As the air turns crisp and a gorgeous hue of warm autumnal colours begins to surround us, it’s a perfect time to experience some of the UK’s most beautiful walks. I’m not sure about you, but this is the season that manages to bring out the natural beauty of the UK. Offering a breathtaking seasonal palette of reds, yellows and oranges to our parks, countrysides and forests, there’s no better time to get outside and take in the magnificence of nature.
From hikes over the Scottish Highlands, to gentle woodland strolls, perfect for all, and especially for your four-legged friend, discover some of our favourite walks in the UK this autumn. Not to mention, it’s the perfect time to fill your Instagram feeds with autumnal pics!
5.9 miles/9.4km | 3/4 hours | easy/moderate
Enjoy the autumn splendour at the Ashridge Estate. Nestled within the Chiltern Hills of Hertfordshire, discover the rolling downlands and lush meadows at this enchanting 5,000 acre National Trust property. This gorgeous location is one of our favourite places to walk north of London. Renowned for its beech woods, oak and lime trees, wherever you explore at Ashridge, the intensity of the warm autumnal hues will take your breath away.
Although there are many self-led walks you can take throughout the estate, we recommend taking the Autumn Colour Trail, as it is a great route carefully curated by the National Trust, stretching nearly 6 miles long, taking around 3 hours or so, perfect for a Sunday afternoon stroll! This trail will lead you through some of the most beautiful woodland and parkland, so expect to be enchanted every corner you turn. Uncover some ancient trees nestled within the woodland, discover the Golden Valley, find the Clinmere pond, and if you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of some of the resident wildlife, from muntjacs and fallow deer herds, to nine different species of bat that call Ashridge home.
3.2 miles/4.8km | 1-2 hours | moderate
A true walker's paradise, grab your wellies or walking boots and explore the magical wooden valley of Yorkshire’s Hardcastle Crags. Known as “the Switzerland of Yorkshire”, this wooded valley is filled with glittering waterfalls, rugged woodland, tumbling streams and over 15 miles of footpaths waiting to be discovered. There are many marked trails for you to take, but we recommend taking the Railway Trail if you’re looking for a real adventure!
The valleys of Hardcastle Crags will make you feel like you’re stepping into a complete fairytale. From stunning riverside views and an accumulation of oak, beech and pine trees, to enchanting streams and magnificent wildlife, climb the rocky paths that once belonged to a railway that transported workers up to the reservoirs at Gorple, Widdop and Walshaw Dean, and uncover miles of magical paths that weave through streams and waterfalls. Have your camera at the ready to capture the 19th-century Gibson Mill nestled within the heart of this beautifully wooded paradise.
2.5 miles/4.0km | 2 hours | easy/moderate
Looking for the perfect afternoon stroll to help burn off that Sunday roast? Look no further than Surrey’s magnificent Winkworth Arboretum. Bursting with vibrancy, Winkworth’s trees glow up in the autumn months, creating bright splashes of colour that illuminate the surrounding landscape. The stunning views across Winkworth’s breathtaking hills make an autumnal visit unmissable.
Totalling at 2.5 miles, get together (with social distancing) with family or friends, dig out your wellies and take in the invigorating landscapes curated by Dr Wilfred Fox. Having purchased this land in 1937, Dr Fox used plants and trees to paint a picture in the landscape, carefully selecting trees with leaves that would turn shades of golden and red during the autumn months.
Gently roam through the magical Surrey countryside and indulge in some exotic stands of Japanese, American and Norwegian maples, make your way up to Hydon’s Ball, take a seat on Octavia Hill’s stone bench and appreciate the rainbow-hued hillside views. Continue down to the charming village of Hambledon and discover not only the oldest cricket club formed in 1750, but also the 16th-century Oakhurst Cottage that has remained unchanged for over a hundred years!
This beautifully wooded walk not only connects three unique National Trust properties, but the splendour of Fox’s Winkworth Arboretum in autumn is absolutely spectacular. Take your kids to the Tree Adventure (made completely from oak trees) and enjoy a nice cup of National Trust everyday tea blend or classic hot chocolate in the Arbor Tea Room.
