There’s a fresh energy in the air when the temperatures drop but the hard frosts haven’t kicked in. This autumn, pull on chunky knits, sturdy boots and head outside where the vibrant palette of reds and oranges is a feel-good feast for the senses. Embrace the nostalgic urge to kick through piles of leaves on woodland trails and warm up with steaming hot chocolates in cosy pubs. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness (that’s right, we just quoted Keats) conjures up pumpkin lattes, sparklers, cosy socks and crackling fires. Staying in remote, rustic luxury is the best way to unwind and embrace this tranquil time of year, before the festive madness takes hold. Have a browse of our glamping places within an hour of some of Britain’s most spectacular autumn walks.
The stunning scenery of Loch Katrine in the heart of the Trossachs comes alive with colour in the autumn. You can take a trip across the lake on a steamship but the best way to immerse yourself in the seasonal spectacle is to hike the five-mile walk along the eastern shoreline – you’ll stroll through fiery leaves fallen from native oaks and birch trees against a dramatic mountain backdrop. Stay nearby in sophisticated luxury at Nuthatch Treehouse at Lanrick, which has a huge Sycamore growing through the deck creating a magical canopy overhead. Take long, leisurely soaks in the outdoor copper tub and explore the riverside and woodland trails that lead from the door. There are picnic spots, fly fishing (from February to October) and when it’s time to unwind, you can book a Swedish massage in your treehouse.
Kielder Water and Forest Park in Northumberland is home to England's largest forest, so autumn is brought to glorious, technicolour life on a grand scale. The smattering of trees in your local park won’t cut the mustard after this. There are walking trails for all abilities, including Lakeside Way, that takes in the most scenic parts of the shore. If you stay on after dark, the area has Gold Tier Dark Sky status, and the Kielder Observatory runs events throughout the year. After a day of adventures, rest tired limbs at Tawny Hide, where you can lose hours sitting on the wrap-around deck watching the light change across the rolling fields. The wood-fired hot tub is the only place to be as the sun sets. There are cycling and walking routes close by, or if you’re partial to cold water immersion, brave a dip in the sea along the Durham Heritage coastline.
Once described as a ‘living work of art’, the world-famous landscape gardens at Stourhead in Wiltshire are renowned for their spectacular fall colours. After exploring the majestic lake and Palladian house, take the 5.5-mile woodland walk through russet and amber-hued trees to see King Alfred’s Tower and the Iron Age hillfort. The National Trust runs events throughout the season including early morning photography sessions where you can capture the misty magic of the golden hour. Twenty-five minutes away, Solstice Yurt is a haven of tranquillity perched in the trees on Scotland Lodge Farm with views across the valley. With swings, hammocks and a firepit, there are plenty of places to relax but the highlight is the “hot trough”, an ingenious creation made from an old cattle trough where you can stretch out and soak in water warmed by a wood burner.
RHS Wisley in Surrey is a wonderland for the green fingered (or anyone aspiring to be). In autumn you’ll discover a riot of colours in the Oakwood gardens as the Japanese maples turn glorious shades of red and orange. October also sees the arrival of their five-day food spectacular, ‘Festival of Flavour’, where you can eat and drink your way around the site sampling seasonal produce. Drag your haul of goodies back to The Riverside cabin and munch them on the deck watching the canoes glide past. If the mood takes you, you can join in with the fun using the rowing boat provided. As the light fades, cuddle up on sofas in front of the wood burner and read or talk late into the night. With a well-appointed kitchen, wet room, rainfall shower and king sized bed, you’ve got everything you need to hibernate for a few days.
When it comes to autumn leaves, few places can compete with the National Arboretum. The clue’s in the name. The mixture of native and international tree species creates a rich blaze of colours that draws visitors from around the world who also come to marvel at the forest fruits, foraging wildlife, fungi and bird life. Stay forty minutes away at romantic Buzzard’s Reach perched in a Cotswold Valley and lit by fairy lights strung in the trees. The cosy interior gives off a warm, welcoming glow thanks to upcycled oak and elm boards and repurposed Parisian streetlights. You can walk to National Trust Beechwoods straight from the door or hop in the car and head to the farmer’s market in Stroud and the cosmopolitan delights of Cheltenham.
Thorp Perrow in North Yorkshire celebrates fall in style with guided fungus forays and spooky Halloween trails. The beautiful woodland gardens are home to one of the finest collections of trees in Britain and the three ‘Autumn Bays’ are (unsurprisingly) the perfect places to pause and drink in the spectacular seasonal colours – preferably with a steaming latte in hand. Stay forty minutes’ drive away in peak luxury at palatial Cran Darach Treehouse, a sustainably constructed feat of design with two king sized bedrooms. After a few days spent padding between the wood-fired hot tub, sauna and spacious deck, you’ll feel utterly rejuvenated. If you can tear yourself away for a few hours, there’s a selection of sports equipment on site (including croquet, badminton, football and boules) and nearby Ripon Cathedral and Ripley Castle are well worth a visit.