October is many people’s favourite month- and it’s easy to see why. Crisp days and beautiful colours above and around, entice us outside, where the hedgerows are laden with jewels, and the garden harvest is well underway. We have some spectacular sites of Autumn interest in the South, so read on for some ideas of where to visit to get the most from this very special, and colourful, season…
Autumn Colour Walk- Winkworth Arboretum, Godalming, Surrey
23rd October- 2-3.30pm
NT Property- Guided Tour £3- Booking Not Necessary
Come and witness the splendour of the sensational Winkworth Arboretum in all its Autumn glory. The colours to be witnessed at this very special time have to be seen to be believed, with over 1000 different species over 100 carefully managed acres, including fiery liquidambars, acers and azaleas, which are something to behold.
National Trust Arboretum Expert, Peter will be showing you some of the highlights of Wilfred Fox’s legacy, just remember to bring a camera, sturdy footwear and the obligatory waterproof for a wonderful day out in one of Surrey’s most magical wooded wonderlands.
The Pumpkin House – Slindon, near Arundel, West Sussex
Free Entry- Open Daily 10.30-5pm Until November
The late Ralph Upton grew pumpkins in Slindon for over 45 years and started creating the fruit murals as an autumn display in 1968, which attracts visitors from around the world. From September to November (peaking around Hallowe’en) the barns adjoining his former home in Top Road Slindon are festooned with a display created from 50-plus varieties of pumpkin and over 30 varieties of squash. The range of sizes, colours and shapes is extraordinary with additions every year. Ralph and his wife Barbara also wrote a book of recipes to accompany the crop, and their own favourite is a thick creamy soup made from the beautiful blue-grey Crown Prince squash. Following Ralph Upton’s sad demise, aged 87, in June 2009, his son Robin and Ralph’s loyal team have kept his tradition alive and preserve Slindon’s reputation as Britain’s pumpkin capital. Why not visit this miraculous display and perhaps buy a pumpkin or two to carve and for a delicious feast too? The seeds stay true to form, so they are good for saving and planting next year too, for your very own pumpkin patch…
Hinton Ampner- Autumn Garden- Alresford, Hampshire
NT Property – Open Daily 10-5pm
Whether you’re looking for a breath of crisp autumnal air, building up an appetite to sample some warming treats or dusting off the cobwebs and enjoying a crisp walk, there are plenty of reasons to explore Hinton Ampner this autumn.
The walled garden is still producing an array of vegetables and fruit. Giant onions dry in the golden afternoon sun while pumpkins, leeks and parsnips continue to swell in the cooler conditions. ‘Autumn Bliss’ raspberries are a welcome source of sugary juice for the peacock butterfly that also appreciate the heat given off by the south facing wall.
The formal garden too has much to offer in way of colour and form this time of year, and it really is well worth a visit to the estate to take in the beautiful atmosphere and stunning stately house. With the promise of a hot drink and slice of cake at the tea room. this is sure choice of venue for a fantastic October day out for all..
Hever Castle- Edenbridge, Kent
Open Daily 10.30-6pm – Adult Castle & Gardens £17.75- Family £46.85
Hever Castle really does glow in the Autumn, and its arguably one of the best times to visit.
The summer perennials may have faded, but the riot of colour in the grounds has only just started. Across the beautiful estate shades of orange, magenta, and yellow hypnotise at every turn. Be dazzled by the vibrant tones of acers, whilst the historic Chestnut Avenue will have you feeling fully absorbed by autumn’s beauty.
This season, the gardening team at Hever will be helping visitors learn how to salvage, dry and store seeds, passing on the essential skill of seed collecting. The Garden Exhibition will house examples of the seeds collected by the gardeners from the gardens at Hever.
There will also be free garden tours of Faith’s Garden providing information about seed collecting. These will take place at 11:30am on Tuesday and Wednesdays throughout October (with the exception of the Halloween Event) ,plus your little ones will be able to take on the Leaf & Seed Collection Challenge. If they collect different seeds and leaves from Anne Boleyn’s Walk and Lake Walk, they will be given a bulb to take home and plant. There couldn’t be more reasons to visit this spectacular estate this October!