The leaves are changing colour and chunky-knits season is almost here! If you haven’t had a holiday this year, all is not lost as there are plenty of amazing places to escape to on a short break this autumn. Ditch the daily routine for unbeatable views, long, mellow walks or heart-pumping adventures and see England from a new perspective. Check out our video and read on to uncover a few ways you can escape the everyday.
Escape to London
Thousands of years in the making, London overflows with rich history – from the world-famous architecture of St Pauls (which survived the Blitz in World War II) and the illustrious Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich to the military feats of the HMS Belfast. The arts can be found around every corner too, whether it’s a musical in Theatreland, curated exhibitions at the V&A or striking street art like the Bowie murals in Brixton. Or brighten up chillier days with a visit to north-east London’s God’s Own Junkyard, an artistic wonderland brimming with hundreds of neon signs that are sure to put a smile on your face.
Let the stress of the past few months melt away with a trip to Bath. A World Heritage site, the city of Bath dates back to over 2,000 years and is named after its Roman-built baths. Bath’s waters are still its main draw, and you can experience them at their very best at the modern Thermae Bath Spa, home to the only natural thermal hot springs in Britain you can actually bathe in. Relax and rejuvenate in the open-air rooftop pool, with spectacular views over the city and the surrounding Somerset hills, or immerse yourself in the mineral-rich Minerva Bath, named after the Roman Goddess of Health and Wisdom.
Fill your lungs with the sweet, fresh air of the Peak District. This natural landscape made up of moors, dales, rivers and caverns is loved for its spectacular views, infinite walking routes and chocolate-box villages. Trek through rolling green hills in the south, mine for Blue John gemstones in Castleton, try traditional Bakewell Puddings in (yep, you guessed it) Bakewell, or scale the steep cliffs of Stanage Edge. With courses for first-timers and seasoned climbers, everyone can have a crack at conquering the crag.
Formerly an independent medieval kingdom, this cultural pocket of the southeast of England is now home to an array of vineyards and outstanding open spaces. Lace up your walking boots and take a wander around the iconic Seven Sisters Country Park. Part of the South Downs National Park, Seven Sisters is famous for its white chalk cliffs and walking and cycling routes. Make your way down to Birling Gap, one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on the south coast, to enjoy unspoiled sea views, rockpools and an abundance of autumnal wildlife, from migrant birds on the move to golden grassland fungi.
Home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world, the historic city of Cambridge has hidden surprises around every corner. Admire the architecture of the Cambridge University’s 31 colleges – with centuries-old buildings and gothic quadrants – or see bird-of-paradise plants in the botanic garden glasshouses. On a clear day, take to the water on a punting boat and explore the city from the River Cam. Learn the art of accelerating, steering and stopping the boat yourself or simply nestle in with a picnic let the experts do the work. Drifting along The Backs, you’ll soak up sights only visible from the water, including ornate college chapels, sleepy lawns and close-up views of the beautiful stone bridges.
If you fancy a seaside trip, the small fishing port of Padstow on the north coast of Cornwall is the perfect pick. Set around a charming harbour, this bustling town – with its clear blue waters and winding back streets – is a hit with seafood connoisseurs thanks the critically acclaimed Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant and Paul Ainsworth’s Michelin-starred No.6. You don’t have to be eating to enjoy all Padstow has to offer though. You can visit the National Lobster Hatchery to learn about pioneering marine conservation, or try your hand at crabbing. Pick up lines and bait from lots of the shops around the harbour and, once you’re ready, drop the line and wait for the crabs to bite. Just make sure you put them back once you’re done!