Experience the best of Yorkshire’s Outdoor Attractions in Autumn

5th September 2023
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Autumn is the season of colour, and nothing fills the soul with cosy warmth and nostalgic feelings better than an autumnal day. It’s time to head outside into the cool air, experience vibrant views, golden hues and paths dusted with the bright oranges and reds of crunchy leaves. Enjoy cooler nights watching the stars around crackling fires, sit cosied up with a warm drink reading or watching the world go by - the perfect time for a cosy countryside break, and Yorkshire offers some of the best outdoor attractions.

Whether this is inspiration for when you are passing by, or perhaps for help with planning how to spend an Autumn stay in Yorkshire, or maybe even considering a road trip? Read on to find out about our most recommended places to visit near Yorkshire.

Bolton Abbey

Packed with history, from the Abbey to the famous stepping stones, Bolton Abbey is a pivotal example of the beauty that the Yorkshire Dales holds. Explore Autumn at Bolton Abbey with Strid Wood's gnarled old oak tree trails as they become a colour palette of gold and orange, fallen leaves line the paths that wind through this enchanting woodland. You may also spot the woodland inhabitants from Roe Deer to otters. Deep within the wood the Strid can be found, where the river suddenly narrows forcing the water through at great force. The river continues to bubble with excitement as you walk along side it down to the Priory Ruins, spotting the new flora and fauna come into life as you go. The Priory Ruins are the perfect location to sit back and admire the surrounding views, and just a little further down you can explore Barden Tower as it stands bold against its forest backdrop.

Afterwards, why not stop off at The Cavendish Pavilion for a refreshing drink, a light bite to eat and a delicious sweet treat to top it all off.

Explore The Autumn Colours - Autumnal Walks

Brimham Rocks Boundary Walk

A gentle circular walk that explore this site of special scientific interest. Brimham Rocks is an outcrop of Millstone Grit known for its eroded rocks, these magnificent rock sculptures have been created by thousands of years' worth of ice, rain and wind. The walk starts off with a short wander around the sensational rock figures, such as druids writing desk, before continuing to explore the area around the boundary, showcasing the meadows and Brimham's rare species of heather on the moorland. There are also plenty of opportunities for you to take a look down the valley where you are able to see panoramic views for miles on a clear day. There over 70 bird boxes dotted around, which means there are also plenty of opportunities for some bird spotting. It makes for a great day out, find out more here.

Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail

The Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail, which is near the picturesque village of Clapham, winds its way past a man-made glistening lake, along a steep river valley and through beautiful crisp woodland before emerging at the imposing entrance of Ingleborough Cave. Which was originally found in 1837 when brave Victorian explorers drained away a lake and ventured underground into Ingleborough Mountain. Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail is the gateway to some of the Yorkshire Dales National Park's most stunning limestone scenery. From here you can visit Trow Gill Gorge which was carved out from meltwater from the last ice age 14,000 years ago, Gaping Gill Pothole, limestone pavements, Norber Erratics, all the way to the summit of Ingleborough, one of the three peaks which makes for a great day of climbing right to the top of its peak. It is a truly fascinating place to spend an Autumn day. Find out more here.

Swinsty Reservoir

Photograph Credit: walkingenglishman.com

Nestled into the stunning Washburn Valley, Swinsty provides breath-taking views across the water and surrounding landscape, and Autumn is the perfect time to walk Swinsty Reservoir when all of the trees surrounding the water's edge are in colourful shades of bronze, fiery red and gold. Swinsty is a part of a chain of four reservoirs in Washburn Valley including Thruscross, Fewston and Lindley Wood all built to supply water to Leeds. Anyone can enjoy exploring Swinsty, whether you are looking for a gentle stroll or a wander through nearby fields and woodland, it is also accessible to cyclists and horse riders. During your walk you may also spot woodland and grassland creatures who call this place home, as well as interesting flora, fauna and fungi. Why not make a real day out of it and join your walk onto Fewston Reservoir?

Artisan Markets and Festivals

With towns across Yorkshire packed with close communities, you will always find a market or festival taking place.

A well renowned, and the longest-running, literature festival in the North that takes place in October from the 6th to 22nd, is Ilkley's Literature Festival, and they will be celebrating the 50th anniversary! Filled with films, music, books stalls, antiques and most importantly visits from renowned authors and writers, all gathered to share their love and passion for what they do best. Speakers and authors from politicians to actors, leading academics to mountaineers, and journalists to chefs. With over 90 different events such as readings, performances, workshops and literary walks, there is so much to do over this week long event.

Celebrating local produce in the best way possible is the Yorkshire Dales Cheese Festival will be returning on the 6th to 9th Ocotber. With demonstrations using local produce, there's plenty of cheese to be tried, cookery courses, dining experiences and specially created ice creams, sorbets, jams, jellies and chutneys also feature! There are events being held throughout the Yorkshire Dales, find out more information and view the range of events click here.

