Britain’s most spectacular autumn arboreta

Britain's trees are at their most beautiful in the autumn months, making September, October and November a great time of year to visit an arboretum – we've picked some of the UK's best

The Swiss Bridge in Scrape Glen at Dawyck Botanic Garden, Stobo, Scottish Borders, Scotland
1

The Yorkshire Arboretum, Yorkshire

Yorkshire Arboretum in Autumn
Yorkshire Arboretum in Autumn ©Alamy

A 120-acre arboretum set among beautiful, mature trees on the Castle Howard Estate near York. Planting for this new collection of diverse species began in the 1970s – with specimens sent in from expeditions to all corners of the world – and opened to the public in 1999.

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Open daily until 30 November. £7. yorkshirearboretum.org 

2

Hafod Uchtryd, Ceredigion

Hafod Uchtryd
Hafod Uchtryd ©Rudi Winter

This picturesque landscape in the Ystwyth Valley lies 12 miles south-east of Aberystwyth in west Wales. Explore Hafod Uchtryd’s 500 acres of silver firs, spruces and natural oaks on foot during one of five walks and discover some of the UK’s earliest managed forestry planting.

Open all year with no admission fee. hafod.org

3

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Scottish borders

The Swiss Bridge in Scrape Glen at Dawyck Botanic Garden, Stobo, Scottish Borders, Scotland
The Swiss Bridge in Scrape Glen at Dawyck Botanic Garden, Stobo, Scottish Borders, Scotland ©Alamy

This 65-acre garden and arboretum, eight miles from Peebles, has one of the finest collections of trees in Britain. A number of the specimens were planted in 1680, including the European silver fir, giant Sierra redwood and Douglas fir. The arboretum boasts highlights for every season, particularly birches and rhododendrons.

Open daily until 31 October. £6.50.rbge.org.uk/visit

4

Howick Arboretum, Northumberland 

Aerial image of Northumberland - Howick Hall and Arboretum
Aerial image of  Howick Hall and Arboretum in Northumberland ©Alamy

Not far from Alnwick, this vast arboreal collection, planted out geographically with over 12,500 specimens, is known as the United Nations for trees and shrubs. The trees are grown from seeds collected from all corners of the temperate world, from China to Tasmania.

Open daily until 11 November. £7.70. howickhallgardens.com

5

Batsford Arboretum, Gloucestershire

Autumn at Batsford Arboretum, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Autumn at Batsford Arboretum, Gloucestershire ©Getty

Set in the heart of the Cotswolds, Batsford Arboretum ingeniously makes use of the surrounding land to show off its impressive display of over 2,850 tree specimens, including the national Japanese flowering cherry collection. Visit in autumn when the maples are at their most striking.

Open daily all year round. £7.95. batsarb.co.uk

6

Castlewellan, County Down

Castlewellan
Castlewellan ©Getty

Castlewellan Arboretum, just north of Northern Ireland’s Mourne Mountains, contains over 3,000 species of rare plants. Notable examples include giant redwoods, monkey puzzles, rhododendrons and the golden Leyland cypress, or ‘Castlewellan Gold’.

£5 per car. castlewellancastle.org

Words: Tony Kirkham, head of the Arboretum and Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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Main image ©Alamy