A crunchy collection of leaves underfoot, blackberries in the hedgerows, crops being harvested in the fields, and a faint crisp of cold in the morning air.  They’re all signs of autumn in England.  So now that summer has passed, what has England to offer the traveler in autumn?  Possibly more than you’d expect.  Here’s why I think you should consider visiting England in the autumn months of September to November.

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Autumn In England

Autumn In England: Making The Most Of Shoulder Season

Autumn In England - Yorkshire Dales National Park

By their very nature, what are known as the shoulder seasons can be great times to visit any destination.  The summer crowds have mostly headed back home full of happy memories, or the less auspicious months of weather have passed.  In both spring and autumn, you get to enjoy more choices for accommodation, and at better prices than the summer or Christmas peaks.  While spring undoubtedly has its charms with the earth bursting into flowers and blossoms, as in the celebrated Vale of Evesham blossom trail, the crispness of autumn is secretly my favourite season.  And here’s why.

At home, we call them the bonus days.  Just after the flurry of back to school shoppers has moved on to the excited chatter of new year classes, there’s a stillness in the air.  Sometimes it feels like summer weather, and at other times, there’s that magical start to the autumn when you begin to need a second layer of clothing.  Nature is busy stocking up for winter; yes, squirrels, I’m talking about you and my hazelnut tree.   And England, in all its magical autumnal foliage, is out there waiting to be enjoyed.

London: Your Start To Autumn In England

Autumn in England - Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, London

London is a fantastic destination at any time of year.  But in Autumn you get a number of bonuses.  The extra summer crowds are leaving, and the Christmas visitors haven’t arrived yet.  So queues have reduced, as have accommodation prices.

But won’t it Be Raining?

It could well rain.  But on average, more than half the time it will be dry.  And temperatures will be comfortable, so you won’t be tackling freezing conditions.  Check the forecast before you arrive, but for September, I’d be thinking summer wear with an extra layer, adding jumpers towards the end of October and into November.  You can find out more with our packing guide for London.

Pack For London Seasonal Weather Guide Autumn

Outdoor London

Autumn in England is a time to really appreciate London outdoors.  Take a walk in one or more of the Great Parks and head to Greenwich or Hampstead Heath.  It’s still picnic season in September, and by the end of October and beginning of November, you can be scrunching leaves underfoot.  Wrap up, and take in a walk along the Thames, or a warm boat trip along the river.

Later on in autumn, consider one of London’s many ghost walks for Halloween.  Stand on Westminster Bridge to catch sunrise or sunset and admire the city’s beauty.

Appreciate The Beauty Of The Cotswolds

Autumn in England Cotswolds lane at sunset

This is another destination that is great at any time of year.  But as in London, autumn is a wonderful time to enjoy a less crowded visit.  The colours of the deciduous trees across the Cotswolds make for – to my mind – even more stunning views.  In particular, places like Batsford Arboretum are absolutely afire with colour during the autumn months.  Take some time on the long distance footpath, The Cotswold Way, to appreciate the subtle changes to the landscape in this season.

Autumn In England - Afternoon Tea with scones, jam and cream

All that walking will make space for a rewarding – and if necessary warming – afternoon tea.  Settle down to Welsh Rarebit or other traditional British foods and then enjoy your scones, jam and cream to the full.

Autumn In England: Take A City Break

The 13 Best Alternative Day Trips From London - Birmingham

 

England’s cities make great autumn destinations.  Summer visitors have gone, and there is more time to enjoy their attractions without the crowds.  Whether it’s the sophisticated urban charms of Manchester, the metropolitan chic of Leeds, or the strangely rural setting of Birmingham’s Tolkien Trail, you’ll find bargain breaks to be had.  Autumn is also a fantastic time to visit Liverpool, when the Cavern Quarter is less busy, but the Royal Albert Dock can still entertain you for hours.  Don’t forget to travel onward to Crosby to visit Antony Gormley’s Another Place, with 100 iron men emerging from the sea.

Autumn in England Dome of Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford

In other cases, there are cities whose more crowded streets in autumn are all part of the charm.  Visit Oxford or Cambridge, for example, to be intoxicated by the excitement of learning when the students are back at college.

