We analysed all rental bookings on Holiday Lettings from September to the end of December, identifying some of the most popular autumn holiday destinations in the UK, according to our travellers.
It’s that time of year again when the leaves turn stunning shades of russet, copper and gold and the smell of cosy open fires is in the air. Imagine waking up on a crisp, autumnal morning at a private holiday rental where you can do as much, or as little, as you choose? It’s the perfect way to relax and make the most of this beautiful season.
The traditional holiday hotspots, like London and Edinburgh, are great. But for something a little different, read on. Here at Holiday Lettings, we’ve put together a list of 20 autumn holidays you might not have thought of, but are getting plenty of attention from our travellers. From Whitby’s dramatic coastline to Tenby’s seaside charm, we’ve got hundreds of holiday rentals to suit every taste and budget – all you need to do is choose your favourite!
This historic village in the Lincolnshire fens has so much to offer, it might well become one of your favourite autumn holidays. Visit the 15th-century Tattershall Castle where you can explore the fortified manor; one of the best surviving examples of English medieval brickwork. On a clear autumn morning, the views of the countryside from the battlements are exceptional.
If you’re feeling energetic, try the obstacle course at Tattershall Lakes or, for something more relaxed, head to the Kinema in the Woods. This unique two-screen cinema has been projecting flicks since 1922. And to top it all off, Tattershall Farm Park will keep the whole family entertained for hours.
When it comes to autumn getaways, Whitby should be high on your list. Whitby Abbey, with its Gothic architecture, is even more atmospheric on a misty autumn day. And between Wed 25 – Tue 31 October, the abbey will be illuminated with dramatic lighting – you might even see Dracula stalking the ruins!
Families will love the historical attractions, such as the Captain Cook Memorial and Whitby Museum. Visiting with your other half? Head to the picturesque Robin Hood’s Bay, with its sweeping sea views and eye-poppingly beautiful cliffs, for a romantic stroll. All this makes Whitby one of the best autumn breaks around.
Bath’s tree-lined streets make this charming city a great choice for autumn holidays, when the hues of gold, russet and brown make an appearance. Meander through the city, browsing the fantastic independent shops before warming up with a freshly brewed coffee at one of the many cosy cafes. Feeling peckish? Try a tasty treat with a fascinating history at Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum.
Other must-dos on an autumn stay in Bath include taking a dip at the Thermae Bath Spa open-air rooftop pool, a picnic in the leafy Alexandra Park and a day out at the Jane Austen Centre. Here, you can dress up in Regency costume and find out more about this world-famous author’s life and works.
One of the main draws for visitors to this cathedral city is Chester Zoo. It’s the most visited zoo in the UK, home to 15,000 animals and 500 different species, so it’s well worth a visit. Soak up the city’s history exploring the Roman city walls and gaze in awe at the stained glass windows of Chester Cathedral.
In the autumn months, Chester hosts a plethora of events including the MBNA Chester Marathon, an antiques show and an arts fair. Whether you’re a lone traveller, family, couple or large group of friends, you’re sure to find a rental to suit.
With its breathtaking mountain scenery, abundance of wildlife and spectacular lochs, this picturesque town in the Cairngorms National Park is one of the best autumn holidays for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Sports, such as skiing, mountain biking and horse riding, are popular pastimes here. And in the quieter autumn months, you’ll often feel like you’ve got that mountain you’re hiking up all to yourself!
It’s not all walking boots and compasses in Aviemore, though. If beer is your tipple of choice, visit the Aviemore brewery where you can sample some locally brewed beers. Head to Landmark Forest Adventure Park where the whole family can ride roller coasters, explore the labyrinth and admire insects in the butterfly house.
Sitting pretty on the North Sea Coast between Scarborough and Bridlington, this traditional seaside town makes the perfect autumn holiday destination. The long, sandy beach is unspoilt and the nearby facilities—such as cafes, arcades and restaurants—make it perfect for families. The nearby Glen Gardens, with its park and wood carvings, make a great spot for a picnic en route to the beach.
If you’re partial to a good single malt whisky, the Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery will be just your cup of tea. For a great night out, head to the Evron Centre to see some live music before stopping for a nightcap in one of the many traditional pubs. Filey has something for everyone, so why not make this pretty seaside town the place for your next autumn holiday?
