Top 5 leafy spots for autumn colour around the country

    The vibrant autumn foilage of a Japanese maple at Sheffield Park, Sussex. ©National Trust Images/Ian Shaw
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    From Sussex to Perthshire, we take a look at a few of the sites across the country displaying nature’s finest autumnal displays

    Children playing in the autumn leaves at Bodnant Garden. © National Trust Images/Megan Taylor
    Children playing in the autumn leaves at Bodnant Garden. © National Trust Images/Megan Taylor

    Bodnant, North Wales

    During autumn, the view from the garden out towards the mountains of Snowdonia gain a copper frame, with the rusty hues of the surrounding woodland creating a wonderful backdrop to Bodnant’s autumnal planting. With fiery red leaves littering the ground like confetti and plump berries adorning the trees, there’s still plenty to see across this 80-acre site after the summer months have passed. Created by five generations of one family, plants from around the world can be seen here, grown from seeds collected during plant-hunting expeditions over a century ago. Streams, ponds and Italianate terraces add further interest to one of the UK’s finest gardens.

    Blair Castle, Perthshire

    With the fairytale Blair Castle gleaming pearly white amid the brilliant oranges of the surrounding trees, the castle grounds offer a picturesque setting to enjoy the delights of autumn. The castle is also open to the public and has been visited by Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Victoria during its fascinating history which dates back to the 13th century. Away from the castle itself, the surrounding woodland walks are well worth a visit too. Keep an eye out for red squirrels during a visit along with Highland cattle grazing in the surrounding fields. Visitors can also find a walled garden, ruined kirk, red deer park and gothic folly as they explore the area and take a walk beneath the amber canopy of the trees.

    Batsford Arboretum, Gloucestershire

    This arboretum’s collection of maples and cherries offers an annual blaze of autumn colour. Home to one of the largest private collections of trees and shrubs in the country, the 56-acre arboretum is a treat not to be missed from mid October to mid November when the trees put on a show-stopping display of reds, golds and yellows. Batsford is an unusual arboretum as it is planted on a hillside which gives spectacular views across the tree canopy to the Evenlode Valley and Cotswolds beyond. Visitors can enjoy making their way around the site’s winding paths past ornamental bridges, statues and structures that are dotted among the trees, just waiting to be discovered.

    Sheffield Park, East Sussex

    Sheffield Park, East Sussex. ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler
    Sheffield Park, East Sussex. ©National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

    With a necklace of lakes at its centre, Sheffield Park has become well known for its autumnal displays, with the rich colours of the trees at the water’s edge reflected in the lakes for double the impact. Swamp cypresses and birches are just a couple of the stars of the show across these landscaped gardens that stretch over 120 acres. There has been a pleasure garden on the site in one form or another since the 1700s, and visitors today are able to benefit from the work that has gone into the site across the centuries. Once the deer hunting grounds for guests at Sheffield Park House, today the site offers the perfect setting for a stroll on a crisp autumn morning.

    Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire

    Wander through the towering trees at The National Arboretum where more than 2,000 different types of trees provide plenty of colour come autumn. The arboretum is home to the UK’s national collection of Japanese maples which are renowned for their bright red, yellow and orange leaves. Westonbirt is home to around 2,000 maple specimens, but visitors should also keep an eye out for the collection of cherry trees in Silk Wood, the pure yellow foliage of the hickories, and the katsura, which compliments its autumnal display with a smell that has been described as burnt caramel or candyfloss, conjuring up images of chilly bonfire nights.

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