Embrace the outside space this autumn…


Though small space living is a fact of life for many of us, there’s a whole wide world outside. And with autumn well and truly upon us, now’s definitely the time to layer up and embrace your outside space. Mark Palmer writing for the Daily Mail (18th October) tells us where to find the best natural beauty spots right now, and the Futon Company team has selected its favourite UK days out this autumn…

Stourhead, Wiltshire
The sight of the Temple of Flora reflected in the lake on an autumn morning as dappled sunlight picks out the golds and reds is one of life’s great masterpieces, says Palmer. You won’t be alone at this National Trust treasure, but with more than 2,500 acres to explore, there’s room for everyone. The estate includes a Palladian mansion, the village of Stourton, a garden centre with an excellent cafe and shop.

Thetford Forest, Norfolk
This is the largest lowland pine forest in Britain, covering 50,000 acres, but there’s far more than pines to make it a special day out. The forest was created after World War I to provide a reserve of timber after the country had lost so many trees during the conflict.

New Forest, Hampshire
Created by William the Conqueror in 1079 for the pursuit of hunting, the forest is mainly made up of birch, beech and oak. It will make you feel as free as the ponies that roam over thousands of glorious acres. Add in a carpet of autumn leaves and this is nature at its best.

Faskally Wood, Perthshire
Perfect at any time of the year with 25 species of tree including Scots pine, silver and downy birch, ash, oak, hazel and bird cherry, but in autumn it’s ablaze with colour on the banks of Lock Dunmore within Tay Forest Park.

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire
Three cheers for Capability Brown, who designed these gardens and included copper beech roundels whose golden leaves contrast vividly with the evergreens. Some of the oaks are medieval and are at their best as they shed their plumage. Discover the field maple, a small tree whose leaves turn yellow in autumn and are symmetrical and pointed.

Belsay Hall, Northumberland
The large beech trees shower their leaves to make a golden carpet on the quarry floor. The quarry itself was formed when Sir Charles Mock designed the house in 1807 as an elegant classical Greek revival villa. Exotic trees mingle with stalwarts and everywhere you look there is red, yellow and orange foliage.

Forest of Dean, Monmouthshire
One of the few ancient forests left in the UK, the Forest of Dean runs across the border of England and Wales. Alive with colour in the autumn months from oak, beech, sweet chestnut and larch, the only coniferous tree to lose its needles.