Like many places in the Northern Hemisphere the United Kingdom has a lot to offer when it comes to stunning unspoilt countryside, beautiful landscapes, and scenic views of the change of leaves during the autumn months. From atmospheric coastal paths to extraordinary lakes and countryside, here are our collective favourite best and most beautiful places to visit in the UK this coming autumn…
1. Coniston, Lake District – a beautiful place to visit in the UK especially in September, October and November
Coniston Water is an iconic holiday location in the North of England. While it is extremely busy during the summer months, it’s also a great place for all the family during September, October and November.
Whether you want to waterski on the lake or head into the hills, spend the day at Branston Museum or have a relaxing trip on the local steam yacht, there’s more than enough to keep you busy for a week away. The cottages, hotels and bed and breakfasts are generally well-priced during the Autumn and the crowds are not as big, though it’s still likely to be busy.
There are plenty of places to eat, pubs where you can sit outside and enjoy a glass of lager or wine while you contemplate climbing the Old Man of Coniston in the distance.
2. Stourhead, Mere, Wiltshire – a beautiful sprawling estate which is a lovely place to view the autumn leaves
Like many stately homes in the UK, Stourhead offers stunning architecture combined with brilliant man-made landscapes. One of the oldest estates, it was sold to the National Trust at the end of the Second World War. For visitors to the main building, the key attraction is Henry Hoare’s art collection with works by Italian masters.
A beautiful place to visit in the autumn/fall, Stourhead makes a big thing of it’s ‘Autumn Display’ which is when the gardens come into their own. The rust coloured leaves and North American maples that turn red during September and October create a truly amazing landscape that attracts artists from all over the world.
Teams of volunteers help organise walks around the estate. Along the way, you may see the gothic cottage which offers refreshments and has a roaring fire in the hearth – perfect for a chilly Autumn morning or evening.
3. Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path – a beautiful part of England which make an atmospheric autumn break
If you’re looking for somewhere magical to spend some time in UK this September, October, or November, Peddars Way has a mix of picturesque villages and towns, a rich array of wildlife and landscapes, and the odd golden sunset or two.
The Norfolk coastal path covers 135km and has developed a lot over the last couple of decades and it remains a popular tourist attraction. You have the option of booking on to three or four-day treks or organising your own time.
Expect a lot of different amenities along the route including cafes, bars and cheap hotel accommodation. Sites to look out for in the autumn months are the seals off Blakeney Point, Holkham Hall, and Hunstanton Cliffs.
4. Bampton, Oxfordshire, England – a pretty English village which has been used as a TV and film location
The small and pretty village of Bampton (also called Bampton-in-the-Bush) in Oxfordshire is also a great place to visit in the UK the autumn due to its traditional architecture and wonderful atmosphere. Also, some of the village’s historic buildings first appeared on the hit show Downton Abbey and hundreds of visitors have flocked to the location to see it for themselves.
If you love your film and TV, Oxford is also just a short train ride if you want to walk in the footsteps of Inspector Morse.
This is an old village with plenty of interesting history behind it and there was a settlement here as far back as 1086. If you’re visiting in the Autumn around September or October, there’s plenty to see and do including a visit to the local West Ox art gallery.
5. The Scottish Highlands – easily one of the best places to spend autumn in the UK
From Loch Ness to Ben Nevis, the Scottish Highlands has all the drama, fresh air, and friendly local taverns you could ever wish for. Autumn is the perfect time to visit, just before the winter months close in, and the weather can be exceptionally mild. During September and October, the colours across the landscape are vivid, brilliant and not to be missed.
One event you won’t want to miss out on is the Braemar Gathering in September where you’ll see several kilts and caber tossing during the Highland Games.
If you’re visiting around Halloween at the end of October, the haunted castles will certainly keep you busy. Head to the edge of the Highlands and Inverness and you’ll find Culloden Moor. There you just might see apparitions of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army being crushed by the English troops in 1746.
6. York – an elegant and atmospheric city which makes a great place to take an autumn trip
York is a timeless and stylish city that has a lot going on all year round but it especially makes a great UK destination for an autumn break. Head to the city in September and you can take part in the York Beer & Cider Festival. That’s quickly followed by an amazing food and drink festival with cuisine from all over the globe.
York is one of the oldest cities in the UK and surrounded by gothic architecture. It’s called the walled city for a reason and there are plenty of historical monuments to visit including the world-famous York Cathedral.
If you fancy heading out for a long walk, the Yorkshire Moors and Dales are nearby and there are some spectacular sites to take in during the golden Autumn months.
