Green getaways: What are the best national parks near London?

London may have its fair share of woodlands, but the real magic lies beyond the city limits. Just beyond the limits are vast open spaces, untamed landscapes, and a breath of fresh air that can rejuvenate even the weariest urban soul. 

Of course, if you want to stay within the city for this, you can check out the best parks in London. But if you want to explore a bit further, you’re in luck. Today, we’ll go over the best country parks near London that will whisk you away from the daily grind and into the arms of nature. 

South Downs National Park

Media from southdownsnp

Location: Between Winchester and, Eastbourne, United Kingdom

Contact: 01730 814810

Opening hours: 24 hours

How to get here from London: Take a train from London to Winchester or Petersfield

Website

South Downs National Park is like the A-lister of nature getaways. It’s a landscape painting come to life – rolling hills adorned with vibrant wildflowers and content farm animals grazing in the backdrop.

Once you delve deeper into this park, you’ll stumble upon Kingley Vale, the forested VIP lounge of the park. Here, ancient trees play the role of venerable bouncers, with yew trees over 2,000 years old stealing the spotlight. 

And let’s talk about Seven Sisters – no, not a girl group, but a lineup of white chalk cliff walls dramatically diving into the sea. Take a stroll on the pebbled beach, but beware of the tide: it’s the park’s way of keeping you on your toes. 

Where to stay

We recommend staying at The Spread Eagle Hotel. It’s situated in the picturesque market town of Midhurst, it’s like having the entire park as your backyard. If you stay here you can wake up to the view that looks like straight out of a landscape painting. 

New Forest

Media from newforestnpa

Location: Lymington Town Hall, Avenue Road, Lymington, SO41 9ZG, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 1590 646600

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

How to get here from London: Take a train from London to Brockenhurst

Website

Forget red carpets! Here, you get a parade of free-roaming farm animals like ponies, cattle, sheep, and donkeys casually strutting through forests and villages. Birds and butterflies even join the party, creating a vibe that’s more enchanting than a fairy tale.

And don’t be fooled by the name: New Forest is not skimping on the ancient tree game. With over 1,000 ancient trees, it’s basically the heavyweight champion of Western Europe. 

If you’re rolling in with your wheels, take the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive – it’s the scenic route for those who appreciate giant redwoods, Douglas firs, and blossoms that are Instagram-ready. Along the way, you’ll pass the Rhinefield House, a country mansion with a massive garden. 

Where to stay

We highly recommend the family-friendly holiday home – The Twin Cottage. Once you’re here, you’ll set foot into a Pinterest board rustic charm, with exposed beams and a fireplace that begs for a marshmallow roasting. 

Norfolk Broads National Park

Media from broadsnationalpark

Location: 10 Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2EN, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 1603 610734

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

How to get here from London: Take a train from London to Norwich

Website

Norfolk Broads has its fair share of amusement parks that’ll keep the kiddos wide-eyed and grinning. From the gentle thrills of funfair rides to the high-octane excitement of log flumes and rollercoasters. 

But if you prefer a wilder kind of excitement, they offer the Pettitts Animal Adventure Park that brings you up close and personal with meerkats and wallabies. They even have an aquarium in Great Yarmouth that lets you watch tropical sharks glide by. 

This park even has you covered with water sports. Whether you fancy a boat tour, a zen of paddleboarding or the thrill of kayaking along the waterways, Norfolk Broads National Park has you covered.

Where to stay

Baron’s Court boasts a unique charm that sets it apart from the rest. Housed within a historic mansion, their accommodation seamlessly blends old-world elegance with contemporary comfort. 

Exmoor

Media from exmoornp

Location: Exmoor House, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9HL, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 1398 323665

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

How to get here from London: Take a train from London to Taunton or Tiverton Parkway

Website

Exmoor is the ultimate natural cocktail blending moors, woodlands, valleys and farms across a sprawling 267 square miles in the divine counties of Devon and Somerset. 

But what this place is known for is its nighttime allure. As an International Dark Sky Reserve, it transforms into the UK’s celestial stage where stargazing becomes an art form. This park is the perfect place to star gaze.

Where to stay

Dating back to the 15th Century, The Luttrell Arms exudes character with its ancient beams, classic architecture and timeless ambience. They even have plush beds, tasteful decor and all the amenities that make your stay a delightful retreat.

Dartmoor

Media from lovedartmoor

Location: Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, TQ13 9JQ, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 1626 832093

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Thursday – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Friday – 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

How to get here from London: Take a train from London to Exeter

Website

Dartmoor boasts over 450 miles of footpaths that weave through its untamed beauty. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure novel, but instead of turning pages, you’re navigating breathtaking valleys and wild ponies. 

