Fancy hitting the road over the coming months in search of the UK’s best autumn scenery? We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to vast rolling hills, thick forests and dramatic coastlines in this country, so just how can we pinpoint the best destinations for a leisurely drive at this time of year?
As ever, we’ve been busy scouting out the top spots here at Europcar Towers and have managed to narrow it down to a few key regions we just can’t resist visiting time and time again during the autumn months. Check out our guide and start planning your next drive today.
The Peak District is a joy to visit all year round, but there’s no denying that those rich autumn colours help make its moors and dales that extra bit special. Luckily for you, it just so happens to be one of the UK’s most accessible national parks, so by booking a car hire in Manchester or other nearby cities, you’ll be able to hit the road and escape to the countryside in no time. A short drive south-east along the A6 takes you into the heart of the Peak District, where the narrow roads wind their way through the dales, past charming villages and countless beauty spots.
A leisurely drive is perhaps the best way in which to fully appreciate the Peak District in autumn, but don’t forget to schedule in a stop or two along the way. A tour of the historic Chatsworth House is a particular highlight, featuring over 30 rooms as well as one of Europe’s most significant art collections. Film buffs may also recognise it as the residence of Mr. Darcy in the 2005 movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
The city of Oxford has many strings to its bow, from its rich history and long standing royal connections to the thousands of scholars who have passed through its world famous university. If you’re visiting at this time of year, however, then ensure you take the chance to embark on a scenic drive through the nearby Cotswolds. A few hours spent touring through the area’s endless array of quaint villages, wooded hills and castles will leave you in little doubt as to why it’s the largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England and Wales.
Pick up your car hire in Oxford and make the one hour journey north west to the 18th century Broadway Tower, where you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Cotswolds. Elsewhere, the picturesque village of Stow-on-the-Wold makes for the ideal pit stop thanks to its narrow streets, cosy shops and fine selection of eateries offering you the chance to tuck into some authentic afternoon tea.
The Black Mountain range
The Brecon Beacons National Park represents one of Wales’ most spectacular areas of national beauty, thanks to over 500 square miles of forest, mountain peaks and endless hiking trails. Needless to say, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to autumn drives in this neck of the woods. If you’re after one stand-out area of jaw-dropping scenery however, consider heading west to the Black Mountain range. It’s often confused with the Black Mountains, a group of hills located in the eastern part of the park, so make sure you drop the ‘s’ when plugging in the details on your sat nav. Once you’re there however, discover the mountain range in all its glory by taking the quiet A4069 road which weaves its way across the heart of the Black Mountain, complete with sharp bends, breathtaking views and plenty of stopping points along the way.
Thetford Forest Park
Thetford Forest spans close to 50,000 acres across areas of Suffolk and Norfolk and just so happens to be Britain’s largest lowland pine forest. Add in a healthy wildlife population, hundreds of walking trails and a rich variety of attractions, and it’s easy to see why over one million people travel through Thetford Forest Park on an annual basis.
The dense woodland is a particular treat at this time of year, so if you find yourself visiting a nearby city then hop behind the wheel and spend the day relaxing in one of the country’s most peaceful settings. If you pick up a car hire in Cambridge you’ll find yourself at the perimeter of the park in well under an hour.
The narrow country lanes are a joy to drive and a great way to marvel at the scenery, however, there are plenty of activities on offer for those who feel the urge to park the car and take in some fresh air. Go Ape offers tree-top adventure courses complete with Tarzan swings and zip slides, or you can hop on a futuristic Segway and tour the forest in style.
Head north to Bonnie Scotland on the A1 coastal route through Northumberland and stop by the walled town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. England’s northernmost town is completely surrounded by walls dating back several hundreds of years, having been originally constructed to deter Scots from laying claim to the land. You can check the site out for yourself by embarking on a leisurely 45-minute stroll around the perimeter, which also offers you unrivalled views of The River Tweed Estuary and the chance to cross the magnificent Royal Border Bridge.
From there, continue north along the coast towards the picture-postcard fishing village of St Abbs, renowned for its dramatic cliffs, coastal views and cosy harbour area. And if you’re blessed with a sunny day, follow the cliff-top walking route to nearby Coldingham Beach for some spectacular photo opportunities.
All geared up for an autumn drive of your own? Check out some of our other posts for further inspiration: