October at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

Apples in the heritage apple orchard at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

October is full of delights! Colour is filling the estate with feel-good reds, yellows and golds and the chilly air is giving us an excuse to wrap up cosy and warm to go outside and explore. Whether you're after a relaxing autumnal stroll through the estate or some half term fun, you'll come away happy.

Discover the heritage English apple orchard

The small heritage orchard by Fountains Mill is full to the brim with apples this October. You’ll find lots of different apples varieties in there and they're all northern! The gardeners have collected lots of Mrs Lakeman’s Seedling apples to go to the kitchen for some tasty autumn cakes. They're a popular cooking apple. Originally from Stocksfield, County Durham, in the 1900s it’s crisp, firm, and slightly sweet, which makes it perfect for cooking.

These ripe Mrs Lakeman's Seedlings are going to the kitchen for some delicious apple recipes.
Gardeners are picking Mrs Lakemans seedling apples for catering
These ripe Mrs Lakeman's Seedlings are going to the kitchen for some delicious apple recipes.

Autumn colour

Explore the estate and find your new favourite view.
a stunning autumn view through the trees looking down on the abbey ruins of fountains abbey
Explore the estate and find your new favourite view.

The grounds are full of trees looking their best, dressed in reds, yellows and golds. Bring your walking boots, wrap up warm and marvel at this splendid seasonal show as you stroll around the estate. Taking in the scenery from Surprise view at this time of year is particularly special.

The deer rut

What is the deer rut?

It’s the time of year when the males start to clash antlers to win their right to mate. It’s a fierce and fiery competition to decide the hierarchy of the herd so the bigger and tougher the buck, the more likely it will be the one to father the next year’s offspring.

In the lead up to the rut the male deer have a nice restful time, as their energy goes into growing their antlers ready for the rut. Their antlers are covered in velvet-like skin during the summer months as they grow but as August comes along, the blood flow cuts off and they shed this skin, which is why you may see bits hanging off them in the lead up to the rut. 

A fallow deer buck prepares to take on the other bucks in the autumn rut
Fallow deer buck prepares for rut at Charlecote Park in autumn
A fallow deer buck prepares to take on the other bucks in the autumn rut

Can I see the rut at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal?

If you visit the deer park it’s highly likely that you will see or hear the rut going on. Don’t try to get close though as the battling stags/bucks are so focused on the fight that they’re not aware of anything else around them. When the fight comes to an end the loser will make a break for it in any direction, with the winner close on their tail. 

If you're here to photograph the deer, please keep your distance and use a long lens to capture your shots. Please do not wear camoflauge and stick to the main paths. 

Deer rut walks

There are two guide-led deer walks this autumn. You can join this walk free of charge on the Saturday 7 October and Saturday 21 October. You’ll meet at the visitor centre before following our knowledgeable guides to try to find the rut.

Fountains by Floodlight

See the abbey ruins glow golden every Saturday evening throughout October. Pack your torch to come and explore the abbey after dark, join a guided tour and tuck into a tasty pulled pork or roast chicken sandwich. 


Throughout October carver Joseph Hayton is displaying his new exhibition: dissolution. Having delved into the abbey’s past his sculptures in bronze and marble tell a tale about life as a monk at Fountains Abbey. You’ll find his work in Fountains Mill throughout October and make sure to drop by to have a go stone carving for yourself.

October half-term

You've been counting down the days and now it's finally here! Holidays! Make the most of being away from school with a visit to Fountains Abbey. Join one of our children's architecture workshops, bring the family to build a bird feeder and have a go at some awesome autumn weaving in Swanley Grange.