With summer over, the nights are already starting to draw in and the colder weather is arriving after months of record-breaking temperatures. That doesn’t mean you have to shelve your UK holiday plans until the spring though. Throughout autumn, there is still plenty of places to head without having to step on a plane when you want to enjoy a break.
Whether getting outdoors to take in the stunning autumn views or being cosy inside with a cup of tea is your idea of an excellent autumn break, these five staycation destinations may be just what you’re looking for.
1. Aviemore, Scotland
Scotland is known for its breathtaking scenery and Aviemore is beautiful. Surrounded by mountains and the Cairngorms National Park. If you love to be outdoors, it’s the perfect place to consider for your staycation. You can try your hand at skiing, canoeing and even dog sledding. There are gentler outdoor pursuits to take in, from trails around its stunning national park to wildlife watching.
When the weather turns or you want to head indoors, there are more than enough options for dining, shopping or stopping to have a drink. You can watch, or even take part in, traditional ceilidh dancing too. There’s a chance to step back to the 1700s at the Highland Folk Museum or enjoy a trip on a steam train by taking the Strathspey Railway.
2. Dartmouth, Devon
Dartmouth is situated on the mouth of the River Dart and is one of Devon’s most popular towns thanks to its historic streets and scenic location. As it’s surrounded by countryside, it’s in an excellent location for taking a brisk autumn walk and there are many traditional English pubs to stop at for lunch or dinner to get your energy back too.
Other landmarks to keep an eye out for when you’re exploring Dartmouth include the 14th-century castle, which offers views of the estuary and Baynard’s Cover Fort, which dates back to the 16th century. If you love the picturesque views of the water, why not head out onto the river? The Dartmouth Paddle Steamer is one of the last coal-fired steamers in the UK. Along the way, you’ll be able to take in many iconic Dartmouth landmarks at a leisurely pace too.
3. Whitby, Yorkshire
Why not head to the seaside on your next staycation? Whitby might not offer warm Mediterranean waters this autumn, but it’s got plenty more going for it. Strolls along the coast are guaranteed to offer great views and are even better when you have traditional fish and chips at the end too. The harbour is a great place to end up, the atmospheric Abbey towers, which is said to have inspired Dracula author, Bram Stoker, over the cobbled streets as you walk along the beach.
Not too far from the harbour is a whale bond arch that was erected sometime after 1853, paying homage to the history of Whitby. If you’re lucky, you may even get a chance to see whales in the wild too. In autumn, vast shoals of herring migrate to the Yorkshire coast, attracting a plethora of other animals. Head out on a boat and you could spot seals, whales, dolphins and much more.
4. Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire
Celebrated for being the birthplace of playwright William Shakespeare, you’ll find plenty of history and attractions at Stratford-upon-Avon. The market town is easy to navigate if you want to walk the Shakespeare trail, taking in plenty of sights, including his wife’s Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the family home, which is now a working museum, and his final resting place in the Holy Trinity Church.
Don’t worry though, it’s not all about the famous playwright. Amongst the other things to do at Stratford-upon-Avon include the MAD museum, a butterfly farm and the 18th-century mansion of Compton Verney, which is home to an award-winning gallery and museum, is just a 20-minute car journey away and set in 120 acres of parkland.
5. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Cambridge is synonymous with the university in the city, but it isn’t just students that will love visiting here. The stunning building that seems unchanged for centuries makes it the ideal place for an autumn walk as you take in the view. Walking alongside the River Cam, where you can find many college gardens, are Backs as they’re known, is a must. Of course, if you’re visiting Cambridge for the first time, you should go punting on the river too; wrap up warm and relax as a guide navigates.
If you’re a fan of delving into history, a university tour is a great way to explore the nooks and crannies of the world-famous institution. There are several arts venues to take in too, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, as well as plenty of traditional pubs and shops to browse.