Harlow Carr

One of England's most relaxing and innovate gardens nestled into the Yorkshire Dales, Harlow Carr is a showcase of horticultural excellence. Unearth hidden treasures in the woodland and take in the rejuvenating scented garden. Opening its gates to visitors in 1950, the beautiful garden visitors see today has evolved significantly from its early beginnings all those decades ago. With over 58 acres of garden to explore, packed with diverse landscapes and different garden styles all in hopes to provide inspiration to those who visit, from plants that thrive in water features to woodland plants and wildflower meadows. There is also an extensive shop with plants of all variety both indoor and outdoor, as well as books, homewares and gifts.

They also host a range of workshops and events all year round, this Autumn they are holding workshops for a range of passions. From Seasons in a Sketchbook: Autumn and Winter, to making the perfect Autumn Seasonal Hanging Basket. They also hold larger events, for example the Curatorial Seasonal Autumn Walks where expert RHS staff guide you through the kaleidoscopes of autumnal colours. Or, there's The Festival of Flavours, an event that celebrates growing and eating food from around the world, with garden talks and demonstrations from chefs, growers and gardeners accompanied by delicious food stalls showcasing tasty food from around the world, as well as shopping stalls, displays of gifts and much more.

Harewood House

Harewood House sits in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, and is one of the treasure houses of England. Built in the 18th Century, the House is bursting with history in every room, intricately painted portraits, ceiling art embellished with gold, and an art collection rivalling the finest in Britain. While in Autumn the house offers warmth and memories to discover, the 100-acre gardens and grounds are packed bursting with vibrant golds and a wide array of flor and fauna. The woodland walk is dusted with many fallen leaves at this time of year and this links into a wonderful walk around the lake which is magical on a misty day. There are different sections of the grounds dedicated to gardens showcasing plants from around the world, including a fabulous Buddhist Stupa, these make for a truly transforming experience. There is also a Bird Garden, with over 170 birds from 40 different special and endangered species from around the world, they even have Penguins! It is an enchanting day of exploration.

This autumn Harewood is holding a range of Autumn themed, fun-packed experiences to choose from including, Autumnal Watercolour Workshops, Weaving Workshops, and a range of craft activities to from Origami Autumn Garlands to Chunky Knit Pumpkin Workshops, Autumn Wreath Making and Floral Pumpkin displays. They also have their Harvest Weekend from 16th to 17th September which showcases street food, market stalls, workshops, music and more!

Harewood is brining back Yorkshire DogFest, where you can treat your pooch to a tail wagging day, from activates like diving to agility, you can enter the Fun Dog Show or join the Big Dog Walk to help raise money for Dogs Trust. As well as sensational dog displays, their is opportunity to get advice from pros in the Behaviour Zone, visit the Shopping Village, enjoy festival food and so much more.

If you would like to bring your dog along with you when you stay with us, be sure to check out our dog-friendly hotels.

Cosy Stop Offs

There is really nothing better than a traditional cosy stop-off to warm the cockles after finishing off a fresh Autumn walk or brisk day out, our Devonshire Hotels are the perfect place to end your day with a high and we'll make sure you get a real country welcome.

Both The Devonshire Fell at Burnsall and The Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa hold history in their walls, with old English style mixed with contemporary modern to create a warm cosy atmosphere. Both are located in quite corners of the Bolton Abbey Estate, surrounded by picturesque views in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. Serving hearty delicious dishes, all made from locally sourced produce, cold brewed pints and steamy hot drinks, either is the ideal spot for a respite.

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Gardens

Laying waiting in a secluded valley lies one of the largest and best preserved Cistercian Abbey ruins, flanked by a Georgian Water Garden, Elizabethan Hall, Gothic Church and wooded park land. There are free daily tours around the impressive Abbey where you can learn of the history and lives of the monks that once lived here. Explore the park land, which offers the perfect strolling opportunities for an autumnal day, and you may also be able to spot the residential deer that roam here. The enchanting Studley Royal Water Garden is what makes this estate a World Heritage Site, with magical moon ponds and cascades that look as though they have been plucked straight from a fairy tale, intertwining with plants and shrubs. Temples, bridges and ethereal statues can also be found hidden throughout making it a truly magical place.

This October, Fountains Abbey will be hosting a range of Medieval Industry experiences, including old Mill tours where you learn of the oldest building on the Estate, and bread, beer and wool tours which take you through how the monks fed themselves, clothed themselves and earned income to support the community. As always, they will still be hosting their Deer Walks and Dusk Dear Walks, where you are joined wildlife volunteer to find out more about the Red, Sika and Fallows deer around the Estate.

Yorkshire Dales Holidays - Where To Stay?

Whether it is stepping out into the countryside to discover sensational views, exploring historical sites, or strolling around the streets of bustling towns, The Yorkshire Dales has it all.

Are you wanting to extend your adventures now you have found there is so much to see, and are looking for somewhere to stay? We have a number of hotels, inn and holiday cottages in the Yorkshire Dales area that are perfect for a countryside break. View our collection here.

We have a range of packages and offers to suit all, you can find them here.

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