A guide to parks and recreation

We've laced up our walking boots and ventured out to see some of the most stunning free parks and recreational areas around the UK. So leave your back garden for some of the best in the UK and discover new picnic spots to enjoy this summer. 

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Wellington Country Park

With over 350 acres of woodland, nature trails and play areas, Wellington Country Park is a fun-filled day out for all the family. Opened in 1974, the park will keep your little ones entertained for weeks. There are adventure playgrounds for toddlers, and older kids, including zip wires as well as an Animal Farm, packed full of ponies, donkeys, rabbits, pigs and goats. The animals can all be fed and there are regular petting sessions.

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Heaton Park, Newcastle

Escape the hustle and bustle of the urban landscape and head to the picturesque suburb of Heaton. Just a (brisk) 15-minute walk out of Newcastle city centre takes you to its quaint tea houses and village shops. And the countryside feel continues when you get into Heaton Park. Forget pristine lawns and ornamental gardens because, while it may be less manicured than some other city parks, that only adds to its wild, quirky charm.

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Bute Park, Cardiff

Bute Park is a major park in Cardiff. It comprises 130 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland that once formed the grounds of Cardiff Castle. The park is named after the 3rd Marquess of Bute, whose family owned the castle.

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Parks in Weymouth

With wide-open skies and aquamarine seas, getting a dose of park life comes with extra benefits in Weymouth.

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New Forest National Park

At over 560 square kilometres, the New Forest National Park is one of the largest wooded areas in the south of England, and home to a wide range of terrain including idyllic glades, exposed cliffs, heathland and woods dating back centuries.

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Seven Sisters Country Park

A national treasure, you’ll know the Seven Sisters Country Park even if you’ve never been there before. Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the 280 hectares of chalk cliffs has been featured on dozens of high profile films and TV shows, including Robin Hood, Atonement, Quadrophenia and more.

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Arthur's Seat

Located at the highest point in the 640 acre Royal Park next to Holyrood Palace, head to Arthur’s Seat for panoramic views of the city and beyond. The main mountain in Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat is an ancient volcano and the site of a large and well preserved 2,000 year old fort. 

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Outdoors in Cornwall

The south-west corner of the country is full of fantastic stretches of coastline and rolling beaches, so it’s no wonder the most popular outdoor activity in Cornwall is surfing. You can roll up to pretty much any of the most popular beaches and find a surf school that’ll get you riding the waves in no time.

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The New Forest

The New Forest is over 550 square kilometres of beautiful woodland situated on the south coast between Southampton and Bournemouth. It is home to an abundance of wildlife and contains a wide range of landmarks and activities.

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