Natural Scenery

Top 10 spots in the UK to visit this autumn

Written by Jay Chen, TripAdvisor

Early nights are drawing in and the weather has certainly dropped a degree or two, so the idea of travelling abroad is playing on our minds.

But what about a UK staycation instead? Cosy cottages, wood fires, late night city lights and your breath fresh in the crisp air.

There’s something just as inspiring about that – perhaps more so – than a beach in Europe.

About 50% of Brits are planning an autumn getaway, with over a quarter planning to splurge more on trips this season, based on the Tripadvisor Autumn Travel Index 2021.

With domestic travel still the most popular choice this autumn, here are the top 10 destinations your fellow Brits are headed, from the ancient city of Cardiff to the charming seaside town of Ayr in Scotland.

Find out the best places to stay, play and eat:

1. Cardiff, Wales

Cardiff bay at dusk
Photo: Chris Hepburn/Gettyimages

The capital city of Wales, Cardiff features a good mix of the old and the new, with the majestic 2,000-year-old Cardiff Castle existing alongside modern architectural landmarks like the Wales Millennium Centre.

Outdoor adventures await a little out of the city centre. Pack a good pair of hiking boots for your trip as the iconic Four Waterfalls Valley (located an hour’s drive from Cardiff) is not to be missed.

Join a guided walking tour to take in the full spectacle of the sweeping mountain scenery surrounding the waterfalls.

2. Belfast, Northern Ireland

The City Hall Belfast and the 'Belfast Eye'
Photo: Robert Mayne/Gettyimages

Probably best known for being the place where the Titanic was built, Belfast is a charming city with a buzzing nightlife and a thriving visual arts scene.

“Game of Thrones” fans, don’t miss the chance to re-enact some of your favourite scenes from the show on a tour of the Giant’s Causeway.

Back in the city centre, St George’s Market—Ireland’s oldest market—is a good stop to taste your way through a wide selection of cheeses and local delicacies.

3. London, England

Hyde park in the autumn
Photo: Mathias Maya/Gettyimages

Historic monuments, a lively cultural scene, diverse boroughs and neighbourhoods, a buzzing nightlife—London is endlessly fascinating even if you’ve been there countless times.

Potterheads can experience some wonderfully frightening fun with the return of the dark arts featured at the Warner Bros Studio this Halloween. Secure your admission tickets early through the Warner Bros Studio Tour London to avoid disappointment.

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Looking for a place to stay? Make the Park Grand London Hotel your base from which to explore Kensington’s popular attractions such as the Natural History Museum and the Buckingham Palace.

4. Portrush, Northern Ireland

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Photo: Gettyimages

This cosy resort town situated on the Antrim Coast is a perfect starting point for many hikers planning a journey to the breathtaking Giant’s Causeway.

While Portrush is better known for its surfing centres and prestigious golf clubs in the summer, there’s still plenty to do in autumn.

Dive deep into the northern tip of Northern Ireland on a full-day guided tour, where you’ll test your balance on the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge (not for the faint of heart), and be rewarded with panoramic views at the Causeway Coastal Route.

Foodies, don’t miss the excellent tapas served in a homely setting at Ocho Tapas Bistro.

5. Swansea, Wales

Scenic view of sea against sky during sunset
Photo: Noel Bevan/Gettyimages

A prosperous market town during medieval times, Swansea is now popular among beachgoers drawn to its sweeping seaside views and stunning sandy beaches—award-winning ones no less.

Families with kids in tow, enjoy an afternoon stroll along Mumbles Pier, Swansea’s oldest landmark, which features an old-timey arcade and bowling alley—perfect for keeping the little ones entertained!

For dinner, head to the Truffle Restaurant for contemporary Welsh fare, delicious meals to guarantee clean plates all around.

6. Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow city from atop a hill
Photo: Anna Urlapova/Pexels

While not as popular as its neighbouring city Edinburgh, Glasgow still has much to offer, dotted with fantastic art galleries and live music venues perfect for the cultural aficionado in you.

Get acquainted with Glasgow’s rich, turbulent history on a walking tour and learn how the city became the vibrant place it is today; you’ll also meet some of the famous figures of Glasgow, including Dr Who.

Visitors looking to spend the night should book a room at the Apex City of Glasgow Hotel, which has a sleek restaurant/bar offering European-style tapas alongside traditional Scottish fare.

7. Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Sage Gateshead & Tyne Bridge
Photo: Karl Moran/Unsplash

Newcastle is a favourite this autumn as it continues to pull in the crowds with its famed nightlife, trendy restaurant scene, and excellent shopping.

Experience Newcastle’s multicultural cuisine on a food tour, where you’ll get to sample Indian street food at the Grainger market, and refreshing tapped beer from the local microbrewery, among others.

For a more refined gastronomic experience, the Sunday lunch menu at Branches Jesmond is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

8. Tenby, Wales

The walled seaside town of Tenby
Photo: Andrea Pucci/Gettyimages

The Welsh landscape offers some of the best opportunities for an escape into nature. The Pembrokeshire coastal path is perfect for hikers looking for scenic views—just check tide times before embarking on your adventure.

Book yourself at The Park Hotel Tenby to explore the Tenby Castle Beach along with Tenby’s many other coastal attractions.

9. Dundee, Scotland

High angle view of Dundee by the sea
Photo: Mohammed Lunat/Gettyimages

Once a major port with an extensive maritime history, Dundee has transformed itself into a popular destination brimming with countless attractions for maritime enthusiasts.

Learn about awe-inspiring expeditions to the previously untouched Antarctic at Discovery Point, home to research vessel RRS Discovery.

Or visit the V&A Dundee, the only V&A museum outside London, which boasts a stunning architectural design inspired by the dramatic cliffs along the north-east coast of Scotland—a perfect photo op.

10. Ayr, Scotland

Trump Turnberry lighthouse in Ayrshire
Photo: David A Johnson/Gettyimages

Lying on the outskirts of Glasgow is the scenic Ayr, a popular seaside resort best known as the birthplace of Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns.

Some of Ayr’s most beloved highlights include the Culzean Castle, an 18th century estate teeming with opulence and grandeur, and the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, which reveals insights into the life of the literary genius.

To truly experience Scottish countryside living, book a room at the Daviot Guest House, a tasteful Victorian townhouse just minutes away from the beach and town centre.

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