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

View from below Brantwood

One of the beautiful autumnal scenes from Brantwood on the eastern shore of Coniston Water

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 a 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, house ticket, or enjoy lunch at The Terrace Coffee House and Restaurant. Read more about Brantwood on the blog…

Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water in autumn

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 cirular 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

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 a very special to visit, so this is a great time of year to do so. (Note: the Windermere Car Ferry has been closed in 2018 for repairs, so check with Windermere Lake Cruises for alternative travel across the lake. The ferry should reopen sometime around October 2018).

Windermere from Ferry Nab

Windermere from Ferry Nab (note: the ferry is currently closed for repairs, with an alternative service provided by Windermere Lake Cruises – see their website for details)

Looking towards Ambleside from Ferry House

Looking towards Ambleside from Ferry House

Boats on Windermere in autumn

Claife Viewing Station

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 from Wray Castle in autumn

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.

The grounds from Brockhole

The grounds from Brockhole

The view from 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…

Holehird in autumn

The gates at Holehird in autumn

The main gates on your drive or walk to Holehird

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!

Grasmere in the Lake District

St Oswald’s Church from Grasmere Garden Village

Grasmere in autumn

The centre of Grasmere

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

  1. Janine John 08/10/2018 at 8:18 pm #

    Autumn is possibly the best time of year to get out with the camera in the Lake District, so if you too enjoy photography, I hope you are able to make time to do so soon. 🙂

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