Guide to Cottage Holidays in England’s National Parks
If you love naturally beautiful landscapes then a cottage holiday in one of England’s national parks could be the very best choice for you. With a variety of inspirational landscapes to choose from such as stunning coastlines and wetlands to country landscapes of mountains, moorlands or hills, there are some things you can be assured of when visiting England’s national parks. All of the parks are protected, special areas which are recognised for the quality of the countryside, heritage and wildlife that can be found here. Although renting holiday accommodation within the boundaries of a national park is a little more expensive than outwith it, it is convenient to be in place to make the most of leisure time available. Parking can be difficult because of the number of day trippers who descend on the parks. Find a national park cottage with its own private parking for peace of mind.
England has 10 parks to choose from. Many are excellent places for walking, hiking and wildlife watching. Some are also home to National Trust properties which can also make for a great day out. Each park offers its own unique appeal.
Dartmoor National Park
This green and beautiful area of the West Country covers a total of 368 square miles of farmlands, valleys, wetlands and woodlands. Stone tors are a signature of the Dartmoor landscape as are wild ponies that roam freely. Add to this quaint villages and towns and it’s easy to see what makes Dartmoor such a great place to take a self-catering break.
Exmoor National Park
Covering both coast and countryside in Somerset, Exmoor is one of Somerset’s best known outdoor attractions. Visit to discover unspoilt valleys, woodlands and moorlands with a network of footpaths criss-crossing across the landscapes. Look out for the sight of red deer and birds such as red kites and buzzards en route.
Exmoor is also famous for its wild ponies. You may be lucky enough to spot a herd of them.
Anyone on holiday and unfamiliar with Exmoor should ensure that they have a mobile phone with them in case of emergencies and adequate outdoor clothing. The weather in Britain is unpredictable to say the least. As beautiful as Exmoor landscapes are, a heavy downpour can take some of the gloss off of a holiday if unprepared.
Visit some of the beautiful villages dotted about Exmoor such as Lynton where there is an esplanade for walks with sea views.
Lake District National Park
The Lake District is perhaps one of England’s best known National Parks and one of the country’s top holiday destinations particularly for families. With a great range of activities on offer here from walking, cycling and hiking to boating and sailing, this part of Cumbria has plenty to offer. With fells, hills and shimmering lakes to be found throughout the Lake District, this is a very special place for self-catering holidays in cottages, log cabins and holiday apartments.
The scenery is king in Cumbria, people come to gaze on the views. If you like a little excitement then a drive through Hardknott Pass is recommended.
The popular villages such as Ambleside and Bowness-in-Windermere in the Lake District have plenty of tea shops and pubs, both of which tourists love to pop into as part of the holiday experience.
Some would describe the New Forest as magical and it certainly does have its own unique charms. Wild ponies roam free and are a sight that both young and old delight in seeing. Cycling, walking and pony trekking (but not on the wild ponies) are all on offer in the forest. Pretty villages, moorlands and woodlands all await your discovery in this part of south west Hampshire.
Another attraction of a cottage holiday in the New Forest is its proximity to the south coast. It is easy to spend a day exploring Lymington and its marina or the sea fronts of Milford-on-Sea and Barton-on-Sea.
An idyllic holiday in the New Forest would be to rent a secluded farmhouse outside a village for the best opportunity to see wildlife literally on your doorstep. Anyone who has visited the New Forest will be aware that the wild ponies venture where they will and are frequently seen nibbling grassverges and holding up the traffic.
If you love boating and watery wonderlands then a cottage holiday in the Norfolk Broads could be just right for you. Much of Norfolk is rural and unspoilt and the broads are no exception. An area that many say are best explored on water, boat trips can be a great way of discovering this part of East Anglia. Some though prefer to explore on foot. Excellent bird watching opportunities are to be found in this part of the country.
Northumberland’s National Park is home to Hadrian Wall’s Country and this UNESCO heritage site attracts numerous visitors each year. Visit to learn more about the Romans and walk in their footsteps. To get the best out of your visit we recommend that you stop off at English Heritage and National Trust sites en route. A visit to this park is best suited to those who enjoy hiking and rambling as much of the landscape is hilly. The Northumberland National Park is a wonderful destination for holidaymakers who want to stay in a cottage under a dark sky for amazing starry nights.
Some of the beaches along the Northumberland coastline have sand of an incredible quality. They are broad and deep, edging the coastline only to be broken by fishing harbours.
North York Moors
The North York Moors are a special area in Yorkshire renowned for the quality of its scenery. Covering both coast and countryside, the North York Moors should have something to appeal to everybody. From moorlands and woodlands to the beautiful coastline and sandy bays near Whitby, this part of Yorkshire has lots to captivate adults and children alike.
Peak District National Park
The Peak District has to be one of the top areas in the country for self-catering walking and hiking holidays. There’s something about climbing up those lofty peaks and marvelling at the views below that really appeals to those with a love for the great outdoors. Add to this plenty of charming tea shops where you can enjoy a fine cup of tea and a nice piece of cake, and it’s easy to see just why the Peak District is a great place to visit.
The South Downs are found on England’s South Coast very near to the popular coastal resorts of Brighton, Hove and Eastbourne. Stretching from near Eastbourne in the east all the way to Winchester in the west, this National Park covers more than 994 square miles of countryside. This area has been recognised as a special area of outstanding natural beauty.
The Yorkshire Dales are renowned for their wild and rugged scenery. Made famous by the romantic novels of the Bronte sisters, some visit this part of the country to visit the town of Haworth just outside of the Dales where the Bronte sisters lived and to walk along the literary trail. Others visit to simply take in the dramatic scenery. This park also offers wildlife, woodlands, great walks and some stunning.