Five best places to see the autumn colours in the Lakes

Five best places to see the autumn colours in the Lakes

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Five best places to see the autumn colours in the Lakes

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run

If William Wordsworth is the poet best associated with spring, then it’s fellow Romantic John Keats who perfectly captured autumn.

It’s a favourite time of the year for many people to visit the Lake District, a season when simply looking at the landscape can be as rewarding as hiking over it or sailing into it. We’re often asked by guests what are the optimum places to visit for the grandest colours. So, while it means leaving out some wonderful locations, these are the five very best locations in our view.

1: Brantwood estate and gardens, Coniston. This was the home of artist, writer and visionary John Ruskin and anyone who’s visited the house will see where he found his inspiration. But for a stunning autumn experience, take a look at Brantwood and its grounds from the other side of the lake, by the Boating Centre. Then by all means take the launch across the water for the close-up experience. http://www.conistonboatingcentre.co.uk/

2: Langdale, High Close arboretum. This is an astonishing estate in the grounds of the YHA hostel between Grasmere and Elterwater, open to all. The garden covers 11 acres and was originally planted in the 1860s by Edward Balme and was laid out in the fashion of the day using many recently discovered exotic conifers from north America. There were also plant species which became invasive weeds, but years of work by volunteers and the International Conifer Conservation Programme is bringing the estate back to life.

One of the most charming ways to get there is to take a bus to Ambleside and walk over – or around – one of favourite little mountains, Loughrigg. Then drop down through the arboretum grounds to the village of Chapel Stile in Langdale for another bus ride back. https://www.ngs.org.uk/find-a-garden/garden/32578/.

3: And while you’re in Ambleside, take a look at the single most spectacular of autumn trees, the red maple in the grounds of the University of Cumbria. It’s always the last tree to lose its leaves, holding out against wind and weather, and attracting photographers from around the world.

4: This summer the car ferry across Windermere to the western shore has been out of service after a fire. But there’s still a replacement ferry for foot passengers, and what better way to explore the delightful Claife estate near Sawrey. The woodlands are at their most lovely, and you can visit the restored Claife viewing station for a very unusual framed view of the Lake.

5: Further afield, the northern and north western Lake District is full of treasures in autumn, but we think that the very best place to see an autumn sunset is across Derwentwater in the direction of Catbells. Of course, you will have climbed the delightful little mountain earlier in the day! Or maybe you simply lazed by the shore and had a coffee at our favourite Theatre by the Lake.

(We have the theatre programme here at the hotel if you want to go and see a play. It’s only a half hour drive, and the productions this season have been hailed by national critics.)

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