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. Hazel Bank, Lake District
With 6 walks straight from the doorstep, it’s no wonder Hazel Bank is 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. The Horn of Plenty, Devon
This 19th-century house has plenty to recommend it to walkers, so much so it’s an Editor’s Choice for Walking in the 2016 guide. 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, 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. Dunkery Beacon Country House, Exmoor
Colourful Exmoor rolls out before you at this Edwardian hunting lodge. 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. Titchwell Manor, Norfolk
Another Editor’s Choice for Walking in the 2016 Guide, Titchwell Manor is a top option for birders in autumn as Norfolk’s huge skies fill with migrating birds. The RSPB nature reserve and the north Norfolk coast are practically on the doorstep, and a nearby marsh path leads to Brancaster beach. Get a room with sea views and watch the marshes from your bed too.
6. Moor of Rannoch Hotel, Scotland
A brand new Editor’s Choice for Walking for 2017, this remote hotel stands in the wide open spaces of Rannoch Moor, which was apparently 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. Glenfinnan House Hotel, Scottish Highlands
Take a hike straight into Harry Potter country from this Victorian mansion 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 9 ¾ and the wizarding school.
8. The Felin Fach Griffin, Wales
One for those who like to mix great food with top-notch walking – and who doesn’t?! This dining pub-with-rooms 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. Whitepark Hotel, Northern Ireland
You’ll find this small, warm and welcoming B&B 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.