9 best places to see stunning autumn colour in Gloucestershire

Embrace the new season with SoGlos's round up of 10 places to see dazzling displays of autumn colour in Gloucestershire.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Discover where to soak up beautiful autumnal scenery right here in Gloucestershire, including Westonbirt Arboretum. Image © Paul Groom

From blazes of burnished reds to carpets of golden yellows, there’s nothing like the sight of the autumn leaves changing colour to celebrate the arrival of the new season.

Whether you’re planning a family day out in the fresh air or a romantic stroll, soak up nature’s fireworks display this season — with SoGlos’s handpicked spots to see stunning autumn colour across Gloucestershire in 2023.

Autumn colour in the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley

The Forest of Dean is a delight for outdoorsy types all year round but especially during the autumn months, when visitors can admire the changing colours of the ancient trees. 

Set off from Beechenhurst for a crisp walk through bountiful woodlands; head to Symonds Yat for spectacular views across the River Wye and miles beyond; take to the bike trails or enjoy a different vantage point from a canoe; and, if you’re feeling particularly fit, climb up to the Blaize Bailey viewpoint for some truly spectacular autumnal scenes.

Autumn colour at Westonbirt Arboretum

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum near Tetbury is at its most spectacular during the autumn months, attracting visitors from across the UK — and even around the globe — with its world-class collection of trees and plants.

Seasonal highlights include Maple Loop in Silk Wood, where autumn enthusiasts can see the arboretum’s collection of Japanese maples ablaze with colour; and the heart-shaped leaves of the Katsura tree, which smell just like toffee apples (yes, really!).

Leaf-peepers heading to Westonbirt Arboretum between Saturday 30 September and Sunday 12 November 2023 will need to book tickets before visiting.

Autumn colour at Batsford Arboretum

With one of the largest private tree and plant collections in the country, Batsford Arboretum in Moreton-in-Marsh offers a stunning spot to soak up autumnal colour while enjoying a stroll around the 56-acre setting.

From the start of October to the end of November, visitors can expect to see maple and cherry trees in every hue imaginable, while the multi-coloured leaves of the sweet gum tree are truly spectacular.

Autumn colour at Painswick Rococo Garden

While Painswick Rococo Garden is most famed for its blankets of springtime snowdrops, it’s also a beautiful place to visit in October when its leaves are transformed into warm shades of gold and red.

The picturesque six-acre garden, which dates back to the 18th century, encompasses follies, water features and impressive planting, too — with its maple trees and cyclamen at their most impressive at the start of autumn.

Autumn colour at Cyril Hart Arboretum

Soak up rich displays of autumn colour at Gloucestershire's lesser known arboretum, Cyril Hart, located just next to the Speech House Hotel in the Forest of Dean.

Here, nature lovers can see over 200 types of trees and foliage from all over the world, with the arboretum presenting the opportunity to admire some non-native species at autumntime — including deep red Japanese maple trees and bright yellow tulip trees.

Autumn colour at Hidcote Manor Garden

Discover shades of autumn at Hidcote Manor Garden near Chipping Campden, where visitors can admire eye-catching acers and stroll through an allee of beech trees displaying brilliant bronze and golden hues.

Designed by American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston, the garden’s immaculate red borders are at their colourful peak, sporting displays of vibrant dahlias to complement the autumnal hues.

Autumn colour at Laurie Lee Wood and Frith Wood

Immortalised in the classic Cider with Rosie, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s Laurie Lee Wood nature reserve in the Slad Valley is a great spot to immerse yourself in the changing season, with three hectares of ancient woodland to explore.

Frith Wood, meanwhile, next to Bull’s Cross and on the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way, is a particularly lovely beech wood that straddles the ridge between the Painswick and Slad Valleys.

Autumn colour at Sezincote

Catch stunning colours while admiring the unique setting of Sezincote, a splendid 200-year-old Mogul Indian palace near Moreton-in-Marsh, surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens and trees.

Come autumn, Sezincote’s evocative paradise garden basks in seasonal colour, glowing with golden oranges and dazzling reds; while its ornate bridges and Indian-inspired ornaments are also a must-see.

Autumn colour at Highgrove Gardens

A visit to the gardens of Highgrove House, the family residence of King Charles III, offers the chance to delight in autumn colour, with creative planting and a swathe of trees to see in the arboretum — which has an abundance of Japanese maples at their colourful best in October.

Autumn visitors to the historic Tetbury attraction can also take in the impressive kitchen garden, with the apple tunnel particularly fragrant at this time of year.

Individual autumn garden tours take place on selected dates in September and October and must be booked online in advance.

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