Frosty mornings, pumpkin-spiced lattes, and woolly jumpers – there are plenty of reasons why we love autumn. But at the top of the list has to be the changing colours. Here are some of our favourite places in Dorset to see trees turn from leafy green to vibrant shades of yellow and red.
Kingston Lacy is a historic country house sounded by acres of grounds and gardens. Come October, this National Trust treasure transforms into an explosion of colour, with shades of yellow, oranges and reds appearing throughout the parkland. Their magical 7-acre Japanese Garden alone makes it worth a visit during this time of year, as the acer glades are awash with vibrant reds.
Dogs are welcome at Kingston Lacy, and there’s a fantastic woodland walk which takes you around the gardens. Plus, if you have little ones in tow, they’ll love searching for fungi in The Fernery.
Compton Acres gardens
Dating back to 1920, Compton Acres is a stunning ornamental garden on the outskirts of Poole. Home to a Japanese garden, an Italian garden, and a wooded valley featuring winding pathways and dramatic waterfalls, it’s one of the most varied private gardens in the area. It also comes alive with the changing of the seasons, as the woodland trees transform into the brightest of shades before their leaves fall.
The gardens are laid out in a circular route, so you can discover each one in turn. Plus, with a fantastic cafe and tea rooms, you can relax with a coffee and cake after working up an appetite.
The ancient ruins and village of the same name provide the perfect spot to see the autumn colours in the surrounding Purbeck valley. Dating back a thousand years, the castle ruins are some of the most significant in the county.
With winding trails that meander through the hills in every direction, it’s easy to see why the site is so popular with walkers. However, if walking’s not your thing, you can always hitch a ride on the Swanage Railway – a historic steam train service which stops just 2 minutes from the castle.
The shades of autumn aren’t the only thing that Brownsea Island is famous for this time of year. The island is also where you can see red squirrels. With acres of woodland to explore, Brownsea is the perfect place for an autumnal walk. However, you and the family are also likely to encounter peacocks, sand lizards, and vibrant fungi.
We recommend hopping on the ferry rather than travelling by road. Plus, factoring in a visit to the island’s Villano Café is always a great idea.
Fancy an autumn escape to Christchurch? Take a look at our river-facing rooms and start planning your perfect getaway.