“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”, L. M. Montgomery quoted in Anne of Green Gables. And so am I.
If you’re a fan of autumn too – or fall, as our friends across the Atlantic and beyond will say, follow me on my adventure to Westonbirt Arboretum, deep in the Gloucestershire countryside. It’s a pretty little drive, winding past towns like Stroud and idyllic Tetbury, and on a stretch that takes you past Highgrove House and Gardens, the private residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
That’s until the perfect stone walls turn into golden trees, which turn into deep red Japanese maples, and you’re surrounded by the rainbow hues of the trees of Westonbirt Arboretum. If you’re unfamiliar with arboretums, firstly don’t confuse it with an abattoir like my friend (they’re very different things!) – instead, you can expect a range of diverse, beautiful trees of all colours in the height of autumn.
My family and I ventured out for the day for an autumn walk I used to do every year when I was younger. I remember the excitement of the colours, throwing crisp leaves about, and snacking on roasted chestnuts as we walked.
It’s a place that you definitely need to see for yourself – photos don’t quite do the vibrant colours any justice.
We wondered in the crisp air, before stumbling across a cafe and stopping for hot chocolates and doughnuts that we’d picked up en route from the most incredible bakery at Stroud Farmers’ Market – if you’re in the area, give Pippin Doughnuts a try!
They also make appearances in Bristol and Oxford, so check them out. We picked a variety and shared – hazelnut and butterscotch was a winner, followed by apple, blackberry and custard. De-lish!
We continued our walk, hands deep in pockets in the bitter air, kicking leaves as we went.
There is something pretty magical about walking on golden carpets and the tranquility of not coming into contact with many other people throughout your visit.
And what’s even more special is that the arboretum only really looks this colourful for just a couple of weeks a year, so you need to catch it quickly.
It’s been so lovely to relive some childhood memories with my loved ones! Sometimes, just a day out in the countryside is all you really need.