Britain's Best Autumn Views: Get Set For the Gold Rush

See the season at its golden finest in these woods and forestsTuesday, 25 September 2018

By Jonathan Manning
Savour one of the finest views in the Lake District from the Cat Bells ridge.

Cat Bells, Cumbria

One of the most popular views in the Lake District National Park gets even more impressive in autumn, when the panorama across Derwentwater to Keswick and Skiddaw becomes even more beautiful. Combine a walk along the Cat Bells ridge with a ferry ride back to Keswick for a fabulous autumn day out.

On the banks of the River Wye in the Forest of Dean, the village of Symonds Yat is at the heart of a sensational autumn show.

Symonds Yat, Herefordshire / Gloucestershire

At the epicentre of one of the most magnificent autumn displays in Britain, the village and rock of Symonds Yat showcases the very best of the season's paint palette colours from gold to russet, ochre and brown. It's the jewel in the crown of the fabulous Wye Valley.

Rich colours in the autumn landscape of the New Forest, Hampshire

New Forest, Hampshire

Walk below the canopy of 1000-year old yew trees, 800-year old oaks, and ‘infant’ beech at a mere 400 years of age. The 570 square kilometre New Forest National Park boasts the highest concentration of ancient trees in Europe, and its wide open heathlands offer the perfect vantage point to gaze from afar at the golden display, when you’ve had enough of walking below the trees.


The double-deep, two-mile long Lime Tree Avenue in Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire.

Clumber Park, Derbyshire

The breathtaking two-mile long Lime Avenue at Clumber Park provides a glittering introduction to magnificent autumn colours throughout the 3,800 acres of broadleaf parkland. The trail around the lake provides easy access to a kaleidoscope of colours, or dive deep into the forest on one of the many tracks that criss-cross the forest.


The rich variety of trees at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew makes for a spectacular autumnal display.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London

With the most diverse collection of living plants of any botanic garden on the planet, including around 14,000 trees, Kew can be guaranteed to deliver every delicious hue of autumn colour. The 112 species of oak deliver an extraordinary spectacle, and that’s before you’ve seen the chesnut, hickory and maple trees.    

The reflection in Staindale Lake doubles the delight of autumn in Dalby Forest.

Staindale Lake, Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

Famous for its world class mountain biking trails, Dalby Forest in the North York Moors National Park deserves similar recognition for its seasonal displays. Head to Staindale Lake on a still day and you’ll enjoy the double delight of the autumn colours reflected in the water.

Looking along the River Garry at the Pass of Killiecrankie, where William III was beaten by the Jacobites in 1689.

Pass of Killiekrankie, Perthshire

Once the site of a fierce battle, this wooded gorge near Pitlochry is now best known for its stunning views. Follow the paths alongside the River Garry to explore the handsome broadleaf woodland, or stand on the bridge over the river for an elevated view of autumn loveliness.

Dive into the valley of the River Bovey for this dazzling display on the edge of Dartmoor.

Bovey Valley Woods, Devon

The Bovey Valley provides a leafy counterpoint to the rocky outcrops and bleak moorland of Dartmoor National Park. It’s a steep-sided valley on the south east of the park, with almost 90 hectares (212 acres) of fabulous ancient woodland. The mix of oak, hazel, elm, sycamore, beech and ash (while it survives) provide a wide spectrum of autumn’s finest colours. 

The Highlands in autumn, seen from the Queen's View above Loch Tummel.

Loch Tummel, Perthshire

Combine a Munro (a mountain over 3,000 feet tall) a loch and a gorgeous woodland, and the result is pure alchemy, especially in autumn when the golden colours of Tay Forest Park light up the landscape. Queen Victoria admired this view over Loch Tummel towards the peak of Schiehallion, although the viewpoint’s name of Queens View may well reference Queen Isabella, wife of King Robert the Bruce.

There are over 1,300 trees, shrubs and bamboo at Batsford Arboretum, so autumn is guaranteed to be a colourful affair.

Batsford Arboretum, Gloucestershire

In the heart of the Cotswolds, this private arboretum showcases over 1,300 different trees, shrubs and bamboo. A short, easy walk will thrill your retinas with autumn colours from all around the world, thanks to the richness of the tree collection.


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