What’s on: Not to be missed autumn events near our country houses

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With Britain’s summer having been less than flattering so far, we’re looking ahead to autumn and some of the fantastic events, festivals, and fairs taking place around our country houses.

We’ve put together a handy guide to what’s going on in some of our favourite destinations during the season of crisp mornings, crunching leaves, and landscapes in a fiery palette of colours.

The Cotswolds, Southern England

Watch the leaves fall at Westonbirt Arboretum

Visit Westonbirt Arboretum at this time of year and you can admire over 2,500 species of trees in all their autumnal glory. Less than an hour’s drive from our characterful country house in Bourton-on-the-Water, this 19th century botanical garden in the town of Tetbury is one of Gloucestershire’s most popular attractions. They also have a great line-up of events including the Autumn Family Trail and the Disappearing Trees Trail, alongside their ever-present Gruffalo sculptures.

The Cotswolds

Northumberland, Northeast England

Spot rare birds on their autumn migration

Autumn is an exciting time of year for birdwatchers in Northumberland as thousands of rare bird species flock to the sands and offshore islands of its AONB-awarded coastline. You can watch wading birds pass through on their way from the Arctic to Africa, and later in the season, large arrivals of wintering thrushes such as redwing and fieldfare from the north and east. Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve is one of the region’s prime birdwatching spots and it’s just a 50-minute drive from Nether Grange – our former 18th century granary in the heart of Alnmouth.

Northumberland

Exmoor, Southwest England

Go stargazing in Exmoor National Park

As an International Dark Sky Reserve, Exmoor National Park offers a front row seat to a spectacular show of stars and constellations. The Exmoor Dark Skies Festival runs from 13 to 29 October 2023, and will feature a whole host of events including guest speakers, telescope workshops, and guided walks to the park’s highest point where astronomers will introduce you to constellations in the autumn night sky. Seasoned stargazers and wannabe astronomers will be pleased to know that our country house in Selworthy is only a 10-minute drive from the action.

Exmoor

Southern Lake District, Northwest England

Do some leaf peeping in the Lake District

With landscapes cloaked in oranges, yellows, and copper browns, Cumbria’s Grizedale Forest becomes a patchwork of shades at this time of year. Backed by mountains and glassy lakes, this much-loved woodland in the Lake District National Park offers walks that take in ancient beech trees, remote valleys, and views of the ever-changing autumnal scenery. Best of all, this autumn wonderland is less than 20 minutes driving time from Monk Coniston – our Grade II-listed house overlooking Coniston Water.

Lake District

Isle of Wight, Southern England

Explore like a local

The Isle of Wight Walking Festival returns this year from 7-15 October. Since its first outing in 1999, this annual event is now one of the UK’s longest running walking festivals and provides an opportunity to choose from over 55 routes and trails recommended by locals who know the place best. Book any of our 3,4 or 7-night self-guided walking holidays on these dates at our Freshwater Bay country house and you can get involved in walking around an island where over half is a designated AONB.

Isle of Wight

Glen Coe, Scottish Highlands

Autumn wildlife watching

Rugged and remote, Glen Coe in the central highlands showcases Scotland’s untamed landscape at its most dramatic. Wildlife here is boosted by National Nature Reserve status and the heather-clad hills are home to herds of Scottish red deer. These magnificent animals can weigh up to 340kg and males can grow impressive branching antlers up to a metre in breadth. In Autumn, the National Trust for Scotland offer guided walks with their professional park rangers where you can learn about deer rutting and – with luck – watch it first-hand. For somewhere comfortable to stay, Alltshellach is our stately Scottish home on the shores of Loch Leven, less than an 8-minute drive from Glen Coe.

Scottish Highlands

All destinations featured are covered in our wide range of guided and self-guided walking holidays.