Autumn walks and dazzling displays of colour

Posted on: 25 September 2013 by Gareth Hargreaves

National Trust parks and properties boast some of Britain's most beautiful scenery, enjoy them in their autumn splendour with our pick of the best

Winkworth Arboretum

Red, gold and orange colours cover the landscapes at this time of year, so whether you’re admiring the variety of trees and plants, building up an appetite for some seasonal tasty treats or enjoying a Great British Walk through the crisp leaves with the family, there are plenty of reasons to explore the great outdoors this autumn.

Enjoy the start of autumn by getting out and about amongst the glorious displays of colour at one of these beautiful National Trust places.

Lode MillAnglesey Abbey, Garden and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire

The celebrated garden, with its sweeping avenues and classical statues, enjoys an array of foliage in shades of red and gold, making a beautiful backdrop to an autumn walk. The wonderful yellow leaves of the field maple make a fine entrance to the temple lawn. Berries along the pilgrim’s lawn provide even more colour, while the working water mill and house are full of treasures and offer plenty to do on your visit.

Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Proving age is no barrier to beauty; vibrant autumn colours come to Calke Park during the season, home to some of the oldest trees in England. A National Nature Reserve, the park is also home to roaming red and fallow deer, providing a memorable sight during the autumn rut. The veteran trees of the estate, including the Old Man of Calke, display all the colours of autumn and the lime avenue is particularly beautiful.

Make a weekend of it: Choose from four cottages including two unusual gate lodges and a spacious eighteenth century farmhouse. There is also 600 acres of Calke Park to explore which is surrounded by the National Forest. Cottages sleep between three and fourteen.

Charlecote Park, Warwickshire

Charlecote's gardens continue to offer something to interest everyone throughout autumn. Find inspiration to extend the season in your own garden, or simply enjoy the last vivid flush of colour in the Parterre before the garden team clears it for mulching and planting thousands of spring bulbs in October.

Make a weekend of it: Stay in The Turret, a wonderful apartment at the top of the North West wing of Charlecote Park with far reaching views across to the Gatehouse and parkland beyond. Sleeps six.


Fountains AbbeyFountains Abbey and Studley Royal, Yorkshire

This World Heritage Site provides a stunning man-made contrast to the natural wonder of an autumnal wilderness. Discover breathtaking views across the magnificent 12th-Century abbey ruins and the beautifully landscaped Georgian water garden, alongside seasonal shades in the surrounding 800 acres of beautiful countryside.

Make a weekend of it: With eleven holiday cottages on offer, including apartments in the luxurious Fountains Hall and five cottages converted from a group of eighteenth century farm buildings, there’s something for everyone at this picture-perfect site. Cottages sleep between two and ten people.

Glendurgan Garden, Cornwall

With its mild climate and sheltered valleys, the amazing plants of Glendurgan take on wonderful new features in the autumn months. Southern hemisphere plants burst into flower, while the jungle-like leaves of giant rhubarb and bananas reach full size. As low light filters through the woodlands on the valley sides, the leaves and trunks of trees take on fascinating shades of autumnal colour.

Autumn in North Helford Walk, 22 October, 10am-1pm

As part of the Great British Walk festival, why not join ranger Charlie for a walk along the North Helford coastline and spot the signs of autumn in the woodlands, coastline and meadows. From mushrooms and berries to colourful leaves, discover how the North Helford coast and countryside changes in autumn. Find out how the year has been for wildlife in the area and what the ranger team have been working on.

Normal admission charges apply.
Booking is essential for this event, for more information please call 01326 252021.

Make a weekend of it: Located next to Glendurgan Garden are four cottages in the sleepy beach-side hamlet of Durgan. The cottages, quay, beach and The Old School House sit right on the beach while quaint Wood Cottage is tucked away in the woods. Sleep two to four people.


