10 places to enjoy autumn in the Central and Southern Lake District

The view over the lower gardens to Coniston Water at Brantwood
The view over the lower gardens to Coniston Water at Brantwood

Autumn is well underway here in the Lake District, with really exceptional colours on show already!

In previous years I’ve visited various parts of the Lakes in search of the best autumn sights, so here is a selection of just some of my favourite places at this time of year. This is not a comprehensive guide, and there are lots of places I’d like yet to see. You can tell other readers about your favourites by leaving a comment below…

1. Coniston Water

Coniston is one of my favourite places to see the season’s colours, and one of the most stunning ways to appreciate them, in my opinion, is by boat on the water itself. You can catch a Coniston Launch or, until the end of October, the National Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola (see the website of each for dates and sailings). I wrote about autumn around Coniston Water previously, so for more photos, do take a look at that post…

Coniston Water in autumnConiston Water in autumnConiston Water in autumn2. Brantwood, Coniston

If a boat trip isn’t really your thing, a visit to Brantwood, on the eastern shore of Coniston, is another fantastic option. The colours in the gardens here make a fabulous display against the lake and surrounding hills, and you can buy a garden ticket, or enjoy lunch at The Terrace Coffee House and Restaurant. Read more about Brantwood on the blog…

Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water from Brantwood
Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water from Brantwood
From Brantwood in autumn
The view over Coniston Water from the house

3. Monk Coniston, Coniston

You can stop at Monk Coniston in the car, drop off here by boat, and link to walks around the area. Whatever you choose to do, the scenery here is especially good, and Monk Coniston is a convenient place to stop briefly for some lovely autumn photos.

Monk Coniston at the head of Coniston Water
Monk Coniston at the head of Coniston Water
Monk Coniston, Coniston Water
The short walk from the car park to the jetty

Monk Coniston in autumn4. Tarn Hows, near Coniston

Tarn Hows is one of the most popular beauty spots in the Lake District, so my advice would be to pick a slightly quieter time to go during the week. I’ve seen some stunning autumn photography from Tarn Hows – much more dramatic than I was able to capture when I visited here – so it’s another autumn must-see, and there’s a lovely circular two-mile walk around the water.

Tarn Hows in autumn
The view across Tarn Hows

5. Elterwater

I’d highly recommend the low-level and mostly flat walk between Elterwater and Skelwith Bridge. I did this in autumn last year, but I can visualise the colours as though I was there yesterday. If the sun’s shining, I guarantee you’ll love it. I originally wrote about the walk here…

The path on the walk from Skelwith Bridge to Elterwater
The path on the walk from Skelwith Bridge to Elterwater
The view across Elterwater
The view across Elterwater

Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge walk6. The western shore of Windermere and Claife Viewing Station

The trees on Claife Heights, on the western shore of Windermere, form a particularly colourful display in autumn. Claife Viewing Station, a stone viewing station which was recently restored by the National Trust, is also very special to visit, so this is a great time of year to do so. More about visiting Claife Viewing Station…

Lake-District-autumn-Windermere-boats
Windermere from Ferry Nab
Lake-District-autumn-Windermere-lake
Looking towards Ambleside from Ferry House

Lake-District-autumn-Ferry-House-Windermere

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Claife Viewing Station

7. Wray Castle

This mock-gothic castle to the north of Windermere lake is surrounded by trees, making it another great place to enjoy the outdoors at this time of year. See my post about Wray Castle for more on the history of Wray, and why you should visit…

Wray Castle also puts on special ‘behind-the-scenes’ hard hat tours in November. I wrote about the hard hat tours here…

The view towards Windermere from Wray Castle
The view towards Windermere from Wray Castle

8. Brockhole

The grounds at Brockhole are charming in autumn, and if you take a walk to the lake front, you can enjoy the colours across and down the lake too.

Lake-District-autumn-Brockhole
The grounds from Brockhole
The view towards Ambleside from the jetty at Brockhole
The view towards Ambleside from the jetty

9. Holehird

This volunteer-run garden outside Windermere is such a peaceful place to visit, and as the summer season comes to an end, there’s still much to admire here. If you haven’t read my previous post on Holehird, you can do so here…

Autumn at Holehird

Lake-District-autumn-Holehird-gates
The main gates on your drive or walk to Holehird
The magical colours in the hydrangea garden at Holehird
The magical colours in the hydrangea garden

10. Grasmere

Grasmere is a particularly spectacular village in autumn. The first two photographs below were taken just a week ago, so the season is already in full swing there!

St Oswald's Church from Grasmere Garden Village in autumn
St Oswald’s Church from Grasmere Garden Village
Lake-District-autumn-Grasmere-2
The centre of Grasmere

From a bus stop in Grasmere in autumnAs I mentioned above, this is just a very small selection of the beautiful autumnal sights you are likely to witness around the Lakes in the autumn. But wherever you choose to explore in the area, I hope this post will inspire you to do so!

Where are your favourite places to see the autumn colours around the Lake District? Share your recommendations with other readers of the blog by leaving a comment below!

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