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Readers’ favourite UK national parks: ‘Rain, sun or snow, there’s beauty everywhere’ | United Kingdom holidays



Take the bus through Borrowdale, Lake District

We love to visit the northern Lake District. You can enjoy the buzz of friendly Keswick, full of great cafes, independent shops, lovely parks and fantastic views in every direction. Travel on the open-topped bus from Keswick to Seatoller and take in the beauty of Derwentwater and Borrowdale, passing through the “loveliest square mile in Lakeland” according to Alfred Wainwright. For true peace and quiet, explore the northern fells: walk from Mungrisdale to Bannerdale Crags and Blencathra while admiring those brave enough to take on Sharp Edge. Later, sit by the stream and enjoy a coffee in beautiful Caldbeck village.

The gift of solitude in Northumberland

The Northumberland national park offers folklore, wildlife and wide open spaces. Photograph: Anita Nicholson/Alamy

Northumberland national park is a gift for solitude seekers. Here, pipits, peewits (lapwings), and curlews are your steadfast companions. History lies beneath your feet as you stand on the summit of Yeavering Bell overlooking Ad Gefrin, the medieval court of kings that’s now home to wild goats. Venture outside the park bounds to its namesake, the fantastic Saxon museum-cum-whiskey distillery, and immerse yourself in history with a dram. Discover Rothbury, a little market town on the banks of the River Coquet, or head upstream to share in the folklore of the Drake Stone. Every step here is a treasure. Just don’t forget your wellies.
Laura B


A scramble up a quieter mountain in Eryri

Tryfan is one of north Wales’ most dramatic peaks. Photograph: Andrew Ray/Alamy

Eryri national park (Snowdonia) has a special place in my heart. Rain, sun, or snow, there is beauty everywhere. Yes, there is the big one, Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) that everyone wants to conquer but there are other less-visited mountains, the pick of which is Tryfan. You won’t find a cafe, signpost or train at this 917-metre peak; just a scramble up a “path” of your choosing. There’s an incredible view and, if you’re feeling brave, a jump between the two rocks of Adam and Eve (Sion a Siân) at the summit.

Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage


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Readers’ tips: send a tip for a chance to win a £200 voucher for a Coolstays break


Guardian Travel readers’ tips

Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers’ tips homepage


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Tackle the Cairngorms on two wheels

Moorland and pasture on the Glenlivet Estate. Photograph: Martin Gibb/Alamy

Cycling is one of the best ways to explore the Cairngorms national park. All types of cycling can be found here. There are family-friendly routes, stunning rides on quiet roads, brilliant mountain bike trails and some of the best mountain bike centres in Scotland. One of them is Bike Glenlivet on the Glenlivet Estate, which has flowing single-track trails for all ages and abilities, amid spectacular scenery. The trails are free to use, and trail bikes as well as ebikes can be hired. There is a lovely cafe too.
Peter Diender

A quiet corner of the New Forest

You may find yourself in the company of ponies at Rockford Common. Photograph: snappysteve/Alamy

Ignore the hotspots of Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst and head for a quiet corner of the New Forest. Take one of myriad paths among the ponies on Rockford Common, just outside Ringwood. Within a couple of minutes of leaving the car park you will be on your own and able to wander for hours while enjoying the smell of the gorse and the wide open views across the common. Each season brings different delights: watching the forest burst into life in May, lazy picnics in the sun, amazing autumnal colours or playing in a secret winter wonderland.
Tracy Jordan


The Yorkshire Dales and their lovely neighbours

Ingleborough, a prominent hill in the Yorkshire Dales. Photograph: James Elkington/Alamy

Yorkshire Dales national park is nice enough in itself but is enhanced by being wrapped by the Forest of Bowland, Nidderdale and North Pennine natural landscapes. You’ll find vastly more acres and wildflowers per person – and perhaps local people will have more time for you. You’re welcome to come along if you tread lightly. You could start at the Dales villages of Clapham or Austwick near the large hill, Ingleborough, and Gaping Gill cave, then simply cross the A65 to enter the Forest of Bowland and visit places largely unknown.
Martin Charlesworth

Pembrokeshire evening perfection

Barafundle Bay. Photograph: Drew Buckley/Alamy

When visiting the Pembrokeshire national park be sure to include a visit to Stackpole with its beautiful coast, wooded valleys, lily ponds and walking trails. Then venture down to the wonderful beach at Barafundle Bay. We love to visit the beach here on a warm summer evening with a picnic.

The bunnies of Butser Hill in Hampshire’s South Downs

View from Butser Hill nature reserve. Photograph: Katharina Brandt/Alamy

When I was a child, just after the book Watership Down was published, I was taken to Butser Hill – at 270 metres the highest point on the chalk ridge of the South Downs national park. It was close to sunset and we sat munching on sandwiches, waiting and whispering as, within a fairly short period of time, the hill gradually became covered in rabbits. Here I am a little over half a century later still enchanted by one of the most magical and fondly remembered evenings of my life.


Wildlife while drifting on the Norfolk Broads

A Norfolk wherry yacht on Wroxham Broad. Photograph: Steven Bramall/Alamy

The Norfolk Broads has brilliant wildlife among its marshes and reeds but is also a wonderful place where visitors of all ages can have fun in the water. While toddlers paddle in Wroxham Broad, parents can enjoy the sight of sailing races and teenagers can get involved with rowing and sea scout activities on Oulton Broad. Then there’s the option of sitting in a dinghy all day with a picnic. It’s a place where you can hire a boat and stop at a fun pub every lunchtime after enjoying the birdlife and the fluttering of swallowtail butterflies. I love doing all these things.
David Innes-Wilkin

Winning tip: a chasm of legends in the Peaks

Lud’s Church in the Peak District. Photograph: Ed Rhodes/Alamy

My favourite walk in the Peak District national park features two wonderful sites: Lud’s Church and the Roaches. The route offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue. Lud’s Church is a deep, moss-covered chasm, rich in legends and a tranquil escape into nature. Nearby, the Roaches are dramatic gritstone ridge landscapes with stunning panoramic views. Hikers and climbers are drawn to the challenging terrain. The area’s unique geological features and lush greenery make it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers.

Please use the comments to recommend your own favourite activities and walks in UK national parks

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