With 15 national parks taking up a total of 37.3% of the land area of the UK, it’s safe to say Britain isn’t a bad place for beautiful walking locations. From Snowdonia all the way up to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, you’re never too far from a protected natural landscape in the UK.

With thousands of walks in total across the 15 parks, which locations are the most popular?

Experts at holiday cottage company Wheelwrights have analysed data from Trip Advisor, finding the percentage of 5 star reviews to reveal the top national park walk locations in the UK.

The Top 10 Most Popular National Park Walk Locations

RankWalking LocationNational Park% of 5 Star Reviews
1Cwm IdwalEyri (Snowdonia)95.5
2Wast WaterLake District90.7
3Pembrokeshire Coast PathArfordir Penfro (Pembrokeshire Coast)90.2
4HelvellynLake District88.1
5Cadair IdrisEryri (Snowdonia)87.7
6Buttermere LakeLake District86.0
7Barafundle BayArfordir Penfro (Pembrokeshire Coast)85.9
8Pen y FanBannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons)84.5
9CatbellsLake District83.8
10Malham CoveYorkshire Dales83.7

#1. Cwn Idwal, Eryri (Snowdonia)

Taking the top spot for the most popular national park walking location in the UK is Cwm Idwal in Eryri, with a percentage score of 95.2%. The glacial valley in the Glyderau mountain range is located in the north of the Eryri national park, and provides challenging walks with rewarding views. The valley was formed by ice millions of years ago, and now attracts walkers, climbers and geologists all year round. At the base of the valley is Llyn Idwal, a beautiful lake with clear waters famous for its rock formations. Dogs are welcome on this hike too, which is always a bonus!

#2. Wast Water, Lake District

Taking second place in the rankings is Wast Water in the Lake District, with a percentage score of 90.7% for five-star reviews. Wast Water, as well as being England’s deepest lake, is surrounded by some of the tallest mountains in England, such as Scaffell Pike. The surrounds make for a striking yet peaceful hike, so it’s no surprise the lake is such a popular walking location. Getting to the lake from hotels and holiday cottages has never been easier with the new shuttle bus scheme, running between Wastwater, Nether Wasdale and Ravenglass station.

#3.  Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Arfordir Penfro (Pembrokeshire Coast)

Coming in third place with a score of 90.2% of five-star reviews is the Pembrokeshire Coast path in the Arfordir Penfro National Park.  Aptly named, the path boasts beaches, cliffs and coves along a stretch of the Northwest Welsh coastline. The trail is 186 miles long, and is well marked so easy to follow, with walks ranging from short and easy to more challenging. To do the whole trail, the ascents and the equivalent to climbing mountain Everest, so to complete it is quite the challenge! With stunning views and wildlife on display, it’s no surprise this hike was so highly rated.

#4. Helvellyn, Lake District

Coming in at 4th place with a percentage score of 88.1% is Helvellyn, located in the Lake District National Park. Helvellyn is England’s 3rd highest mountain, with panoramic scenic views of the countryside from the top. The mountain is located north of Ambleside, in between Thirlmere and Ullswater lakes, and can be accessed by the surrounding villages. The villages include Grasmere, Glenridding and Patterdale, all of which make great days out, with beautiful holiday cottages to stay in at the end of your walk. The mountain itself has many trails, most moderately strenuous, so prepare before you go, and only take dogs with you if they are fit and well. The mountain attracts hikers from all over the world, and the score would suggest the majority love their trip, giving this walking location 5 stars overall on Trip Advisor.

#5. Cader Idris, Eryri (Snowdonia)

Taking 5th in the rankings is Cader Idris, in the Eryri national park in Wales. Translating as ‘the chair of Idris’, and according to Welsh legend, Idris was a giant who used the mountain as a chair. The walking location lives up to this spectacular name, with 87.7% of Trip Advisor reviewers giving the mountain a 5-star rating overall. Located in the south of the Eryri national park, the mountain has many trails and routes, all considered strenuous, so take it easy and take plenty of food and drink! 

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