Spectacular autumn colours are expected this year, according to an expert from Forestry Commission England.
Simon Toomer, Director at the Forestry Commission’s National Arboretum at Westonbirt, Gloucestershire, said the warm start to autumn, twinned with the recent rain, is an ideal combination of conditions for maintaining sugar levels so that leaves remain on trees for longer to develop their autumnal shades.
Lovers of autumn scenery need not travel to New England to witness the kaleidoscope of colours that characterises the fall season, because there is plenty on offer here in the UK.
Whether you are looking for the wilderness of the Lake District, a Welsh castle, a 2,500 acre park in the capital, a Scottish hedge from 1745, or the manicured lawns of a landscape garden in Yorkshire, there are lots of sites to choose from.
To help you decide where to go, we contacted countryside conservation organisations and tourism bodies across Britain and asked for their opinions on the best places to witness autumn scenery, here are their suggestions.
Autumn in the UK: where to visit
Autumn in the UK: where to visit
1/10 Stourhead, Wiltshire
When this world-famous landscape garden opened in the 1740s, a magazine described it as a “living work of art”. You can see why – the sight of the trees around the lake in their autumn colours is spectacular. (01747 841152; nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead)
2/10 Grizedale Forest, Lake District
Sprawled over the hills between Coniston Water and Windermere, Grizedale Forest looks its best at this time of the year. Go for a walk, or hop on a mountain bike, and enjoy the 60 outdoor sculptures that are dotted among the trees. (01229 860010; forestry.gov.uk/grizedale)
3/10 Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire
The National Arboretum is home to some 18,000 trees and shrubs, set in a grade one listed historic landscape. The Old Arboretum features a host of rare and exotic specimens dating back to the 1850s, while the Silk Wood remains a traditional working woodland. (01666 880220; forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt)
4/10 Richmond Park, London
With its 2,500 acres of parkland and woodland not far from central London, this former royal hunting ground is at its most beautiful during autumn. Try to go just before sunrise, when the soft light illuminates the rich colours of the leaves. (0300 061 2200; royalparks.gov.uk/parks/richmond-park)
5/10 Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire
This beautiful area of ancient woodland, wood pasture, water and heath has been managed by humans since the medieval period. It also provided the setting for The Prince of Thieves – a Robin Hood film shot in 1991. (01753 647358; http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do)
6/10 Faskally Wood, Perthshire
This part of Perthshire is especially popular with cyclists, who come for its challenging trails and scenic views. The woods around Loch Dunmore served as a training area for foresters during the 1950s, and are currently lit up at night as part of the Enchanted Forest show. (0131 524 2121; visitscotland.com)
7/10 Studley Royal Park, North Yorkshire
This 18th-century landscaped garden houses the epic ruins of Fountains Abbey, and a large variety of ancient trees. Statues peek through the foliage, and mirror-like ponds reflect the pillars of classical temples. (01765 608888; nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey)
8/10 Powis Castle and Garden, Powys
Constructed around the medieval castle, this landscape garden retains its original lead statues and an orangery on the terrace. Enjoy the attractive seasonal colours in the twenty-six acres of lawns and shrubbery below the red-brick fortress. (01938 551944; nationaltrust.org.uk/powis-castle)
9/10 Mount Stewart, County Down
Mount Stewart was the masterpiece of Edith, Lady Londonderry, who used the mild climate of Strangford Lough to experiment with new planting styles. The formal areas reflect traditional Italianate style, while the woodlands feature plants from across the globe. (028 4278 8387; nationaltrust.org.uk/mount-stewart)
10/10 Meikleour Beech Hedge, Perthshire
The Meikleour Beech Hedge is the longest hedge in Britain, and the highest of its kind in the world. It was planted in 1745 – supposedly in memory of the dead of the Jacobite Rebellion – and provides a stunning backdrop to a drive or cycle. (0131 524 2121; visitscotland.com)
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