The National Parks of the UK are truly a national institution. Like the Queen Mother, red phone boxes and excessive tea consumption, they are ingrained in the nation's collective consciousness and are seen as an indispensable part of the British way of life. They have provided inspiration to countless artists and writers through the years, and provide a playground for people seeking out adventure and rugged outdoor experiences. Stunningly beautiful and surprisingly accessible, they contain some the most gorgeous scenery in Europe, and arguably the world. Let us explore these natural treasures by taking a look at 10 facts about the National Parks of the UK.
1) First Up
Britain's first National Park was the Peak District. Next up came the Lake District, Snowdonia and Dartmoor. All of these areas of natural beauty became National Parks in 1951, under the Clement Attlee led Labour government.
There are at present 15 National Parks in the UK (10 in England, 3 in Wales and 2 in Scotland). There are at present no national parks in Northern Ireland, although there is a drive to make the Mourne Mountains Northern Ireland's first.
3) How Much?!
The UK's National Parks currently attract around 90 million visitors each year and generate a whopping four BILLION pounds per annum!
4) It's a Whopper!
Covering a grand total of 4,528 square kilometres, the Cairngorms in Scotland is the UK’s biggest national park.
5) Taking the Silver
The second biggest National Park in the UK is England’s Lake District, which spans a very respectable 2,362 square kilometres.
6) Small But Beautiful
The UK's smallest national Park is the New Forest. Declared a national park in 2005, it covers a not inconsiderable area of 570 square kilometres in the counties of Wiltshire and Hampshire.
7) Got it Covered
In England there are 10 National Parks which cover 9.3% of the land area. In Wales there are 3 National Parks and these cover 19.9.% of the land area. In Scotland there are 2, and they cover 7.2% of the country's land area.
8) Crowded House
With a population of over 120,000 people, the South Downs National Park in England is by far the UK’s most populated. The stunning Northumberland National Park is the least populated, with around 2,200 residents.
9) New Kid on the Block
The South Downs National Park is England's newest national park, having become fully operational on 1 April 2011. The park, covering an area of 1,627 square kilometres (628 sq mi) in southern England, stretches for 140 kilometres (87 mi) from Winchester in the west to Eastbourne in the east through the counties of Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex.
10) And The Winner Is
In 2018 a Yougov poll concluded that the Lake District in England is the nation's favourite national park. Over a quarter who have been to a national park before (27%) picked it as their favourite, three times as many as choose either Loch Lomond and the Trossachs or the New Forest (both 9%). The Peak District (8%), Yorkshire Dales (7%) and Snowdonia (7%) came slightly further back.
Bonus: Inspirational Quotes Posters
The UK's National Parks host some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe. They have inspired countless artists, poets and adventurers. With our inspirational quotes posters we too hope to inspire people to be creative and adventurous. Check out our Inspirational Quotes Collection and let us know what you think!