National parks of the UK
When it comes to the UK, London likes to steal all the attention. Yes, yes, I know: it's a great city with lots of culture and sights to see. However, I think we all need a break sometimes from the chaos of the city. Specifically, a trip to one of the UK's national parks. A total of 15 areas in the UK are protected by the government. This allows everyone access to unblemished moors, mountains, rivers and a home where wildlife can flourish. In total, the parks cover over 23,000 square kilometres, so where do you begin?
A paradise for a picnic, Dartmoor in the south of England offers miles and miles of beautiful but lonely moorland. Clamber over natural rock formations such as Haytor or hike for hours into the sunset with only wild ponies for company. Be mindful - they might look sweet, but those wanting to pet them may lose a finger or have their feet trampled on.
If you're after a challenge, head over to Snowdonia and climb the highest mountain in Wales. At 1085 metres high, the views from Snowdon are spectacular. It will take you 5-6 hours to climb up and back down again. If a little mountain climbing isn't your scene, the mountain railway will have you there and back in half the time.
In addition to Snowdon, Wales has over 100 castles spread throughout its three national parks. Some are broken ruins, blending with the nature around them, while others have been restored to their original glory. Climb the towers of Caernarfon Castle and explore the exhibitions to learn about medieval life, or visit the ghostly ruins of Ragland Castle just south of the Brecon Beacons.
For those who feel more at home on the water, the Lake District has over 15 stunning lakes. Ullswater is particularly beautiful and the perfect place for scenic boat trips, sailing or canoeing with friends. Swimming is also popular if you are able to brave the cold. Surrounding the lake are charming villages and vibrant countryside which can be explored by foot or horseback.
In the South Downs you'll find one of Britain's most striking views: the White Cliffs of Dover. This is the first view of England you'll see if arriving by ferry, as long as it's not foggy, of course. Stretching for miles between the blue sea and even bluer skies, the pure white cliffs feature in many wartime songs and films. Not convinced? Fear not, London is just over an hour away by train.