ITV Meridian's Richard Slee finds out what makes the New Forest so special
The New Forest has been voted the number one National Park in Europe and the tenth best National Park in the world.
According to the 2022 TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards for Destinations, the New Forest is ahead of global big hitters such as the Banff National Park in Canada, the Grand Canyon in the United States and Iceland's Vatnajokull National Park.
Anthony Climpson, Chief Executive of Go New Forest said, "Given the very real challenges of the last two years, being voted the No.1 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. But we'll not be resting on our laurels.
"Go New Forest is shortly launching the New Forest Green Leaf Tourism Business Scheme (GLTBS) 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."
Anthony Climpson, Go New Forest
He added, "I think slowly but surely people are falling in love with the open countryside.
"They like it nice and green and the New Forest is the archetype of Englishness which everyone dreams about.
"It's wonderful looking at the list of destinations that we've trumped this time around. It's a hard place to hold on to, but we are determined to give it a go.
"The New Forest has wonderful wandering animals, it has a quaint cultural heritage and the greenery in the summer is just to die for."
On the Trip Advisor website, the description reads, 'If you need a word to perfectly describe New Forest, “welcoming” would be it.
'The lowland (i.e. no mountains) park is filled with scenic views and wide trails that beg to be explored as they wind through centuries-old woodlands.
'Visit Bolderwood, a protected forest and deer sanctuary that was once the hunting grounds of the Norman kings. Fish at Moors Valley before heading skyward for a treetops walk. Prefer the country-house life?
'Head to Beaulieu, where you can get lost in the Victorian-era at the Palace House before following in the footsteps of medieval monks at the property’s abbey.'
Kenneth Speirs, Hotel Director at Lime Wood said, "It's tremendous news which brings a smile to your face.
"It really benefits our guests in terms of coming to a great location, but also for the staff, it reaffirms to them that they work in a very special place.
"We were very glad to see the back of 2021, and we see this news as a real bonus start to 2022, and what we hope will be a bright year for hospitality, and every business across the national park."
See the top ten European National Park destinations here
See the top worldwide National Park destinations here