Enjoying the Parks

Cycling at Grizedale Forest Park (Victor de Jesus, 2010)

We protect the National Parks so that you can enjoy them. Whether you want to lose yourself in their tranquil wildness or relish the challenge of navigating their highest peaks, the National Parks of England and Wales offer unrivalled opportunity for recreation and reflection.
Information and Visitor centres can be found in each Park and are an invaluable resource to help you make the most of your visit. Each Park also organises an annual calendar of events and activities for all ages and interests, which you will find on their respective websites. So decide which Park you want to visit and check out what they have on offer - travel there by bus or train if you can.  You'll find links to tell you more about visiting each park on the map here.

Activity & Adventure

Walking is one of the best ways to experience the variety of landscapes on offer. From strolling through the ancient trees of the New Forest, to tramping across the heather clad North York Moors, each National Park has a series of accessible routes and walkways for everyone to enjoy.  For those with restricted mobility most of the Parks also have pathways suitable for wheelchair and buggy access. And for those who prefer to escape the well trodden paths there are plenty of wild experiences to enjoy in each of the Parks.

Water sports are a fantastic way to encounter wildlife and explore the Parks, so why not try canoeing down a river in the Brecon Beacons, or take a trip on a solar powered boat in the Broads? The coastlines of several National Parks, including the Pembrokeshire Coast offer excellent opportunities for surfing and sailing.

Using two wheels is a great alternative, with plenty of cycling routes available to help you to navigate the Parks or enjoy the thrills of mountain biking. Or why not try horse-riding in the South Downs?  If climbing is more your thing, then the Peak District and Dartmoor have a range of challenging mountains, peaks and tors to conquer.  The Parks can also be enjoyed from above for those who have a head for heights including by paragliding, ballooning and gliding.

Whether you are an adrenalin junkie or prefer a more sedate pace of adventure, the National Parks are waiting for you to explore them in your own unique way.

Nature & Wildlife

The National Parks are home to some of Britain’s finest habitats and rarest species.  You can enjoy wildlife spotting with a Park Ranger in all of the National Parks, where you will be rewarded with a rich and varied encounter with birds, insects, plants and mammals.  Watch Red Deer at dawn on Exmoor and enjoy the spectacle of ospreys soaring high above the Lake District following a 150 year absence from the British Isles.  Enjoy mingling with the ponies in the New Forest and encountering the many birds and dragonflies that abound on the Broads.  You can also help to protect habitats and monitor wildlife by volunteering with the conservation teams in each of the National Parks.

The Parks are also a great outdoor classroom and there is plenty for children to see and learn, such as nature trails through bluebell filled woods in the Lake District, or exploring one of the Islands of the Pembrokeshire Coast.  These landscapes and their mountains, lakes, dales, wetlands, meadows and moors, help wildlife to thrive and are vital in helping to stop and reverse the decline of biodiversity in the British Isles.

Heritage & Culture

The National Parks have been in existence for millennia. Humans have helped to shape the landscape over many centuries, and what exists today is the result of a living heritage which is brought to life through the architecture, archaeology and cultural traditions of the communities that live in harmony with the National Parks.

Explore the picturesque villages and hamlets of the South Downs and learn about Britain’s rural past by visiting a museum in the Yorkshire Dales.  Get to grips with geology in Snowdonia and help to preserve dry stone walls andfootpaths in Northumberland.  Lose yourself in local culture by enjoying open air concerts or remembering the great poets and authors of the past who were inspired by the iconic landscapes of the Lake District.  Feed your appetite by trying the local produce at a farmers’ market in the Brecon Beacons or enjoy the locally brewed tipple in the North York Moors.

Whatever your passion, the National Parks can be the backdrop to a fascinating day out.