6 autumn activities celebrating the great outdoors

Autumn is a mouthwatering time for foodies. With the harvests come a plethora of food festivals celebrating great British produce. British Food Fortnight kicks off in late September, which is also organic September and sourdough September. Food aside, autumn’s seasonal changes are reflected in the movement of wildlife and sea life too. Together this proffers an eclectic list of autumn activities that are reliably family friendly and fascinating.

Suffolk Herring Festival

It’s not as fishy as it sounds, but this celebration of North Sea herring fishing involves barbecues, tasting and storytelling from fishermen and their families of an industry through the ages. Head to Halesworth last weekend of October for an alternative to Halloween events.

Whale watching

Chasing those herring as they head south are pods of whales, mostly Minke but occasionally humpback and fin whales too. So reliable is their return each year, it’s now on the autumn activities must-do list. You can book whale watching tours from Whitby as the pods scour the Yorkshire coast.

Woodland Illuminations

Head to Abbotsbury in Dorset to visit the magical illumination at these subtropical gardens. Follow the path around the ‘Long Walk’, the pavilion and lily ponds where your way will be lit by candlelight, a beautiful contrast to the main floodlit paths.


Before hunkering down for winter, learn how to forage for your food supply with an expert like Melissa in the Suffolk countryside. Guided walks for mushroom and truffle foraging are available throughout October for those with a nose for nature.

Sweetcorn Fayre, Isle of Wight

If you’re imagining jolly green giants on the Isle of Wight, you might have gone too far. But there is a record attempt at the world’s largest sweetcorn fritter as a-maizing Arreton comes over all yellow at the end of September and provides one of the more unusual autumn activities.

Winter visitors

The wetlands and saltmarshes of Norfolk are a drawcard for geese with pink feet, don’t you know. Brent geese, pink footed geese, shelduck and waders arrive in Holkham each autumn to feed and roost. They hang around until about March in case your diary’s filling up.

Autumn activities and short breaks

Don’t let the shortening days get you down, book a mini break to take part in Great Britain’s best autumn activities and harvest celebrations.