See the autumn colours

Wales is a vision in the autumn. Rolling hills awash with golden colour, crisp leaves, roaring open fires in cosy inns and pubs. Explore these lovely leaf-peeping spots for a rejuvenating day out.  

  • Autumn view of the Elan Valley
    Autumn in the Elan Valley, Mid Wales by Adrian K Mitchell

    In the heart of Mid Wales, Elan Valley is a spectacular area abundant with wildlife and nature, which is alive with colour in the autumn months. Take a walk around one of the area’s six dams in the area, to admire the striking autumn colours and watery vistas.  The visitor centre has a wealth of information on local walks, seasonally themed activities as well as an exhibition and play area. Warm up with warm tea and scones afterwards at Penbont House, a tearoom and B&B nestled beneath Pen y Garreg Dam. 

  • Close up of a feeding Red Kite at Bwlch Nant yr Arian
    A Red Kite at Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest Visitor Centre, Mid Wales by Damian Black Photography

    High in the Cambrian Mountains, Bwlch Nant yr Arian is a nature-lover’s paradise, ideal for capturing spectacular autumnal views and exploring a number of walking and cycling routes. You can also witness rare Red Kites feeding at the location at the daily Red Kite feeds, which can be seen from the visitor centre or close-up down by the centre’s lake. For colourful panoramic views, take the uphill trail marked with a red footprint.  

  • Autumn in Cwmcarn Forest
    Autumn in Cwmcarn Forest, Wye Valley by Matt Smith

    As an AONB, Wye Valley is awash view beautiful photo opportunities of autumn foliage and sweeping views. Tintern Abbey’s monastic ruins are a sight to behold in the autumn, with surrounding trees on the hills tinted red and orange. For an impressive sweeping view, head to Kymin Tower, an 18th century Round House and Naval Tower, where you can observe gorgeous views of Monmouth and the Wye Valley. Serious hiking buffs should consider walking a section of the 136-mile Wye Valley Walk to explore the rich colours of the wooded ravines, limestone gorges and rugged moorland slopes on the trail. 

  • Image of Ty Hwnt i'r Bont Tearooms and bridge in Llanrwst
    Ty Hwnt i'r Bont Tearooms, Llanrwst, Llandudno and Colwyn Bay by Elaine 55

    Start your day with a bracing walk to Swallow Falls on the River Llugwy, near Betws y Coed for dramatic waterfall views and beautiful scenic viewpoints to enjoy the autumn colours. A short drive away is perhaps one of the most quintessential autumn views in Wales. The Virginia Creeper-clad ‘Ty Hwnt i’r Bont tearoom at Inigo Jones bridge in Llanrwst is a star turn and the blazing red ivy enveloping the cottage is breathtakingly picturesque. Now owned by the National Trust, this former residential dwelling is now a traditional Welsh tearoom.  

  • Close up of Sgwd Sychryd and autumn leaves on the ground
    Sgwd Sychryd waterfall, Pontneddfechan in the Neath Valley by Paula J James

    This beauty spot in the heart of the Vale of Neath is a great place to view the autumn colours along the leafy trails leading up to Sgwd Gwladus, Melincourt Falls, Aberdulais and Sgwd yr Eira, where you can walk behind a curtain of water. Pontneddfechan waterfall country is a photographer’s paradise with a number of waterfalls and tracks to explore, the remains of the old gunpowder works and silica mines provide plenty of nooks and crannies ripe for discovering. Feeling hungry after your walk? Stop off for a cosy fire-side pint in the Old White Horse Inn, near the falls. 

  • Two cyclists on bikes at Coed y Brenin
    Cycling in Coed y Brenin, Snowdonia Mountains and Coast

    If you’re looking for a great place to crunch through leaves on a crisp walk and enjoy the sights and sounds of woodland in autumn, Coed y Brenin is your place. Close to the towns of Dolgellau and Traswfynnydd, this world-class mountain biking spot is also a haven for soaking up the season, with family walks, gentle cycling, waterfalls an all-access trail and great facilities at the visitor centre. The views from the café alone are worth a trip, with excellent vistas of the trees in a myriad of colours. How about one of the café’s sustainable venison burgers? The venison comes from the site’s fallow deer population, which is managed by Coed y Brenin’s wildlife and conservation rangers. 

  • A carved wooden bench at Abergasney House and Gardens
    A quiet spot in Aberglasney House and Gardens, Carmarthenshire

    A must-see for autumn in Carmarthenshire, Aberglasney’s gardens are a sea of colour, with bright red and orange Nissa and Cornus plants as well as the white-flowered bugbane flowers at their peak. With woodland walks, ancient yew tree tunnels and local beers and ciders on offer in Maryellen’s – the garden’s café, the gardens and grounds have all the ingredients for a bracing autumn day out. 

  • Autumn views in Bodnant Gardens
    Autumn in Bodnant Gardens, near Colwyn Bay  by tedesco57 Werner

     A delight for foliage fans and families alike, Bodnant’s gardens in autumn feature a fiery show of Japanese acers and incredible autumnal views towards the Snowdonia mountains from the terraces, framed by the patchwork of colour and texture of the surrounding plants and trees. The Dell at Bodnant is a tranquil little haven with peaceful walks and a waterfall, ideal for an autumn stroll. The shrub borders and Chapel Park are also great place to peep at the kaleidoscope of autumn colour all around. Finish off with a seasonal bowl of warming pumpkin soup at the site’s Magnolia tearooms

  • Trees at Powis Castle, with autumn colour
    Autumn colour in Powis Castle gardens, Mid Wales by Chris Tetley

    Standing proudly above a terraced garden and rambling estate, the medieval fortress of Powis Castle and Gardens provide an arresting autumn scene for day-trippers and autumn visitors. The red hues of the castle echo the riot of autumn colour in the terraces and gardens beneath it, with shrubby salvias, fuchsias, rambling red vines and maples bursting with red and gold. The surrounding woodland is a sight to behold in the autumn sun, with crisp golden leaves carpeting the ground and dusky light offering great photo opportunities.   

  • Autumn leaves at Tintern Abbey
    Autumn at Llanthony Priory, Wye Valley by Roger Roberts

    With the mountains just starting to curl up for winter, the scenery of the Brecon Beacons can be at it’s most dramatic. There are a handful of great stops to admire the fall foliage, take a hike and bag some great memento snaps including Craig Cerrig Gleisiaid a Fan Frynach, Llyn y Fan Fach and Llanthony Priory (sandwiched between the autumn-hued hills of Twmpa and Hay Bluff). For a peaceful autumn stroll, head to the Brecon and Monmouth Canal to see migrating birds headed to warmer climes, sun dappled leafy trails, chugging canal barges and cosy fireside pubs.

More autumn break ideas