Honed over centuries, England and the rest of the United Kingdom has always had a history, heritage and beautiful landscapes to rightly proud of, and a glorious regional diversity – from coast to hills, festivals to food – with few parallels. As the nights start getting longer and the winter chills start to set in, the thoughts of a holiday probably seem far away but don’t despair, there are plenty of cultured, interesting and unique beautiful places in the UK which make the perfect autumn break…
It’s like Bath is the eternal city and history has happened all around it. An autumn break in Bath will bring you back to Prehistoric Britain with a tour of Stonehenge, take in the ancient Roman baths, a whistlestop visit to the country’s oldest university at Oxford and the spectacular Windsor Castle- the largest of the royal residences. Overnight in the stunning deluxe Bath Priory dating back to 1835 and unwind in their stunning gardens, reflecting on the depth of history that surrounds you. Your guide will be knowledgeable and insightful, giving expert leadership along this intricate path to the past.
A stay here can include visits to nearby Windsor Castle, Oxford and Eton, as well as a picturesque, drive through the gentle, green sloping hills of the Cotswolds to spend a night in the Tudor market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, the small village immortalised by William Shakespeare. The next few days will be spent flitting between medieval fortresses, manor gardens, roman baths and finally, Longleat- and Elizabethan treasure trove house before dispatching to London via the cathedral cities; Salisbury and Winchester.
The Peak District
The Peak District makes a fabulous region to visit any time of the year but in the autumn it’s particularly special with a wonderful colour palette of oranges, browns and rusts. Also include a visit to 16th century Burghley House which is the setting for Rosings Park, Haddon Hall (Lampton Inn), Basildon Park (AKA Netherfield) and the piece de resistance- Chatsworth, or Pemberley as it’s known to Janeites. The tour of the sites can be completed in two days, but add an extra day to explore Chawton, Austen’s home-place where she revised Pride and Prejudice and where her inspiration hangs on every corner.
Touring the Castles of England
This is the quintessential English break, visit three of the most historic castles in England- Leeds, Hever and Windsor with an expert guide and spend a night at the beautiful Amberley Castle. The first stop is the 1,000- year-old Leeds: surrounded by a lake and generally considered to be the most beautiful in the world. The next stop is the moated, 13th century Hever, most famous for being the childhood home of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn. If Hever is closed another location is offered. After a luxurious overnight stay slumbering within the medieval architecture of Amberley Castle and awake afresh for a trip to Stonehenge followed by either Hampton Court Palace or Windsor Castle to revel in the magnificent state apartments of Windsor or discover the beauty of the views from Hampton Court which, made it Henry VIIIs favourite.
Immerse yourself in the mythical culture of Wales, meet the charismatic locals and explore the majestic scenery. Discover the medieval castle and cathedral of Cardiff, visit the shed that Dylan Thomas wrote in and descend into the bowels of Blaenfon Big Pit Coal Mine which is now a museum. Hike along the Elan Valley and its sparkling lakes and the stunning Snowdonia National park. A trip to Wales would not be complete without visiting the bizarre Italianate village on a private peninsula. While you’re there, try picking up some of the local lingo – prydferth cymru!
The West Country
This autumn UK break will take you into a pace of life long gone elsewhere in England, quaint meandering lanes in sleepy villages, romantic associations with King Arthur and Guinevere, the vast wild spaces of Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin Moor. Stay three nights in Devon or Cornwall to relax and explore the region, especially Castle Drogo, built by Henry VIII to fortify the coastline in reaction to the Pope’s crusade against him. Also see spectacular St Michael’s Mount, set high on a rock island off the mainland, the ruins of Tintagel, according to legend the birthplace of King Arthur. On your fourth day visit Glastonbury, a town steeped in myth & legend, and Wells with its magnificent 12th-century Cathedral before your arrival in Bath, one of Britain’s most complete and best-preserved Georgian cities. Spend your final night in Bath basking in the uncomplicated history before returning to the 21st-century rat race.
A Jane Austen tour
Spend your autumn break touring around the most iconic locations of Austen’s life. Your first port of call is Lacock village in Wiltshire which, was the location for the filming of BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, then onto Bath where you will feel like you’ve stepped into Northanger Abbey. In the evening, check into your luxury five star hotel and after a fine meal, enjoy an entertaining and personal talk by a Jane Austen expert, before going to bed to dream of chancing upon Mr. Darcy at Pemberley the next day. The next day spend some time at Steventon and Chawton, two beautiful quaint villages where Austen spent most of her life and gathered much of the material for ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Northanger Abbey’, ‘Mansfield Park’ and ‘Emma’. In Chawton, her original home has been transformed into a museum housing lots of Austen artifacts including; her desk, jewellery and some letters. The two days will pass in a flurry of Austenisms and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the worlds of the Woodhouses or the Bennetts.