Nothing beats the feeling of an English autumn: the changing colours, the crisp clean air and the crunch of leaves underfoot. Here are four autumn activities to make the most of.
See woodland wildlife in Hampshire
Hear pigs snuffle through the forest hunting for acorns, see skewbald ponies rounded up for the season’s pony sales and watch buck deer rutting, clashing antlers and barking in a battle for supremacy.
Autumn is the perfect time to visit the New Forest. Go for a ride to see the mists roll in over the heaths, spot funghi springing up in the woodlands and walk along the river from the beautiful village of Beaulieu to the quaint hamlet of Bucklers Hard.
Conker games in Northamptonshire
Join the thousands who flock to the ancient market town of Oundle in Northamptonshire for the World Conker Championships. Competitors battle it out on eight white podiums in an arena and the victor progresses to the Conker Throne, where he or she is crowned with conkers.
Northamptonshire is dotted with chocolate-box villages of quaint cottages with Tudor timbers and thatched roofs. Visit the county’s impressive collection of splendid mansions, including the ancestral homes of George Washington at Sulgrave Manor and Princess Diana at Althorp House.
Apple orchard tours in Somerset
Explore the orchards of Somerset’s famous cider farms like Burrow Hill or Wilkins, taking in the rows of fruit-laden trees and pausing to taste the local ciders straight from the barrel.
The rolling limestone hills of Mendip and the alluring Quantocks are especially lovely in the autumn. Nearby, you can walk down Europe’s oldest complete medieval street and visit the Bishop’s Palace at Wells. You’ll see Glastonbury Tor soar from the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels to an impressive 158 metres.
Leaf-peeping in Gloucestershire
Autumn arrives with a bang at Westonbirt, the National Arboretum in Tetbury. Here you’ll find 341 varieties of Japanese maple, famous for their blaze of reds, oranges and yellows. You can follow one of the seasonal trails here or join a tree-discovering event.
Don’t miss Gloucester’s magnificent Gothic cathedral – you’ll probably recognise it as the one in Harry Potter and Dr Who. If you find yourself further west on the other side of the River Severn, you might like to stroll through the Forest of Dean and absorb its dramatic hills, curving roads and unspoilt views.