5 great National Trust properties to visit this autumn

Category: News

Autumn is a wonderful time of the year to pull on your walking boots and head out into nature. With the leaves turning golden, you might consider a stroll into the country’s ancient woodland or an amble along a lakeside path through the grounds of an eighteenth-century mansion.

With recreation and hospitality sectors suffering over the summer, the National Trust’s grounds and buildings have slowly reopened. There are many sites to visit, with plenty of outdoor space and parkland to explore.

Read your guide to five of the best National Trust properties to take a walk at this autumn.

1. Croome Court, Worcestershire

‘Capability’ Brown designed the neo-Palladian mansion and grounds at Croome Court in South Worcestershire.

Brown’s first complete landscape, it was designed for the 6th Earl of Coventry. The extensive parkland and grounds contain a manmade lake and river, as well as several follies, all positioned to ensure the court itself remains the focal point.

With views over the Malvern Hills and several unique garden buildings and grottos to visit, this is a beautiful place for an autumn walk, following the path of the river or heading around the lake.

Book a timed ticket in advance to avoid disappointment, and enjoy the house and grounds, as well as the tearoom – perfect for unwinding after a long stroll.

2. Osterley Park and House, West London

The Grade I listed Osterley House sits in Osterley Park, one of the largest open spaces in London, and is situated in the boroughs of Hounslow and Ealing.

Originally built in the 1570s, Scottish architect, Robert Adam, remodelled the mansion in 1761 and the elegant, neoclassical interiors are still present today.

Osterley Park and Gardens are great for birdwatching and hedgehog-spotting. Visitors often spot owls and birds of prey such as red kites, buzzards, and sparrowhawks overhead. A large expanse of green within a built-up area, many hedgehogs have made the park their home too.

As with many National Trust properties at this current time, you’ll need a timed ticket to venture inside the house and to visit the gardens, but the wide-open space can be enjoyed all year round.

3. Morden Hall Park, Surrey

Situated in South London, Morden Hall Park is a tranquil oasis on the banks of the River Wandle.

Originally owned by Westminster Abbey, the estate covers more than 125 acres of parkland, wetland, and meadow. As well as the historic hall, you’ll see preserved watermills and iron bridges spanning the serpentine river.

And it is at its most beautiful in autumn. A haven for wildlife, the former deer park is surrounded by the built-up city on all sides but you’ll forget that as soon as you step through the gates and walk at your leisure, surrounded by autumnal colour.

4. Ashridge Estate, Hertfordshire

The Ashridge Estate is located in the Chiltern Hills, an area designated to be of ‘outstanding natural beauty.’ The estate comprises 5,000 acres of woodlands and commons and a host of ancient monuments.

As well as Iron Age farms, Roman settlements and a royal park, the most prominent feature is the hill fort at Ivinghoe Beacon. Torches were lit on the beacon most recently to celebrate the Millennium and the Royal Jubilee.

Built originally as a monastery in the 1280s, a deer park was also founded around the same time and deer still wander the grounds of the estate today.

There are 80 miles of signposted trails, from the 17-mile boundary trail to a more sedate stroll along the ancient tree walk. The latter starts and finishes at the Bridgewater Monument, a Grade II* listed tower built in memory of Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater.

There’s plenty to explore – on foot, on a bike, or horseback. With hundreds of years of history to the seasonal changes right now, there are sights guaranteed to captivate.

5. Basildon Park, Reading

Described by the National Trust as a 1950s home in an eighteenth-century house, work began on the Palladian-style country house in 1776.

In the 1950s, Lord and Lady Iliffe bought the property – by now, in a state of disrepair and dereliction – and began the work of reinstating it to something like its former glory.

Set within 400 acres of wooded parkland and gardens, the grounds offer beautiful views all year round, from bluebells in spring to buttercups in summer. But it’s the spectacular and ever-changing colour of the leaves around this time of year that makes a Basildon Park walk a must this autumn.