By Sally Burton
The Yorkshire Dales have been revealed as the top spot for staycations within Britain’s stunning National Parks, in a new survey.
Located just above Leeds, the Dales are the hidden gem of the North, with fantastic scenery and many diverse activities.
If you’re a cheese (or Wallace and Gromit) fanatic, visit the Jervaulx Abbey ruins in Wensleydale, the origin of the Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, and take a tour around the nearby Wensleydale creamery.
Sports enthusiasts are well catered for. There are 3,200 kilometres of walking routes in the Yorkshire Dales and even an app provided by the National Park Authority that helps you stay on the most scenic tracks.
Yet the Yorkshire Dales sees the fewest visitors at 520,000 people per year, so it’s easy to avoid crowds. The Aysgarth Falls are a must for nature enthusiasts: deer and squirrels visit the water edge, and you may see salmon jumping up the three falls in Autumn. Listed as a site of special scientific interest, this water feature is a unique protected area.
Adventure junkies can explore the UK’s most extensive caving network of over 2,500 known caves within the national park.
The Brecon Beacons are the next top spot.
Named after the lighting of beacons to warn of invaders, this mountainous South Wales national park has an average daily temperature of a warm 14.6 degrees. Cost is also favourable, as you’ll pay just £56 a night on average.
At slightly under 3,000 feet, Pen-Y-Fan is the tallest peak in South Wales. With fabulous views, it’s a challenging hike for walking enthusiasts.
Then the Penderyn Distillery is a great place to chill and offers a guided tour for the full Welsh distilling experience.
In third place is the South Downs.
Being the newest national park (designated in 2010), this is an exciting place to explore.
Despite costing the most, at an average £90 per night, and being the most crowded (mainly due to its proximity to London) this part of Sussex has the highest number of dry days at 17.7 and the hottest daytime temperature at 14.8 degrees.
With 3,300 kilometres of walking routes, it’s a hiker’s paradise.
Sightseers can visit the Seven Sisters Country Park, near Eastbourne. These chalk cliffs offer a glut of activities and are surrounded by beautiful countryside. Consider exploring by canoe, or relax on nearby beaches.
The North York Moors also make the top five.
Between Middlesborough and Scarborough, this national park has a slightly warmer climate than the Dales, with an average daytime temperature of 11.7 degrees.
Whitby Abbey, in the seaside town and traditional fishing port of Whitby, is the place to take movie and novel buffs, as it features in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula.
Despite being one of the smallest national parks, The Broads pack a punch with 17.4 monthly dry days and the most extensive choice of hotels.
The best way to see the sights in Norfolk is by renting a boat to travel the 200 kilometres of waterways.
Northumberland provides best value, for a quick getaway on the cheap, at £33 per night.
This national park is steeped in history, containing the iconic Hadrian’s Wall, plus prehistoric monuments and Roman remains.
It’s the largest protected ‘Dark Sky Park’ in Europe, where visitors have the best view of the night sky on the continent.
Greg Hendry, marketing manager at John Brown 4x4, who undertook the survey, said: “There are incredibly unique experiences to be had across the UK.
"Instead of jetting off abroad, take time to explore the rural beauty of the UK and renew your appreciation of the UK’s national parks.”