With summer well and truly over, it’s time to start looking forward to our favourite activities that come with the end of the year. The mild autumn days may be turning cooler, but the weather is still fair enough to spend some time outdoors. One of the best autumn activities is going for a long drive and taking in the beautiful changing colours of the trees in their last fiery display before the greyness of winter.
England, with endless National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural beauty, offers some of the best autumn scenery in the world. Here are our top 5 suggested day drives for viewing autumn foliage in England, whether you’re driving a classic collectible or modern car.
The Lake District
If you find yourself in the far Northwest of England, Lake District National park is by far the best place to take in stunning autumn views. With an expansive landscape consisting of rolling hills, glimmering lakes and woods, this is an ideal place to capture the unique beauty of autumn. Filled with picturesque villages and charming pubs for breaks to stretch your legs, the endless views of gold, red and brown spreading through the trees are perfect for an autumn drive.
Route tip: Anywhere in the Lake District offers breath-taking autumn beauty, but start in Windermere and head north to Keswick, taking in views of multiple lakes along the way. From Keswick, work your way across to Troutbeck then head south back down to Windermere to glimpse raw and wild landscapes.
Located in the far south of England, New Forest National Park is one of the most famous parks in England. Known for its heavily wooded areas, charming villages and free-roaming wildlife, this part of the country is a favourite for locals and tourists alike. The area is popular amongst outdoor enthusiasts and camping lovers, but it’s also the perfect area to take in beautiful autumn colours thanks to winding country roads lined with trees.
Route tip: The New Forest is another area where you can’t really go wrong if you want to take in autumn colours, but make sure you pass through the beautiful village of Beaulieu, and towns of Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst to get a real feel for the area.
One of England’s most famous Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Cotswolds is an enchanting series of undulating hills, picturesque villages and wooded areas. Famed for villages built from golden stone and historic medieval market towns, a road trip through The Cotswolds when it is bursting with autumn colours is the perfect way to spend a day. With plenty of rural roads lined with towering trees and famous Cotswold Lion sheep, it truly is one of the best places in the country to experience quaint autumn scenery.
Route tip: The famous Romantic Road through the Cotswolds is the best way to visit a number of beautiful villages and view the area’s autumn foliage. For specific route details click here. If you’re keen to experience autumn colours on foot, visit The Westonbirt Arboretum with over 15,000 species of trees.
Wye Valley and Forest of Dean
Stretching along the border of England and Wales lies the Wye Valley, another Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With dramatic landscapes and hills that drop into beautiful valleys, the Wye Valley is full of lush, wooded landscapes that catch alight with colour in the autumn months. Perhaps the most famous wooded area is the Forest of Dean, one of the best surviving ancient woodlands in England.
Route tip: Following any route through the Wye Valley will likely take you through unforgettable scenery, crisscrossing the Welsh and English border. Make sure to pass through the towns of Monmouth and Chepstow, and don’t miss the pretty little village of Fownhope.
With sweeping landscapes immortalised through history by artists like John Constable, Dedham Vale is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty located on the Essex and Suffolk border. A hidden gem bursting with quaint villages, rolling farmland and ancient woodlands, Dedham Vale makes for a picturesque driving destination for viewing autumn colours.
Route tip: Dedham Vale is a small area, covering over 90 square kilometres. This means visitors can easily visit most of the area in a single day. Areas to look out for include the charming villages of Stratford St Mary, Boxted and Dedham Vale Vineyard.
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