The 6 Largest National Parks in England

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: August 17, 2023
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From moorlands and grasslands to coastlines and sparkling lakes, England has many breathtaking national parks. You can spend the day biking, backpacking, kayaking, visiting ancient ruins, and viewing native wildlife. Or, just take in the spectacular views of wild terrain stretching for miles in all directions.

Infographic for the 6 Largest National Parks in England
These parks provide opportunities for many recreational activities at an awesome site.

Whether you’re a resident of or a visitor to this beautiful country, check out the details for the six largest national parks in England and discover what awaits you.

1. The Lake District National Park – 912 Square Miles

Brotherswater lake in Patterdale in the English Lake District National Park

Lake District is an excellent spot for paddleboarding, swimming, sailing, and star gazing.

©Maximum Exposure PR/Shutterstock.com

The Lake District is the largest national park in England and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is home to England’s deepest lake, Wastwater Lake, and the tallest mountain, Scafell Pike. There are also several picturesque communities within its borders that offer a rich and vibrant experience. You can explore the area independently by walking, biking, or boating. Or you can book a fully guided tour and see places like Windermere, Ambleside, historical sites, gardens, and Langdale Valley. The Lake District is also an excellent spot for paddleboarding, swimming, sailing, and star gazing. 

2. Yorkshire Dales – 841 Square Miles

river wharfe

Yorkshire Dales features mountains, valleys, rolling hills, quaint villages, waterfalls, and historical sites.

©iStock.com/Tom Reville

Located in Northern England, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is 841 square miles and has some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. With mountains, valleys, moors, rolling hills, quaint villages, waterfalls, bridges, and historical sites, there is an endless number of things to see and do at this park. Family day trips are perfect at Yorkshire Dales. You can walk on nature trails, stop at a chocolate shop or ice cream parlor, visit a museum, stop by a castle, ride a railway, and explore a cave. There are also festivals throughout the year and many guided tours.     

3. South Downs – 631 Square Miles

Walk in Cuckmere Haven near Seaford, East Sussex, England. South Downs National park. View of blue sea, cliffs, beach, green fields, selective focus

The South Downs National Park has rolling chalk cliffs along the sea.

©Lilly Trott/Shutterstock.com

South Downs is a national park in Southern England, featuring rolling chalk downland and wooded heaths. The area has a rich history and has welcomed artists and writers since the Neolithic period and beyond. Seven Sisters is one of the most popular areas in South Downs, where you will find a rolling wall of chalk along the sea. These chalk cliffs are an impressive sight. You can also check out the Devil’s Dyke, a long, deep, and dry valley, most likely formed during the last ice age. And finally, you must visit Kingley Vale, an ancient yew forest filled with twisted trees that look like they jumped out of a fantasy novel.

4. Peak District – 555 Square Miles

Beautiful evening light on a summer evening at Bamford Edge in the Peak District National Park.

The Peak District offers many different levels of hiking paths.

©Daniel_Kay/Shutterstock.com

This Central England national park is a popular recreational and sightseeing area. The Peak District is an excellent park for hiking and biking, where you can explore steep limestone valleys, dramatic ridges, stark moorland plateaus, and scenic villages. Apart from the many walking, cycling, and sensory trails, visitors can also go camping and horseback riding. And the park is accessible for people with different levels of ability, such as the route known as Miles without Stiles, a well-surfaced path without steep areas or steps. There are also opportunities for educational programs, outdoor sports, and wildlife studies.

5. North York Moors – 554 Square Miles

The Ironwork kilns at chimney bank rosedale in the north york moors national park

North York Moors has many church and cathedral ruins.

©Mark Bulmer/Shutterstock.com

The North York Moors National Park is located in Northeast England and features one of the most significant expanses of heather moorland in the UK. You will also find wooded river valleys, historic ruins, and charming villages. Visitors use this park for hiking, running, birding, boating, and other wildlife viewing. The villages also offer delicious restaurants, tea rooms, and lodging. And you can explore the many church and cathedral ruins throughout the national park. 

6. Northumberland – 405 Square Miles

A stretch of Hadrian's Wall at milecastle 39 Roman military base, against backdrop of Whin Sill and Crag Lough lake in the distance. Northumberland National Park, UK

The Northumberland National Park is the northernmost park in England.

©CDK Photos/Shutterstock.com

Northumberland is the least visited and northernmost national park in England. It features some of the cleanest air and water in the country and also has the least amount of light pollution, making it a fantastic spot for star gazing. This park has stunning scenery, iconic landmarks, and many historical areas, such as the hills and valleys where ancient battles were fought. You can walk to waterfalls, view ancient ruins, learn about history, exercise in the great outdoors, or view the abundant wildlife.  

Summary of the 6 Largest National Parks in England

RankNameSize
#1Lake District National Park912 square miles
#2Yorkshire Dales National Park841 square miles
#3South Downs National Park631 square miles
#4Peak District National Park555 square miles
#5North York Moors National Park554 square miles
#6Northumberland National Park405 square miles

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Daniel_Kay/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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