7. Grand Union Canal, Hertfordshire – for beautiful and atmospheric autumnal walks in the UK
The UK has an amazing canal system that is still used to this day. The Grand Union Canal is perhaps one of the most famous parts of this infrastructure and stretches for 137 miles. If you want to spend your break in September, October or November relaxing on a canal boat, there is more than enough to keep you busy.
As you travel along the canal, you can stop off at Cassiobury Park, walk around the postcard village of Tring and explore the local wildlife or climb the 50 locks to the top of the Chiltern Hills.
If you are planning to take a break in the UK this Autumn, there are certainly hundreds of choices. Whether you want to spend October in the Cotswolds or September in the Scottish Highlands, you’ll find stunning countryside, oodles of history and an adventure of a lifetime.
8. Highclere Castle, Hampshire, England – the elegant and striking Hampshire setting of Downton Abbey
This amazing location is another one to get lovers of Downton Abbey excited. It’s the site of many of the locations used in the series. Even if you are not a fan, the castle itself is a fantastic place to tour and includes an Egyptian exhibition down in the cellars.
During September they run castle tours and garden trails that are fun for all the family. In October, the gardens are blessed with wonderful Autumn colours.
Once you’ve built up an appetite, it’s only fair to visit the Castle Tea Rooms and take your pick of the homemade soups and delicious freshly made scones and cakes. Check out our visit to Highclere Castle in Hampshire.
9. The New Forest – makes a great base for an autumn break and to see the autumn leaves
In the heart of Hampshire, the New Forest national park covers 566 km² of beautiful countryside reaching right to the coast. You’ll find deer and ponies wandering the ancient heathland and clear rivers where you can practice your angling skills and catch a salmon or two.
During the autumn months, you may find pigs running around free as they are often let out by local farmers to feed on the acorns.
In early September you’ll find Dogstival held in Burley Park or you could try something more serene such as a flower arranging workshop in Beaulieu. One thing is for certain – there’s always something going on in the New Forrest, especially in the Autumn.
10. Wye Valley – one of the best places to visit in the UK during the autumn
The Wye is one of the UK’s most beautiful rivers and there’s nothing better than spending a late September evening on a boat watching the sun go down. Chepstow Castle is a stunning place to visit and there are several high-class restaurants in the region run by Michelin star chefs like Stephen Terry and Chris Harrod.
For the young and scary at heart, there are plenty of events taking place in October including FearFest Evil in Chepstow and Rave in the Cave in Clearwell Caves. For the more adventurous, try some Autumn swimming out in the open with nature all around you at Forest Bathe.
October is normally half-term and you’ll find some good low rates for family breaks which make the Wye Valley a great choice if you have kids in tow. Easily one of the best places to visit in the UK in the autumn months.
11. Chatsworth House, Derbyshire – a wonderful place in England to see the vibrant views of the changing colours of the landscape
Stately homes don’t come more impressive that Chatsworth House in the heart of Derbyshire. It’s not just the impressive architecture but the amazing grounds that make this a popular choice for holiday visits. If you are a fan of art, 25 stunningly designed rooms in Chatsworth House will certainly feed your creative soul.
For the kids, there’s the nearby playground and farmyard that will keep them entertained for hours on end. There’s also the chance to eat fine food and buy some of the estates locally produced wines at the farm shop.
During the autumn months, it’s a particular beautiful place to take in the vibrant views of the changing colours of the landscape. After this, the Christmas market starts up in the second week of November so it’s the perfect time to visit and stock up on some special foodie treats and gifts for significant others.
12. Longleat Forest – one of the best places to visit in the UK in October half term
Longleat Forest is home to Centre Parcs which has cut its prices for the Autumn to encourage those looking for a well-earned fall break with all the family. Whether you want to relax at the Aqua Sauna, swim in the pool, visit Longleat House or take a walk in the nearby parks and forest, there’s certainly something for everyone.
The great news is that there are a whole host of free activities around Longleat Forest including walks by the lakeside where you can feed the local ducks, spend some time at the man-made beach, head out on a nature trail or ride the land train.
13. Brecon Beacons, South Wale – makes an extraordinary setting for an autumn holiday in the UK
Brecon Beacons National Park lies in the heart of South Wales and is a very popular tourist attraction and makes a fantastic place to take an autumn holiday in the UK. from Pen y Fan to the Black Mountains, if you are a fan of trekking, this is the perfect location to spend some quality time, commune with nature, enjoy the wildlife and get plenty of fresh air.
