Summer is almost over—and Autumn is knocking on the door. For most of us our annual holiday had to be put on hold due to the pandemic and the nation has missed out on sun, sea and Sangria this Summer.
Luckily, Autumn is an excellent season to take a well-deserved break in the UK, so if you are ready to embrace an Autumnal adventure, here’s the places you need to head to for a relaxing long weekend or a fun-packed October half-term holiday.
Hiking in the Wye Valley
For a spectacular location to enjoy Autumn colours, the Wye Valley near Cardiff is hard to beat. Keen hikers can take on the challenge of the Wye Valley Walk, which at 136 miles long is not for the faint-hearted!
If you’d prefer a shorter ramble, then the first section of the of the walk leads to Tintern Abbey, founded in 1131 by Cistercian monks. The abbey is now roofless but remains a gothic icon—especially when set against a dramatic Autumn backdrop.
Tintern Abbey Cottage provides dog-friendly accommodation for up to 6 people overlooking the abbey. It has lots of little luxuries, including a whirlpool bath and a wood burner in case the nights turn chilly.
Walk a llama
If you’re looking for a novel way to entertain the kids this October half-term, then consider spending a weekend at Catanger Farm in Northamptonshire.
It’s an opportunity to swap a hectic lifestyle for the peaceful and unique experience of a short break on a llama farm. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery whilst walking one of the 15 resident llamas along bridleways and country lanes in the Autumn sunshine. Afterwards you can explore the visitor centre and the fibre studio—complete with a rug loom and spinning wheel. There is also a small gift shop, so you can take a llama-themed souvenir home with you!
The farm has overnight accommodation in the form of a traditional Romany caravan or a quaint shepherds’ hut to stay in, with wood burners and firepits to gather round at the end of a busy day of llama-trekking.
Ramble in Richmond Park
We admit that London might not be the first place that springs to mind when considering a nature-inspired Autumn break, but leafy Richmond Park is at its most beautiful when it’s trees boast burnt orange, gold and red foliage.
Richmond Park is one of the nation’s Royal Parks and has a protected status as an important habitat for wildlife conservation. Take a flask of steaming hot coffee and a blanket and sit quietly and spot the abundance of stags, bats, and endangered giant stag beetles that make their home in the park.
The Richmond Hill Hotel is the perfect base to explore the park and also Richmond High Street with its impressive architecture, independent boutiques and range of eateries from classic pub grub to Michelin-starred restaurants.
Experience nature in the New Forest
The New Forest National Park is home to more than 50 square miles of ancient woodlands. It’s one of the UK’s best places to be to experience Autumnal hues under the magnificent redwood trees planted in 1850.
Make sure to visit the ‘Queen Of The Forest’—a 500-year-old oak tree in Lyndhurst with a girth of 7.4m. There is parking available at nearby Bolderwood Ornamental Drive and the pathway is accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
No visit to the new forest would be complete without spying the new forest ponies that have roamed freely since medieval times. The pretty village of Burley is the perfect base for pony-spotting and long walks. Burley Manor located on the outskirts of the village provides adults-only accommodation with spectacular views across the forest and a spa to relax and unwind in after a ramble through the Autumn leaves.
Take a punt in Cambridge
Steeped in history, with its cobbled streets and charm, University city Cambridge is one of our favourite Autumn destinations.
No visit to Cambridge would be complete without exploring the historic waterways of the River Cam by a punt. There are several punt-hire companies on the riverside who offer river-rides with an experienced punter—or if you are feeling adventurous you can hire a boat and test your punting skills.
If the weather turns damp and cold, then leave the river and stroll to the iconic King’s College Chapel, founded by Henry VI in 1441. The public is welcome to join the choral services, which take place every day during term time.
The Cambridge Hotel is located on the bank of the river and is a short ten-minute stroll from the City centre sights, market square and abundance of restaurants. End your day with a visit to the hotels Twist Bar & Gardens for a warming night cap before bed.
Whatever floats your boat…
Discover the joys of narrow boating this Autumn and hire a longboat for a tranquil weekend on the picturesque Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.
The 36-mile long stretch of water has just 6 locks and follows the line of the Usk Valley through the Brecon Beacons National Park. There is even a 375-yard tunnel and an aqueduct to experience.
Your water-based break will give you the chance to explore quaint villages, enjoy hearty meals in riverside country pubs and explore the historic sites from Brecon to Pontypool.
The aptly named Towpath Inn is nestled on the banks of the canal and provides a welcome stop for boaters with meals that make the most of seasonal produce and regular pop-up street food stalls at the weekend.
Hire a narrowboat from Brecon Park Boats, who have a fleet of boats that sleeps 2 – 8 people and enjoy the slower pace of life that a narrowboat holiday brings.