Autumn: The Best Places to Visit in the UK
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Autumn: The Best Places to Visit in the UK

Start planning this autumn's staycation adventures now

Crunching over leaves in thick-soled boots, warm oranges and reds filling the trees, layered clothes and winter coats re-entering your wardrobe as that familiar chill appears in the air: autumn is sublime season. Looking for the best things to do and places to visit in the UK this season? Look no further – we’ve rounded up the best seasonal sojourns from every corner of the country. From leaf peeping hotspots in the countryside to cities with autumnal festivals or foodie festivities worth travelling to, autumn is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit the four corners of the UK. Start planning this autumn’s staycation adventures now.

Read the C&TH Responsible Tourism Guide

Where To Visit In Autumn In The UK

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Horse being presented at Highclere

Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Yearling Parade

This October, Highclere will host its annual Yearling Parade, the UK’s most prestigious presentation of young horses. Taking place at Highclere Stud in Newbury – a historic site set in 300 acres of greenery – the event is a chance for owners and prospective owners to view the yearlings, who have been expertly selected by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing founder Harry Herbert alongside bloodstock agents John and Jake Warren. Upon arrival, attendees are treated to coffee, Bloody Marys and bacon rolls ahead of the horse parade, which features a running commentary from Harry, John and Jake outlining why each yearling has been selected. Afterwards there will be a chance to ask questions and meet the yearlings in their stables, before a champagne reception and two-course lunch created by celebrity chef Clodagh McKenna. The day is then rounded off with a speech from Harry. Can’t make it, but still keen to follow along? Sign up here to catch the live feed online.

22 – 23 October 2023,

Glen Glack, Atholl Estates, The Scottish Highlands

Nothing beats the glorious Scottish Highlands in autumn, when the trees show off their most painterly hues of gold, crimson, tangerine, and copper. And there’s no better place from which to explore it in blissful freedom than from one of Glen Glack’s five stunning cabins. Found on Perthshire’s Atholl Estates and inspired by the traditional ‘bothy’, these woodland hideaways leave no comfort neglected; from the scene-stealing decks to the deep baths and the roaring fire to return to after a day adventuring the area’s many spectacular trails, whether by foot, ebike or pedal bike.  

Image credit: Alexander Baxter

Dartmouth Food Festival

Dartmouth Food Festival

Dartmouth’s lovely food festival is back this autumn, with a variety of tastings from local heroes, all the way up to national and international chefs. It’s totally free to explore over 100 hand-picked exhibitors and vendors – or snap up your tickets for specific events. A family friendly event, expect cookery demonstrations, workshops, tastings, competitions and seminars.

BOOK IT: 20–22 October 2023. Book at

The Atlantic


Time for an island escape of the autumnal variety: Jersey. Check into The Atlantic for the best leaf-peeping autumn has to offer, plus wild ocean views and delicious, award-winning dining. In autumn, all the crowds of summer have dispersed, and visitors can enjoy this charming island at its best, with cultural tours, beachcombing, historical treasures such as the medieval castle Mount Orgueil and the capital, St Helier’s boutique-lined streets.

Spring sunset over St Cross Hospital and the River Itchen in Winchester, Hampshire, UK


Literature buffs: can you see autumn leaves without thinking of Keats? It is, after all, his ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’. Get into the real spirit of Keats’ Ode to Autumn by literally following in his footsteps on the easy two-mile walk he took while staying in Winchester, Hampshire as summer slipped into autumn in 1819 – inspiring his ode to the season’s harvest (‘fruitful’ is very literal in that sense).

HOW? Visit for the printable route.

Lucknam Park, autumn

Lucknam Park

Set across 500 acres of parkland and ancient woodland, bursting with orange leaves ripe for crunching, Wiltshire’s Lucknam Park is a sight to behold in autumn – and don’t they know it. The famed country house hotel usually has a selection of autumnal activities, including movie nights (complete with popcorn and chocolate), pony grooming, arts and crafts for youngsters (including spooky Halloween themed sessions), art classes for older guests, garden and sculpture tours, and forest bathing, alongside the classic countryside activities of tennis, croquet, cycling and ample country walks. At an additional cost, enjoy hacking at Lucknam Park’s renowned Equestrian Centre, falconry, archery, yoga, pilates, autumn table arranging sessions, or a trip to the spa.


Lake Windermere in the English Lake District taken at sunrise with vibrant colours and golden morning light.


The Lake District attracts millions of visitors every year and, situated in one of the UK’s rainiest regions, it is well-equipped to entertain even on wet autumnal days.

When the rain prevents you from admiring the ancient glacial landscape, head to Keswick Museum to see 500 million year old trilobite and Ice Age relics. Try Grasmere to learn about the famous William Wordsworth, or step back into Elizabethan times at Levens Hall and Gardens near Kendal; beautiful furniture, fine oak panelling and ornate plasterwork await.

HOW? Visit for more Cumbria activities.

Quaint cotswold cottages lining the old cobbles of The Chipping Steps, Tetbury, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, UK


It’s always lovely, but the Cotswolds in the autumn is truly a sight to behold. If you’re looking for a twist on the typical hiking holiday, how about a bit of autumn antique shopping? We suggest you head to Tetbury (home to HRH Prince Charles) 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.