Autumn In England: Time For The Beach

The 11 Best Beaches In England You Must Visit - Saunton Sands, Devon

Is this madness?  Not in the slightest!  We’ve had some brilliant times on England’s beaches in the autumn, when the weather can be just as great as in August.  Many of the UK’s beach towns are very busy until October, and after that a different kind of charm is present: one of isolation and potentially wild weather.

If surf is your thing, then many coasts are equally good in autumn as in summer, moving on from wetsuit to drysuit as needed.  There’s nothing quite like walking along the beach and seeing the telltale silhouettes in the distance as the boards arrive for the promise of a roaring tide.  My favourite spot for the surf scene is North Devon, but you’ll also find plenty of opportunities for things to do in Cornwall and beyond.

The 11 Very Best Things To Do In Brighton - Brighton Beach Deckchairs

If you’re not in the mood for too bracing a beach trip, then try Brighton for all the fun of the fair and pier.   Brighton is a vibrant city, with a hip vibe and some rather elegant treats such as the Royal Pavilion.  Just an hour and a half on the train from the capital, it’s also a great day trip from London.

National Parks: Autumn In England

Autumn in England - Sheep in the Lake District

With the changing colours of the scenery, autumn is a fantastic time to enjoy England’s big outdoors: its National Parks.  Whether you choose Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, the South Downs or the New Forest, you’re guaranteed some spectacular sights.  And if some liquid sunshine (English for rain) should befall you, take heart from the hikers we met on the Settle Carlisle train in the Yorkshire Dales.  Veritably steaming with water on boarding the train, they were full of the happy feels that come with first battling the elements, then enjoying a fine cup of tea in the warmth of the train.

Stargazing In Autumn

If you enjoy seeing what the night sky has to offer, then Autumn can offer particular treats.  Check the weather forecast for a less cloudy night, and the additional hours of darkness come as a bonus for stargazing activity.  We’ve checked out the best places to find dark skies for Stargazing UK, so wrap up warm and see the beauties of other worlds as well as this one.

Autumn In England: The Best Treats Of the Season

Gastronomic Pleasures

This is the season for the bounty of the trees and hedgerows.  Plums, pears, apples and greengages are giving their all at the start of the season.  If you are in fruit-growing areas, such as Kent and Worcestershire, don’t hesitate to try the best local varieties on offer.  Pershore College bottles single variety apple juices that remind you just how much varieties of apples differ in taste.  My favourite?  The delectably crisp and juicy Worcester apple.  Then there are the nuts: sweet soft Kent cobs and wonderful chestnuts.  Later in the season, you might start to find bags of roast chestnuts at fairs: handwarmer and snack in one.  If you go out walking in the countryside, a spare bag could see you harvesting plenty of wild blackberries, elderberries and damsons.

Events and Traditions

You’ll find an increasing focus on Halloween in England. More ghost walks are being organised, along with events at castles and other venues.  You can find a selection of Halloween events in London here, ranging from a Vampyre Ball to the Halloween Raveyard.  If you are in Stratford on Avon, you can shiver your timbers with a Halloween Ghost Walk around the haunted streets of the town, complete with costumed guide.

Celebrations sometimes overlap with Bonfire Night on 5 November, when the Guy (for Guy Fawkes) is burned on a bonfire while fireworks make a display.  Keep an eye on local media to find events near you if you are in England at that time.

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Autumn In England

Autumn In England

Author: Bernie

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19 thoughts on “Autumn in England: Why It’s A Great Time To Visit

  1. So many beautiful things to enjoy in England during Autumn. The Cotswolds look really lovely at this time of year. I especially love beaches when it’s not too hot and not crowded. As long as it’s not freezing. I didn’t know the English called rain ‘liquid sunshine’.

    Posted on September 2, 2019 at 6:28 am
    1. Liquid sunshine may just be a West Country (Devon and Cornwall, where I grew up) expression, but I can’t hear it without thinking of the coast. In fact, one of the finest days we spent on the beach was sitting in the doorway of a beach hut, parasol propped up against the elements, and watching the rain on the sea. It was magical.

      Posted on September 5, 2019 at 7:09 pm
  2. Visiting England in autumn is a great idea. The autumn colours are so beautiful and it is something we don’t really get in Australia. Europe is definitely a winner at that… Also, the national parks and beaches would be a lot less busy. Sure, the water will be cold but I don’t necessarily need to go for a swim to enjoy the beach!

