Lady Mary's Walk, Perthshire

Autumn in Scotland is a truly spectacular time to visit. Whether it's just a weekend away, a long weekend trip or a mini break that you are after, it's a fantastic season to enjoy the landscape's natural splendour, recharge your batteries and sample the rich offerings of culture, events, and food and drink.

Here are just five ideas for a break in Scotland this autumn:

Best for

Anyone who just can't get enough of the golds, reds, burnt oranges and yellows that the changing season brings.

Things to do

No region wears autumn quite as well as Perthshire. Known as 'Big Tree Country', the landscape is transformed as summer slips and the foliage changes colour. This region has plenty of fantastic walks for all abilities where you can admire the bold auburn woodland scenes, including The Hermitage near Dunkeld and Loch Tummel, west of Pitlochry.

Explore the much-loved Lady Mary's Walk along the River Earn and pop into the Glenturret Distillery along the way for a tour and a nip of Famous Grouse whisky. You could also climb to the top of the Knock of Crieff and enjoy staggeringly beautiful views of Strathearn.

From Comrie, the wooded path along the River Lednock will take you to the cascading Deil's Cauldron, an impressive waterfall. It's a great circular walk, which also takes in the Melville Monument, an obelisk sitting atop Dunmore hill.

Join in with the Drovers' Tryst Walking Festival (7 - 14 October) and take part in organised walks throughout the scenic countryside surrounding Crieff and Strathearn. Plus, there are sociable events on the programme including a ceilidh, talks and storytelling. Or, catch the night-time light spectacular of the Enchanted Forest in Faskally Wood.

Stay

Crieff and Strathearn have a wide variety of accommodation, from the family-friendly resort hotel of Crieff Hydro, to charming stone cottages and wooden lodges dotted around the area's towns and villages. Find accommodation in the Crieff area.

Eating out

Crieff boasts a great selection of eateries serving tasty dishes, including the taste bud-tempting Delivino Wine Café and the French-inspired cuisines of Yann's and Pura Maison. Find more places to eat.

Getting there

Crieff is only a 40 minute drive from Perth, an hour's drive from Glasgow or a 1 hour 30 minute drive from Edinburgh.

Best for

Enthusiasts of brewed beverages looking to taste their way around a region.

Things to do

You are never far from a decent pint in the Scottish Borders - it's an area that's home to a scattering of breweries and some fantastic country pubs.

In Kelso, pop into Rutherfords, Scotland's first micropub, which specialises in well-kept craft ales, or the Tempest Brewing Co. Brewery Tap, The Cobbles. Before you leave, stop by BeerCraft, an independent artisan bottle shop.

Not only is it Scotland's oldest inhabited house, Traquair House also has a subterranean brewery which lies underneath its chapel. The Laird of Traquair, Peter Stuart Maxwell, began brewing in the forgotten brewery in the 1960s. Or, head to the Ancrum Cross Keys Inn to sample the beers made by Born in the Borders Brewery.

This autumn, you can enjoy a Bavarian-inspired event in the Scottish Borders in a Galashiels Brewery. Tempest Brewing Co. is holding an Oktoberfest offering on 30 September, a day which promises fresh beer, music, yummy street food and behind-the-scenes tours.

Stay

The Scottish Borders has a range of great places for the beer lover, including some lovely country inns. Or, book a room at Peebles Hydro, home to the recently-established Freewheelin' Brewery. Find accommodation in the Scottish Borders.

Eating out

There are some fantastic places to dine across the region, but real foodies will love the fine dining experience of the Horseshoe Inn, or discover other great places to eat.

Getting there

From Edinburgh, you can take the Borders Railway, which runs to Tweedbank, or if traveling by car, the Scottish Borders is 1 hour 30 minutes from Glasgow, and 1 hour from Edinburgh and is easily accessible from England.

Best for

Those who love to explore a city's built heritage and immerse themselves in tales and rituals from the past.

Things to do

In the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, we celebrate more than just what's written in the history books. Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, filled with fantastic historic attractions, from the iconic Edinburgh Castle to the volcanic plug of Arthur's Seat.

Autumn is a wonderful time to discover the capital's built heritage too. Wander the streets of the Old and New Towns. Get off the beaten track and discover the pretty Dean Village, a waterside settlement which wouldn't look out of place in a fairy tale, and then stroll to the Royal Botanic Garden to enjoy splendid colourful berries and reddish leaves amongst the plant life.

Visit between 20 - 31 October and experience 12 days of storytelling when the Scottish International Storytelling Festival takes place. Oral traditions come to life with a variety of events held at great venues across the city, from castles to secret urban gardens.

On 31 October, witness the red-hot spectacle of ancient Celtic ritual at the Samhuinn Fire Festival in the Old Town. As night falls, dazzling costumed performers dance against a backdrop of flaming props, playing out a story which tells the tale of the changing seasons.

