The best English cities for a fall break are those that are within easy reach of the countryside or that have plenty of green spaces within the city centre. Although the weather at this time of year can be blustery and wet, temperatures tend not to drop very low until November so October is an ideal time to get away.
London is an obvious choice: the capital’s parks look great in autumn and there are so many to choose from. St James’s Park is a fairly formal park but has plenty of trees, whereas to the north of the city Hampstead Heath is a more rugged open space perfect for those who want to feel like they’ve really escaped the city. If it gets a little chilly you can always adjourn to one of the traditional pubs on the edge of the Heath for a warming drink. One of them, The Spaniard, even has a dog bath and a selection of doggy snacks for your four legged companion! Alternatively, head west for the affluent suburb of Barnes; here you’ll find a selection of comfortable bed and breakfasts within easy reach of the leafy common and plenty of quality restaurants to satisfy those hunger pangs after a bracing walk.
In northern England York is an ideal choice for a city break in the fall. The tree lined banks of the river Ouse look great at this time of year, and you can trail your feet in the gloriously colourful crisp leaves. York has some lovely traditional pubs and restaurants that are just perfect for cosy fall evenings. There are some lovely shops in the narrow streets known as the “Shambles” and among them you can find Jim Garrahy’s Fudge Kitchen where you can watch fudge being made the traditional way and then buy some to take home; look out too for the whisky cream flavour, the perfect sweet treat for this time of year.
Staying in northern England, Newcastle upon Tyne may not seem like an obvious fall destination; however, the home town of the ‘Geordies’ is not just a party place, if you know the right places to look it can also be a tranquil place, perfect for relaxation. Just on the edge of the city centre in an up-market residential district, Jesmond Dene is a tree-filled haven that seems a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the centre. By day you can walk in the dene and in the evening settle in for the cosy comfort of the Jesmond Dene House Hotel with an award winning restaurant serving excellent locally sourced produce cooked to the highest standards, and stylish, interior-designed rooms, the Jesmond Dene Hotel is the perfect weekend hideaway.
In the heart of the Midlands, Lichfield is one of England’s smallest but most historic cities. Its small city centre is packed with a variety of interesting shops including lots of high quality independent boutiques; among the shops are lots of cosy pubs and coffee shops, as well as excellent restaurants where you can recharge your batteries. Just outside the city is the national arboretum and military memorial at Alrewas, which is a lovely place to spend an autumn day strolling the tree lined walkways; in October the arboretum is awash with gorgeous reds and golden browns as the leaves start to fall.
Finally, down towards the south west consider the wonderfully charming city of Salisbury which is surrounded by lovely countryside and therefore has plenty of opportunities to enjoy those lovely fall colours. Combine a visit to enjoy the falling leaves with a spot of early Christmas shopping and take advantage of the stylish little stores selling exquisite handmade items and traditionally made produce. Do sample a drop of cider when you’re in this part of the country; it should be the new season’s cider and it really doesn’t compare with mass produced varieties. Known affectionately as ‘The city in the countryside’ few English cities can match Salisbury for scenic, country charm. The Legacy Rose and Crown is a beautiful 13th century coaching inn in the heart of Salisbury which has been sensitively renovated to provide quality modern accommodation without losing its old world charm.
With a whole range of exciting cities to pick from, what are you waiting for? Autumn won’t last forever. Get out and make the most of it.