A riot of autumnal splendour is breaking out across the country – here are some of the best places in Britain to enjoy it.
“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.
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.
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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During the autumn months the splendour of Winkworth Arboretum really comes to life with rich, blazing colour from the Japanese, American and Norwegian maples.
The famous landscaped gardens include a walk up to King Alfred's Tower, a folly from which there are wonderful views.
Buzzing with wildlife, Gibside is home to red kites, roe deer and many other rare animals as well as striking foliage.
A series of walks, a boating lake and an adventure playground are all bathed in brilliant colour.
Trees and fern in a forest near Poole Harbour.
Dinas Island, Pembrokeshire: Not leafy foliage, but the browns and yellows of bracken together with purple heather on one of Pembrokeshire's most beautiful spots.
Long avenues of ancient copper beech trees throw down pathways of golds, reds and yellows.
The Weardale walk links Emmetts Garden to Winston Churchill's former home at Chartwell.
Walks of all distances for all ages at a garden once voted one of the ten best in the world.
The Autumn Light walk takes in a deer park, riverbank and woodland.
The Autumn Colour Trail offers stunning foliage and spectacular views.