The best autumn walks in the UK

Seasonal, Walking, Nature

Posted by Courtney Kelly on 20th September 2023

A lone man walks on a pier in Aberfeldy in autumnAberfeldy, Scotland. Photo courtesy of @Kayley6688

Walks, hot chocolates, falling leaves, and more walks – these things are synonymous with autumn.

Heralded as our most colourful season, autumn hardly needs to prove itself, yet every year we are rewarded with the fiery oranges, majestic yellows and moody reds that Mother Nature provides for us.

Your go-to autumn walk may be on the coast or in a national park – whatever your dream setting, we’ve chosen a handful from over 1,000 inspirational images our followers sent in via our Autumn Watch campaign in partnership with the RSPB. Read on to discover our best autumn walks in the UK.

Get ready to pull on those walking boots!

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A moody sky on the fells of the Lake DistrictPhoto credit: Russ Cribb

The Langdales

Lake District National Park, Cumbria

The UK's national parks are always a favourite location for an autumnal walk, if the myriad images of these sanctuaries that were sent in are anything to go by. And when you see a moody sky such as this one almost smothering the Lakeland fells, as the sun’s rays pierce pockets of resistance, it’s hard not to agree.

Plumes of rusty red bracken cower in the shadows as the light dances off the dry-stone walls and the verdant flora, which has not yet surrendered to autumn’s colour wheel.

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Durham Cathedral and River WearPhoto credit: Dennis Thompson

Durham Cathedral and River Wear

Durham, County Durham

The late autumn sun bakes the Caen stone of Durham Cathedral, whilst a kaleidoscope of colourfully leaved trees provides a buffer between it and the River Wear. The creamy-yellow Jurassic limestone of this place of worship delivers the perfect accompaniment to the darker shades you’ll find on this walk.

This photo speaks not only of the importance of this holy place to the local denizens, but also of our reverence for autumn and its vivid tapestry of crimson and tangerine hues.

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Two pictures of individual children playing in the autumn leavesPhoto credits: Ginny Long (left) and @Treasure_E_M (right)

Christchurch Park and Holdenby House

Ipswich, Suffolk and Northampton, Northamptonshire

There aren’t many seasons that can hold a candle to autumn when it comes to spending time with the kids. Exciting windswept days in the woods crunching crisp, golden-brown leaves underfoot are what it’s all about. On the left, in Ipswich, a little one runs through her own dew-covered arena, playfully kicking up autumn foliage as she goes.

On the right, a woodland cherub tries his hand at autumn camouflage up against a majestic broadleaf trunk. The attire for this walk in Northamptonshire is perfect with a mixture of pumpkin orange, cinnamon brown and pale green making it hard to spot the concealed cub in the first place.

A father and daughter walk amongst pumpkinsPhoto credit: @louisewelsh160

Pumpkin Patch

Farrington's Farm, Bristol

Not much screams autumn like a Halloween celebration, but before the partying and trick or treating comes the preparation, which often includes a trip to a pumpkin patch. Louise, who sent in this wonderful picture, visits this patch every year. She used to go with her parents and now continues the tradition by taking her own children.

Father and daughter wander the strip of squashes deciding which vibrant sphere to turn into a ghastly gourd.

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The reds, yellows, oranges and greens of an arboretumPhoto credit: @star_rxtech

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

Cotswolds, Gloucestershire

Follow the trail through this botanical collection of trees and topiaries in the Cotswolds and be delighted by the carpet of colours you find underfoot. With so many different species of broadleaf and coniferous trees to be found in this arboretum, it’s not only the colours that catch the eye, but the differing shapes of leaves and the contrast in height of the shrubs and hardwoods that make it such a special place to visit this autumn.

With some of the trees being evergreens and others exhibiting paper brown marcescent foliage, we are rewarded with a complementary palette of pretty pigmentations as we amble through this arboretum. If you love this image of the Cotswolds, try reading our guide to the UK’s National Trails.

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Two dogs in their respective favourite autumn placesPhoto credits: Pam Champion (left) and Alison Argent (right)

Kingsbury Water Park and Bilsthorpe Park

North Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire

It’s easy to understand why our friends across the pond opt to call this season fall, with many things choosing this time of year to descend, including leaves, pinecones and rain (not to mention the temperature). So, it’s important not to forget how much fun these months can be for our four-legged friends with their entire lives being spent at ground level.

Pip, pictured on the left, is on his favourite walk at Kingsbury Water Park and looks as though he’s just waiting for Mum to finish taking the photo so he can continue his super important autumnal adventures! Wilfred, on the right, looks content to linger amongst the buttery leaves in order to get that perfect snap, before the turf rummaging commences. Find out more about the best UK days out for dogs with our guide. 

A frosty morning walk as the sun begins to risePhoto credit: @hellywelsh123

Ellenbrook Fields

Hatfield, Hertfordshire 

As we’ve already touched upon, when we think of autumn, we conjure up images of polychromatic landscapes, hot spiced drinks and falling leaves. However, this image taken on a crisp morning in Hertfordshire proves that things are not always as they seem.

A blanket of frost entombs everything in sight as the warm daybreak sun begins to rise and shine over the fields and footpath. Most of the animal kingdom may not have emerged from their sleeping berths yet, but we’re sure glad that Helly did.

If this image makes you long for some warmth, check out our cottages with saunas and hot tubs for chilly autumn nights.

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The glistening green waters of Lochan UainePhoto credit: @miss_luna_lily

Lochan Uaine

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

Representing Scotland on our list is the hidden gem of Lochan Uaine. Referred to by the locals as the Green Lochan, this beautiful body of water is surrounded by evergreens and leaf-droppers alike and makes for one of the loveliest walks in the Cairngorms National Park.

Legend has it that the water gets its deep green hue from the fairies washing their clothes in it! Whatever the reason, we’re glad that Sarah sent in this picturesque image, when she, her partner and her canine companions went on a scenic 6-mile stroll to this unusual lagoon.

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Two pictures of people entering misty woodland Photo credits: @misslizbyb (left) and @slhuddlestone (right)

National Trust Calke Abbey and Midgley Woods

Ticknall, Derbyshire and Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Rounding off our collection of images are two bewitchingly ethereal photos, which portray the subtle beauty and spooky qualities of the best autumn walks in the UK.

On the left we see Lizzo entering a National Trust wood with far-reaching mist, just as she seems to spot a photobombing autumn branch taking centre stage in the foreground with its golden-brown foliage.

To the right, Sarah takes the kids to the beautifully barren-looking woods on a foggy morning in Midgley. From the looks of the eerie ambience, she’s quite rightly sending the children through first!

Explore the UK this autumn

If you’ve been inspired for an autumn getaway by what you’ve seen here, be sure to browse our cottages by clicking the button below. With memorable breaks awaiting all over the UK and with scenic walks like these straight from your door, the time is now to pack your camera, don your woolly hat and make some memories with those you love this autumn.

The best autumn walks in the UK await!

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.