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Autumn: The Best Places to Visit in the UK


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Autumn: The Best Places to Visit in the UK

The ultimate C&TH guide to Autumn: these are the best seasonal spots to visit in the UK...

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Looking for the best things to do and places to visit in the UK during the Autumn season? Look no further, we’ve rounded up the best seasonal sojourns from every corner of the country…

Where to Visit in Autumn in the UK

Devon, Cornwall & The Isles of Scilly

Minack Theatre

Minack Theatre, c. Greg Blundell

Pack a picnic and head for the dramatic clifftop Minack Theatre. Rowena Cade created the stage in the 1930s for local Shakespeare enthusiasts to perform The Tempest by moving tonnes of boulders with the help of her gardener. Without doubt the most magical place in the country to go to the theatre.

Sample some of the best fish in the country at the English Riviera’s biggest event of the year. Fishstock Brixham is held every September in aid of Fishermen’s Mission, which supports the welfare of active and retired fishermen.

The West Country

Old Sarum

Old Sarum is a historian’s heaven. See the site of Salisbury’s first cathedral, the Royal Castle built by William the Conqueror, and the Iron Age hillfort erected in 400 BC.

Regarded as one of the most important historical ships in the world, SS Great Britain was a feat of engineering. For nautical enthusiasts, the ship docked in Bristol is a must-see.

SS Great Britain

From Golden Cap, which is part of the Jurassic Coast, there are breathtaking views of the English Channel and surrounding countryside. Search for fossils on the beach.

Hampshire & The Isle of Wight

Each autumn, the New Forest native breed ponies are rounded up on horseback for branding and worming. It’s fast, it’s furious and not a spectator sport but if you hear a load of hollering and the thunder of hooves, make a quick getaway.

New Forest Horses

Get into the real spirit of Keats’ Ode to Autumn by literally following in the poet’s footsteps on an easy two-mile walk that was his inspiration for his unforgettable ‘season of mist and mellow fruitfulness’, starting next to King Alfred’s statue in Winchester and taking in the Hospital of St Cross.

The Home Counties

Fall in love with Hever Castle in Kent (the setting of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s courtship), best experienced in the autumn sun when the Boston Ivy adorning the front of the castle turns a vivid shade of red.

Hever Castle

Get fired up for Sussex bonfire season by following torch-lit processions along Eastbourne seafront. Then make the trip to Lewes on 5 November for tar barrel rolling, marching bands and topical effigies.

London

October is the best time to visit for food as 350 restaurants come together for the London Restaurant Festival.

Order a martini at Dukes Bar, Sir Ian Fleming’s bar of choice. Allegedly it was here that he coined the phrase ‘shaken not stirred’, but whether that’s true or not, Alessandro Palazzi still makes the meanest martini in town.

Dukes Hotel

The Cotswolds

The best place to see autumn leaves in all their orange, red and golden glory, Westonbirt Arboretum has over 15,000 tree specimens in around 600 acres, plus a host of annual events and workshops, from pop concerts to chair-making.

Westonbirt Arboretum

How about a bit of autumn antique shopping? We suggest you head to Tetbury for a browse and a buy- there are over 20 dealers in the centre of town, plus you can combine it with a private visit to Prince Charles’ fabulous Highgrove Gardens if you book in advance (until mid-October).

Mid Country

Celebrate National Cheese Week in September at Chatsworth, Derbyshire, which hosts talks and tastings in its farm shop.

Follow the ceramics trail in Stoke-on-Trent, an area that has been shaped by the pottery industry for over 200 years. The renowned British Ceramics Biennial showcases emerging talent at the historic Spode factory between September and November.

British Ceramics Biennial

Hard-nut players go head to head at the World Conker Championships in Southwick, Northamptonshire. The 52-year-old event takes place on the second Sunday in October.

East Anglia

Join Suffolk’s best producers for the annual Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival at the end of September, you’ll find everything from raw milk to cider, street food to award-winning spirits, plus live demonstrations.

Adleburgh Food and Drink

2017 marks the 50th anniversary since the author of Swallows and Amazons died, so this is the year to take the Arthur Ransome walking trail along the Shotley Peninsula. He moved here from the Lake District so that he could sail here, immortalising life on the river in We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea.

The North

High Force Waterfall in County Durham is a sight to behold, follow a path through the woodland to the base of the falls where the River Tees drops 21 metres into a plunge pool below.

High Force Waterfall

The afternoon tea at Bettys in Harrogate is legendary. Go and see what all the fuss is about and you won’t be disappointed by their selection of sandwiches, scones and cakes.

Step inside the family homes of Beatles’ members John Lennon and Paul McCartney. See the places in Liverpool where they were born, grew up and practised their earliest music together.

Wales & The Marches

Welsh castles- as romantic as they are- can be a wee bit chilly which is why we suggest visiting ones where you can grab a hot cuppa and maybe a Welsh cake afterwards, so do check out Cardiff, Powys, Pembroke, Carew and Penrhyn.

Welsh Castle

Good walks are de rigeur in Wales, but have you been to the tip of Worm’s Head? This serpentine promontory will take you to the most westerly tip of the Gower Peninsula. But do check the tide times. You can get stuck out there like Dylan Thomas once did.

Scotland

Said to be the most beautiful castle in Scotland, Glamis in Angus looks spectacular with leaves on the ground and is famed as being hte setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the childhood home of The Queen Mother.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is still blooming marvellous in autumn. Enjoy the flora and fauna housed in impressive glasshouses and lovely gardens.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Take a tour of the Strathisla distillery, the oldest working one in the Highlands. Long or short, all tours are rounded off with a tutored tasting of the drams.

Ireland

Catch the last of the purple heather (July to October) on the Wicklow mountains- the hills in which the Irish rebels once hid- then shoot off across The Sally Gap for views of the surrounding blanket bog.

Wicklow Mountains

Discover lesser-known masterpieces at the annual Wexford Festival Opera, which, in 2017, opens with Medea by Luigi Cherubini, directed by Fiona Shaw.

Looking for the perfect hotel to accompany your trip this Autumn? Our new Great British & Irish Hotels Guide has them all, handpicked and arranged by region. Available to purchase in hard copy here. 

MORE SEASONAL GUIDES: Winter | SpringSummer

For more cultural events, check out our Culture Diary here.


Topics: Architecture / Country / Little Black Book / London / Pack Your Bags / Town / travel / Weekend Breaks /

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