The arrival of autumn may make you want to jet off to somewhere hot and sunny to avoid the falling mercury, but that would mean missing out on one of the most colourful shows that Mother Nature can produce. If you haven’t booked a foreign trip for this September or October, why not consider visiting a great British location renowned for the stunning natural beauty and the autumn colours on offer? There is, quite literally, a rainbow of accessible, affordable or luxurious options on offer, but here’s a look at five of our favourites.
- The Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt in Gloucestershire offers a blaze of oranges, reds and yellows thanks to its stunning Japanese maples, which stand proudly amid a striking collection of cherries, limes, birches, and oaks. Need somewhere to warm up in luxury after a day in the autumn air? Try the nearby Cotswolds country house Calcot Manor spa hotel, close to Tetbury, for a luxurious night – or two.
- Grizedale may not sound like the most appealing of locations, but prepare to be amazed by the natural splendour of the broadleaf woodland and rust-hued pines. This Lake District forest in Cumbria also has a GoApe facility and sculpture trails, or you can go hiking or biking to see the lakes between Coniston and Windermere and the stunning mountain scenery. With its stone fireplaces, slate rooves and Aga-cooked breakfasts, the Summer Hill Country House offers an idyllic rural retreat.
- Castell Coch in the Cardiff area of Wales literally translates as ‘red castle’, and the colour scheme extends further than the Gothic pile at its heart. The autumnal trees are astounding for their array of colours, ranging from rusty burgundy to sparkling gold. The leaves start to change colour towards the latter part of September, although this natural show is at its finest during October. There is plenty of accommodation in the area, and you can book through all of the major travel sites, including Trip Advisor and Expedia.
- October is also the best time to visit Sheffield Park and Garden in Sussex if you want to see the striking aceas at their beautiful best. The garden, close to Haywards Heath, also has no fewer than four lakes at its heart, along with a cricket pitch and a wildlife area providing a haven for plenty of birds of prey and kingfishers. If you like the idea of relaxing at the end of a natural exploration with dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant or a drink in an oak-panelled bar, consider a stay at the luxurious Ockenden Manor close by.
- See the likes of cherries and maples in all their blazing glory with a trip to Batsford Arboretum, situated near to the Cotswold’s famous hills. The venue holds an annual Autumn Colour Spectacular, which runs from October 3 to November 20 this year. If you’re planning on making the journey, however, the organisers recommend you call the Autumn Colours Hotline on 01386 701441 beforehand to check on the progress of the colours. Once in the area, take some time out at the Old School B&B in Little Compton, which dates back to 1854.