Autumn: The Best Places to Visit in the UK
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
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.
The West Country
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.
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.
Get into the real spirit of Keats’ Ode to Autumn by literally following in the poet’s footsteps on an easy two-mile walk which was the 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Celebrate the author of Swallows and Amazons by taking 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.