Apart from trees dressed in their finery of russets and gold, nothing says autumn in Britain more than muddy boots, long walks and cosy pubs. Here are some of The Good Hotel Guide’s favourite places to stay for walks through Britain’s most spectacular autumnal landscapes.
1. In the heart of the Lake District
With 6 walks straight from the doorstep, it’s no wonder Hazel Bank acheived The Good Hotel Guide’s Walking Hotel of the Year 2016. It was no doubt helped by its location in the beautiful Borrowdale Valley in the Lake District National Park – classic walking country – as well as the sherry in the bedrooms (medicinal, to help ease your aching muscles, of course).
2. Made for walking in Devon
The Horn of Plenty's 19th-century house has plenty to recommend it to walkers, so much so it’s an Editor’s Choice for Walking. It stands on a hillside overlooking the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is wreathed in mist and golden leaves come autumn. Follow the forest roads around Burrator Reservoir to kick through autumn’s leaves.
3. Tudor farmhouse in the Forest of Dean
The Forest of Dean turns every shade of red, yellow and gold in autumn, and this farmhouse hotel has walks in all directions so you won’t leave a leaf unturned. Take a tour of the mine workings and caverns of Clearwell Caves, or follow the sculpture trail to see such installations as Cathedral of the Forest. Offa’s Dyke Path and the Wye Valley Walk are nearby too.
4. Country house in Exmoor
Colourful Exmoor rolls out before you at the Edwardian hunting lodge of Dunkery Beacon Country House. A circular 3-mile (5 km) route skirts Dunkery and takes you through colourful Horner Wood, or you can follow the Coleridge Way in the footsteps of the great Romantic poet and draw inspiration for your very own Ode to Autumn.
5. Bird-spotting in Norfolk
Another Editor’s Choice for Walking, Titchwell Manor is a top option for birders in autumn as Norfolk’s huge skies fill with migrating birds. A bird and nature reserve and the gorgeous north Norfolk coast are practically on the doorstep, and a nearby marsh path leads to Brancaster beach. Get a room with sea views and you can watch the marshes from your bed too.
6. Highland moors hotel in Scotland
A brand new Editor’s Choice for Walking in 2017, the remote Moor of Rannoch Hotel stands in the wide-open spaces of Rannoch Moor, which is just made for dedicated hikers and wildlife enthusiasts. Head to the nearby Black Wood of Rannoch, an ancient Caledonian pine forest criss-crossed by paths, where you might spy deer, red squirrels, pine martens or even a wildcat. And in autumn, the deer come right up to the hotel.
7. A grand Scottish Highlands hotel
Take a hike straight into Harry Potter country from the Victorian mansion Glenfinnan House Hotel, with views of Ben Nevis and a loch at the bottom of the garden. Glenfinnan House Hotel is ringed by scenic walks but Potter fans should take the hotel’s packed lunches and follow the route up above the viaduct that the Hogwart’s Express chuffs across between Platform 9¾ and the wizarding school.
8. Cosy pub with rooms in the mountains of Wales
One for those who like to mix great food with top-notch walking – and who doesn’t?! Dining pub-with-rooms The Felin Fach Griffin is plum between the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, in prime countryside for trekking or strolling. Mismatched armchairs and a roaring fire to come home to makes striding out all the more worthwhile.
9. Coastal hikes in Northern Ireland
You’ll find the small, warm and welcoming B&B Whitepark Hotel above a pretty sandy beach along the undiscovered coast of Whitepark Bay, close to the cliff path. Make the 8-mile (13km) walk along the edge of the wild North Atlantic to the Giant’s Causeway and back, in time for afternoon tea and hot water bottles.
Find more amazing hotels recommended by The Good Hotel Guide, the impartial guide to hotels and B&Bs in the UK.