Ten great autumn days out in Lancashire and the Lake District

Autumn colours reflected in Goosey Tarn, Grizedale

Autumn colours reflected in Goosey Tarn, Grizedale - Credit: Archant

The nights are drawing in so make best of the daylight with these wonderful ideas for places to go

View from Rivington

View from Rivington - Credit: Archant

Where: Rivington Pike, near Adlington

What to do: Choose a clear day to trek to the peak and you’ll be able to see as far as Blackpool Tower, the Lakeland fells and the mountains of north Wales. The land here was gifted to the people of Bolton by industrialist Lord Leverhulme and on the way up you can pass through what remains of his ornate gardens. The squat square tower at the top was built as a hunting lodge and is now a handy shelter from the wind.

Where to eat: Head for Rivington Hall Barn for a refreshing drink and cake in the tea room. Or have something a little more substantial and sample the Sunday lunches which regularly attract diners from miles around.


Blackpool - Credit: Archant

Where: Blackpool

What to do: Blow away the cobwebs with a stroll along the prom, have a giggle at the Comedy Carpet across the road from the Tower and enjoy the town without the crowds of summer holidaymakers. Head inland to escape the wind and pay a visit to the Grundy Art Gallery or Grand Theatre, two of the cultural gems which prove there’s more to the town than the brash arcades and bingo halls.

Where to eat: Do the job properly and have fish, chips, peas and cup of tea or try one of the cafes or restaurants in the town centre. The art deco café in Stanley Park is worth a visit if you want something a little more refined.

Autumn colours reflected in Goosey Tarn, Grizedale

Autumn colours reflected in Goosey Tarn, Grizedale - Credit: Archant

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Where: Grizedale Forest, near Hawkshead

What to do: Explore the range of walk and cycle routes suitable for all abilities and spot the artworks. Some are hidden on hillsides and tucked among the trees, others are huge and unmissable. Grizedale, now one of the nation’s biggest and most unusual galleries, was at the forefront in the development of art in the environment in the 1970s and the forest is home to more than 60 sculptures by some of the leading sculpture artists of recent decades.

Where to eat: There is a café and visitor centre near the car park, or you could head a little way down the toad to the Eagle’s Head at Satterthwaite which offers an impressive selection of beers and good meals too.

A spectacular display of geese

A spectacular display of geese - Credit: Archant

Where: Martin Mere Wetland Centre

What to do: A record 45,800 pink-footed geese have arrived at Martin Mere making this one of the best autumn wildlife spectacles in the north west. They remain in their familiar V- formation throughout the 500 mile journey from Iceland with the senior geese taking it in turns to lead the group. The older geese recognise landmarks to help guide them to Martin Mere and the surrounding area. These are natural guides such as the Ribble Estuary and Morecambe Bay, and man-made structures such as the M6 motorway.

Where to eat: The Mere Side Cafe has a wide range of meals from breakfast to hearty meat dishes and salads which can be enjoyed overlooking the beautiful wetlands.

The Trough of Bowland

The Trough of Bowland - Credit: Archant

Where: Trough of Bowland

What to do: Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bowland’s status as an area of outstanding natural beauty by exploring some of many miles of footpath or cycle paths. Enjoy the spectacular displays of autumnal colours on the hillsides and keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife which calls this area home, including rare hen harriers, stoats and barn owls.

Where to eat: There are plenty of good pubs in the area but one of our favourites is the unusually-named Hark to Bounty at Slaidburn, a traditional pub with good beer, a very impressive menu and nine bedrooms

The Ashton Memorial

The Ashton Memorial - Credit: Archant

Where: Williamson Park, Lancaster

What to do: Take a stroll through the park and up the hill and enjoy panoramic views of Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland fells. The parkland is fascinating to explore and is home to one of the county’s most recognisable landmarks, the Ashton Memorial - described by Niklaus Pevsner as the grandest monument in England – which will be familiar to anyone who has travelled on the M6. It was commissioned by Lord Ashton as a touching tribute to his late wife, although he had re-married by the time building work was finished.

Where to eat: There is café near the Ashton Memorial or you could head down into the city where there is no end of choice. We particularly like the relaxed atmosphere of the Whaletail café or try the Sun Hotel which prides itself on its range of local produce.

Towneley Hall

Towneley Hall - Credit: Archant

Where: Towneley Hall, Burnley

What to do: There’s a just a chance that we might need to spend a day or two indoors this autumn but you can still enjoy nature at the Wild About Burnley exhibition. This is a recently opened natural history gallery where everyone can learn more about the natural world around Burnley - from the hall’s historic wildlife collection to life on the River Calder.

Where to eat: There is a café at Towneley while Bertram’s at Woodland Spa and Roaming Roosters (lunches only) at Higham both get rave reviews.

Rufford Old Hall

Rufford Old Hall - Credit: Archant

Where: Rufford Old Hall, Rufford

What to do: It’s that time of the year when National Trust properties wind down and at weekends you can learn about preparing your own garden and house ready for winter with hints, tips and demonstrations from the experts. Rufford Old Hall, seven miles from Southport, was built in the 1530s and has strong links with William Shakespeare.

Where to eat: The tea room retains many original features including an early 19th century kitchen range. They offer a range of light meals, freshly baked scones, drinks and cakes.

Wray Castle is set in stunning grounds. Picture by The National Trust

Wray Castle is set in stunning grounds. Picture by The National Trust - Credit: The National Trust

Where: Wray Castle, near Ambleside

What to do: Go behind the scenes of this extraordinary mock-Gothic pile by joining a Hard Hat tour. You go beyond the locked doors and peek up the out of bounds staircases to explore behind the scenes at this quirky Victorian Castle. The tour involves narrow staircases and small spaces with limited headroom. Wrap up warm and take some sturdy footwear.

Where to eat: The old Drawing Room houses the Wray Castle Cafe with drinks and snacks run by the local tenants of the nearby inn, the Tower Bank Arms.


Brockholes - Credit: Archant

Where: Brockholes, Preston

What to do: This has become one of the ‘must-visit’ wildlife centres in the north and autumn is a great time to enjoy the burgeoning bird population. The Wildlife Trust Guided Walk Leaders run tours of the reserve to find out about how the complex was created, the wildlife on show and the Brockholes conservation aims. The walks will last around two hours and take place on the first Sunday in every month.

Where to eat: Homemade dishes using some of Lancashire’s finest local produce can be enjoyed on the centre’s amazing floating buildings. They do Sunday lunches too.

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