10 Reasons Autumn Is the Best Time to Visit England

Regent's Park in autumn, London, England.
Regent's Park in autumn, London, England. | © Fotomaton / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Emma Lavelle
15 October 2018

England is an amazing destination all year round, but we really recommend visiting during the autumn months for an unforgettable experience. Summers are unpredictable and winters usually bring storms, whereas autumn is the perfect time to explore both the countryside and the cities. Here are 10 reasons why we love England in autumn.

Autumnal foliage

The English countryside transforms into a riot of yellow, red and orange from September to November, as entire forests change the colour of their leaves. These fiery landscapes can be viewed all around the country and are best seen in national parks such as the Lake District, where the rusty coloured trees are beautifully reflected in vast bodies of water. This is the best time of year to admire and photograph the beauty of the natural landscape.

Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, North London, in late autumn. | © Richard Barnes / Alamy Stock Photo

Bonfire night celebrations

On November 5th every year, there are celebrations all across the country involving huge bonfires, extravagant fireworks displays and a variety of seasonal treats such as toffee apples and parkin. Bonfire night (also known as Guy Fawkes night) may seem like an odd festival, based around the foiling of a plot to blow up the House of Lords with gunpowder in the 17th century, but it’s one of the highlights of the year in England and something that all travellers should experience.

Fireworks Display Clapham Common, London. | © Roger Cracknell 01/classic / Alamy Stock Photo

Fewer visitors than summer

Areas like the Lake District and the Cotswolds, as well as big cities like London and coastal destinations including Brighton, are packed full of tourists during the summer months. Once the summer holidays are over, most destinations across England are much quieter and more pleasant to visit.

Hyde Park, London. | © michael lehigh / Alamy Stock Photo

Roaring fires in pubs

For a quintessential British experience, visit a country pub on a chilly autumnal day. Whether you’re in a city or out in the countryside, seek out a traditional pub with an open fireplace and get cosy by the fire as you enjoy a pint of local ale and a hearty meal. Yes, the pubs are open all year round, but that cosy ambiance is only found during the colder months.

Open Fire | © Michael Rooney / Alamy Stock Photo

Harvest festivals

The autumn harvests are steeped in tradition with many towns and villages hosting their own celebration. Even London celebrates the harvest with the RHS London Harvest Festival Show boasting giant pumpkin competitions, seasonal food, live music and activities for children such as apple bobbing.

The RHS London Harvest Festival, Heaviest Pumpkin Competition. | © Stephen Chung / Alamy Stock Photo

Crisp autumn walks

There’s no better time to go for a hike in England than during autumn. Not only are the landscapes at their most dramatic during these short months, but the crisp days make for perfect walking conditions. Whether you plan to head into the hills, climb a mountain, wander across the moors or tackle a coastal path, do it in autumn.

Trees in Finsbury Park, North London. | © Richard Barnes / Alamy Stock Photo

Autumn food

The autumn harvest brings with it an abundance of delicious flavours with highlights of the seasonal cuisine including squash, wild mushrooms, chestnuts, apples, blackberries and quince. If you’re visiting England during the autumn, make an effort to try dishes that make use of these ingredients such as apple crumble, quince jelly, mushroom risotto, roast chestnuts and root vegetable soups.

Squashes and pumpkins displayed at the 'Incredibles' food exhibition. | © Eden Breitz / Alamy Stock Photo

Traditional fairs

One of the largest travelling fairs in Europe is hosted in Nottingham every year at the beginning of October, attracting visitors from all around the UK. Dating back over 700 years, Goose Fair combines traditional elements harking back to the fair’s history with modern fairground rides and attractions such as roller coasters, Ferris wheels and dodgems.

Flying chairs fairground ride at Goose Fair, Nottingham, England. | © Martyn Williams / Alamy Stock Photo

The weather

Autumn days mean misty mornings, grey clouds and crisp afternoons. Sun junkies may be disappointed, but anyone with a penchant for weather than incites atmosphere will revel in the sight of fog drifting over the moors or moody mountain vistas. Grey days may seem dismal at any other time of the year, but when combined with autumnal hues they make the perfect backdrop.

Autumn tree in park in London. | © maria ramil / Alamy Stock Photo

The wildlife

From rutting stags to murmurations of starlings, autumn is the perfect time of year for wildlife lovers to visit England. Keep your eyes peeled for robins, badgers and foxes in the countryside or even occasionally in towns. Autumn is also the time of year that grey seals have their pups, so head to Blakeney Point in Norfolk or Donna Nook in Lincolnshire to see huge colonies with their newborns.

Fox and water fowl at RSPB Fowlmere in Hertfordshire, England | © Louis Berk / Alamy Stock Photo

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