20 of the best autumn walks in East Anglia

Family Walking Along Autumn Woodland Path With Father Carrying Son On Shoulders

This month, why not venture out and explore the region on foot? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As autumn shortly draws to a close, there’s still time to make the most of this time of year and catch one final glimpse of the seasonal hues of red, orange, yellow and brown.  

Here’s our round-up of some of the best autumnal walks for you to go enjoy this season. 

Thetford Forest

Thetford Forest - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Thetford Forest 

With a whopping 18,730 acres to explore, the UK’s largest manmade lowland forest is located right here in East Anglia – and is a must-visit this autumn. Open seven days a week from dawn till dusk, this incredible natural wonder stretches across north Suffolk and south Norfolk, and is rich with flora and fauna.  

Some of the best spots worth checking out include High Lodge, Lynford Stag, and Lynford Arboretum – the latter of which is jam-packed with bird life, autumnal fungi, and a beautiful show of colour at this time of year.  

Parking is available at various locations across the forest, and is free with the exception of the High Lodge Forest Centre. 

Autumn colours in Christchurch Park

Autumn colours in Christchurch Park - Credit: Fred Ixer

Christchurch Park, Ipswich  

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Handily located in Ipswich’s town centre, this 82-acre park is one of the county’s most easily-accessible spots if you wish to take an autumnal stroll this season. 

Home to rolling lawns, wooded areas, an arboreta, and a pond, you can really get back to nature at this popular and beloved beauty spot. Be sure to keep an eye out for the oldest monument in the park – a 600-year-old ancient English yew tree situated near the Cenotaph. 

While the golden autumnal trees are the park’s star attraction at this time of year, don’t forget to marvel at architectural wonder that is Christchurch Mansion, the distinguished Tudor home that was constructed in the 16th century.  

Christchurch Park is open from 7am every day, and can be accessed via a number of entrances. There are public toilets located throughout, as well as refreshment kiosks. Parking is also available at a number of nearby public cark parks. 

Pond in Sheringham Park

Sheringham Park - Credit: David Harper

Sheringham Park 

Home to some of the best walking trails in Norfolk, explore over 1,000 acres of varied terrain this autumn at Sheringham Park. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the north Norfolk coast, you can enjoy a variety of habitats including woodland, parkland and cliff tops. Be sure to keep an eye out for three different species of deer that roam throughout, as well as a number of birds and butterflies.  

Under the care of the National Trust, Sheringham Park is open from dawn until dusk, and the on-site café is open between 10am and 4pm.  

Lose yourself in Rendlesham Forest

Lose yourself in Rendlesham Forest - Credit: iWitness/Tim Denny

Rendlesham Forest, near Woodbridge  

Dubbed ‘Britain’s Roswell’ due to its associated with UFOs and the supernatural, Suffolk’s Rendlesham Forest makes for a great day out this autumn.  

Unsurprisingly situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this mixed woodland forest stretches over 1,500 hectares and provides visitors with three different walking trails to help you explore this vast expanse.  

Why not take to the UFO trail, a three-km path that will stimulate your imagination as you venture through forests, heathlands and wetlands that are connected to the infamous 1980 UFO sightings? 

Rendlesham Forest is open 9am until 6pm every day, and parking is available on site (£3 for two hours or £5 for the whole day. There is also a family-run seasonal mobile café serving a range of hot and cold food, cakes, drinks and ice cream. 

An autumnal scenic walk through the Sandringham Estate

An autumnal scenic walk through the Sandringham Estate - Credit: Andrew Sizeland

Sandringham Park 

Best known as one of the Queen’s royal residences, Sandringham Estate is home to a park that spans across 243 hectares. Planted with a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees including Corsican and Scots pine, oak, sweet chestnut, and birch, there is plenty to cast your eyes upon this autumn.  

The park is open daily throughout the year, and there are two nature trails that will help you make the most of the stunning scenery. There are two car parks on-site – the West car park is open 8am until 6pm while the North car park is open from 6am until 9pm. Also on-site are a café, restaurant and shop.  

Looking through the trees at the National Trust area at Pin Mill Picture: MICK WEBB/IWITNESS

Pin Mill - Credit: Mick Webb/iWitness

Pin Mill, near Chelmondiston 

This hamlet on the edge of the River Orwell is one of Suffolk’s most picturesque spots – and autumn is the perfect time of year to pay it a visit.  

Pin Mill is home to various footpaths that take you through assorted heathland, wooded cliffs and the river valley - and the boats gently bobbing up and down on the calm waters make for the perfect photo opportunity.  