Stay

Edinburgh has every type of holiday accommodation you can imagine, some of which is set in impressive historic buildings. If you're looking for something luxurious, consider The Witchery, an opulent, gothic boutique hotel located at the top of the Royal Mile. Find more accommodation in Edinburgh.

Eating out

Scotland's capital is not short of fantastic dining options. For atmospheric dining and drinking by candlelight, check out the Devil's Advocate, hidden down an old wynd off the Royal Mile, or discover the Sheep Heid Inn, which dates back to the 14th century. Find more places to eat.

Getting there

Whether you are travelling by train, plane or coach, Edinburgh is well connected to the main transport hubs across Britain, as well as being easily accessible by road.

Best for

Those who love to explore the great outdoors, get off the beaten track and see art and nature collide.

Things to do

With miles of luscious countryside, verdant forests and undulating coastline, Dumfries & Galloway has a natural landscape which inspires creativity. Take in this region in autumn and visit some of its outdoor artworks.

The Striding Arches by Andy Goldsworthy are site-specific arched sculptures of sandstone located round Cairnhead which are bound to make an impression. Situated in the open country and on hillsides, some of them require a fairly demanding walk and are perfect for keen ramblers, so pack a picnic and a flask of tea before you set off.

Landscaping and the cosmos are not something you would think come hand-in-hand, but Crawick Multiverse is a unique art land. Designed by Charles Jencks, it features striking stone sculptures and represents ideas around space, astronomy and cosmology.

From Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre in the Galloway Forest Park, you can experience two of the Rosnes Benches. The vision of environmental artists Dalziel + Scullion, these installations encourage you to enjoy nature from a lesser-seen perspective. Another of the walks from Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre takes in Matt Baker's Quoram, a series of curious heads carved into granite and positioned on drystone walls.

Not all of the greatest works were created by man - while in the area, take the chance to see the universe's most remarkable tapestry and admire the wonders of the sky at night. Head to the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory in nearby Dalmellington, not far from Ayr (best to book in advance). It is set in the Galloway Forest Park, the UK's First Dark Sky Park, where you can see thousands of twinkling stars and constellations - even without the use of a telescope!

Stay

The area has lots of charming, quiet villages, including Sanquhar and Thornhill. Newark Farmhouse B&B near Sanquhar is an ideal place to enjoy an authentic taste of countryside living, or art lovers will love Afton B&B and Art Gallery. Find more accommodation in Dumfries & Galloway.

Eating out

If looking for a tasty lunch, consider popping into Café @ A' the Airts in Sanquhar for home baking and filling sarnies, or for a more formal dining experience, book a table at Blackaddie House Hotel. Find more places to eat.

Getting there

This part of Dumfries & Galloway is easy to get to. By car, it's an hour from Glasgow, 1 hour 40 minutes from Edinburgh and only 1 hour 20 minutes from Carlisle.

Best for

Outdoor enthusiasts who love the idea of a peaceful island break and seeing one of nature's finest spectacles.

Things to do

One of the four Small Isles, diamond-shaped Rum lies off southern end of Skye. It's a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and is home to some 900 red deer. In the autumn months, you can see - and hear - the stags as they rut during mating season. Watching the males lock antlers as they battle for the right to breed with the females is a tense, gripping sight for spectators to behold.

For keen walkers, the island offers some of the most incredible wild and rugged landscapes. Spot red deer in the north of the island as you follow the Kilmory Bay walk. Seasoned climbers can traverse the Rum Cuillin, which involves a bit of scrambling and takes in two Corbetts and a Graham.

You could take in the island's track roads on two wheels and hire a bike. The cycle to Harris Bay passes by the Bullough mausoleum and the scattered remnants of abandoned farmhouses, and affords outstanding views up the vast Atlantic Corrie to the serrated Rum Cuillin ridge. Whether you walk or cycle, look out for charming Rum ponies and goats as you explore.

Before the end of October, tours of Kinloch Castle, a striking building of red sandstone and once-opulent interiors, are available. Built in the late 1800s, this grand Edwardian home was used as a hunting lodge and today stands as a fascinating place which time has forgotten.

Stay

For those who like their home comforts, reserve a room at Ivy Cottage B&B, or book into the stunning new bunkhouse. At Kinloch Village Campsite, there are two basic camping cabins to hire, or stay at the gorgeous, fairytale-like BBQ bothy. Find more about places to stay on Rum.

Eating out

The Isle of Rum Teashop offers a mouth-watering selection of goodies and freshly prepared soups, sandwiches and more. Tasty evening meals are available if booked in advance.

Getting there

From the port of Mallaig in the west Highlands, there are several sailings to Rum and the other Small Isles throughout the week with Caledonian MacBrayne. To get to Mallaig, follow the Road to the Isles from Fort William, one of Scotland's most scenic driving routes. You could have an island hopping adventure and include a visit to Rum as part of trip to the nearby Isle of Skye, or explore more of the Small Isles.

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