9 glorious gardens to see autumn colour in Somerset

The garden in autumn at Dunster Castle (c) PHPTP National Trust Images/Sarah Allen

The garden in autumn at Dunster Castle (c) PHPTP National Trust Images/Sarah Allen - Credit: Archant

Immerse yourself in nature’s season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Holly Louise Eells shares some of Somerset’s most glorious autumnal gardens

1. Barrington Court, Ilminster

A National Trust finest, Barrington Court is at its fruitful time of year. Its spectacular walled kitchen garden is at the peak of production, with vibrant focal points of giant pumpkins and spaghetti squash. The empty Tudor manor house, which was beautifully restored in the 1920s, boasts extensive, stunning grounds, including the impressive divided gardens that ooze seasonal quality at every turn. The phenomenal shades of flower borders will be pleasantly overflowing with hues of the season and capture the beautiful changes of autumnal tones throughout the whole of Barrington Court's grounds, which year on year are out of this world.

2. The Bishop's Palace and Gardens, Wells

There is so much to discover at The Bishop's Palace and Gardens. Hidden within the ancient ramparts and protected by the moat, it boasts 14 acres of eye-catching, tranquil gardens around the medieval Palace. James Cross, head gardener at the Palace, says autumn is a colourful time at the Grade II listed venue. He explains: "We suspect that many of our Roses will still be offering a fantastic profusion of colour and perfume throughout September. During October, we will see an amazing array of bright, autumnal colours from our magnificent collection of mature specimen trees which are set within the romantic and picturesque Victorian gardens." Perfect for a stroll with a loved one.

3. Dunster Castle

For more than 600 years Dunster Castle and Garden was the home of the Luttrell family. An ancient castle and country home with dramatic vistas and magnificent, subtropical gardens; expect to be blown away by its beauty. Try a casual walk to the keep of the Castle and in return you will be rewarded with an incredible 360-degree view of Dunkery Beacon and the British Channel. Along the way you can appreciate flora and fauna in mesmerising shades of deep burgundies, warm yellows and burnt orange. Head to the south terrace for its stunning views across the former deer park, and if you are lucky, you may spot a red deer.

4. Forde Abbey, Chard

Dating back to the 12th century, the award-winning Forde Abbey and Gardens will be a worthwhile visit this autumn. Opening the doors to their innovative house, The Kennard Family welcome visitors to see its 30 acres of world famous gardens in the breathtaking countryside. The south-west treasure boasts so much history, such as being one of the richest monasteries in the country. Developed in the 1800s, the garden has continued to evolve into something beyond spectacular. It has so many different aspects to explore in the grounds, including the highest-powered fountain in the country, colourful herbaceous borders along the canal, a miraculous bog garden, impressive arboretum, lakes, and plenty of seating to admire the views along the way.

5. Hestercombe Gardens, Taunton

Looking for escapism? Hidden away a few miles from Tauton, experience 50 acres of quintessential Somerset gardens. Spanning three centuries of garden history design, Hestercombe Gardens offers a unique combination and varied experience of the Georgian Landscape Garden, Victorian Shrubbery and the Edwardian Formal Gardens. This whimsical retreat is opened daily, giving you plenty of opportunity to discover what this special green space has to offer during the autumnal season. The expansive idyllic Georgian pleasure grounds have evidently been meticulously restored, so do take advantage of its beauty. From stunning woodland walks, lakeside views, classical temples and the great cascade, it is a natural winner.

6. Tyntesfield House and Gardens, near Bristol

They say time spent in nature and exploring the great outdoors is ideal for our health and the TyntesField House and Gardens is perfect for just that. Expect to be blown away by this Victorian gothic revival house with a glorious garden and extensive parkland, which has been restored by the National Trust. Lisa Topham, outdoors manager for the Bristol portfolio, says you'll be treated to the mesmerizing sight from the moment you turn into Tyntesfield's drive. She says: "The spectacular arboretum in the formal garden has trees from across the world, with an equally as varied display of colours. In the lower garden, September is a wonderful time to see dahlias, which will continue to bloom through the early autumn."

7. Yeo Valley Family Farm, Holt Farm in Blagdon

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Alongside their spectacular farms, Yeo Valley has a six and half acre organic garden made up of beautiful ornamental and edible plants in a seasonal patchwork. Sarah Mead, Yeo Valley director, believes autumn is a fantastic season to visit. She says: "There is so much to see, such as dahlias, rudbeckia, asters and crocosmias; the 'divas' of the autumn garden taking centre stage as you would expect. The meadows, although spent, are at their most romantic. Also, the maples and crab trees go out in a blaze of glory. There's a glamour about autumn somehow, a look and feel of uniqueness at this time of year, which we really enjoy."

8. Lytes Cary Manor, Somerton

The days may be getting shorter but that's all the more reason to enjoy the glorious colour this inspirational arts and crafts garden, Lytes Cary Manor, has to offer. Visitors can expect a bursting riot of colour, but it's not only the flowers that impress; the productive orchard will be brimming with fruit. There are apples and pears, of course, but more unusual meddlers and sweetly scented quince, as well as vibrantly coloured crab apples. Head out into the wider estate along the clearly waymarked paths and find hedgerows filled with juicy blackberries to sustain little legs on a walk!

9. East Lambrook Manor Garden, South Petherton

The late renowned gardener and writer, Margery Fish's iconic Grade I listed cottage garden, East Lambrook Manor, is a delightful enchanted garden that will charm you this autumn. A true testament to the efforts of Margery, it showcases amazing attractions throughout the year. Mike Werkmeister, owner of East Lambrook Manor, says the garden has a mellow feel in the autumn. He explains: "In the borders expect to see amazing displays. Also, autumn crocus will put in a fleeting appearance in October."

Some other autumn garden suggestions...

- Priory Park Landscape Garden

- Tintinhull Garden

- The Walled Garden at Mells

- Coleridge Cottage

- Claverton Manor Gardens