    Posted on September 3, 2019 at 10:49 pm
    1. I am so with you on the beach being great out of season too. Give me a mile of shoreline and a dog to borrow, and I’ll be happier than a happy thing. Although I have been swimming in September before and it was ok. The kind of ok where you are really ready for a coffee when you get out of the water, but definitely not hazardously chilly.

      Posted on September 5, 2019 at 7:07 pm
  3. How pretty is that??? My favorite season in my favorite city…that’s a winner!!! And 60s Fahrenheit isn’t bad at all!!!

    Posted on September 4, 2019 at 2:42 pm
    1. It’s a pretty gentle climate here to be truthful, and definitely one that’s not as rainy as you’d think. We’ll pencil you in for an autumn visit. 😉

      Posted on September 5, 2019 at 7:05 pm
  4. I’d love to explore London in the fall. I’d say its one of the most beautiful times of the year to enjoy the local parks, which we loved during our summer visit a few years ago. I did wonder about the amount of rain but at 50% chance, that’s not to bad really. We had snow arrive permanently mid October last year so as long as snow is unlikely, I’d say its an ideal place to visit.

    Posted on September 5, 2019 at 12:54 am
    1. London would be perfect in the autumn, with plenty of leaf-scrunching to be had underfoot. The amount of rain intrigued me too, and I was so happy to find out that your have more chance of it not raining than raining most days. Snow is pretty unlikely in London – I think the city makes its own micro-climate, although it’s way more possible in the north. We are in the Midlands, and we seem to get some snow each year, although rarely very much of it.

      Posted on September 5, 2019 at 7:04 pm
  5. Wow I never realised England is so beautiful in autumn.
    I think autumn is a lovely time to travel in general, temperatures are much more manageable and best of all not only is it beautiful with all the autumn foliage but being out of peak season it would be much easier on the wallet.
    I always try and choose shoulder to low season and have found it to be a wonderful time to travel and without the crowds.

    Posted on September 5, 2019 at 8:22 am
    1. It’s most definitely easier on the wallet. And you get so much beautiful scenery too.

      Posted on September 5, 2019 at 7:00 pm
  6. The Fall truly sounds like a lovely time to visit England! It was May the first time I traveled there, but I’d love to go back in September or October, especially to explore more of the countryside.

    Posted on September 5, 2019 at 6:21 pm
    1. Autumn is a great time to see the countryside. It’s described as the season of “mellow fruitfulness” and that seems to sum it up so well, what with the crops in the fields and the hedgerows bulging with bounty.

      Posted on September 5, 2019 at 6:59 pm
  7. Your post is making me excited for fall; all those gorgeous photos of red leaves are putting me in the spirit of the season! I have never heard of the Cotswolds but you’re making me want to go! I think I’d love to get out of the city especially when all the trees are red and orange. I’d definitely check out the long-distance walking trail there. Thanks for sharing, Bernie!

    Posted on September 6, 2019 at 6:26 am
    1. We have a couple of days in the Cotswolds next week, and I can’t wait! I think it’s the slight breath of chill in the air, complete with the scrunching of leaves underfoot. It’s definitely an experience to be enjoyed with all the senses.

      Posted on September 6, 2019 at 11:07 am
  8. Oh the autumn colours look so beautiful! My favorite activity of all would be visiting the national parks and just walk around the parks for colours. I had never though England in autumn, but it is lovely.

    Posted on September 6, 2019 at 7:08 am
    1. It’s definitely a great time for the National Parks, and we’re fortunate enough to be close enough to one for day tripping. Seeing the colours change month on month is beautiful.

      Posted on September 6, 2019 at 11:05 am
  9. OK…now I want to book a trip soon! Your photos are lovely – really emphasizes all the natural beauty of England. I was always under the impression it’d be wet, cold and rainy – but from what you say, that’s not really the case. Great to know!

    Posted on September 6, 2019 at 9:28 pm
  10. Every photo, from Big Ben surrounded by colorful leaves to those cute sheep, just screams idyllic England! What a gorgeous place to watch the leaves change and summer become winter.

    Posted on September 7, 2019 at 6:37 am
    1. It’s certainly a fantastic place to watch the seasons change. And to have a sheep check out your potential for the provision of snacks. (Then saunter off giving side eye when the request was declined…)

      Posted on September 7, 2019 at 10:13 am