A riot of autumnal splendour is breaking out across the country – here are some of the best places in Britain to enjoy it.

Autumn colour at Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland

“Summer’s end is eagerly anticipated in ever more gardens,” wrote Mark Griffiths in Country Life last year. “Between the garden and nature, autumn is becoming our most magical season of all.”

And after a cool, wet summer, autumn colour has come early to many parts of Britain so it’s already time to get out and enjoy the best on offer.

Mount Stewart (National Trust / Bernie Brown)

Mount Stewart (National Trust / Bernie Brown)

Many of the most spectacular trees are not native to British shores. The cellular processes by which leaves turn golden are more pronounced in North American and Asian trees, and it wasn’t until the flora explorers of the 18th and 19th centuries brought back specimens that many species were grown here.

Those pioneers brought an explosion of colour to British shores which persists even today: the species they planted continue to thrive, and have made autumnal Britain splendid in a way which would scarcely have been recognised a few hundred years ago.

Backlit red and yellow Acer leaves at Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey, in November.

Winkworth Arboretum (National Trust / James Dobson)

Autumn colours are normally at their height in November, but with some trees starting to turn already it’s time to start planning where best to get out and enjoy the show.

We’ve teamed up with the National Trust to pick out some wonderful places across the country where you can go and enjoy what Albert Camus once described as “a second Spring where every leaf is a flower.” Get more details, including opening times, prices and directions from www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

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