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Hampshire UK travel

New Forest named Europe’s Best National Park

The New Forest has been named the number one National Park in Europe and tenth top National Park in the world.

It has been crowned as the winner of the ‘Best of the Best’ destinations in the 2022 Traveller’s Choice Awards – in the ‘Outdoor Enthusiasts’ category.

It was ranked higher than other UK national parks including Snowdonia and the Peak District.

Awards were handed out based on the quality and quantity of reviews and ratings between November 1, 2020 and October 31, 2021.

Snowdonia in Penrhyndeudraeth, Wales, was the second highest rated national park in Europe, with Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park and Dartmoor National Park in Devon placing in sixth and seventh respectively.

Things to do in the New Forest

The New Forest covers 219 square miles of woods; heather carpeted heathlands, rivers, ponds, and wildflower meadows to explore either on foot or bike using over 100 miles of designated cycle paths -it’s also one of the most dog-friendly destinations in the UK.

Go canoeing with the family, kayaking, horse riding, swinging through the trees on high ropes or spend a day learning bushcraft and cooking under the stars.

With its coastal location, why not spend the morning in the forest and the afternoon on nearby soft sandy beaches swimming or enjoying your choice of watersport.

For the more laid-back, why not try a cookery or pottery class, go foraging with an expert or sign up for some photography lessons.

There’s a huge and diverse range of adventures available, and this is what makes the New Forest such a popular destination for couples, families, friends.

There is something to satisfy all ages, and the area gets top marks for its attention to accessibility.

But breaks in this National Park are best known for switching off the screens and getting back to nature.

It is a wildlife hotspot with over 10,000 ponies, donkeys, cows and pigs wandering around the forest, and it’s pretty chocolate-box villages.

In addition, for nature lovers, 55 per cent of Britain’s butterflies and 74 per cent of our dragonfly species can be found in the New Forest alongside 700 wildflower varieties and a whopping 2,700 species of fungi and mushrooms.

The New Forest is also a food lovers paradise.

The culinary scene here is exciting and abundant, with producers and talented chefs pairing up to offer some exquisite taste sensations.

It’s not all about fancy restaurants, although there are plenty, think farm shops, independent producers, vineyards, microbreweries and thatched gastro pubs with pretty beer gardens.

Day trips and attractions include Beaulieu National Motor Museum, Paultons Park – home of Peppa Pig World (a favourite for Boris Johnson), Marwell Zoo, Monkey World, Stonehenge, Poole sandbanks, historic houses and many more.

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