From the Highlands to Suffolk, our tipsters’ trips feature boltholes to cosy up in, plenty of culture and autumnal walks that often end in a country
Saintly progress … walkers on St Cuthbert’s Way at Eildon Hill, south of Melrose.
Saintly progress … walkers on St Cuthbert’s Way at Eildon Hill, south of Melrose. Photograph: Scottish Viewpoint/Alamy
Winning tip: St Cuthbert’s Way, Borders
October is a fabulous time for a late-season walk. Take the train to Berwick-upon-Tweed, then a bus to Melrose and spend a couple of days walking the first few legs of St Cuthbert’s Way. The trail will be almost empty, and all of the pub accommodation along the way is fantastic. Special mention to the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel (doubles from around £90 B&B), who made us a packed lunch which included a delicious scotch egg, slice of traybake and a cheese and pickle sandwich on homemade bread. Even when the weather is less than hospitable the trail is beautiful, with stretches by the Tweed, along a Roman road and over rolling hills.
The Cairngorms come alive with reds and golds in autumn, and the area around Pitlochry and Killiecrankie is especially stunning. We stayed at Atholl Palace hotel, a converted 1871 manor with beautiful gardens. For a breathtaking view over Loch Tummel, take the walk up to Queen’s View. It’s such a lovely lookout point that when Queen Victoria visited she thought it had been named in her honour (it may well have been named in honour of Isabella, Robert the Bruce’s wife hundreds of years before). Another upside to visiting these parts is that if the autumnal air has a nip in it, you can fight back with a wee nip of your own – this is whisky country and there are distilleries everywhere. Edradour (tour and tastings from £12) and Blair Athol (from £9.50) are both within walking distance, and were wonderful to visit. The town can be reached by train from Stirling, Inverness and Glasgow (one change).