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New Forest named fifth best national park in Europe



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Sunrise over Longslade Bottom, captured by Graham Wiffen
Sunrise over Longslade Bottom, captured by Graham Wiffen

NEW Forest tourism bosses are celebrating after the national park was named the fifth best in Europe.

It was ranked highly in the annual Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice Best of the Best Awards 2021, giving a morale boost particularly to hard-pressed hospitality businesses struggling during the pandemic.

The Forest was described as “welcoming” and “filled with scenic views and wide trails that beg to be explored as they wind through centuries old woodlands”.

Anthony Climpson, chief executive of local tourism group Go New Forest, said: “We are absolutely delighted. It’s no mean feat for our wonderful destination to be voted the fifth best of over 400 national parks across Europe.

“Whilst non-local visitors are currently unable to enjoy the New Forest until restrictions are lifted, accolades such as this will certainly help boost our hard-hit tourism industry when everyone can visit again.”

It is the first time national parks have been included in the awards which are voted for by members of the online review forum. The Yorkshire Dales took top place.

Tripadvisor spokesperson Hayley Coleman said many travellers have been dreaming of getting out to explore national parks when lockdown is over.

She said: “According to a recent survey of Tripadvisor travellers, more than half (52%) say they are more likely to take an outdoor or nature trip than they were before the pandemic.

“With this in mind, it seemed timely to introduce this year’s new category, national parks.

“While the pandemic has been incredibly tough in lots of ways, one positive that we can take away is that it has unleashed a new found love of getting back to nature for many of us.”

The top 10 were:

  1. Yorkshire Dales National Park, United Kingdom
  2. Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland
  3. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
  4. Peak District National Park, United Kingdom
  5. New Forest, United Kingdom
  6. Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, Spain
  7. Sierra Nevada National Park, Spain
  8. Uludag National Park, Turkey
  9. Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park, Spain
  10. Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, Italy


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