When summer’s over, it’s easy to feel dejected about the impending chill. But rather than hibernating on the sofa under a blanket, one of the best ways to enjoy autumn is to get out there embrace it.
Here are our favourite spots to layer up and get outdoors in and around Bristol...
We’re lucky to have this one on our doorstep, and it’s easy to feel particularly grateful at this time of year, when the autumn colours emerge on the leaves for a spectacular display.
There are 15,000 specimens of trees from around the globe to enjoy here, including the mysterious Katsura tree that supposedly smells of candyfloss. Download the free TreeQuests app, which helps you explore Westonbirt, and create your own trail while testing your tree knowledge by completing challenges.
As it's the busiest time of year right now, be sure to head there early to get a good parking spot and avoid the crowds.
If you’re in the mood for an autumnal stroll beneath the trees, Leigh Woods is your go-to destination. Set against the iconic Suspension Bridge, the oak, small leaf lime and ash forest here also benefits from amazing views across the city, with a pathway following the base of the gorge.
Pack a flask of hot soup, so that once you’ve worked up an appetite you can take advantage of the oak picnic tables and benches made by local craftsmen.
Chew Valley Lake
Half an hour’s drive from the city, Chew Valley Lake is a huge reservoir that's fed from the Mendip Hills to provide the people of Bristol with much of their drinking water. It’s also a stunning place for a scenic autumn walk following the lake’s nature trails, including a route known as the Grebe Trail and the slightly more rugged Bittern Trail.
With over 270 species of bird on record at Chew, at this particular time of year you’ll find up to 400 great-crested grebes gathering on the lake, as well as bushes bearing red haw berries and blue-black sloes.
Park the car for free and don your wellies for a splash in the stream at Blaise, an estate where you have 650 acres in which to take an adventure through the woods, across the grasslands and up to the castle, all the while looking out for the footprints of the Bristol giant Goram.
There’s also a huge children’s play area, and if things start to get a little chilly you can warm up in the café or go and check out the old school toys at Blaise Castle House Museum. Don't forget to visit Blaise Hamlet or the woodlands and fields surrounding regal Grade I listed Kingsweston House while you’re in the area.
Filled with the legacies of over 300,000 Bristolians across the years, Arnos Vale Cemetery is a place of undeniable tranquility set in 45 acres of land.
Along with being able to visit graves of anyone from everyday people to war heroes, there are also listed buildings and monuments to enjoy, as well as great wildlife including woodcocks, firecrests, slow-worms, native and exotic trees, plus historic wild flower varieties such as burnet saxifrage and field scabious.
Once you've finished your walk, you can reward yourself with tea and cake from the Atrium Cafe, too.
Just a 20-minute drive from the centre of Bristol, Tyntesfield in Wraxhall is a beautiful Victorian gothic revival house, with gardens and parkland perfect for an autumn stroll.
Along with the house and chapel, the estate is also home to Italianate terraces, a rose garden, an outdoor play area, exotic trees, views across the Yeo Valley and, of course, a cafe for refreshments and a gift shop for some retail therapy.
You can also book onto free garden tours to find out more about Tyntesfield’s greenery, or see what the Bristol Astronomical Society gets up to at one of its many Star Parties.
Known to many as the venue for large-scale summer events, Ashton Court shouldn’t be underestimated as a great way to get outdoors, thanks to the beautiful 860 acres of parkland surrounding the mansion, which come complete with a deer park and breathtaking views of Bristol.
Want to turn this into a proper autumnal adventure? Pedal Progression is a mountain bike hire company based behind the Golf Centre at Ashton Court, where people of all ages and skill levels can hire two wheels to make the most of the area’s terrain on an all-weather five mile track.
With an amazing late seventeenth-century mansion, garden and deer park all set in 270 acres of ancient parkland, the National Trust’s Dyrham Park is a beautiful throwback just twenty minutes from central Bristol.
On a crisp, clear autumn day, you can follow the Prospect Walk to reach spectacular views across the Bristol Channel to the Black Mountains in Wales and south to the Mendips in Somerset, before heading back to the house and gardens to visit the idyllic ponds – which look just as stunning in the colder months as they do on a balmy summer afternoon thanks to the reflections of autumn colours from the surrounding trees.
Happy to go a little further afield? Take a day trip to Slimbridge Wetland Centre or the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, have a day of rambling in the Mendip Hills, or take one last camping trip before the winter kicks in at Beeches Farm in Chepstow.
Take a look at 20 great things to do in Bristol.