Minack Theatre

Minack Theatre, Penzance

Find yourself in West Cornwall? Pay a visit to 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, and there’s always plenty to see.

HOW? Booking ahead is essential.

Castle of Glamis in Angus area, Scotland.

Glamis Castle, Angus

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


High Force Waterfall, Bowlees Tees Valley, County Durham

High Force Waterfall, County Durham

High Force Waterfall in County Durham is a sight to behold – the rocks have origins dating back over 300 million years. Follow a path through the gorgeous autumnal woodland to the base of the falls where the River Tees drops 21 metres into a plunge pool below. Situated in the Northern Pennines, this area is the darkest mainland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – providing unparalleled stargazing opportunities, and even the Northern Lights if you’re lucky.

HOW? Visit for more information.

Low tide on River Orwell at Pin Mill, Suffolk

Trail Along The Shotley Peninsula

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.


Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Loved the Fringe but didn’t manage to catch any of Edinburgh’s history and beauty? Luckily, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is still blooming marvellous in autumn. Enjoy the flora and fauna housed in impressive glasshouses and lovely gardens.


Aerial view of Old Sarum in England

Old Sarum, Salisbury

Old Sarum – around two miles north of Salisbury, Wiltshire – is a historian’s heaven. The earliest settlement in Salisbury, Old Sarum appears in some of the country’s earliest records. Now an English Heritage site, you can also 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. Nearby, visit Stone Henge for a full historical immersion. This autumn, there will also be a half term Halloween special, where little ones can follow trails to solve creepy clues and gather round to listen to spooky stories.

HOW? Visit for more information and to book your visit.

Fishing Cottage on Gower Peninsular Rhossilli Bay Worm Rock Formation

Worm’s Head, Rhossili Bay

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.


New Forest

The New Forest

Swathes of rich colour, crunchy leaves and a crisp bite in the air: the New Forest is a true autumnal delight. Visit in September to see the gorgeously contrasting pink and purple heather with green bracken and yellowing silver birch leaves.

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.


Montpellier in Harrogate and surrounding park space

Afternoon Tea At Bettys, Harrogate

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. While you’re in the area, Harrogate is a gorgeous Victorian spa town in the heart of Yorkshire – whether you’re there for the day or to make a weekend of it, there’s always plenty to see and do.


Jurassic Coast

Stroll Along The Jurassic Coast

Love the sea air, even when the breeze is a bit brisker? Then take a stroll – or hike! – along the Jurassic Coast this autumn. Stretching for 96 miles from Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay, this World Heritage Site traces the English Channel and spans 185 million years of geological history. Budding paleontologist in the family? There is no better place for fossil hunting.

An unrecognisable silhouetted woman in front of a bonfire

Bonfire Night On The Coast

Get fired up for the bonfire season by following the colourful, torch-lit processions along the Eastbourne seafront – this year, occurring on 1 October.

Then, make the trip to Lewes on 5 November for tar barrel rolling, marching bands and topical effigies.

HOW? Visit and for more information.

Hever Castle

Hever Castle

The setting of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s courtship, Hever Castle is best experienced in the autumn sun, when the Boston Ivy adorning the front of the castle turns a vivid shade of red. This September, enjoy the Autumn Colour event, forest bathing, Halloween half term fun and the annual Hever Christmas Fair.

HOW? Visit for more information.

SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain, Bristol

Regarded as one of the most important historical ships in the world, SS Great Britain was a feat of engineering. The largest passenger ship in the world from 1845 to 1854, SS Great Britain provided a transatlantic service between Bristol and New York. Today, nautical enthusiasts can visit the ship docked in Bristol. With a museum, activities, and even the chance to climb the rigging, this is a fun day out for all the family.

HOW? Visit for more information and to book ahead.


London Restaurant Festival

October is the best time to visit London – at least, that’s what any foodie will tell you. Back this October for its 15th year, 350 restaurants will come together this autumn 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.

HOW? Visit for more information.

Westonbirt Aboretum

Westonbirt Arboretum

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. Little ones can admire the Gruffalo Sculptures or follow the Superworm trail. There’s also the Tree Top Walkway and plenty of walking trails for all to enjoy.

HOW? Visit to plan your visit.

Chatsworth House

Chatsworth, Derbyshire

This gorgeous estate is always wonderful, but especially when the weather gets colder. Indulge in delicious farm-to-fork dishes and attend talks and tastings in the farm shop – there’s also wine and supper clubs running throughout the season. Or start the Christmas festivities early – the legendary Chatsworth Christmas market commences on 5 November.

HOW? Plan your visit at

Powis Castle (Welsh: Castell Powis or Castell Coch) is a medieval castle, fortress and grand country mansion located near the town of Welshpool, in Powys, Mid Wales.

Powys Castle & Garden

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, like at Powys Castle in Welshpool. This 13th century castle sits high above its celebrated gardens, with 30 ft high yew trees.



Featured image: Autumn scene in London (c) Getty.