Crisp, crimson leaves. Twists of mist curling through the chilled air. And you, crunching along one of the UK’s most scenic autumn walks, led along by the knowledge that a steaming platter of roast potatoes is waiting at the finish line.
Yes, ‘tis the season for walking and eating – or, as we like to say, rambling and roasting. So, from Scotland to Somerset, here are some of Britain’s best country walks that finish at some of its best country pubs.
Symonds Yat to Ye Olde Ferrie Inn, Ross-on-Wye
Symonds Yat to Ye Olde Ferrie Inn, Ross-on-Wye 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 – keep an eye out for the red house from Netflix’s Sex Education that guards the burnt-orange trees tumbling down the hillside.
Route length: 7.35 miles / 11.8 km. Allow 4-5 hours
The roast: There’s been a pub on this spot for well over 500 years, and today’s Ye Olde Ferrie Inn is still filled with flagstones, oak beams and crackling log fires. And on Sundays from October, you can load up your oak tables with a traditional roast locally produced cider.
New Rd, Zeals, Warminster, BA12 6NJ
Richmond Park to Scott’s Richmond, London
The ramble: Richmond Park and autumn are practically synonymous. In fact, there are so many different shades to see this season that the park has produced a guide to the leaf colours in its 40-acre Isabella Plantation. Take the Tamsin Trail sometime before midday to see the morning veil of fog interspersed with beams of sunlight and the occasional deer antler.
Route length: 7.35 miles / 11.8 km. Allow 4-5 hours. Full route here.
The roast: Although Scott’s lacks a Sunday-specific menu, you can still get your roast fix from its regular à la carte – e.g., roast chicken with miso butter sauce or a rump of Somerset lamb. Make sure to ask for a terrace seat for views over the Richmond riverside if the weather’s up for it – and champagne and a dozen oysters, if you are.
4 Whittaker Ave, Richmond, TW9 1EH
Barnsley House to The Boot, Barnsley
The ramble: The reward-to-effort ratio is high at this wander around a pretty little Cotswolds village. You’ll start and end at Barnsley House – a countrified hotel with a great spa – with the route taking you around its extensive grounds and surrounding villages. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could tackle the 16 km round trip to Bibury and back.
Route length: 2 miles / 3.2 km. Allow one hour. Full route here.
The roast: Locals have been propping up the bar at The Boot since the last Charles was on the throne. However, interiors brand Timothy Oulton (also behind the Chelsea Pig in London) has recently reimagined it and installed a brand-new kitchen team. The result? Cosy chic surroundings and brilliant food – including its Sunday lunch, which features all the classics as well as The Boot’s signature beef wellington for two to share.
The Boot, Barnsley, Cirencester, GL7 5EF
Alfred’s Tower walk to The Bell & Crown, Somerset
The ramble: The gardens at Stourhead House were designed by a man known as ‘Henry the magnificent’. So, it follows that they’re pretty spectacular – and especially in autumn. Littered amongst the 2,650 acres are classical temples, a pantheon, and a grotto stuffed with classical-style sculptures – see it all on a one- to two-hour walk around the lake.
Route length: 2.2 miles / 3.5 km. Allow 90 minutes. Full details here.
The roast: This well-heeled gastropub is just a five-minute drive from Stourhead House, making it a popular pitstop for ramblers. It’s all hop garlands over fireplaces and candles dripping onto rickety tables, but the food is surprisingly polished – especially the roasts. Beef, lamb, and pork are piled high with all the trimmings – including cheesy leeks and Yorkshire puds – and you can wash it all down with a locally brewed beer.
New Rd, Zeals, Warminster, BA12 6NJ
The Devonshire Arms to Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
The ramble: Wild, wuthering, wooded. The Peak District attracts hikers like moths to a flame – or National Trust fans to Chatsworth House. On this ramble, you’ve got the joy of exploring them both – either through the park to Chatsworth or up to a Bronze Age burial memorial on Beeley Moore. Your base? The Devonshire Arms – a pretty pub owned by the Chatsworth Estate.
Route length: 4 miles / 6 km. Allow up to three hours. Route options here.
The roast: As an 18th-century coaching inn, The Devonshire Arms doesn’t have the pizazz of a five-star hotel – but it more than makes up for it with soul. Its main bar still has that lovely country pub feel to it, but the brasserie feels completely contemporary – and this is where your roast is served. The Sunday menu mainly uses Chatsworth Farm and other local suppliers, and there are over 30 gins available, too.
Devonshire Square, Beeley, Matlock, DE4 2NZ
A ramble around The Fife Arms, Scotland
The ramble: If you’ve made the trek to The Fife Arms, you’ve already signed up for a countrified weekend of foraging, tartan-making, and fishing. So, it’s no surprise that the walks are also sublime. Whether you ramble alone or join a guided hike from the hotel, you don’t need to go far to be completely surrounded by the Cairngorms National Park: tufted trees, gushing rivers, and the occasional call of a golden eagle.
Route length: Up to 3 miles / 4.8 km. Allow two hours. Ask the hotel for full route details.
The roast: The Fife Arms may be known for its mischievous décor (see the life-sized Queen Victoria waxwork as an example), but it takes food seriously. Sunday lunch is a wood-fired affair, preceded by a haddock scotch egg or duck liver mousse and accompanied by smoky veg and all the expected trimmings. Room for dessert? Try the pine-infused chocolate.
Mar Rd, Braemar, Ballater, AB35 5YN
The Angel at Hetton to Rylstone Cross, North Yorkshire
The ramble: From the top of Rylstone Cross, you can see all the way over the rocky heathland of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s a view that once inspired a Wordsworth poem – and marks the mid-point of your eight-mile walk from Hetton. The trail is steep in places and can be very windy at the top, but the walk is lovely – and the views even better.
Route length: 7.5 miles / 12 km. Allow three hours. Ask The Angel for full route details.
The roast: Now for the real reason you came to this area: The Angel at Hetton’s Sunday lunch. We advise doing the walk first, as come 2pm, chef patron Michael Wignall will serve a full five courses of snacks, scallops, bread, potatoes, and your choice of meat – all plated perfectly in a manner worthy of its Michelin-starred status.
Back Ln, Hetton, Skipton, BD23 6LT
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