Britain’s stately homes celebrate “second spring”

Blenheim Palace in autumn

This time of year sees the British countryside burst into colour, with russet tones and vivid autumn shades. We share photographs of some of the most beautiful spots…

Dubbed by some as the ‘second spring’, autumn is a fantastic time to visit some of Britain’s wilder reaches from the Highlands to the New Forest, as well as our magnificent stately homes, whose landscaped estates are transformed into an array of warm colours.

At Holkham Hall in Norfolk, the rare specimen trees of the spectacular arboretum look resplendent in their autumn foliage. You might like to book onto one of the autumn tours of the private gardens on 18 October.

Another date for your diary is the popular autumn colours weekend on 24–25 October at Sherborne Castle, where Capability Brown created a 50-acre lake surrounded by magnificent specimen trees, herbaceous borders and sweeping lawns. Explore features such as Raleigh’s Seat (Sir Walter Raleigh built the castle in 1594), the Cascade and the Folly.

Sherborne Castle_new
Sherborne Castle. Credit: Jayson Hutchins

Beaulieu ­in the New Forest is in a fantastic position to admire autumn’s colours. Once you’ve witnessed the spectacular shades of the New Forest itself, you might like to explore Beaulieu’s walled cloisters and herb garden or the Ornamental Kitchen Garden complete with 1870s restored vine house. Walk hand-in-hand along the scenic Mill Pond walk and wander into the natural splendour of the Wilderness Garden.

Palace House in Beaulieu in autumn. Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View
Palace House in Beaulieu in autumn. Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View
New Forest
Autumn in the New Forest. Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View

Take a stroll through Ray Wood at Castle Howard and marvel at the season’s striking tones, from the many shrubs and trees to the huge array of ripened fruit and berries.  Then make your way to the ornamental kitchen garden – Castle Howard Potager– for the autumn vegetable garden harvest.

Having developed over more than 450 years, the 105-acre Chatsworth garden continues to evolve. There is plenty to discover at the famous seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, including the 10th anniversary of Beyond Limits, Sotheby’s annual exhibition of contemporary sculpture in the garden, which takes place until 25 October. The kitchen garden is also still producing good crops of plums, pears and apples to harvest.

New Forest2
Autumn colour in the New Forest. Credit: VisitBritain/Britain on View
Scotland
Highland colour at Loch Tummel from the Queen’s View, Pitlochry. Credit: VisitBritain/Joe Cornish

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Photos of our most spectacular stately homes
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