Discover National Parks Fortnight has come at the perfect time... You're officially allowed to take a day trip. Back in early January, England went back into a strict national lockdown - which meant only leaving the house for exercise as well as buying essentials such as food. The official rules stated ‘outdoor exercise should be done locally wherever possible’ – meaning ‘avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live’.However, fast forward four months and we're officially allowed out again. Although non-essential travel is still discouraged, many national parks, gardens and grounds are open for public use. Just in time for the 'mini heatwave'!
Since the beginning of the first lockdown the most popular activity for Brits to do was visit an outdoor park or scenic area (44%), followed by going on a UK holiday (20%), then going on a day out to an outdoor visitor attraction (18%).
National Parks Week 2021
National Parks Week is dedicated to raising public awareness of Britain’s national parks.
From the 4th to 18th April, the two weeks are dedicated to celebrating the beauty and diversity of national parks and the wide range of opportunities they offer.
What is a National Park?
So, what is a National Park? I hear you ask.
The role of a National Park in England and Wales is:
“To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Parks and promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Parks by the public.” (The Environment Act, 1995)
Altogether, there are 10 National Parks in England: The Broads, Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Lake District, the New Forest, Northumberland, the North York Moors, the Peak District, the South Downs and the Yorkshire Dales. These are areas of outstanding natural beauty - they have an amazing effect on our wellbeing as they are a safe space where we can take a break from our lives and enjoy nature.
Why are National Parks important
National Parks cover 10% of the land area in England and Wales and are very important as they protect vital landscapes and wildlife habitats.
Not only this, it is estimated that over 100 million people visit National Parks in England and Wales each year. They are a place that brings visitors in to provide funding into the parks which support the local community through jobs and businesses. So, now that we're on the road to recovery where will Brits be travelling to first?
Tourism 2021 – The route to recovery
Seeing how coronavirus has affected tourism is difficult, because the data changes as quickly as the virus spreads. However, we are able to look at the most recent reports and gather a strong understanding of how Brits have been coping and adapting to the reduction of travel.
But there is a glimmer of hope. Now that the pandemic is reportedly under control and restrictions are being lifted. There are signs of recovery. In the latest VisitBritain Data, we can look at where Brits are likely to visit.
Brits are most likely to visit an outdoor attraction!
It comes as no surprise that Brits want to get out of the house as quickly as possible, especially now that they're legally allowed to. From April 12th more businesses are allowed to open back up, including holiday lets by individuals or households, pubs and restaurants serving outdoors only, zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas. And from this point, day trips will (finally) be back in earnest, as long as you stay within England.
Brits were asked which types of places are they more likely than normal to visit over the next few months? *Surprisingly* outdoor areas had the highest response with 62% agreeing, closely followed by predominantly ourdoor attractions. This is most popular amongst 16-24-year-olds (75%) and gradually decreases with age.
The South West is the most popular travel destination
According to the VisitBritian Covid-19 Consumer Sentiment Tracker, when asked "Where in the UK are you likely to stay on your next trip?", 23% of Brits respondent the South West (for example, Bristol, Bath, Devon, Cornwall), followed by the North West (13%), Scotland (11%) and Yorkshire and Humber (10%). Traditional coastal/seaside towns followed by the Countryside or villages are the most popular type of destination for Brits to stay in during their next trip too.
Although the Government's Roadmap is still a little complicated when it comes to when, where and how you can finally head off on a day trip around the UK... it's still possible. So after months of miserable winter weather, enjoy the sunshine in a beautiful National Park.
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