A couple walk along an autumnal path

English Heritage gardens in Autumn

The vibrant autumn colour palate of yellows, oranges, greens and browns is now arriving in our gardens. Enjoy a gentle stroll or a longer walk through our historic grounds and parks this autumn to discover the stories behind our leafy woodlands, decorative flower beds and seasonal kitchen produce.

Here's our pick of the most impressive gardens of the season.

Audley End in Autumn

1. Audley End

Expect ripening apples in the kitchen gardens, stately cedars in the parkland and the last of the stunning display of flowers across Audley End's gardens this autumn. Step back in time as you wonder among large trees planted in the late 18th century.

Explore the pond garden and parterre, which will be alive with colour through the autumn, until the first frost beckons the start of the bedding turnover. Near the parterre, look out for the Kentucky coffee trees, the Howard oak (one of only two in the world) and the avenue of limes.

The Kitchen Garden is another star attraction for visits to this Victorian estate. See a wide range of fruit and vegetables, including 120 apple trees and about 50 pear and plum varieties. All are cared for in keeping with those grown and used in the house in the 1880s.

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Belsay in Autumn

2. Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens

Autumn came early at Belsay Hall this year, to the delight of our gardeners. For us, this is our favourite time of year at Belsay. It's easy to see why, with a spectacular spread of evergreen trees and shrubs standing out against copper-coloured leaves.

Discover the Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), which is always a strong talking point because of its magnificent colours and scent of burnt sugar it produces. The entrance to the Quarry Garden is impressive at this time of year too. See the white bark of the Himalayan birch trees and red leaves of Euonymus - or spindle trees.

Then take a sensory stroll through the fern walk where a large Aralia adds a splash of autumnal colours before the opening to the meadow.

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Brodworth in Autumn

3. Brodsworth Hall

If you haven't already, be sure to visit the new Privy Garden which was discovered buried beneath a mound of ivy and was only recently restored. In keeping with the period, our gardeners have planted scented shrubs and plants including hydrangeas, daphnes and vibrant acers near by.

As autumn comes into full swing, see the colour of the surrounding woodlands awash with shades of yellow and red in stark contrast to formal clipped evergreens around the garden.

By late autumn the ornamental trees will be displaying their bright hues. You can also see more than 100 varieties of holly bush in fruit, which the local birds love. Look out for the Acer trees and Euonymus alutus which are a real drawcard in the autumn thanks to their stunning colour transformation from green to vibrant red.

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Down House in Autumn

4. Down House

During the autumn look out for the stunning scarlet red Virginia creeper that engulfs Down House, contrasting with the purple tones of the Boston ivy. The view from the Sand Walk (with its veteran beech trees planted by Darwin) across the valley to 'The Big Woods' is also unmissable at this time of year.

Depending on the weather, the fungi field can provide another flush including pink waxcaps - the rarest waxcap of them all.

Follow in Darwin's footsteps (literally) along his so-called 'thinking path'. Perhaps you'll stumble on your own ingenious idea as Charles Darwin did here in the 19th century.

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Eltham Palace in Autumn

5. Eltham Palace

Eltham Palace is looking particularly lush this autumn, thanks to a wet summer. Our gardeners have noticed early flowering of the Cyclamen, and autumn colours have swept across the gardens even sooner than they did last year.

See the yellow foliage of our tall tulip trees, the leafy Hungarian oak in the parkland and the plane trees along the edge of the north moat in shades of brown and yellow .

In October and early November a number of our iconic shrubs really spring to life, especially in the Acid Border. The wet summer has also prolonged flowering, so you can catch the last glimpses of summer in early autumn before the temperatures begin to drop.

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Kenwood in Autumn

6. Kenwood

Enjoy this beautiful landscaped parkland, close to the centre of London, and admire some 6,000 trees. Take a walk and enjoy this annual highlight, which provides a rich, visual spectacle each autumn.

Our gardeners will be planting rhododendrons and other flowering shrubs in the flower garden so you can see the progress over the coming months.

In the kitchen garden, look out for the red leaves of the Vitis coignetiae scrambling along the shed roof and into the Plane Tree. Here you can also admire the firey Acer palmatum trees. 

As you walk around the Pasture Ground, look out for the sweet gum with its vibrant tinges of purples, yellows and oranges in its leaves. Another charming feature is the Virginia creepers that elegantly climb along the front of Mansions Cottage.

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Osborne in Autumn

7. Osborne

With all the interest around Osborne thanks to the new film 'Victoria and Abdul', you can literally walk in royal footsteps this autumn.

The many lime trees around the site will turn butter yellow, and splashes of reds and oranges can also be seen within the tree collection. See the beautiful Liquidambar styraciflua, commonly called Sweet Gum, and the ornamental Parratia persica, or Persian ironwood, on the north of the walled garden.

The damp second half of summer kept the plants thriving longer this year. The rainfall has helped produce an abundance of foliage in the trees around the estate, which will also benefit the fruiting of apples, pears and pumpkins. 

Watch the spring bedding being planted from mid-October until mid-November, a key focus for our gardeners. With 15,000 plants and 15,000 bulbs including Tenby lilies, native daffodils and snowdrops, keeping this Victorian garden alive and beautiful is an impressive feat - and you can see it in action.

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Witley in Autumn

8. Witley Court

The dramatic ruin of Witley Court is no better complemented than by the hues of Autumn in the expansive gardens. It was here that the Victorians would come to celebrate at one of the famous parties the site became known for.

A favourite view is the early morning vista over the grounds, with looming mist casting a dewy blanket across the estate. This is supported by hues of yellow, orange and bronze in the foliage of birches, field maples and oaks.

By October and November the Woodland walks will throw shades of burnt oranges providing a quintessential autumnal experience. Why not bring your dog along for an autumn stroll and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful surrounds.

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Wrest Park in autumn

9. Wrest

Take time out to explore Wrest Park in the autumn and enjoy colourful hydrangeas, bright kaffir lilies and other autumn flowering bulbs such as the exotic-looking Nerine.

Our gardeners are noticing an exciting array of fungi, especially in the woodland, creating an enchanting floor among the trees. Some of our wood decay fungi are very rare so don't miss your chance to explore and spot some of these unusual finds.

Look out for the fruit trees in the Walled Garden too, which include several varieties of apples, pears and plums.

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