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.
Planning to see Autumn in England? Pin this for later!
- 1 Autumn In England: Making The Most Of Shoulder Season
- 2 London: Your Start To Autumn In England
- 3 Appreciate The Beauty Of The Cotswolds
- 4 Autumn In England: Take A City Break
- 5 Autumn In England: Time For The Beach
- 6 National Parks: Autumn In England
- 7 Stargazing In Autumn
- 8 Autumn In England: The Best Treats Of the Season
Autumn In England: Making The Most Of Shoulder Season
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
Ready to enjoy autumn in England? Please pin and share.