As you trek through the unspoilt pathways, be sure to look down at the ground as you’re bound to catch a glimpse of brightly-coloured fallen leaves, and vivid, seasonal fungi. 

And once you’ve finished, why not head towards The Butt and Oyster pub for a quick pint or a lengthy lunch? There’s nothing more autumnal than kicking back in a cosy pub as you watch the sun set early in the evening.  

Pin Mill is run by the National Trust and is open dawn until dusk. The nearest parking is at Babergh Car Park which is open between 9am and 5pm and costs 30p an hour. 

Views from Mousehold Heath

Views from Mousehold Heath - Credit: Danielle Booden

Mousehold Heath, Norwich 

Just north of Norwich city centre is Mousehold Heath, an 88 hectare area comprised of heathland, woodland and recreational open space.  

This autumn, why not pay it a visit and momentarily escape city life as you take in the stunning panoramic views? Popular with dog walkers and ramblers alike, the Mousehold Heath trail is a must-see as it allows you to explore the heathland’s geological history. 

Autumn in Dunwich

Autumn in Dunwich - Credit: Anna Moore

Dunwich Heath 

Landscapes don’t get more stunning than Dunwich Heath, and this stretch of natural beauty is a definite must-visit this autumn.  

Adjacent to RSPB Minsmere, the coastal lowland heath is home to vast swathes of hedgerows laden with berries, acorns and chestnuts, alongside spectacular fungi including bright red fly agaric toadstools and huge parasol mushrooms.  

In terms of wildlife, keep an eye out for flocks of barnacle geese returning from their daytime feeding grounds - a sure sign that autumn has arrived. Huge numbers of starlings are also known to gather on autumn evenings at this time of year. And between September and November, you might be fortunate enough to spot groups of deer on the heath as the annual deer rut is currently underway.  

Dunwich Heath is run by the National Trust and is open between dawn and dusk, while the on-site car park is open from 9am until 6pm. There is also a visitors' centre, kiosk, tea room and toilets available. 

Tyrell's Wood

Tyrell's Wood - Credit: Elizabeth Cameron

Tyrrels Wood, Pulham 

This historic Norfolk woodland is comprised of five smaller woods, and is great spot for visitors and wildlife alike this autumn.  

Somewhat off the beaten track, visitors can follow a circular route round the site, which will give you ample opportunity to take in autumnal colours, broadleaved woodland, and a variety of fungal species. Parking is available on site.  

Autumn colours at Alton Water

Autumn colours at Alton Water - Credit: Simon Page

Alton Water, Ipswich 

Open all-year round and spread across 400 acres, Alton Water near Ipswich can provide you and your family with a number of wonderful, idyllic walks this autumn – including an eight-mile ramble through patches of dense woodland that is simply spectacular at this time of year.  

The site’s three-mile nature walk has been specifically-designed to ensure visitors can take in as much of the local wildlife and scenery as possible, including ponds, bird hides, a wildflower meadow and a butterfly garden.  

Or if you want to take it easy, simply grab a bench and look over at the reservoir as the sun sets in the sky above.  

Alton Water is open between 9am and 6pm until November 1 when it is open between 9am and 4.30pm. Parking is available on-site, and costs anywhere between £1.70 for an hour, up to £6 if you wish to stay all day. A café is also available for all of your drink and snack needs. 

Gooderstone Water Gardens

Gooderstone Water Gardens - Credit: Andrew Taylor

Gooderstone Water Gardens, Gooderstone 

Just outside of King’s Lynn, this six-acre garden is one of the region’s most beautiful nature spots, and once you visit it’s not hard to see why.  

Home to a natural trout stream, four ponds, a number of waterways, thirteen bridges, colourful borders, a nature trail, and a variety of trees and shrubs, these gardens provide the perfect peaceful escape this autumn.  

It is open every day between 10.30am and 5pm, with last admission at 4pm.  

Various fungi in Brandon Country Park

Various fungi in Brandon Country Park - Credit: Andrew Mutimer

Brandon Country Park 

Situated within the iconic Thetford Forest, Brandon lies in the heart of The Brecks – a wild landscape that is comprised of moody forests, open heathlands, and stretches of pine trees. 

Straddling the Suffolk-Norfolk border, there’s over 30 acres of parkland for you to explore this autumn. Also within the park’s boundaries are a number of lawns and ponds, a historic walled garden, miles of nature trails, and a ‘haunted’ mausoleum – visit if you dare.  