Pastel coloured houses, cobbled streets, boats bobbing in the harbour… there are not many seaside towns as picturesque as Tenby. But it’s not just about looks; there are so many things to do in Tenby you’ll want to come back every year for your autumn escape!
The beautiful beach with its cliff views is a must, as is the Tenby Lifeboat Station – kids will love getting up close to the magnificent, life-saving vessels. Step back in time at the Tudor Merchant’s House where you can try on some Tudor clothes and discover more about the life of a middle-class merchant. If you’ve an appreciation for art, Tenby has plenty of galleries selling works by local artists. Treat yourself to a special souvenir as a reminder of your holiday in Tenby.
Another spot perfect for autumn holidays in Wales is the coastal town of Llandudno. Zip over Great Orme in a cable car and enjoy stunning views of the limestone coast and sea. Or, if you prefer to be a bit closer to the ground, the views are also pretty spectacular from the tramway. Take a romantic stroll along the pier where you can stop for a drink or browse the independent shops.
The Great Orme Copper Mine is a geological marvel and a must-see for anyone interested in the Bronze Age. For an action-packed day out, take the family to Llandudno Ski Slope. Here, you can try your hand at tubing, tobogganing and even alpine golf! This will be an autumn escape to remember.
This Scottish city is ideal for an autumn holiday as there’s always something to do, whatever the weather. From perusing the pieces at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery to exploring the leafy Botanical Gardens, you’ll be hard pushed to fit it all in! The castle and cathedral are well worth a visit and children will love the playground at Whin Park.
Stroll along the River Ness and visit the eye-catching Eden Court Theatre on the way. And, if walking and whiskey are your thing, take in the beautiful scenery around the Tomatin Distillery before popping in for a ‘wee dram’ and a tour. The landscape in this area is jaw-droppingly beautiful in autumn, so book your break in Inverness today!
Weymouth has been a hit with visitors for decades and it’s just as popular as ever. Autumn is a great time to visit if you like things a bit quieter but still want plenty to do. The Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, with its extensive range of plants and trees, bursts with russet reds, copper and gold in the autumn – definitely worth exploring. Weymouth beach is just as delightful in the autumn, and the unspoilt Chesil Bank beach is atmospheric and romantic.
Kids will love days out in Weymouth and they certainly won’t have time to be bored! The Sealife Centre gives children the chance to get up close to the creatures of the deep and the spectacular Sandworld Sculpture Park will have them in awe. A trip to Sandsfoot Castle is a fantastic experience for any age and the sea views from the gardens are a highlight.
Culture vultures will be in their element in Belfast as it is packed full of striking art galleries, cutting-edge restaurants and fascinating museums. It’s also home to some beautiful architecture. Hop on a tour bus or explore on foot to see the city hall, parliament buildings and the opera house. And a holiday in Belfast isn’t complete without a day out at Titanic Belfast: a museum dedicated to the ship’s fateful voyage.
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, Belfast is the place to be! See some filming locations for the seven kingdoms such as the Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and the Cushendun Caves (400-million-year-old caves used in the show).
This charming seaside town is steeped in history and its prestigious university boasts Sir Chris Hoy and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge among its former students. If golf is your game, the course here has amazing coastal views and is a great challenge for any golfer.
Other must-sees include the beautiful botanical gardens with over 8,000 species of flora and fauna, and the ruined castle and cathedral. So, whether you’re looking for a romantic break in autumn or a half-term holiday for the family, St Andrews is an excellent choice.
Probably one of the most famous seaside resorts in the world, Scarborough has been wooing its visitors for over 400 years. No wonder they keep coming back – there’s never a dull moment in this picturesque seaside spot. Discover the history of Scarborough Castle, take a stroll along the prom and pop into a traditional amusement arcade. Feeling peckish? The fish and chips here are scrummy and taste even better when you’re sitting near the beach looking out to sea.
Head to Scarborough Sealife Sanctuary to see Humboldt Penguins, the Common Octopus and even the Lesser Spotted Dogfish! Adventure awaits at the Go Ape obstacle course in Dalby Forest and, if you’re feeling brave, don a wetsuit and ride the waves on a surfboard at Cayton Bay.
