Yorkshire is a great place to see autumn in all its colourful glory.
Our four tried-and-tested venues, all within an hour-and-a-half of Huddersfield, offer countryside walks and places to get food, drink and shelter.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden near Ripon
This ancient Cistercian monastery sits in an idyllic setting, adjacent to a Georgian water garden and deer park. There are acres of grounds to explore as well as a visitor centre that tells the story of the abbey and the monks who lived there. Managed by the National Trust, the site has free car parks and a tea room that serves sandwiches and light meals. At this time of year the park’s many trees are in full autumn colour. Bear in mind, however, that this is also the time of year when the deer are rutting, so it’s advisable to stick to the footpaths. Entry is from £34 for a family or £6.80 for a child and £13.60 for an adult (free for National Trust and English Heritage members). From this month the site is closed on Fridays and the tea rooms are only open at weekends.
Bolton Abbey near Skipton
Another 12th century ruined abbey, but with a stunning riverside walk, this site is more about the countryside than the stonemason’s work, which covers a much smaller area than Fountains. However, follow the winding and gently undulating path along the river to Barden Bridge and stop off at the Cavendish Pavilion, where there are toilet facilities, for a snack and coffee on the way back (open 10am until 4pm). The whole route is about eight miles and is popular with dog walkers. Sections are suitable for wheelchair users. There’s no charge to view the priory but car parking in the village or at three points along the route is £8 per car.
Harlow Carr near Harrogate
The Royal Horticultural Society’s showcase site has been planted with shrubs and plants that give the gardens colour all year round. At this time of year there are deciduous trees changing colour, as well as ornamental grasses and autumn bulbs. The Alpine House is at its best. It’s a lovely venue for a gentle stroll and has its own Betty’s tea rooms attached as well (although get there early to grab a table – it opens at 9am and closes at 5.30pm) as well as a garden centre stocked with unusual plants, bulbs and seeds. Open every day until 4pm in winter, it has mobility vehicle and wheelchair access. Free to RHS members, otherwise entry is from £5 for children and £10 for adults.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield
Even if you’re not a culture vulture, the park has 500 acres of rolling parkland to explore and some of the county’s most beautiful scenery. However, the 100 sculptures in their outdoor settings are a bonus, as is the scenic restaurant serving homemade food, and the indoor galleries, which provide shelter if needed. It’s open every day until 5pm in winter and admission is free – although there is a charge for parking. There’s free use of mobility scooters but these need to be booked on 01924 832631.