Quiet town with parrots and castles is one of the UK’s most underrated | Travel News | Travel

A quaint market town, known for its unexpected parrot population and proximity to two national parks, is quickly becoming a favourite spot for UK holidaymakers.

Independent Cottages has revealed that Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria is one of this year’s most underrated destinations.

While the Lake District attracts around 18 million visitors annually, fewer people explore the surrounding areas, despite their shared natural beauty.

Kirkby Stephen, nestled amidst stunning rural landscapes and wild uplands, often goes unnoticed.

Since 2016, this charming cobbled village has been part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Its remote location and strong community spirit make Kirkby Stephen a unique and appealing destination.

Kirkby Stephen, a charming town, is perfectly located for exploring the stunning Lake District National Park and the Smardale Gill nature reserve.

This reserve is just a stone’s throw away and is one of the top-rated spots on Tripadvisor.

The town is also near the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was the first in Cumbria to be named a ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town, thanks to its fantastic hiking routes.

The Dandry Mire Viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle Railway, which crosses 17 viaducts, is also close by.

As you’d expect, Kirkby Stephen and its surroundings are home to lots of sheep. But what might surprise you are the flocks of parrots flying around.

These birds belong to a local conservation charity. They can often be seen landing on rooftops and chimneys.

The BBC reports that the trust caring for these free-flying parrots spends up to £10,000 each year fixing the damage they cause to roofs and chimneys.

The town’s church houses another interesting feature – the Loki stone.

Unearthed during a rebuilding project in 1847, this stone shows a strange, demonic figure. It’s believed to be one of only two such stones in the UK.

A spokesperson for Independent Cottages said: “Cumbria remains one of the UK’s most popular destinations for days out and breaks. From its bustling settlements to its tranquil countryside, it has topped the rankings in recent years as one of the most favoured counties.

“The area of Kirkby Stephen remains off the tourist-trodden route compared to some Lake District locations but boasts an equally beautiful and wild setting with spectacular scenery and close proximity to the national park.

“With heritage railways, impressive castles, and gorgeous natural surroundings, it’s hard to think of a reason why not to go to this market town.”

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