8 Stunning gardens to visit this autumn

Stourhead garden Wiltshire Autumn colour Green Fingered Blog
Which gardens are worth visiting this autumn? Whether you're looking for intense colour, stunning borders or dramatic views, I've got some fabulous recommendations for you.

Autumn colours are intensifying in gardens across Britain right now. I've been looking for gardens to visit where you can enjoy the seasonal display of grasses, seedheads, and the full range of colours from dark, burnt browns to bright intense reds. To decide where to go I've been checking out posts by other bloggers about where they've been. 

Here's a round up of some of their posts about some gorgeous gardens I'd like to visit this autumn:

8 Stunning gardens to visit in Autumn

Stourhead, Wiltshire

Stourhead in Wiltshire is owned by the National Trust, and is a world famous landscape garden created way back in the 18th century. It is best known for the picture perfect views across the lake which is surrounded by mature trees and classical architectural buildings that provide focal points from wherever you look. 

Stourhead is like a real life painting. Sophie at the Old House in the Shires visited Stourhead and describes what it's like to explore it on her blog. With such a collection of mature trees, there is plenty of seasonal colour on display at Stourhead and it's well worth a visit. 
Stourhead Gardens to visit Autumn Green Fingered Blog
Stourhead is like a painting, and the lake creates the
 illusion of the paint running down the canvas

Biddulph Grange, Staffordshire

This is another garden I am keen to visit but haven't yet. It's often cited as one of the UK's most significant or influential gardens, due to the way it takes visitors on a virtual trip around the world, using various interesting design features and a wide ranging collection of plants. 

Some of the features are very unusual, like the path leading through an Egyptian style pyramid. The plant collection originates from the Victorian period when plant hunters brought specimens back to the UK from around the world. 

It's now run by the National Trust, who describe it as a "quirky, playful, paradise". They also claim it is very striking in Autumn and certainly the glimpse on their website shows some great colour which I'd love to see in person.   

Sissinghurst, Kent

Sissinghurst is another world famous garden. Sabrina of the Wolves in London blog visited this time last year and described the masses of fruit of various kinds, as well as the garden rooms full of late flowering perennials. 

Whether it's the apples and pears, crab apples, rose hips or berries on a wide variety of shrubs and trees, there is certain to be plenty to admire at Sissinghurst.   

Hauser & Wirth, Somerset

Autumn in a garden shouldn't only be about leaves on trees turning bright orange. It's a season that offers subtler shades of colour and a variety of textures. Award winning garden designer Piet Oudolf has created a garden at the Hauser and Wirth Gallery which I'd love to visit, as he is renowned for combining these textures using grasses and perennials. 

Stephanie Donaldson seems to have been inspired by her visit, judging by her post on The Enduring Gardener Blog. It also includes some beautiful photos of the way Oudolf has weaved together the subtler shades of red, brown, gold, purple and many more. 

Autumn Grasses & Perennials Green Fingered Blog
Grasses and perennials can look great in autumn as well as trees 

Knoll Gardens, Dorset

Knoll Gardens offer further examples of how the more delicate textures of grasses blend together to create a mass of planting that instantly calms the soul of the onlooker. This article in the Guardian identifies how Knoll Gardens demonstrate how versatile grasses are, and also how well they can extend the gardening season well into early winter. 

It's noticeable how many different ways they are used at Knoll, and the sheer variety of shapes and colours is also very striking. The Guardian piece is very useful as it gives the names of some of the key species grown there, so if you want to recreate the same effect on a smaller scale in your own garden, you'll know what to grow. 

Even if you're not aiming to have your own grass borders (but why not?) Knoll Gardens are worth visiting to simply admire them.

Knoll Gardens Autumn Green Fingered Blog
The Long Walk at Knoll Gardens

Botanic Garden, Cambridge University

The botanic garden at Cambridge University sounds like a wonderful place to see autumn colour, based on the description on their website. The garden contains some autumnal classics like Acer palmatum, but also some more unusual specimens like a Turkish Liquidambar. What is described as a "tapestry" of smokebushes, also sounds very intriguing. If you've visited, let me know what it's like!

Exbury Gardens, Hampshire

The New Forest (or at least parts of it) is one of the few remaining areas of relatively untouched woodland in England. But equally enjoyable to visit is the more cultivated grounds of Exbury Gardens on the forest edge. There are some stunning autumn colours to be seen here, as evidenced by the photos on the travelunpacked blog written by Gordon Lethridge.

I've visited Exbury in summer, and Gordon has really captured the vibrant shades of red, orange and gold on the Japanese maples during his visit, making me want to return in autumn as soon as I can.

Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire

Acers are also the stars of the show at Westonbirt. 

Westonbirt Arboretum Autumn gardens Green Fingered Blog
A range of fiery colours on display at Westonbirt

There are apparently more than 15,000 trees at Westonbirt, according to Sophie at the Old House in the Shires. None of them are more strikingly colourful than the Japanese maples, they are absolutely beautiful. 

If anything comes close it is the Cercidiphyllum japonicum, known as the Katsura tree, but that has nothing to do with how it looks. Although it produces some vibrant autumn colour, it is notable for the scent of its decaying leaves which somewhat remarkably smell uncannily of candy floss. 

Quite amazing, and as you can imagine is very popular with the kids. Westonbirt is a great place for children to get involved in what autumn is all about. Apart form trees that smell of candy floss, the tree top walk enables them to get right up into the canopy, and there are plenty of leaves all around to mess about with, like my youngest in the picture below. They have plenty of woodland trails and even an eight foot high Gruffalo!

Autumn leaves Westonbirt arboretum Green Fingered Blog
Having fun in the autumn leaves at Westonbirt
I'm determined to visit as many of these gardens as I can this autumn. Where is your favourite place to enjoy autumn?


  1. A very enjoyable and well written article that encourages me to want to visit these gardens!