Dazzling displays of autumn colour
'The huge landscaped garden at Anglesey Abbey is fantastic in the autumn. My favourite part about it is the cyclamen flowers which carpet the ground with pinks, purples and whites, and the winter berries on the bushes make every corner of the garden come alive with colour.'
- Richard Todd, head gardener at Anglesey Abbey
Why do you love autumn? Whether it's enjoying a walk in a spectacular landscape of autumn colour, working up an appetite for a scrumptious seasonal pudding or spending time with friends and family jumping in fallen leaves, there are plenty of reasons to love this time of year.
So why not enjoy some of the gorgeous colour, on trees and in flower beds, shiny conkers and invigorating fresh air that are on offer at our top autumn destinations.
The celebrated garden, with its sweeping avenues and classical statuary, enjoys magnificent foliage in shades of red and gold making a backdrop to an autumn walk. The spectacular yellow leaves of the field maple make a fine entrance to the temple lawn and berries along the pilgrim’s lawn provide further colour, while the working water mill and house full of treasures provide plenty to do on your visit.
Take a break: Enjoy a brew with a view in the Redwoods restaurant – ideal for relaxing and enjoying the scenery. There’s also the shop with everything from local chutneys to pottery on sale as well as fresh flour ground from Lode Mill, plus a plant centre and second-hand bookshop to enjoy.
Ashridge is a majestic estate only 27 miles from the centre of London, with towering ancient trees including beech and oak. There is a two mile wildlife walk just perfect for families and, during late autumn, it is awash with yellows, golds and reds as the leaves on the trees start to turn. It’s also worth looking out for gliding red kites above and a great time to see the annual spectacle of the deer rut.
'Autumn is, for me, the best time of year to visit Charlecote in terms of colour, not only because of the beautiful parkland and gardens, but it’s also the time of year when the fallow deer are at their peak. Their beautiful coats bring another dimension of colour to the park which is not to be missed.'
- Lisa Topham, park and garden manager at Charlecote Park
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.
Discover impressive Italianate terraces and formal lawns on its upper level, with a wooded valley, stream and wild garden below, all ablaze with fiery hues. Acorns are scattered across the paths, there are fat, ripe rose hips hanging heavily on the rosa glauca and bright red berries catch the eye against dark green foliage on cotoneaster horizontalis.
'Walking around Calke garden in autumn is always a fantastic experience. The squash family have ripened into lovely orange and yellows and sit waiting for their ‘pumpkin party’. The apples hang in abundance from the trees in the orchard. Plus my favourite part is when the flower borders take on a palette of burnt oranges, yellow, reds and browns.'
- Julie Mitchell, gardener at Calke Abbey
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.
This World Heritage Site provides a stunning man-made contrast to the natural wonder of an autumnal landscape.
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.
Gibside offers a fantastic array of woodland and riverside walks with breathtaking views across the Derwent Valley.
At this time of year, the famous avenue of oak trees leading from the Column of Liberty to the grand Palladian Chapel is ablaze with colour. After exploring the parkland and spotting bright jewel-like waxcap fungi in front of the ruined Hall, head to Gibside Larder farm shop and the Potting Shed cafe for seasonal treats.
With its mild climate and sheltered valleys, the amazing plants of Glendurgan Garden take on spectacular 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.
Grow your own: after exploring the garden find inspiration for your own plot in the plant centre. Whether you'd like to copy the steamy jungle of the lower valley or the flowering beauty of the camellia walk, the plant centre has got the plant for you.
Nestled on the edge of the Peak District, Lyme Park sits within a 1,300 acre park featuring sweeping moorland, stunning views and elegant formal gardens.
The Hall itself surveys wooded slopes, the lake and the Lime Avenue, providing memorable scenery especially in the autumn months, when the colours change with the seasons.
Beyond the garden rooms, providing spectacular 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.
Rising dramatically above the terraced garden and estate, this medieval fortress provides an outstanding autumnal setting.
The warm, welcoming colours of Powis Castle appear to echo the rich hues of seasonal foliage, as the red walls match the red vines and the leaves in the surrounding woodlands.
Explore over 120 acres of landscaped garden at Sheffield Park Garden, 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.
Autumn warmer: enjoy a reviving cup of tea in the Coach House tea-room or warm up with a hearty soup.
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.
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 at Stourhead 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.
Autumn colour is Winkworth’s chief glory, and as the surrounding countryside assumes its mellow wash of russet, copper and gold, its steep hillside takes on the more potent livery of Chinese mountains and New England forests. Golds, browns, coppers, bronzes and reds – reflected in the ripples of the lake.
Take a walk on nature's red carpet, rolled out in The Bowl from mid-October with Japanese maples, acers and liquidambar, also known as the sweet gum tree for its fragrant resin and producing an autumn spectrum of orange, red and purple.
Time for tea: open Wednesday to Sunday, Winkworth's tea-room serves up soups and sandwiches, as well as delicious homemade cakes and scones.