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England in October

Because of various time restraints the only month we can all go (three people) to England is October. I'm interested in people's thoughts about going to England at that time of year. I expect that on the pro side will be fewer tourists, but does that get out weighed by the dubious weather and late fall landscape vs spring or fall. This is a dream vacation for my sister who has never been to Europe and I'm feeling the planning pressure.
Thanks for your help.

Posted by
3029 posts

It's been our experience that dubious weather can happen anywhere, anytime. We were in England (specifically London and Brands Hatch) from October 15 to October 22 in 2009. The weather was what you would expect, but it wasn't so bad as to ruin the trip. The only thing I missed was that the Globe Theatre was closed for the season, so we couldn't see a play there. I did go on a tour of the facility and that was great. If you intend to go to Scotland or Ireland later in October, like we did, the weather will be a bit worse, and the days shorter, of course.

Posted by
1068 posts

I love England in the fall! Not just that there are fewer tourists (although there are) but that the weather seems so much more "atmospheric," if you know what I mean. Perfect blue skies and relentless pounding sun may be some folks' cup of tea, but a few light clouds and some shifting patterns of light just seem more "English" to me. I honestly don't associate England with beach weather. :-) Bonus? That layered, gentle light makes for FAR more interesting travel photographs. And if it's cool you won't work up as much of a sweat pounding over the cobbles. And a little drizzle, even, and scudding clouds is ROMANTIC, especially in the UK! Where are you thinking of going within England? If you are going to cities, and planning mostly indoor activities, I wouldn't think there would be any concern at all over weather. Use a brelly if needed when walking from bus or tube to museum. If you are planning countryside jaunts, check the extended forecast just before you leave, pack and dress for the weather, wear shoes that won't let your feet get wet, and then enjoy the amazing beauty of the UK in the fall!!!

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you both for the encouragement. Our time will be split between London and then the countryside. Our Mom and her family was from London so we will be spending some time there, doing some of the usual sites but also going to Fulham where she last lived before moving to Canada. After that we will spend some time touring and I'm leaning towards the Lake District but open to suggestions. We don't want to spend our time in a car so I'm seriously considering securing a self catering in a village somewhere that is central to an interesting area (aren't they all in Europe?) . If anyone has done that and found a good spot I'd love some ideas. Basically what would suit would be a region where an hour or so drive in most directions would be a good days exploring. Because we are three people (couple plus a sister) accommodation is tricky and I'm thinking self catering for part of the time will be cheaper and afford some personal space. Thoughts?

Posted by
3882 posts

Self catering is a good way to go for three adults who need some space, and can cost less than hotel rooms and eating out every meal. But you may have to set it up too far in advance to have a good fix on the local weather forecast. I haven't been in the Lake District in the fall, but rain and wind definitely put a damper on our spring visit a few years back. We had a good time and did what we could, but if we'd had more flexibility we might have gone elsewhere (like a city) when we saw the forecast a few days before. If you can be flexible about accommodations, you might do better to watch the forecast late in your London stay, and take it into account in planning your next stop(s). B&Bs often have shared living rooms for guests, which would let you spread out somewhat. In October I doubt if you'd have trouble finding a B&B or hotel anywhere. That said, I'd echo the previous poster's comment about conditions in general. Fall can be a great time in the UK and relentless sunshine isn't necessarily a blessing. Have a good trip.

Posted by
56 posts

England in the fall can be the best time to go the trees are all changing colour to beautiful reds, yellows orange etc.... think of a lovely warm roaring fire in a country pub - fantastic etc....I suppose it depends where you would like to go to...if heaven forbid you do the normal crazy tourist thing of just visiting London the weather doesn't really matter...let me know where your thinking of going and I can give you some tips or if you don't know where to go perhaps I can suggest places?

Posted by
983 posts

The Lake District is not where I would go in October as the scenery can quickly loose charm in the damp weather. It is a tourist area with higher prices and less local charm than the Cotswalds. Jane Austen Territory around Bath has lots of real and interesting places to see and things to do and the weather can be still OK in October. I would reccomend a week in London and environs. There is always something worthwhile to see and do. This will not be enough time there. Find a B & B or Flat with a weekly rate. If you have lots of time take the train to Paris for an overnight. Your sister will be thrilled.

Posted by
4848 posts

As the commercial says "You can't fool Mother Nature." Why worry about something that you have absolutely NO control over. I'm back in London late October, early November. Packing layers and hoping for good weather but won't be disappointed if it isn't. It's London. Fabulous city. Museums and galleries will still be free. Restaurants and pubs will still be serving food. Can it be grey? Yes. Can there be blue skies? Yes. Might there be rain? Yes. Does the Euro Star still travel to Paris? Yes. Will the Globe be closed? Yes but the rest of theatre offerings will be in full swing. Rent an apartment. Go.

