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New Forest is best national park in Europe

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THE New Forest has been voted the best national park in Europe and 10th best in the world – ahead of even the Grand Canyon in the US.

Tripadvisor’s annual Travellers' Choice Awards for Destinations placed the Forest at number one in the Outdoor Enthusiasts European category – ranking above both the Yorkshire Dales and Snowdonia.

For the global list of that category it was in the top 10.

The New Forest placed ahead of the Grand Canyon in the US
The New Forest placed ahead of the Grand Canyon in the US

Tripadvisor is the world’s largest travel guidance platform, and its annual awards are recognised as among the most prestigious in the travel industry.

The news was warmly welcomed by Anthony Climpson, chief executive of tourism group Go New Forest.

He said: “Given the very real challenges of the last two years, being voted the number one national park in Europe and 10th in the world is an extremely welcome shot in the arm for all local tourism businesses.

“It’s pleasing the world’s travellers are finally catching up with what we’ve known for years by falling in love with the magical wonder of our fabulous destination."

He added: "But we will not be resting on our laurels. Go New Forest is shortly launching the New Forest Green Leaf Tourism Business Scheme to help businesses turn over a 'green leaf' as they reduce carbon and improve their environmental and social outputs.

"In doing so, we’ll also be helping local tourism support the Forest itself and its unique way of life as each member works towards becoming a net-zero business operation.”

On Tripadvisor’s website one reviewer revealed how they were "captivated, like a child" in the New Forest, adding: “We passed through this gem of a place. I was completely captivated seeing the ponies, donkeys and cattle roaming freely.”

Another said: “We need places like the New Forest National Park to save our planet and you can have fun while it’s being done. Great adventures for kid and adults alike.”

One traveller revealed: "I've never been to the New Forest before, and I was blown away by how stunning it is.

"The open areas are amazing, and my kids were fascinated with the ponies and cows that seem to pop up everywhere.”

One lady told how she had "cried tears of happiness" during a birthday trip to the Forest, saying: After wanting to visit for years, my husband took me on my birthday to visit the New Forest animals and their gorgeous natural surroundings.

"We had the most amazing time, even when it started raining.”

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