Every autumn, the glorious display of colour that spreads across the forests in the Northern Hemisphere is one of the most magical natural phenomena known to man
5. Westonbirt National Arboretum, England
With 2,500 different tree species, including fall colour staples such as maples and aspens, this 600-acre National Arboretum in Gloucestershire is prime leaf peeping territory. Take the easy 1.6-mile Silk Wood Trail to see the collection of fine Japanese maples, including the variety that has deep purple leaves. The best time to go is during October and to get the best view, take a hot air balloon flight over the woods or stroll across the lofty Treetop Walkway.
How to get there: the best way is to follow the M4 motorway out of London and turn right at Junction 17 to Westonbirt.
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4. Maramureș, Romania
You’ve probably seen the brilliant sea of yellow and orange in Bucharest or heard about the gorgeous autumn colours stopping tourists (and allegedly vampires) dead in their tracks in Transylvania – but if you want to savour something special, head to the sleepy village of Maramureș in northern Romania. Get your camera ready – apart from the beautiful autumn foliage, you will find yourself taking plenty of pictures of their unique wooden churches with tall spires and magnificently carved gates.
How to get there: fly to Oradea and rent a car to Maramureș; the distance is about 210km (130 miles).
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3. Douro Valley, Portugal
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous Portuguese wine region, this beautiful area puts on a technicolour display from September onwards. Enjoy the show while you sample newly harvested delicacies, particularly wild game and chestnuts washed down with the local port wine. If you fancy stretching your legs in some of the vineyards, The Quinta do Panascal vineyard has an audio-tour in nine languages (Portuguese, English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Danish and Japanese) – so you can wander through the vineyards independently.
How to get there: the valley is about an hour’s drive away from Porto Airport, or four hours’ drive from Lisbon.
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2. Lady Mary’s Walk, Scotland
Looking to pair a lovely walk with an award-winning whisky? You can do it on this walk. At the beginning of the route, you will stroll along the River Earn (lined by beech trees whose leaves turn bronze in autumn), then there is a gentle climb up Laggan Hill before turning north to the Glenturret Distillery, home of the Famous Grouse whisky. Along the way, look out for benches engraved with poems dedicated to the wondrous landscape in this area.
How to get there: fly to Glasgow, and drive an hour north on the M80 motorway.
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1. Lapland, Finland
The Finnish have their own descriptive word for the arrival of autumnal colour – ruska. The peak season only lasts for a couple of weeks from mid-September onwards. Some of the best places to see the woods of Lapland painted in reds and golds include the tiny village of Kilpisjärvi and the ski resort Ylläs. If you know wild mushrooms, the woods here are covered in delicious chanterelles and porcini ready to be picked.
How to get there: Ylläs is easily accessible; you can catch a train from Helsinki, or fly to Kittilä airport and take a bus to Ylläs.
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This article was last updated on 09/10/2018