If you’re a thrill-seeker, this park is your adrenaline paradise. From rock climbing on iconic tors to cycling along rugged trails, it’s the kind of place that turns your weekend into an action-packed blockbuster. 

Where to stay

The rooms at Bovey Castle are a blend of luxury and comfort. Picture sumptuous furnishing and all modern amenities. They also have restaurants that celebrate local produce, one of which is the Great Western Restaurant

Peak District

Media from peakdistrictnationalpark

Location: Agricultural Business Centre, Agricultural Way, Bakewell, DE45 1AH, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 1629 816200

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

How to get here from London: Take a train from London to Sheffield or Derby

Website

Crowned the national OG park back in 1951, The Peak District has aged like a fine bottle of British humour. It’s maintained its dramatic allure even after almost seven decades of existence. 

This park is known for Monstal Trail, which is the catwalk of former railway lines. You’ll also see the Derwent Dam here too. 

And let’s not forget the Kinder Scout – the park’s very own Everest. Conquer this and you’ve officially levelled up in the Peak District street cred. 

Where to stay

Losehill House Hotel & Spa offers more than just cosy sanctuaries but also a spa, so it’s a retreat within retreats. They offer treatments that dissolve stress and promote relaxation and are the perfect to unwind and rejuvenate.

Lake District

Media from lakedistrictnpa

Location: Windermere at Brockhole, Windermere, LA23 1LJ, United Kingdom

Contact: 01539 724555

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

How to get here from London: Take a train from London to Oxenholme Lake District station

Website

The Lake District has been celebrated by the likes of Wordsworth and Potter. They were downright enchanted by fantastic fells, mirror-like lakes, and vistas that make the jaw drop.

You’re practically dipping your toes in a sea of possibilities when you come here. Hike to Aira Force waterfall, conquer the summit of Scafell Pike, track down Ullswater’s daffodils, or indulge in Grasmere gingerbread. The options are endless!

Where to stay

There’s no other place to stay than The Samling Hotel. This hotel was honoured with a prestigious Michelin star for the year 2023 and was also awarded for AA Awards for 2023 to 2024. This highlights exceptional quality in dining offerings and hotel services. 

North York Moors

Media from northyorkmoors 

Location: The Old Vicarage, Bondgate, Helmsley, York, YO62 5BP, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 1439 772700

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

How to get here from London: Take a train from London to Thirsk or Scarborough

Website

Forget skyscrapers, the North York Moors boasts expansive landscapes, ancient woodlands and rugged coastlines that make you question if you stepped into a nature documentary. It’s an antidote to urban claustrophobia!

For hikers, this park is paradise: it has 1,400 trails that’ll have you thinking you’re the protagonist in an epic adventure novel. Plus, you might stumble upon hidden gems like the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey or Hole of Horcum – sounds like places straight out of a fantasy novel, right?

Where to stay

The Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa blends luxury and practicality. Whether you seek the convenience of Wi-Fi for sharing your moorland moments or appreciate the discreet service that caters to your every need, this hotel ensures your stay is lavish and seamless.

Northumberland

Media from northumberlandnationalpark

Location: Eastburn, South Park, Hexham, NE46 1BS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 1434 605555

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

How to get here from London: Take a train from London to Newcastle upon Tyne or Hexham

Website

This park is known for the Pennine Way – a trail that weaves through the park’s heart, it’s like a secret passageway for nature enthusiasts. And of course, it was once known for the iconic Sycamore Gap tree, which has graced thousands of postcards and Instagram feeds. 

But the star of the show is definitely Linhope Spout and Hareshaw Linn. This is a cascading waterfall that invites you to relax and forget about time.

Where to stay

Battlesteads Hotel is a trailblazer in eco-friendly hospitality. As a Green Tourism Gold Award winner, this hotel takes pride in sustainable practices, making a stay that alights with the pristine nature of Northumberland.

Brecon Beacons

Media from breconbeacons

Location: Plas y Ffynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon, LD3 7HP, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 1874 624437

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

How to get here from London: Take a train from London to Abergavenny or Merthyr Tydfil

Website

The pièce de résistance here is the Four Waterfalls walk. Starting Ystradfellte, it’s a journey of liquid marvels, followed by the river’s serpentine path until you reach the mesmerising Sgwd Yr Eira waterfall – and here’s the kicker – you can stroll behind the cascading curtain of water!

Where to stay

Peterstone Court Hotel is a regal retreat with historical significance. This haven has hosted thousands of weddings, provided luxury spa days and offered various meals that were shared in great company. To this day, this hotel has stood within the area for many years.

Dating in London

Previous Post

Dating in London – 15 Real Ways to Find Love in London

Next Post

Game, set, explore: Our Wimbledon travel guide

Ultimate Guide to Wimbledon