As nights draw in and the breathtaking autumnal colours begin to show, Wiltshire becomes a magical place. Wiltshire is a no-stress destination that nourishes the senses, opens up new experiences and really helps you unwind. With its blend of ancient landscapes, bewitching gardens and great things to do – it is the perfect choice for an autumn staycation.
To make the most out of it here are our top 6 things to do this autumn!
On the same estate as Bowood House & Gardens, the boutique-style Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort provides the perfect reason to escape to Wiltshire this autumn. One of the county’s finest luxury hotels it specialises in unforgettable breaks. The Spa at Bowood offers a wide range of reviving treatments and relaxing massages. The two AA Rosette Shelburne Restaurant showcases superb locally-sourced, seasonal food in an elegant surrounding. Afternoon Tea is a firm favourite at Bowood with delicious treats carefully crafted by the Hotel’s own pastry chef. For the keen golfer, there’s the superb PGA golf course designed by renowned golf course architect Dave Thomas. The supremely comfortable bedrooms boast spacious bathrooms, beautiful décor and views of the grounds or woodland. After a day of exploring, get cosy in the Hotel Library by an open log fire and soak in the stunning autumnal surroundings.
Those crisper autumn days are a delightful time to visit Bowood House & Gardens. The home of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, the estate has 100 acres of beautifully landscaped ‘Capability’ Brown parkland, complete with a mile-long lake. The estate is famous for its Italian-inspired Terrace Garden, beautiful herbaceous border and blazes of autumn colour amid the trees. During October Half Term, families can experience the popular ‘Autumn Trail’ that winds through the arboretum. The House & Gardens are open daily until 1st November. You can book day tickets here. Entry is complimentary for guests staying at Bowood Hotel.
Ditching the car and travelling at a slower pace can really feel like an escape. The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust runs some excellent autumn trips on the Barbara McLellan boat. This 65 foot beauty has comfortable seating, toilets and a well-stocked bar and is based at the wharf in Bradford on Avon. Mid-October sees her heading out on a four hour Autumn Colour Cruise across Avoncliff Aqueduct and on to Dundas Aqueduct at the peak of seasonal foliage displays. Expect the trees to be a riot of red and gold.
Image credit: visitwiltshire.co.uk
The massive ceremonial monoliths at Stonehenge remind us that some places have long drawn visitors at key points in the seasons. At the vast Wiltshire stone circle the autumn equinox was probably one such time. And while a visit to Stonehenge is always enjoyable, autumn – with its mists and moody skies – is an ideal time to explore slightly further afield. The National Trust has devised four walking trails in the Stonehenge Landscape. Ranging over chalk downland and covering 2 to 5 miles, they explore the wider, ceremonial landscape. They reveal some surprising archaeological features and put Britain’s finest archaeological site in its broader, highly impressive context.
When the nights start falling earlier, the Wiltshire village of Lacock really comes into its own. The unspoilt huddle of houses is a jumble of undulating roofs and traditional stone buildings – no wonder it’s appeared in films and TV shows ranging from Harry Potter to Wolf Hall. The village is set out on a compact grid of four streets and has been looked after by the National Trust since the 1940s. A few locals’ cars aside, it looks much as it did 200 years ago. Take a tour of the impressive Lacock Abbey and Cloisters, then on a fast-darkening autumn afternoon, wander the atmospheric streets before visiting the age-old George Inn for a drink beside the open fire.
Image credit greatwestway.co.uk
If you enjoy woodland walks and nature-spotting, then we highly recommend a visit to the Longleat Estate in Wiltshire. Probably most known for its popular Safari Park, you will discover attractive forest walks, open woodland, as well as Shearwater Lake – a haven for fishing and sailing. Take in the beautiful views of the Wiltshire Countryside and admire the autumnal scenery in all its golden glory.
We recommend following the footpath through Nockatt Coppice car park, which will lead you to the aptly named ‘Heaven’s Gate’. There are plenty of benches and wide lawns where you could stop for a picnic.