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10 of the best places to see autumn colour in Surrey

PUBLISHED: 11:15 06 November 2018

Explore the outdoors this autumn (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/petrenkod)

Explore the outdoors this autumn (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/petrenkod)


It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Click here to find some of the best autumn pub walks in Surrey.


Alice Holt Forest

Once predominantly oak trees and now mainly firs, the changing seasons transform this woodland into a fairy-tale dream. With events aimed at children taking place regularly in the forest, it’s also a great way of seeing the natural splendour of autumn whilst keeping the little ones entertained.

Post-walk refresher: Offering a warm welcome to all their customers (“families, walkers, cyclists, dogs and horses”), The Bluebell in Farnham uses local suppliers for their tasty dishes.


Hindhead Commons and the Devil’s Punch Bowl

Part of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Devil’s Punch Bowl is a riot of rich, rustic colours in the autumn. The area’s Gibbet Hill is the second-highest point in Surrey and so provides outstanding views of the beautiful landscape. With numerous designated walking routes crossing through the area, there are plenty of ways to experience this stunning National Trust setting.

Post-walk refresher: After marvelling at the stunning surroundings, the National Trust’s on-site eatery, The Devil’s Punchbowl Café, is conveniently close for providing a warming cup of tea or, with hot lunches also available, something a little heartier.


Leith Hill

Rising seamlessly out of the enchanting landscape that surrounds it, Leith Hill Tower offers spectacular views from its top that extend far into the distance. As the highest point in south-east England, London can be spotted in one direction and the English Channel in the other! Also part of the Surrey Hills AONB, the hill is nestled among stunning countryside and the autumn changes only make the location more breathtaking.

Post-walk refresher: A long-time Surrey Life favourite, The Plough at Coldharbour is a charming 17th century inn well worth a visit.


North Downs Way

This mammoth 153-mile trail is not to be taken lightly, but the section that passes through the Surrey Hills AONB is particularly rife with natural beauty. What is more, in the autumn months, the views are breathtaking, and especially from the top of Box Hill. Whether visited for just a day or scheduled into a short walking break, the route is suffused with seasonal colour throughout.

Post-walk refresher: Perched on the side of Box Hill in the quaint village of Mickleham, The Running Horses is a 16th century inn offering a cosy retreat and hearty, home-cooked fare.


Puttenham Common

Managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust, Puttenham Common was once part of a sprawling lowland heath. In the autumn, it is still overrun with various species of fungi, adding to the fiery colour scheme. A hot-spot for dog-walking due to the designated Off-Lead Areas and a favourite for bird-watching, the common is a perfect place to get your fix of the seasonal beauty.

Post-walk refresher: Dating back to the 1850s, nearby gastropub The Donkey at Tilford provides warming food with an old-world charm – perfect for settling into after a long dog-walk.


Painshill Park

An award-winning 18th century landscape garden, Painshill Park is studded with scenic lakes and fabulous follies making a perfect backdrop for the colours of the autumn shrubs and trees that are carefully tended within its grounds. The park’s huge area makes it ideal for a family day out or a shorter trip for an engaging walk.

Post-walk refresher: There is a decent smattering of pubs and restaurants surrounding Painshill Park, so you’ll never be at a loss for somewhere to eat or drink. However, you can’t go wrong with The Plough Inn at Downside, which exudes character and relaxing ambiance.


Polesden Lacey

The gorgeous grounds of this National Trust site are situated around the historic stately home of the Edwardian Greville family. Overlooking the rolling Surrey Hills, they are also flushed with colour come the autumn-time. Especially noteworthy are the bright yellow aconites, which are cultivated for the winter. Take a tour around the gorgeous house with its lavish decor and finish with one of the multiple walks around the estate.

Post-walk refresher: After meandering around the grounds of Polesden Lacey, enjoy a drink at hidden gem The Plough at Effingham and warm up with one of their British pub classics.


RHS Garden Wisley

The flagship site of the RHS, this gorgeous garden is abundant with natural wonder all year-round and the autumn months are no exception as the team work hard to tend plants that thrive during the colder months too.

Post-walk refresher: Located a five-minute drive down the road, The Anchor at Pyrford Lock is a scenic spot on the canal, off the River Wey, that is perfect for whiling away the afternoon.


Royal Botanic Gardens

Kew’s famous botanic gardens shift focus from beautiful flowers to brilliant trees in the autumn when they will be bursting with seasonal colour. The treetop walk also provides stunning views of the range of hues across the arboretum. Opening times vary.

Post-walk refresher: Aptly-named, The Botanist is just a stone’s throw from the entrance and will provide a welcoming rest-stop. 


Winkworth Arboretum

Established in the 1900s, more than 1,000 different shrubs and trees now flourish at this National Trust-owned arboretum, meaning that in the autumn the hillside is ablaze with reds, purples and golds. For the more ambitious, the Winkworth to Oakhurst Wonder Walk connects three National Trust sites and runs over the top of Hydon’s Ball, which provides spectacular views over the countryside. Opening times vary.

Post-walk refresher: A half-hour’s walk away is The White Horse at Hascombe, so warm up in this classic, welcoming pub.

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