18 best autumn breaks, from holidays in the Highlands to beach stays in Cornwall
Lough Erne Resort, Co Fermanagh
You needn’t be a golfer to appreciate Lough Erne Resort, a five-star property known for its championship courses. There are plenty of other outdoor activities on offer across the property’s 600 acres, from lakeside yoga to stand-up paddleboarding, water bikes and archery. Equipped with a guide and puzzle book, children can hunt around the estate for clues and puzzles on the new Enchantment Trail. Or, for rainy day fun, families can visit the underground world of the Marble Arch Caves or Fermanagh Fun Farm for an interactive agriculture experience.
Doubles from £159, lougherneresort.com
Kylesku Hotel, Highlands
Surrounded by the sea lochs and peaks of the north-west Highlands, Kylesku is a boutique hotel on the North Coast 500 touring route. Drumbeg, a remote crofting village 30 minutes’ drive away, offers stunning views across a mixed woodland that will soon turn a melody of colour. Kylesku’s restaurant’s fresh seafood and family-friendly welcome won it Informal Restaurant of the Year at the Scottish Hotel Awards twice in a row.
Doubles from £109, kyleskuhotel.co.uk
Rockliffe Hall County, Durham
Scoring a room at Rockliffe Hall was a challenge in early summer, when the five-star hotel was booked by the England team for training ahead of Euro 2020. The hotel, which borders Croft-on-Tees, where author Lewis Carroll grew up, offers a world of curiosities, including an Alice in Wonderland-themed nature trail, a spa with outdoor massage pool, and 3AA Rosette restaurant The Orangery. Rooms at the 18th-century estate are big on space and comfort, with TVs in the bathrooms and views over the golf course, estate or River Tees.
B&B from £210, rockliffehall.com
Lark cabin, North York Moors
Nothing beats a new wood-cabin smell. Be among the first to stay in the latest Scandinavian-style cabin from A Place in the Pines, on the edge of North York Moors, which opened last month. Lark offers twin brass tubs on an outdoor bathing deck, a bunk bed for the kids, and a barbecue and sunken fire pit outside for star-gazing. There is a great local pub, The Golden Lion, just a 10-minute walk away and the North Yorkshire coast is a half hour’s drive.
From £60pp based on four sharing, canopyandstars.co.uk/lark
The Bronte Bobbin, West Yorkshire
Stay in a Grade II listed mill in the village of Haworth. Bronte Bobbin, a converted top-floor apartment, is stylishly decorated, with views over the nearby steam railway. The Brontë Parsonage, where the novelist and her sisters once lived, is a short stroll up the cobbled street. Visit on 14 October when The Keighley & Worth Valley Steam Railway is hosting a Beer & Music Festival. Other local highlights include the Railway Children Walk, National Trust property Hardcastle Crags and Hebden Bridge.
Three-night weekend break for two from £599, premiercottages.co.uk
Linthwaite House, Lake District
On a hilltop overlooking Windermere, Linthwaite House is perfect for a leaf-peeping holiday in the lakes. The country house combines Edwardian history and contemporary design. Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan opened hotel restaurant Henrock in 2019, serving local produce from his nearby farm. It is a 20-minute stroll to the busy lakeside town of Bowness-on-Windermere and the hotel has its own tarn (or small mountain lake) for fly-fishing or a ride on a row boat.
B&B from £180, leeucollection.com/UK
New for autumn 2021, Gwenllian glampsite has just opened, with its first luxury geodome. Perched on a hillside in the remote Dyfi Valley, the pod comes with wood-fired hot tub, barbecue, seating area and fire pit. Inside is a copper bath tub, en suite shower room, kitchen, smart TV and underfloor heating. Take the mountain bikes to the nearby market town of Machynlleth for top-rated restaurants or enjoy star-gazing at the pod thanks to the low light pollution.
Doubles from £155, qualityunearthed.co.uk
The Gainsborough, Bath
As the only hotel in the city to harness its thermal waters, The Gainsborough is always a hot property. Its Spa Village Bath taps into an ancient aquifer beneath the hotel, providing guests with access to mineral-rich waters. Comprising two Grade II listed buildings with Georgian and Victorian façades, the grand hotel is perfect for Bridgerton fans, who can book for a private tour of the fabulous Georgian locations featured in the bodice-ripping Netflix hit.
Doubles from £290, thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk
Dillington House, Somerset
Three large self-catering properties have autumn availability on this rural estate, sleeping between eight and 16. The Orchard is a Grade II listed thatched house, the Park House a stone-built property and The Thatched House exactly that. All are dog-friendly and come with outdoor hot tubs, gardens and wood burners inside. They huddle just off the A303 outside Ilminster, close to the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and with the Jurassic Coast also within easy reach.
