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UK Autumn Bucket List: 24 Fall Activities & Destinations You’ll Love!

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There’s a chill in the air and a kaleidoscope of colours outside. And now you’re wondering what should be on your UK autumn bucket list.

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with a whole bunch of autumn activities and fall destinations in the UK you’re sure to love.

UK Autumn Bucket List: 24 Fall Activities & Destinations You’ll Love!

Just to let you know, this isn’t a generic autumn bucket list. We’ve lived in the UK nearly our whole lives so this list contains all of the things we look forward to most when autumn rolls around in September through November.

So if you want to don your walking boots and go in search of some of the best autumn destinations in the UK, spot some autumn wildlife and much more, then happy reading and fall foliage hunting!

Go leaf spotting in forests, woodlands and arboretums

Autumn maple leaves in Westonbirt Arboretum, UK
Autumn maple leaves at Westonbirt Arboretum

Of course, at the top of any UK autumn bucket list should be leaf spotting!

At this time of year, trees put on an incredible show for us. And where’s best to see this fall foliage spectacle in the UK? Why, forests, woodlands and arboretums, of course!

Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire frequently tops lists of the best things to do in autumn in the UK. And having now visited it ourselves in October, we can see why.

At Westonbirt, they have a “Maple Loop” and an “Acer Glade”, which are just spectacular in the autumn months.

Westonbirt Arboretum in Autumn
Westonbirt Arboretum in autumn

Psst! Westonbirt Arboretum is also very popular at Christmastime. Check out our review now >>

We also love the New Forest in Hampshire at this time of year where you can see some of the tallest trees in the UK, such as Giant Sequoia (Redwood) trees and Douglas Firs.

Scott admiring a giant Sequoia tree in the UK
Scott admiring redwood trees in the New Forest

Aside from that, you’ll also find many houses and stately homes adorned with shocking red Boston Ivy (also known as Virginia Creeper) in autumn, which looks incredible!

So, have fun wandering around opulent estates and some of the prettiest towns and villages to see the colours yourself.

Bowood House
Virginia creeper (Boston ivy) on the side of Bowood House

For the most spectacular fall foliage in the UK, we’d recommend timing your visit between mid-October and late November.

Admire the autumnal landscapes of National Parks

Views of the Peak District from near Bamford Edge
Peak District in autumn

But it’s not just the trees that put on a show for us at this time of year!

Head to one of the UK’s 15 National Parks and you’ll likely find rust-coloured bracken adorning the landscape and an abundance of autumn wildlife. More on this in a moment.

We especially loved visiting the Peak District in October where we could admire the views from up high practically all over the National Park – hence the “peak” in its name.

But some of our other favourite National Parks include the Lake District, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs in Scotland and the Brecon Beacons in Wales (where you should probably expect rain).

READ NEXT: 3 Day Peak District Weekend Itinerary For First Time Visitors

Watch the autumn wildlife

The Stag we saw at Lyme Park
Spot the stag at Lyme Park in the Peak District

Watching the wildlife is another must-do autumn activity in the UK. You’ll find an array of animals and critters busying about at this time of year.

But you’ll particularly want to keep an eye out for:

Aside from these phenomena, you can also look forward to seeing butterflies (yep, even in autumn!), badgers scavenging around at night, starling murmurations and much more.

Hop aboard a scenic train

Harry Potter Train, Scotland
The Jacobite Steam Train in Scotland

If you’d rather admire the British landscape in warmth and comfort, then why not add a scenic train journey to your autumn bucket list?

One of the most famous ones in the UK is the Jacobite Steam Train, which runs from April to October between Fort William and Mallaig in Scotland. You’ll probably recognise it as a stand-in for the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies.

Other incredible train journeys in the UK include the Settle-Carlisle Railway, which rumbles past northern England’s moorlands and the West Highland Line, which links parts of the Scottish Highlands to Glasgow.

READ NEXT: How To See The Harry Potter Train For Free

Go fruit picking

Blackberry picking in late summer
Blackberries on British brambles

How does a good old-fashioned British crumble sound? How about one that you’ve baked using freshly foraged fruits? Personally, we can’t think of a better UK autumn activity than this.

In early September, you can still forage for blackberries, which you’ll find in abundance along British hedgerows.

Meanwhile, if you visit an orchard such as Drove Orchards in Norfolk, you can pick your own apples, pears and plums.

Also, keep an eye out for wild sloes around the UK. Homemade sloe gin anyone?

Visit a vineyard for grape harvest season

British vineyard in Surrey, UK
British vineyard in Surrey

Speaking of harvesting fruit, September and October is grape harvest season in the UK.

If you head to a vineyard at this time of year, then you might be able to see it in action and maybe even pick some grapes yourself.

You’ll find most of the UK’s vineyards are in the south of England, thanks to the slightly warmer climate down here compared to elsewhere in the UK.

We recently visited the Chiltern Valley Winery near Henley-on-Thames, which offers tours of its vineyard and microbrewery, followed by a delicious tasting. We couldn’t resist buying some ginger wine to take home with us.

Visit a pumpkin patch

Okay, so this one probably won’t be on many autumn bucket lists for adults, unless you’re big kids like us, of course.

If you’re planning a spooky Halloween date night, then you might want to make a full day of it and go pumpkin picking before carving it together later.

Check out this list to find some of the best places to pick your own pumpkins in the UK.

