Ten things to do in autumn in the UK
30 October 2010

Autumn can be a brilliant time of year to visit the UK. In the season between summer and winter, the leaves change colour from green to red and gold, and fall from the trees, and there are usually many bright and sunny days to enjoy being outside.

The days are still long enough to get out for the afternoon. Although it can be chilly, it isn’t usually very cold. And it can be easy to warm up again as many pubs and restaurants have real fires to enjoy.

So here are ten things you can really enjoy doing in the UK in October and November. To make the most of your days out, though, check the weather forecast the night before and make sure you dress sensibly.

We have a saying in parts of the UK that there is no bad weather, only bad clothes.

  • Look for a National Trust park or garden near where you are staying. The Trust owns hundreds of the UK's historic buildings, and many have formal walks and gardens which are beautiful in autumn. National Trust venues are also famous for their tearooms, so you can end your walk with some home-made cake and a warming pot of tea.

  • If you are in the middle of London, go to Hyde Park or Regent's Park and stroll round the paths. On a clear sunny day it will be beautiful to see the different colours of the leaves.

  • If you are in Scotland, make for the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.

  • Try to get into the countryside for a proper walk through the woods. This is fantastic fun when the ground is thick with crisp brown leaves to kick and walk through (though remember to wear a sturdy pair of shoes). Your language centre or homestay should be able to suggest somewhere local which is easy to reach.

  • If you can get to Gloucestershire, one of the best places to see autumn colour on trees is at the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, where there is a collection of maple trees.

  • Autumn is also a good time to see different types of fungi (mushrooms and toadstools) in the woods. You may also see them in grassland, where a circle of mushrooms is called a 'fairy ring'. Many different types grow in the UK and they can be very beautiful. It is NOT a good idea to pick them for eating. The National Trust runs courses on identifying fungi.

  • Play the traditional British game of conkers. This is played with the nuts (conkers) from the horse chestnut tree. These are easy to spot as they are large, brown and shiny, and fall from a spiky shell. You CANNOT eat these nuts. To play conkers, thread string through a hole in the conker, tie a knot in the end, and cut the string to about 10 inches/24 cm long. Then swing your conker to hit your opponent's. The winner is the one with the unbroken conker!

  • If you are interested in birds, the Blakeney Point Nature Reserve in Norfolk is a great place to see rare species as they move (migrate) for the winter. This is in the far east of England.

  • Try a traditional, warming snack. Crumpets and English muffins are both types of bread which are toasted and served with butter. Crumpets have big holes on one side and a sponge-like texture. Muffins are more like round bread rolls, but are flat on both sides. These are cut in half to toast.

  • If you are staying in the South of England, it's fun to visit the Pumpkin Festival in a Sussex village called Slindon. Visitors from all around the world come to see the displays of pumpkins of different sizes and colours. The festival always runs until the end of October but sometimes continues into November.


By Susan Young (susan@englishuk.com)


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