As the tree buds begin to unfurl and gardens are filled with bright yellow daffodils and a large proportion of the country basks in the warm spring sunshine, a new report has identified the best UK cities for nature lovers to visit.
City centres may not be the first place one would think of as a haven for wildlife however a new report has discovered that many UK cities have a wealth of natural wonders on their doorsteps.
The city that took the crown as this year’s nature hotspot was Plymouth. The results were based on a rating system that took into account five categories, including areas boasting rare animal species, the locations with popular stargazing spots, those with the most National Trust properties, and then Trip Advisor data was used to see how many outdoor activities there were in each city (including nature activities, wildlife, parks and gardens). Plymouth scored highest getting 345 points out of a possible 500.
The findings show that Plymouth’s outdoor features make it a hotspot for nature-lovers in spring. The city is surrounded by ten National Trust properties, four National Parks and four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
In second place was Southampton with 297 points earned thanks to a number of local natural attractions.
While a city holiday to England’s capital city may not seem like the first choice for outdoor enthusiasts, London was ranked third in the research, with a score of 255 out of 500. This is due to the capital’s 240 outdoor activities, the Capital is brimming with nature and green spaces like Regents Park, St James’ Park and Hyde Park, which make it one of the most nature lover-friendly places to visit.
Boasting six National Trust sites Bristol came in fourth place with 242 points, followed by Newcastle and Swansea, which tied for fifth place with 206 points.
Table of top 10 UK cities for nature lovers to visit
Although the top-scoring four locations are in the south of England, the overall top 10 also includes cities further north such as Newcastle, Wolverhampton and Birmingham, confirming that all corners of the UK are full of natural wonder.
Best cities for nearby stargazing spots revealed
Fourth place Bristol was identified as not only being perfect for nature lovers but also for budding astronomers. Top stargazing locations were ranked by looking at where regular stargazing events are held or at sites where the Milky Way and the Orion constellation can be seen by the naked eye. In fact, Bristol boasts four major stargazing spots and has some of the lowest light pollution levels in the country so topped the list for this feature.
Nearby Cardiff followed closely behind as the second-best city for stargazing, with London securing third place with sites like Morden Hall Park, hailed as perfect for stargazing by the National Trust.
Cities with rare species on their doorstep
With a total of 206 points, Newcastle was the most northerly city to make the overall top 10, and it has been voted the UK’s top city for rare species of animals, with residents having the best chance of spotting our native red squirrels.
Joint-second cities Aberdeen and Norwich, which scored 140 and 166 points in the overall totals are also good places to see rare UK wildlife with puffins a common sight in Aberdeen’s Bullers of Buchan, and otters found in Norfolk’s Ranworth Broad.
Miruna Constantinescu, National Marketing Director at McCarthy Stone the building firm which conducted the research, said: “From stargazing to national parks, it’s amazing to see the wealth of natural hotspots which the UK has to offer in such proximity to large parts of the population.
“The lure of coastal and countryside developments may seem like the obvious choice for nature-lovers but, this study has shown that you can enjoy amazing nature sites on your doorstep across the UK.
“We understand the importance of getting outdoors, especially after living under restrictions over the past 18 months, and it’s great to be able to highlight some of the UK’s natural beauty.”