Please note: *All visitors must book a ticket in advance.*
10 miles/16km | 6 hours | moderate/hard
If you’re looking for stunning scenery and a slightly more challenging walk, discover Glen Affric, the finest of all Scotland’s glens. Nestled within the Scottish Highlands, this designated National Nature Reserve is the perfect combination of forest, mountain, loch and abundant wildlife. So if you’re looking to truly breathe in that crisp highland air, look no further.
Provided that the Highlands are absolutely spectacular all year round, during the autumn months, Glen Affric hosts a stunning seasonal display of autumn colours. And the walks… they’re magical. If there’s one way to explore this magnificent gem, it’s by foot.
This full day trip is around 10 miles long, and suitable for anyone of a moderate fitness. Cross glittering streams, explore the gorgeous woodland filled with Scots pine (one of the last remains of the original Caledonian Forest), take in the fantastic views of Loch Affric and be inspired by the grandiose mountains. Discover the Plodda Falls, the highest waterfall in the area, take a photo of the Strawberry Cottage across the bridge then enjoy a comforting hot drink and a baked good in the nearby village of Cannich.
Amazing scenery and breathtaking surroundings, there’s no phone reception in Glen Affric, allowing you to truly be at one with nature, take a break from modern technology and uncover the magic that the Scottish Highlands has to offer.
4.3 miles/6.9km | 3 hours | moderate
Discover Britain’s youngest castle, Castle Drogo, and explore one of the largest woodland and restoration sites in England. Built between 1910 and 1930, this National Trust estate located in Devon is the perfect place to enjoy a crisp autumnal walk.
Although there are many routes you can take, we recommend taking the fantastic Teign Gorge route. Famous for its ancient woodland, explore crooked oaks and beech trees, uncover the autumnal palette of orange and brown, and indulge in the magnificent mist that hangs over the valleys. Start by walking through the narrow road leading to Fingle Bridge, get your heart pumping and take a short but steep path up the north wall of the gorge, discover the stunning views over the moorland then make your way through the valley in the northern fringes of Dartmoor National Park.
From gorgeous waterways under the gnarled branches of the trees, to the glorious surroundings of Castle Drogo, the breathtaking pathways and fresh autumn air will not only invigorate the soul, but the peace and tranquility of the surrounding atmosphere will help refresh your mind and body. Watch the sun sit low over the trees and revel in the glorious rusty hues.
Nestled within Northumberland, experience a real lost-world feel at Allen Banks. With miles and miles of footpaths and enchanting scenery, venture outdoors this autumn and explore the ancient woods of Allen Banks.
There’s no better time to visit than in October, as the autumnal colours flourish amongst the trees and woodland floor. Listen out for the sounds of the busy wildlife, explore the wildflowers and local fungi, wander through the wooded slopes, walk over the iconic wobbly bridge and indulge in the peaceful trickling sounds of the River Allen. The fascinating geological story of Allen Banks will leave you feeling inspired. From tropical seas and deltas, to molten rock and glaciers, walking through Allen Banks and Staward Gorge will allow you to take in its fantastic history.
Perfect for all the family—even your four-legged friends—get your camera ready and discover the picture-perfect canopy of rusty autumnal hues, explore the gorge dotted with beech and oak trees, fairy ink caps and flourishing surroundings.
4 miles /6.4km | 2-3 hours | easy/moderate
For a quintessentially English countryside walk, make your way to the Broadway Tower & Park. Taking around 2-3 hours, this 4 mile popular circular walk will lead you through the picturesque Cotswold high street of Broadway (a vibrant village steeped in history), along historic tracks and up to the magnificently 18th-century gothic Broadway Tower. With spectacular views across the Severn Valley into Wales and Worcestershire, this enchanting walk is one of our favourite walks to take in the autumn months.
Nestled within 50 acres of enchanting woodland and countryside, the Broadway Tower is a restored nuclear bunker and is the highest castle in the Cotswolds, standing 65 feet high. Wander through the estate and the peaceful woodland trails, spot some herds of beautiful Red Deer, and let the awe-inspiring views of the Welsh Mountains and surrounding English countryside take your breath away. This trail is perfect for cyclists, walkers and wildlife lovers.
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