Four nights’ rental from £1,400 for eight, sandandstoneescapes.com
The Headland, Cornwall
The grand Victorian Headland Hotel, overlooking Fistral Beach, also offers cottages and apartments. As well as more space, self-catering guests have access to all of the hotel amenities including the Aqua Club, a new swimming and wellbeing centre with six pools. There are plenty of attractions on the doorstep, from Tintagel Castle t0 Tate St Ives.
Cottages from £125pppn based on two sharing (three-night minimum), headlandhotel.co.uk
Fisherman’s Cottage, Cornwall
The out-of-the-way village of Kingsand will be back to its sleepy self with the summer holiday crowds dispersed. On the Rame Heritage Coast, across the River Tamar from Plymouth, this is also the location of a restored Fisherman’s Cottage, complete with original beams and stone fireplace, deep window nooks and a copper bathtub.
Rental from £252 for four, kiphideaways.com/hideaways/fishermans-cottage-cornwall/
Plush Tents Glamping, West Sussex
This yurt village run on solar power in the South Downs is a short drive from Chichester, Goodwood and the coast. The wooded site includes a fire pit, treehouse kitchen, tepee and children’s play area. Generously spaced luxury Mongolian yurts are decked out with vintage furniture, hand-carved beds, antique wood burners, wood-fired hot tubs and private hammocks. Activities include cinema nights, yoga classes and kids’ art workshops.
Yurts sleeping five from £350 for two nights, plushtentsglamping.co.uk
Ashdown Park Hotel, West Sussex
Four-star Ashdown Park is offering an autumn foraging package from 2-3 October. Led by a mushroom-hunting expert, guests will seek out their own edible fungi across the 186-acre estate, before handing over their spoils to the head chef for a special Sunday lunch. The hotel, in the heart of the High Weald AONB, is surrounded by rural attractions, from the Winnie the Pooh Trek in the Hundred Acre Wood to wine-tasting at nearby vineyards.
B&B doubles from £235pp including foraging, Sunday lunch and dinner, ashdownpark.com
Minster Mill, Oxfordshire
A collection of riverside stone buildings and renovated barns in the village of Minster Lovell, Minster Mill has recently had a full makeover. Within its expansive grounds are Scandi-sleek rooms with mid-century furniture, some of which have views of the River Windrush from their terraces, with log burner or fire pit. There is also a spa with pool, tennis courts and walking and cycling trails on the doorstep. Nearby, Blenheim Palace has a busy autumn schedule, including regular bushcraft activity workshops.
Doubles from £180, minstermill.co.uk
Sopwell House, Hertfordshire
Deep in the Hertfordshire hills, this high-end spa hotel has 12 acres of manicured gardens, two restaurants and a cocktail lounge. The new Club at Cottonmill – available to a limited number of guests – features an indoor/outdoor hydrotherapy pool leading out to the new Spa Garden. Outdoors are three hot tubs, a fire pit and water features. Inside are two steam and two sauna rooms plus four relaxation rooms.
Spa package including three-course dinner from £245pp, sopwellhouse.co.uk
Brudenell Hotel, Suffolk
A pebble’s throw from Aldeburgh beach, the Brudenell offers stylish interiors and widescreen sea views of the heritage coast. The Seafood & Grill serves lunch and a Tapas by the Sea menu features Orford oysters. Walk the Sailors’ Path to Snape Maltings, a heritage site of converted Victorian buildings now home to independent shops, galleries, eateries and performance venues. The Aldeburgh Food & Drink Festival takes place on 25-26 September.
B&B from £135, brudenellhotel.co.uk
The Lakes Lodges, Suffolk
A handful of contemporary adults-only lodges, set on private lake surrounded by wild grasses, The Lakes Lodges – which come with two double en suite bedrooms – are ideal for two couples sharing, with light wooden interiors, large bay windows and a terrace with a fire pit. Guests can join yoga classes and there are sauna huts hidden among the trees.
From £46pppn based on four sharing, kiphideaways.com
Retreat East, Suffolk
This former dairy farm just off the A14 north of Ipswich has been reborn as a “sustainable retreat”, its barns converted into luxurious hotel-style rooms and self-catering rentals. There is also a small spa with outdoor Jacuzzi and a restaurant serving produce from the kitchen gardens at weekends.
Rental from £125 for two, retreateast.co.uk
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