Hidcote GardensHidcote, Gloucestershire

Discover the delights of autumn at Hidcote where you’ll be inspired by rich colours and hear the crisp sound of leaves crunching beneath your feet. Take a wander around the unmissable wilderness or along the beech alley where the fragrant earthy smells of fallen leaves welcome you. Find a quiet spot and enjoy the warming rays of the sun and take a moment to admire the vibrant colours that fill the garden.

Head gardener's Autumn ramble and roast, 9 November, 9.30am-2.30pm

Enjoy the stunning autumn views as Hidcote’s head gardener takes you on a leisurely ramble into the north Cotswold countryside as part of the Great British Walk festival. There's even a chance to venture onto Meon Hill. On your return, head straight to Winthrop's restaurant where the chef will have prepared a mouth-watering three course roast lunch.

Ticket charges apply, Adult £10 (includes morning coffee and ramble), Adult £25 (includes morning coffee, ramble and roast).
Booking is essential for this event, for more information please call 01386 438333

Mount Stewart, Co. Down

Beyond the garden rooms, providing coloured blooms at every turn, the lush woodlands of Mount Stewart come into their own. Follow the lake walk to discover the ornamental trees and shrubs in their autumn coats of red and gold, reflected in the still water of the lake.

Autumn harvest fair, 5-6 October, 10am-5pm

Celebrate autumn with a harvest festival at Mount Stewart, with flower and vegetable shows and demonstrations. Artisan food producers will provide temptations aplenty.

Normal admission charges apply.
Booking is not needed for this event, for more information please call 028 4278 8387.


Powis CastlePowis Castle, Powys

Rising above the terraced garden and estate, this medieval fortress provides a fantastic autumnal setting. The warm colours of the castle appear to echo the rich tones of seasonal foliage, as the red walls match the red vines and the leaves in the surrounding woodlands.

Make a weekend of it: Stay at the heart of the magnificent gardens at Powis Castle in The Bothy, an Edwardian half-timbered cottage that is packed with traditional features. When the public go home the gardens become yours to explore. Sleeps seven.

Sheffield Park Garden, East Sussex

Why not head outdoors on a Great British Walk and explore over 120 acres of landscaped garden at Sheffield Park and follow winding paths to enchanting lakes where even the water takes on a distinctly autumnal hue. The five linked lakes reflect the vivid autumn colours, with flaming ochre and scarlet painted by Japanese maples, swamp cypresses and birches.

Sizergh, Cumbria

One family, one estate and more than 700 years of history. Sizergh gardens are definitely worth a visit in the autumn as the seasons turn slowly towards harvest and fruitfulness. In the orchard, see the harvesting of apples, quince and Westmoreland damsons, which visitors can taste. The mature ornamental trees and the beautiful herbaceous border, especially planted for autumn, offer visitors the chance to see a real display of colour, and scent.

Stourhead, Wiltshire

Visit one of the world’s finest landscape gardens and see vistas highlighted with burnished leaves and rusty colour palettes. With a breathtaking lake at its centre, the garden is planned with temples and follies and a planting scheme, which allows the colours to wash through the landscape of a six to eight week period. Towards the end of August, the North American maple begins to turn a scarlet red, heralding the start of the splendid autumnal season and the Japanese acers, hornbeam, chestnuts, also put on a vivid display. The Tulip trees take on a butter yellow hue while the oak and beech finish off the season with their bright oranges late in October.

Make a weekend of it: Wake up to the magnificent colours of Stourhead on your doorstep. It is yours to explore at all times, with the gate to the garden within view of your front door, so start the day with a silent early morning stroll before it opens to the public. Sleeps seven.


Winkworth, photo Dace UmbiljaWinkworth Arboretum, Surrey

Autumn colour is Winkworth’s chief glory, and as the surrounding countryside assumes its mellow wash of russet, copper and gold, and its hillside takes on the more potent livery of Chinese mountains and New England forests. Experience a pallet of golds, browns, coppers, bronzes and reds – a treasure trove of colour that reflects in the ripples of the lake.

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