Posted by
714 posts

Bath is a great option as it is easy to visit places such as Stonehenge, Bristol, Avebury, Salisbury etc. from there. And lots of B & B's in the area. Also check out the National Trust website www.nationaltrustcottages.co.uk. The National Trust own many major sites in the UK (including, for example, Avebury stone circle) and let out cottages and houses on the properties. I have heard glowing reports from a friend who has used them and their prices are comparable to other holiday lets. You might also want to consider heading further west into Devon and Cornwall, the weather is traditionally milder (think Vancouver Island type weather!) - spectacular scenery and lots of interesting places to visit. I think the weather is likely to be better in October than in the spring - they were still having snow in April in parts of southern England!

Posted by
56 posts

Not sure why Claudia seems to think the lakes isn't somewhere to go in October. I live near there and I can tell you Langdale on a sunny October day is comparable to New England in the fall the colours are beautiful. The hills have a charm all of their own and the great thing no tourists...it's quiet and so no waiting in queues no hussle and bussle its just lovely and peaceful.

Posted by
3696 posts

I have been to England a number of times in Nov, Dec. and once in June... my favorite time is definitely the late fall. Kira's description is spot on. I am a photographer and agree with her completely. The lower light level and beige tones of the dried flowers is absolutely beautiful. I love popping into a café for a cream tea... and again the lack of hordes of tourists is a real bonus. I would choose to spend most of my time in the Cotswolds, as I love it there, but also have been to Robin Hood's Bay and Whitby during that time.
Just be prepared for any weather and you should have a great time. Also went to a beach in Wales and had a nice, warm day to wander a virtually empty seashore, but there was a 'chippy' open and we had great fish. Kind of nostalgic feeling at that time of year and it makes me feel much more in touch with the country.

Posted by
9110 posts

I think that the Globe has tours all year and that the performances continue into some part of October. Weather is anecdotal and something you live with. A couple of years back I fought iced roads coming out of northern Wales to about as far as Swindon or so - - that would have been late October or early November. Last year I was a prisoner in London with a couple of runts in early November - - I can remember that they wore jackets some days, but not all, and I can't remember that they needed a rain jacket but once. I can clearly remember them at the Kensington playground in short sleeves eating ice cream. I can also remember that their jackets spend more time in the daypack than out of it. I can also remember one year at about the same time having to bust ice off of the rudder linkage in the morning to get a narrowboat moving in the morning in the Midlands. As far as picks go, it'd have to be a wedding or a funeral to get me into the tourist mess of London and southern England in the summer. I did it that way too many times - - no more.

Posted by
837 posts

You have had a lot of comments regarding the weather. I will comment on location. Yes, spend a good bit of time in London, I would say a minimum of 4-5 days. For a second location, I would choose something in the Cotswolds area. The Cotswolds itself is nice. Other places within reasonable drives: Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Blenheim Palace, Oxford, Coventry, Warwick and Kenilworth castles, and even southern Wales and Bath. The Lake Districe, while wonderful, is near pretty much nothing. Southeastern England also offers quite a bit: Dover, Canterbury, Hastings/Battle, Brighton, Beachy Head, and Arundel Castle.

Posted by
5 posts

Ok, I'm sold, the Cotswolds look lovely and there seem to be plenty of options for self catering. I would love the Cornwall area too, was there many years ago and it is fantastic too but you can't do it all. We do plan on 4 or 5 days in London. As I said this is first UK trip for my sister and she is wanting to feel the essence of where our Mother was born and lived before moving to Canada (war bride so many years ago). We do also plan a couple of days in Paris. The plan is to fly into London and fly out of Paris. As far as London goes, I am finding the districts confusing to choose from. What area offers more reasonable pricing and still central enough that we don't spend too much time getting to places.
And if anyone has specific hotels or B&B's they have been happy with I'd be happy to hear about them. Many thanks to all for the suggestions.

Posted by
56 posts

Sorry Claudia I mentioned your name....Totally my mistake and I apologise, I meant someone else. Apologies...

Posted by
979 posts

I don't often take exception but Kathleen really? I live in Arlington and to say The Lakes District loses is charm in damp weather is like saying Camano Island loses it's charm in damp weather.
I love England in October ( and in all the other months) and my next trip when I and a friend are walking the Cotswolds Way will be in October.

Posted by
983 posts

I was trying to be polite about the Lake District...which I found to be not as compelling as the Cotswolds, The New Forest, Wales or the Midlands which have many more things to see and do and are more easily accessed. So unless you are on your way to Scotland they are way out of the way. Go to the Lake District when the Daffodils are in Bloom.