If you’re the more adventurous type, there’s underground caving, kayaking, canoeing, and trekking on offer. Visit some of the small villages across the park and you’ll find some real treats when it comes to food and drink. The local fayre delivered with a warm Welsh welcome should keep you entertained all week.
14. Dove Crag in the Simonside Hills, Northumberland National Park – offers one of the best places to take an autumn walk in the UK
Fans of stunning autumn views will love Dove Crag and the Simonside Hills. Located in the heart of Northumberland National Park, it’s a looping walk that is suitable for all the family. There are several different routes and if you fancy more of a challenge the 792m fell has a lot to offer.
If you’re looking for a place to stay nearby, delightful family cottages come at reasonable weekly prices and the locals are friendly and welcoming. There are many adventure activities to take part in over the Autumn including foraging and wild cooking, bouldering and caving, and canoeing.
15. Bodenham Arboretum, Worcestershire – view the beautiful change of colours of over 3,000 trees and shrub species
Bodenham’s famous Arboretum in Worcestershire is one of the most beautiful and best places to visit in the UK during the autumn months. If you prefer your botanical garden outdoors and on a massive scale, this is the place for you and the family to explore. With trees and plants from all over the world, it’s another location where the Autumn colours really do shine through during September and October.
Bodenham’s restaurant is open during the lunchtime and offers a range of home-produced meats and scrumptious dishes to get your culinary juices flowing. This is a busy restaurant, however, it is best to book beforehand.
16. North Downs Surrey – take beautiful autumn walks from Polesden Lacey into the atmospheric woods and rolling hills
Counties like Surrey aren’t often known for their tourist destinations but look a little harder you’ll find some amazing places to visit during the Autumn. North Downs is a ridge of iconic chalk hills that runs from Farnham in Surrey right down to the White Cliffs of Dover. It’s an overlooked gem that is well worth a visit.
Polesden Lacey is a great location to start any autumn walk around this region. With decent parking and an Edwardian country retreat to explore, you can spend days strolling around the gardens and there are fun activities such as hill rolling the kids can get involved in.
17. A pub crawl and an autumnal walk by the River Thames in Twickenham
If you prefer several drinking holes along your walk, Twickenham is the perfect place to start your UK autumnal and scenic pub crawl along the Thames and there are many pretty places to visit. A walk from Twickenham to Teddington takes about two hours and goes by the River Crane. Along the way, you’ll pass Kneller Gardens and Radnor Gardens as well as conservation area Teddington Grove.
There are some old and iconic pubs around the Twickenham area including the White Swan on the river and the Sussex Arms which are worth the visit for the charming interiors alone. If you are spending your break in London, Twickenham is a brilliant place to have a few beers while exploring what the local amenities have to offer.
18. Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire – a UK autumn must visit, this place is well known for its magnificent Autumn tints from around mid-October to mid-November
If you’re looking for a break to recharge your batteries and get back in touch with nature, Westonbirt Arboretum should be somewhere near the top of your list. Run by Forestry England, Autumn is the perfect time to visit mainly for the colours and wildlife, particularly in September and October.
With 15,000 different trees from all around the world, the arboretum covers more than 600 acres and was the brainchild of Victorian businessman Robert Holford. Trails are organised for each season so you can expect something spectacular over the Autumn period right up until the end of November. One of the highlights is the Treetop Walkway which puts you 300 feet above the ground and offers great views of the forest and surrounding hills.
19. Aymestrey and the rest of Herefordshire – a stunning part of England to enjoy the beautiful countryside in autumn
Aymestrey is a small and unassuming hamlet in the heart of Herefordshire but it’s also a great base to explore everything that the county has to offer especially during the beautiful Autumn months. If you love getting out into the country, walking, cycling or running, you won’t be disappointed – the colours in this county are just stunning!
Along the way, you can explore locations such as Croft Castle and Wigmore Castle. There’s also the Westonbury Mill Water Gardens, offering a unique glimpse of the region’s history and local culture.
20. Sissinghurst Castle, Kent – explore beautiful seasonal gardens and over 180 acres of woodland
Another location that looks fantastic as we head into the months of Autumn is Sissinghurst Castle. The estate is a working farm and there’s a lot for all the family to enjoy. The castle garden covers 460 acres and was created by poet and artist Vita Sackville-West in the 1930s after the original estate fell into disrepair.
Although it is less well-known around the world, Sissinghurst is one of the most popular National Trust properties in the UK with over 200,000 visitors every year. The autumnal highlights through the garden during September and October are a delight to see. There also plenty of nearby attractions such as the Big Cat Sanctuary and Hush Heath Winery to enjoy during your break.