What do we look for in a British autumn holiday? Warmth and cosiness, fireplaces, comfy beds and beautiful views. A menu based on seasonal and preferably local ingredients, including hearty dishes such as hotpot, blackberry and apple pie. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea with newspapers, books and board games by the fireplace. And much better when you find yourself near a spectacle famous for its stunning autumn colours: parks, gardens, arboretums, and forests.

I love autumn more and more as I get older. After the heat of summer (especially last summer) and before the cold, dark winter (especially this winter, when fuel costs are staggeringly high), as Keats so eloquently put it, “fog and mellow fruit.” The season of ”, when thoughts turn into rest, relaxation, gentle yet energizing exercise. Take a peaceful stroll around a lovely lake, shop in a charming new city or spend the day hiking. Spend the day with good food and a warm bed.

There’s another reason why autumn is the perfect time to escape. Because it’s the perfect time to feel the change, avoid the obvious, and choose a lesser known, less busy, less expensive place to base yourself. If summer is all about going to the beach and winter means festive luxury, fall is the time to roam far, dive under the radar and seek out sweet spots you might not have thought of before. By the way, all of leafy Britain is covered in shades of yellow, orange, red, purple and brown.

Head to Shropshire’s lovely Ludlow for rhythm and soul instead of Broadway in the Cotswolds. Discover Hastings, a hip and arty alternative to Brighton. In the Lake District, trade the crowds, the loudspeakers of excursion boats, and the expensive accommodation of Windermere for the quiet, raw beauty of Haosewater Nature Reserve and the lush gardens of autumn trees on the lakeshore. Get the hotel’s moderate prices. Stay off the beaten track, save some change, and discover fall gold. Fiona Duncan


Broadway, Cotswolds

Even by Cotswolds standards, Broadway like Honeystone boasts an extraordinary landscape that has always fascinated visitors, from the Pre-Raphaelites (Rosetti, Burne-Jones, William Morris) to today’s selfie-taking tourists. has breathtaking beauty.


Ludlow, Shropshire

Good-looking Ludlow is charming with its quirky wicker buildings, but its location in quiet Shropshire, close to the Welsh border and far from London, escapes the overtourism that ravages the Cotswolds. . Still, its strong culinary scene attracts avid gourmets, and farmers have hosted his markets since the 12th century, when the square was known as ‘The Market’. Grab an artisanal cheese and venison pie for a picnic inside a delightful abandoned castle. If you dare, whet your appetite with a swim in the Teme River.

It’s also blessed with some great (and affordable) places to stay, the best of which is Old Downton Lodge. A smart restaurant in a 13th-century barn serving adventurous, carefully crafted cuisine.

Double from £185 (01568 771826; olddownton lodge.com). Read the full hotel review here.