This elegant coastal town with its award-winning promenades, stylish restaurants and independent shops is perfect destination for an autumnal break away. The Old Town was the filming location for the 2016 film, Dad’s Army. Here, you can wind your way through the cobbled streets that have a Dickensian feel, before popping into a traditional tea shop for a brew and a slice of cake.
At the beach, kids will love the fun fair, amusement arcades and donkey rides. Bondville Model Village will have them enthralled and the Sewerby Hall and Gardens will keep them entertained all day. There’s mini golf, a land train and even a zoo! Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch under the shade of an autumnal tree.
Experience a piece of Olde England when you explore the well-preserved streets of Stratford-upon-Avon, one of the UK’s most loved historical towns and best autumn holidays. Simply take a stroll and admire the Tudor buildings before meandering along the river. Or maybe hire a boat and row to a picturesque bank where you can unpack the picnic hamper.
For an unforgettable evening, book tickets for a Shakespeare play at the world-renowned RSC before enjoying a nightcap at one of the town’s quaint pubs. On a chilly autumn day, warm up at the Butterfly Farm or take in a film at the Picture House.
Looking for a new winter wardrobe? This picturesque market town has some fabulous shops where you can buy everything from elegant antiques to walking boots. On the subject of walking, you might want to tuck into one of Kendal’s renowned mint cakes if you’re planning on scaling some of the local peaks. The trees and lakes are stunning in the autumn so be sure to take your camera!
There are plenty of things to do in Kendal so it’s great for families wanting to get out and about. See if you can find your way out of the expansive Lakeland Maze, explore the ruins and soak up the atmosphere at Kendal Castle, or visit Levens Hall and wander through the exquisite Elizabethan gardens.
Unspoilt, pretty and peaceful, this picture-postcard village on the coast is a top pick for an autumn escape. Both Hemsey Beach and Horsey Beach are stunning and, if you’re lucky, you might just spot a seal in the sea. For more wildlife-watching, pop a pair of binoculars in your bag and join a boat trip where you might see cranes, dragonflies, kestrels and much, much more.
A few miles up the road, you’ll find Lost World Adventure Golf which is a favourite with groups of friends of families looking for a fun afternoon out. Other must-dos in the area include the fascinating Time and Tide Museum with its maritime exhibits and Happisburgh Owls where you can learn about, and handle, these beautiful winged animals.
With its scenic harbour, maritime history and delicious seafood, it’s easy to fall in love with Whitstable. And as the town is famed for its oysters, an aphrodisiac, you might just fall in love in Whitstable, too! The shops here have a bohemian charm and you’ll find independent craft shops, artisan bakeries, delicatessens and more.
Whitstable Castle and Gardens, with its sweet-scented flower gardens, is the perfect place for a romantic stroll. And if you’re thinking of popping the question to your significant other, the wistful Tankerton Beach is gloriously serene.
Nestled in the rolling countryside of the Cotswolds, this charming village with its thatched cottages and cosy pubs is a fantastic place to stay, whatever the weather. The horse-chestnut lined streets look especially beautiful in the autumn and, on a chilly day, stop for a bowl of soup and warm up by a roaring fire in one of the traditional pubs.
If you’ve got children in tow, be sure to visit the Broadway Playground – it’ll keep kids of all ages entertained. And for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, head to Broadway Tower with its galleries, gift shop and cafe.
This historic cathedral city is lively, friendly and has a brilliant cultural scene. Find out about Lincoln’s amazing history with a visit to the cathedral, the castle and the Museum of Lincolnshire Life. If you’re feeling energetic, stomp your way up Steep Hill weasily takhere you’ll be rewarded with quaint cafes, interesting shops and Norman architecture.
Doddington Hall and Gardens will eat up a day as there’s lots to do here, from letting the little ones explore the ‘fairy dell’ to discovering the history of the Elizabethan hall. Why not stock up on some local produce at the market before heading back to your self-catering rental to cook a delicious feast?
*Popularity reflects the number of holiday rental bookings so far in 2017, for stays occurring between 21 September and 22 December, according to Holiday Lettings’ data.