Northumberland National Park has topped Condé Nast Traveller’s list of the world’s best national parks.
The team at Northumberland National Park Authority is celebrating after hearing the news and hopes the recognition will bring greater awareness of all the park has to offer to visitors.
Home to landmarks including the Unesco World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall, historic Pennine Way and Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park, the park incorporates more than 400 square miles of history, tranquillity and scenery – along with a wealth of hidden gems.
In its description of Northumberland National Park, the prestigious international publication Condé Nast Traveller, states: ‘England’s northernmost (and least populated) national park encompasses more than rolling moorlands – the Unesco World Heritage site also contains a section of Roman Emperor Hadrian’s legendary wall.’
It places Northumberland National Park first in the list of its five ‘best’ national parks around the world, alongside other iconic destinations including Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales, Gran Paradiso National Park in Italy, Pirin National Park in Bulgaria and Greece’s Olympus National Park.
Chief executive of Northumberland National Park Authority, Tony Gates, said: “This is a remarkable achievement and we’re delighted to be ranked top of Condé Nast Traveller’s best national parks in the world. It was truly a ‘wow’ moment when we realised that our national park right here in the North East of England had been ranked alongside the likes of the amazing Olympic National Park in Greece and Gran Paradiso in Italy.”
“It is our hope that this international recognition will really help to put Northumberland National Park on the map and attract more visitors to our stunning destination.
“The diversity we have on offer in the national park is incredible. You can go from walking in the footsteps of the Romans, to stepping further back in time at Iron Age Hillforts; taking in the panoramic views into Scotland from the Border Ridge to sampling the local produce and crafts of the Park’s many skilled artisans.
“Whatever you’re looking for – whether flora, fauna, countryside activities, history, culture including the distinctive Northumbrian music and dialect or simply just somewhere to escape from it all – we have it in abundance.”
The praise for Northumberland National Park comes after a string of recent successes and exciting developments, designed to make it more accessible to visitors around the region and beyond.
These include another global initiative – the Google Trekker project. The team and volunteers have access to special Google Trekker equipment this month to capture the Park’s remote and unique locations. When it goes live, the project will enable people wherever they are in the world to explore a virtual Google Street View version of Northumberland National Park.
The authority also recently launched a brand-new, visitor-friendly website to help people access all the information they need at the touch of a button.
And after successfully achieving a £7.8million Heritage Lottery Fund grant, construction is also set to begin on The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre later this year.