Get your spook on with haunted castles and “scream parks”

Fairground rides at Fear, Avon Valley
FEAR at Avon Valley for Halloween

Speaking of a spooky Halloween date night, you should definitely add haunted castles and “scream parks” or “fright nights” to your UK autumn bucket list.

There are lots of spooky places you can visit in the UK for Halloween. But some of our favourites include:

  • Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire: Where you’ll find a historic 15th-century castle, which is said to be haunted by Queen Katherine Parr (one of Henry VIII’s wives).
  • Thorpe Park in Surrey: Their Fright Nights are legendary!
  • Avon Valley in Bristol: Where you’ll find their incredible FEAR “scream park” and live-action horror mazes that have won a ton of awards.
  • Burley Village in Hampshire: This unassuming little village in the New Forest is hiding a secret. It has various stories to tell involving witches, dragons and smuggling.

Try a spooky Champing experience

Here’s another “spooky” idea for you: Champing! This relatively new craze in the UK involves glamping inside old and unused churches.

We’ve tried it twice now – once in Somerset and more recently in Buckinghamshire.

All Saints' Church in Langport, Somerset
Champing in Somerset

Our latest Champing experience involved sleeping inside a 14th-century church in October and with the building’s creaks and groans through the night, it was all kinds of spooky. The church even had bats roosting in the eaves!

READ NEXT: Our Champing in Somerset Review (+ Tried & Tested Itinerary!)

Enjoy an epic Bonfire Night

Within a few days of Halloween, the UK also plays host to incredible Bonfire Night festivities to commemorate Guy Fawkes and his failed Gunpowder Plot in 1605.

Today, most people celebrate Bonfire Night for the fireworks more than anything else. But you’ll also often find fairground rides and street food stalls at these celebrations.

Here are some of the UK’s biggest and best Bonfire Night events.

Attend a literature festival

Cheltenham Literature Festival
Cheltenham Literature Festival is a top thing to do in autumn in the UK

Given the UK’s long and varied history of the written word, you’ll often find some kind of literature festival happening throughout the country. But they seem especially common in September and October.

Maybe because this is the perfect time to come in from the cold and cosy up with a good book?

Anyway, at this kind of festival, you can usually look forward to book readings, author talks and literary discussions. Check out this list for some of the best literary festivals in the UK.

READ NEXT: 12 Beautiful & Historic Literary Places To Visit In England

Visit historic sites and stately homes

Views of Chatsworth House from across the lake
Chatsworth House in autumn

While you can visit the UK’s top historic sites and stately homes at any time of the year, the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are some of the best times to visit because you can enjoy fewer crowds and still relatively fine weather.

Plus, you’ll often find these kinds of places have their own arboretums and woodlands where you can enjoy more of that stunning fall foliage we’ve already talked about. Or you can escape inside should the weather become miserable.

The lake near the Pinetum at Chatsworth
Autumn leaves at Chatsworth House

As Scott and I are National Trust and English Heritage members, this is one of our favourite things to do in autumn and beyond, so we can recommend a whole host of historic places you should visit in the UK.

Check out these blog posts to read about some of our favourites:

Inside Berkeley Castle upstairs
Cosy interiors look especially inviting in autumn

But there are also several privately-owned stately homes we’ve loved visiting as well, such as Bowood House & Gardens in Wiltshire (where both Poldark and Sanditon were filmed) and Chatsworth House in Derbyshire (where the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie was filmed).

Important: Some estates like these are closed from late autumn and through winter, so please check their opening times before visiting.

READ NEXT: National Trust vs English Heritage – Which Is Better?

Explore museums and art galleries

Banksy Bristol - Paint Pot Angel
Banksy statue in the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Of course, should the weather become wet and windy in the fall months, then you can easily escape into one of the country’s top museums or art galleries.

Despite these being a haven on rainy days, you’ll still see fewer crowds than during the summer (which is the UK’s peak travel season).

Some of our favourite places to go include:

  • Natural History Museum in London: Where its world-renowned exhibits include rare gems and giant dinosaur skeletons. This museum is surprisingly still free to visit.
  • Science Museum in London: Where you can act like big kids for the day and play with the interactive exhibits – for free!
  • Bristol Museum & Art Gallery: Where you’ll find an eclectic mix of historic artefacts and even a statue created by the infamous Banksy. Good news! This museum is also free to visit.
  • Titanic Belfast: Located at the site where the Titanic was originally built, this infamous museum in Northern Ireland will show you a side of the Titanic story you might not have seen yet.

READ NEXT: UK Trip Itinerary – Travel Around the UK in 10 Days

Cosy up in a country pub together

Beaufort Arms, Kittle, Gower Peninsula
A cosy country pub like this is perfect for a UK autumn bucket list

When the weather starts to turn colder and the rain comes pouring down, what could be a better way to end your UK autumn bucket list than cosying up together in a traditional country pub?

While here, you can look forward to comforting food, good company and maybe even a roaring fire.

READ NEXT: Autumn in England – When & Where To Visit

Even More UK Bucket List Ideas

If you’re after even more UK bucket list ideas, then we have a mammoth list here, which will work for any time of the year.

Alternatively, we have over 100 articles about the UK on our blog, so I’m sure you’ll find something to inspire you.

Here are some of our favourites:

Did you enjoy this list of things to do in autumn in the UK? Why not pin or bookmark it now, so you can read it again later?

UK Autumn Bucket List: 13 Fall Activities & Destinations You'll Love!
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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