Brandon Country Park is open every day from dawn until dusk and the on-site café is open for takeaway between 10am and 4.30pm. Its car park is open seven days a week from 8am until 8pm, and is £2 for up to two hours, or £3 for over two hours. 

The Silvergate stream on Blickling Estate

The Silvergate stream on Blickling Estate - Credit: PA/National Trust

Blicking Estate 

Home to a breath-taking Jacobean mansion and ancient yew hedges, Norfolk’s Blickling Estate is one of the best places in the region to see the autumnal colours this year.  

The gently undulating historic parkland can be explored on foot or bike, and with over 4,600 acres to check out, you can easily spend an entire day there. Under the care of the National Trust, it is open from dawn until dusk. 

Covehithe

Covehithe - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Covehithe beach, near Beccles 

One of the county’s most secluded coastal spots, Covehithe is perfect for an autumnal stroll this season.  

Situated to the south of Benacre Broad, this stretch of beach is backed by dramatic crumbling cliffs, and dotted along the sandy shores are sculpture-like tree trunks that once lined the cliff tops. Its secluded nature means this beach is ideal to let the family dog off the lead for a run around, and parking is available at the nearby St Andrews Church. 

Autumn comes to Holt Country Park

Autumn comes to Holt Country Park - Credit: Richard Brunton

Holt Country Park 

Set within 100 acres of mixed woodland, this north Norfolk park is open all year round – and it is especially stunning during the autumn. As you make your way around the tranquil landscape, be sure to admire the Scots pines and native broadleaves that are home to a variety of wildlife.  

Holt Country Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Entry is free, and parking is £2 for all day.  

Autumn colours at Ickworth

Autumn colours at Ickworth - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ickworth Park, near Bury St Edmunds 

With over 1,800 acres of parkland and gardens to explore, the National Trust’s Ickworth Park should definitely be on your list of places to visit this autumn.  

Discover formal gardens, rolling landscapes, expanses of woodland, and the stunning Ickworth House this season. A standout attraction within the park is the Italianate garden – one of the first of its kind in the country, it combines classic Italian garden architecture with English touches. A definite must-see. 

The best autumnal colours however can be seen as you venture down towards Mordabouy’s Cottage and then through the valley. There you will see the eye-catching, seasonal hues of Arthur’s Wood, Dairy Wood, Twist Wood and Horsepool Wood. 

Ickworth Park is open between 9am and 5pm, and there is a shop, café, and toilets on site. Entry is £10 for adults, £5 for children and £25 for families. 

Bacton Woods

Bacton Woods - Credit: citizenside.com

Bacton Wood 

Just north of North Walsham, Norfolk’s Bacton Wood is the perfect place for a walk this autumn.  

Home to over 30 species of trees including Scots and Corsican Pine, Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir and larch, you can explore these towering trees thanks to three handily marked trails throughout the wood.  

Bacton Wood is open from dawn until dusk, and free parking is located on a minor road two and a half miles north of North Walsham, off the B1159 between Bacton and North Walsham. 

The River Stour as it runs through Dedham Vale

The River Stour as it runs through Dedham Vale - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dedham Vale 

Located in the south of the county, the area affectionately-dubbed ‘Constable Country’ will provide you and your family with some of the best views around this autumn.  

Explore the area that inspired the likes of renowned artists John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough as you venture through the historic Stour Valley, where you’ll be able to see autumnal trees, Flatford Mill, Willy Lott’s House (which was the site of the Hay Wain painting), and the village of Dedham which is known for its brightly-coloured Tudor buildings. 

Boudicca Way

Boudicca Way - Credit: Archant

Boudicca Way, Norwich to Diss 

Named after the legendary Queen of the Iceni, the Boudicca Way runs for approximately 36 miles between Norwich and Diss, parallel with the old Roman ‘Pye’ Road.  

It passes through the rural, gently undulating countryside of south Norfolk and the Waveney Valley using Public Rights of Way and quiet country roads, where you can enjoy wildlife and flora. The trail also passes picturesque villages such as Shotesham, Saxlingham Nethergate and Pulham Market, allowing you to see the heart of the Norfolk countryside this autumn. 

A view from Burgh Castle

A view from Burgh Castle - Credit: James Turner

Burgh Castle 

If it’s history you’re after this autumn, then the Angles Way path at Burgh Castle is the walk for you. There’s a four-mile section of path stretching from Great Yarmouth to the Roman fort at Burgh Castle, which takes you along the southern shore of Breydon Water.  

There is a free car park nearby at Butts Lane, and just up the road is the Burgh Castle village pub, the Queen's Head. 

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