In news that will not come as any surprise to local residents, Northumberland National Park has been voted top in a national survey for everything from its scenery to its facilities.
The county is now landed in the UK spotlight after managing to score top marks despite being the least visited of all the national parks.
It emerged victorious in the Which? survey after the consumer-focused brand asked its 8,044 members to rate the UK’s 15 national parks on topics of scenery, wildlife and facilities including cafés, restaurants and pubs.
Which? said of the results: “You might expect that the most frequented destination would win the top spot but the UK’s best rated national park is actually the least visited of the lot.”
In the reviews, Northumberland National Park received a customers’ score of a whopping 90% and in a star-rating for various categories it earned a maximum five stars for ‘peace and quiet’, then four stars in the other categories of scenery, well-maintained walks, wildlife and visitor facilities.
Those marks saw it achieve the status of best national park in England as well as best in the UK overall, beating the Pembrokeshire coast – which won best national park in Wales – into second place with 88%.
The Lake District shared a joint third place with the Yorkshire Dales and the Cairngorms, which was also voted Scotland’s best national park, with a score of 86% and it lost out in areas such as ‘peace and quiet’ which resulted in its lowest rating of two stars.
Next in the list came the North York Moors followed by Snowdonia; the Peak District, Exmoor; Dartmoor; Loch Lomond and the Trossachs; Brecon Beacons; South Downs; New Forest and finally The Broads, which has the lowest rating of 76%.
The Which? report said that “unspoilt Northumberland” had scored an impressive overall result.
Its write-up said: “The least populated park, it earned five stars for peace and quiet.
“The stunning Cheviot Hills will provide you with solitude if you want to get away from it all.
“Despite the park’s overall calm, there is still plenty to see and do.”
It added: “Part of the park has dark sky status for stargazing by night. By day, you’ll find plenty of trails that pass by woodland, ancient hill forts, castle ruins, waterfalls and even Hadrian’s Wall.”
And it quoted one of its members who said: “I love the quality of the light there and the sense of calm… you can easily get away from crowds and find that elusive sense of isolation.”
For full breakdown of the Which? national park results see here.