Great British autumn escapes for October

New Forest National Park

Wrap up warm, strap on your walking boots and enjoy a bracing outdoor adventure this autumn. Read on for a few of our favourite walks, wildlife encounters and places to stay.

Walk along Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland
Bamburgh Beach, overlooked by the dramatic Bamburgh Castle, offers miles of pristine flat sand perfect for walking and is often deserted during the autumn months. On a clear day, enjoy views of the rocky Farne Islands – or take a boat out to see the 23 species of seabirds, including 37,000 pairs of puffin and one of the largest grey seal colonies in Europe.

Walk the Wales coastal path
Autumn calls for a bracing walk - and the five-mile coastal path that links Pendine in Carmarthenshire to the start of the Pembrokeshire coast path is worth lacing your boots up for. The walk takes you past the beautiful beach at Marros, where a submerged forest and a shipwreck can be seen at low tide, and sand dunes at Pendine beach, where lapwings and golden plovers are known to feed in the grasslands during autumn/winter.

Take in the view from Symonds Yat Rock, Forest of Dean
Whether you go walking, pony trekking, mountain biking or kayaking down the river Wye, autumn is one of the most beautiful times to visit the Forest of Dean. Follow the Sculpture Trail - a 3.5 mile circuit in the forest which incorporates over 20 permanent art installations among the trees. Just save enough energy to climb Symonds Yat – the view is stunning.

Hide away in Sherwood Forest
Nothing says autumn like the strong, woody aroma of oak trees - and Sherwood Forest is home to more than 1,000 ancient specimens, many of which are believed to be more than 600 years old. What better way to experience the changing of the seasons than from the private balcony of your own boutique luxury wooden cabin? The Hideway cabins at Thoresby Estate also come with a wood fire – perfect for warming up after a long walk.

Visit Winkworth Arboretum, near Godalming, Surrey
With over 1,000 shrubs and trees, Winkworth Arboretum, near Godalming in Surrey, is one of the best places to see a blazing show of colour this autumn. Owned by the National Trust since 1952, the area was purposefully planted to provide vivid colour at this time of year. The striking contrast of red maples and yellow liquidambars makes the hillside appear on fire, while the reflection of colours on the lake is a sight worth seeing.

Catch salmon in Cumbria
The Lake District is beautiful at any time of year, but autumn is perhaps the most stunning season to visit. Escape the crowds and stay in an isolated Lodge on River Eamont and you can spend the day with a gamekeeper, fish for salmon or just sit on the veranda and take in the view.

See ponies in the New Forest
Ponies have roamed free in the New Forest for centuries and today there are around 3,000 of the gentle creatures ambling through villages and the countryside. With more than 100 miles of traffic free routes to take you to the heart of the ancient woodland, you're sure to see deer, ponies and perhaps even a stag.

Look for buzzards at Dartmoor National Park
Great swathes of purple heather, smudges of acid-yellow gorse and glorious red rowan berries, Dartmoor National Park is magnificent in autumn. Go for a walk and see the ponies and look out for buzzards and skylarks in the skies.

Spot red squirrel in the Isle of Wight
Autumn is the best time of year to spot the elusive red squirrel, as they scamper down from the high branches to gather food in preparation for the winter months ahead. Although these rare creatures are mostly found in the North of England, Wales and Scotland, they can also be found on the Isle of Wight.

See the Northern Lights in the Outer Hebrides
To really escape this autumn, head to Whitefall Spa Lodges in the Isle of Lewis. Surrounded by mountains and overlooking secluded lochs, these remote boutique lodges come with their own luxury spa. If you can drag yourself away from the whirlpool, visit the nearby Callanish standing stones or go spotting for otters, herons, red deer and golden eagles. With no light pollution, it's also one of the best areas in the UK to see the Northern Lights.

Do you have a favourite autumn getaway? Leave a comment below...

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