshire, West Sussex, and East Sussex, the 100-mile park stretches all the way down to the iconic Seven Sisters chalk cliffs. At The Three Horseshoes, the views are almost as impressive as the unctuous homemade pies. 

Where to stay: Studio Fold or The Art House 


Brecon Beacons National Park

The Brecon Beacons

Bannau Brycheiniog is a 520-square-mile mountain range in Wales, home to the South's largest peak, Pen Y Fan. The epitome of the Sublime, this is a place for adventurists looking for adrenaline-fuelled days spent alongside Mother Nature. When looking to refuel, beef rump with ox cheek Pomme Anna at The Felin Fach Griffin will surely do the trick.

Where to stay: Celestia


Pembrokeshire National Park

Pembrokeshire National Park

Spanning 186 miles, this untouched beauty spot in Wales is most recognised for its beaches — with Pembrokeshire home to more Blue Flag beaches than any other county in the country, and no spot within the National Park further than ten miles from the sea. Here, local seafood bistro The Shed will be a favourite with the fish and chip fanatics. 

Where to stay: The Cable Hut or Smokehouse Cottage


Snowdonia National Park

Snowdonia National Park

Eryri is a place of crags, castles, and coastline — most known for those brave enough to scramble up Yr Wyddfa (Mount Snowdon); the largest mountain out of the National Park's nine mountain ranges. Right on the foot of the walking path, Caffi Gwynant is a staple for freshly-brewed coffee and doorstop breakfast sandwiches. 

Where to stay: Idlewylde or Heddwen 


Lake District National Park

The Lake District National Park

Made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017, joining the likes of the Taj Mahal and Grand Canyon, the Lakes is one of the UK's most frequented holiday spots. The 912-square-mile landscape contains many bodies of water but, surprisingly, actually only one lake — Bassenthwaite. For a pocket-sized sweet treat, head to Grasmere's Gingerbread shop which has been making the delicacy since 1854.

Where to stay: Aquila or Winterfell


Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Loch Lomond National Park

Centred on Loch Lomond in Scotland, the country's first National Park is a place of outstanding beauty between the lowlands and highlands. For incredible waterside views, head to Colquhoun's restaurant and enjoy local specialities such as tattie scones with haggis, and potted smoked salmon. 

Where to stay: Little Eden 


Feeling inspired? Nature-lovers will enjoy reading the safari on home soil, discovering a window to the world, or perusing the wilderness collection