United Kingdom National Parks

National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK

The National Parks (Welsh: Parciau Cenedlaethol, Scottish Gaelic: Pàircan Nàiseanta) of the United Kingdom are to be found primarily in England and Wales; two recent additions exist in Scotland. There are as yet no National Parks in Northern Ireland.

Slightly less strict designations also exist, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the National Scenic Area in Scotland.


Each park is operated by its own National Park Authority, with two "statutory purposes":

Despite the name, National Parks in the UK are quite different from those in many other countries, where National Parks are owned and managed by the government as a protected community resource, and permanent human communities are not a part of the landscape. In the UK, National Parks can include substantial towns and villages, and land uses such as farming and forestry which are often integral parts of the landscape. Land within a National Park remains largely in private ownership, and so land access is usually subject to the same restrictions as elsewhere in the country.

National Parks in the UK have no admission changes, and there may only be a road sign to indicate that you are entering a park.

National Parks




Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the United Kingdom are currently 41 defined areas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, designated originally by the Countryside Agency, on behalf of the government. The equivalent in Scotland is the National Scenic Area. Natural England was set up in 2006 to succeed the Countryside Agency in England, and is a government body responsible for the protection and improvement of the natural environment in England.

Northern Ireland
  • Binevenagh
  • Ring of Gullion
  • Sperrin
  • Strangford Lough

National Scenic Areas

National Scenic Area (NSA) is a national landscape designation applied in Scotland. Currently there are 40 designated NSA's. They are considered of national importance based on their outstanding scenic landscapes. National Scenic area is equivalent to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty designation which is used in the other countries of the UK. Since 2003, the superior National Park designation has been introduced. There are currently 2 National Parks in Scotland.


Argyll and Bute

  • Jura
  • Knapdale
  • Kyles of Bute
  • Loch Lomond - now part of a National Park along with The Trossachs.
  • Loch na Keal, Isle of Mull
  • Lynn of Lorn
  • Scarba, Lunga and the Garvellachs

Dumfries and Galloway

  • East Stewartry Coast
  • Fleet Valley


North Ayrshire

Orkney Islands

Perthshire and Kinross

  • Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon
  • Loch Tummel
  • River Earn (Comrie to St. Fillans)
  • River Tay (Dunkeld)

Shetland Isles



  • Eildon and Leaderfoot
  • Upper Tweeddale

Western Isles

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