Autumn is one of the best times to get outside in the UK. Fields and forests come alive in bursts of amber, ochre and lemon, and the more-than-lingering chill in the air is — to some — a welcome reprieve from summer’s thick heat. Better yet is combining a day working up your appetite among the colours with a brilliant roast. Below, we’ve chosen six such rambles, all of which end in a sublime Sunday lunch.
Hampstead Heath to The Bull & Bush, London
The ramble: Serving up 791 acres of evidence that there are wild spaces in London, Hampstead Heath is especially magical in autumn. Opt for the full six-mile stretch around its perimeter, passing by wild swimming ponds crowned with giant amber-coloured trees and a panoramic view of the city from the crest of Parliament Hill.
The roast: This well-heeled gastropub is just a few steps from the Heath’s wild environs. Leather armchairs abound, as do outdoor courtyard tables, should the weather hold. Bacon-wrapped stuffing graces the plates of each lunch, and they’ve swapped the traditional vegetarian nut roast for a wintry fig and dolcelatte edition — all served with fluffy roast potatoes and bottomless gravy.
6 miles / 9.7km. Allow 3 hours.
The Bull & Bush, N End Way, London NW3 7HE
Symonds Yat to Ye Olde Ferrie, Herefordshire
The ramble: Start and finish this 10km stroll at the car park of Ye Olde Ferrie Inn — a 14th-century pub that still operates a hand-hauled ferry across the neighbouring River Wye. The trail heads east along the riverbank, cutting through caves and rambling up cliffs. Make sure to keep an eye out for the red house from Netflix’s Sex Education that guards the burnt-orange trees tumbling down the hillside.
The roast: There’s been a pub on this spot for well over 500 years, and today’s version is rife with flagstones, oak beams and crackling log fires. On Sunday from October, you can load up your oak tables with a traditional roast, washed down with a locally produced cider, if you like.
5.9 miles / 9.5km. Allow 2-3 hours. Full OS route here.
Ferrie Ln, Symonds Yat, West, Ross-on-Wye HR9 6BL
Leafield to The Swan Inn, Cotswolds
The ramble: This quick jaunt is a great introduction to The Wychwood Way, a circular route that passes through medieval hunting forests and several of The Cotswolds’ delightful villages. This particular 3-mile slice passes thatched cottages and rambles over fields in one of the most glorious, yet lesser-known, parts of the Oxfordshire countryside.
The roast: Locals have been propping up the bar at this family-owned pub since the 14th century, but the Sunday menu mingles traditional options (roast topside of beef, we’re looking at you) with more modern flavours like a Moroccan lamb tagine, served with sauteed mangetout.
3 miles / 4.9km. Allow 1–2 hours.
4 Shipton Rd, Chipping Norton OX7 6AY
Dovedale to The George, Peak District
The ramble: You might recognise the stepping stones at the start of this pretty Peak District walk; they’re one of the most photographed spots in the region. It’s not an arduous trek, but it does pack a scenic punch with limestone crags, heather-brushed hills and the chocolate box town of Ilam.
The roast: A 10-minute drive north of Dovedale is The George in Alstonfield. As well as boasting spots in the Michelin, Sawdays and Good Food guides, the roast on offer here is a masterclass in locally-sourced excellence. Menus change seasonally, but you can expect a three-course extravaganza including pork, beef and the occasional whole roast partridge…
5.8 miles / 9.3km. Allow 3-4 hours. Full route here.
1 Church Lane, Alstonefield, Ashbourne DE6 2FX
Source: Country Living
Richmond Park to The White Cross, London
The ramble: To some, Richmond Park is considered the autumnal spot in the capital. In fact, there are so many different shades to see that the park has produced a guide to the leaf colours in its 40-acre Isabella Plantation. Take the Tamsin Trail in the morning to see the misty fog interspersed with beams of sunlight and the occasional deer antler.
The roast: The White Cross is a Richmond institution, with punters flocking here for a top-quality roast since it opened in the 18th century. Pick between chicken, beef or a veggie wellington — they all come with fluffy-yet-crisp Yorkshire Puddings — and then sink into your leather chair of choice. Bliss.
7.35 miles / 11.8km. Allow 4-5 hours. Full route here.
Riverside House, Water Ln, Richmond TW9 1TH
Buttermere Lake to The Bridge Inn
The ramble: The reward to effort ratio is high at this wander around the edge of one of the Lake District’s prettiest pools. It takes around three hours to circle Buttermere Lake, and the terrain is easy — as well as offering delectable views over the region’s famously beautiful hills. If you head anti-clockwise, you’ll finish your route by passing through a tunnel hand-carved in the 19th century.
The roast: On a warm day (for autumn, anyway), bundle yourself in your thickest coat and take a seat outside The Bridge Inn; the views are breathtaking and even better with a pint of locally-brewed Bridge Inn Blonde. Roast-wise, you can match your portion size to your appetite, and locally sourced meats are the standard — as are massive, crispy roasties.
4.5 miles / 7km. Allow 7km. Full route here.
Lake District National Park, Buttermere The English CA13 9UZ
Source: The Bridge Inn
Source: The Bridge Inn
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