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The Best National Parks For A Summer Road Trip At Home

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Data from Europe’s leading camper tour operator, CamperDays, indicates a 67% rise in Brits opting for UK road trips this summer.

Head of CamperDays and Chief Adventurer, Max Schmidt, puts the rise down to the exceptional beauty of National Parks at home.

Currently, there are 15 National Parks across England (10), Wales (3), and Scotland (2) and are ripe for exploration on a summer road trip.

Below, Max rounds up four of his favourite National Parks in the UK for a road trip, as well as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Northern Ireland.

Eryri National Park (Snowdonia)

One of the UK’s most famous road trips – Eryri Snowdonia 360 – is a 360-mile loop around the northwest of Wales encompassing Anglesey, Llŷn Peninsula, and the coast of north Wales in addition to Eryri. A well-established itinerary that enables road trippers to soak up the best the region has to offer.

There are plenty of official campsites in Eryri, many of which permit campervans and motorhomes. Be warned though, staying overnight at a car park isn’t allowed so it’s worth booking your pitches ahead of travel.

Peak District National Park

There are more than fifty functional campsites in the Peak District that permit campervans and motorhomes, while the North Lees Campsite at Stanage has limited motorhome access. Despite its ominous name, Snake Pass is one of the Peak District’s most scenic driving routes, offering panoramic views of Manchester and its surrounds.

The area also offers chances to indulge in activities like cycling, rock climbing, horse riding, water sports, caving, fell running, fishing, and even air sports.

Cairngorms National Park

The largest National Park in Scotland is also the largest National Park in the UK at a whopping 1,748 square miles.

Cairngorms is noted for its cycling and biking routes for all ages and abilities, its historical castles, and its dark skies. The Glenlivet and Tomintoul area of Cairngorms is an internationally recognised Dark Sky Park, meaning spectacular views of the stars due to little light pollution. Astronomy and stargazing events are held year-round.

South Downs National Park

The South Downs National Park may be the UK’s youngest, but the 628 square mile area in the south of England is easily the most accessible National Park from London, making it a strong contender for a family road trip from the city.

Much of the park consists of chalk downland, which explains the highly recognisable photographs of the striking white Seven Sisters cliffs and the Lillington White Horse, a chalk hill figure cut in 1924.

Mourne Mountains

Although there are no National Parks in Northern Ireland, one area in the running to become Northern Ireland’s first is the Mourne Mountains, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in County Down.

The Mournes are a hiker’s and rambler’s dream with thirty mountains between 500 and 850 metres above sea level, and the many forests – such as Northern Ireland’s first state forest park, Tollymore Forest Park – are well suited to forest bathers.

Max Schmidt, Chief Adventurer at CamperDays, Europe’s leading camper tour operator, says: “While access to the parks via public transport is improving, National Parks UK data still shows that 93% of visitors travel in their own car, making national parks the perfect option for families on a road trip.

“This summer, the number of Brits opting for road trips at home is up 67% on last year, the reason for which is, in my view, twofold – the exceptional beauty of the British countryside and the growing demand for low-cost summer holidays.”

For more information or to book a campervan for a dream summer road trip, visit www.camperdays.co.uk.

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