Summer might already seem a distant memory, but don’t go into winter hibernation mode just yet. To coincide with the season of leaf peeping, some of the best gardens at Bristol attractions are hosting tours, trails and workshops to entice you outside. Ideal for keen gardeners, nature seekers or even foodies who fancy a garden-to-plate meal, discover this autumn’s unmissable garden events.

  • Search for more autumn events on our What’s On listings.

Bristol Zoo Gardens 

On Sunday 20 October set off on a birdwatching outing from Bristol Zoo Gardens to the nearby Downs with expert naturalist and birder Ed Drewitt. He will teach you how to identify both resident and over-wintering birds you're likely to see and hear in the area during autumn. 

Bristol Zoo Gardens

Image credit: Bristol Zoo Gardens

Tyntesfield

Between 21 September and 17 November Tyntesfield invite you to explore their Golden Tree Walks. These are four different routes that lead you around some of the best autumnal scenes on the estate grounds, lined with rare trees in gorgeous golden hues. The walks are self-guided – collect your free map from the ticket office.

If you’re inspired to get creative at this time of year, then Tyntesfield’s Autumn Sketching Tour on 24 September is another date to add to your diary. Working with watercolour, Gemma from Green Fox workshops will show you how to capture the trees and create texture and depth.

Autumn leaves on grass at Tyntesfield

Image credit: Chris Watts 

Thornbury Castle

Spend an afternoon getting to know the pretty Tudor walled gardens at Thornbury Castle, a luxury castle hotel once owned by Henry VIII. Their Meet the Gardener event is on 25 September and will be led by Head Gardener Katie, who will share her unmatched insight into the gardens. Even better, the tour is followed by one of the castle’s show-stopping afternoon teas.

Gardens at Thornbury Castle

Image credit: Thornbury Castle

Sudeley Castle

The Autumn Wildlife Trail at Sudeley Castle runs from 1 September to 26 October and promises a brilliant day out for budding wildlife enthusiasts. A wildlife footprint trail has been created for the kids to follow, introducing them to creatures of the countryside along the way. Adults will be equally impressed by the oranges, yellows and reds that colour the gardens at this time of year. The trail is included in the price of admission and you can save 10% if you book online in advance.

Autumn trees at Sudeley Castle

Image credit: Sudeley Castle 

Bowood House & Gardens

Lord and Lady Lansdowne's historic four-acre private walled garden at Bowood House is award winning. On selected dates between 11 September and 9 October, you can have an exclusive, intimate view of its formal borders, picking garden, glass houses and kitchen garden on one of the guided tours. The tour is rounded off in the Stables Restaurant, where you’ll tuck into a two-course lunch made using ingredients picked from the garden.

As well as the tours, Bowood's autumn calendar is dotted with events in the gardens: the Crafty Gardeners' Autumn Posy Workshop (27 September); the Wiltshire Game & Country Fair (28 and 29 September), a family-friendly celebration of country sports and skills; a Willow Sculpture Workshop (11 October) and a Faux Chanel Hat Workshop with V V Rouleaux a week later. Finally, Bowood's Enchanted Autumn will run from 23 October to the 1 November, featuring a scarecrow trail through the historic arboretum. 

Autumn parkland at Bowood House & Gardens

Image credit: Anna Stowe/Bowood

Blaise Castle Museum and Estate

Bristol Open Doors is coming to Blaise Community Garden on 14 September. Hidden behind the walls of the Blaise Estate, volunteers have transformed this secret Victorian walled garden into a community kitchen garden abundant with vegetables and flowers. Drop in between 11am – 3pm for a guided tour, activities such as herb identification and herb tasting, and insight on how and why the Victorians cultivated plants.

View of Blaise Castle and grounds

Image credit: Blaise Castle

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum

Nowhere are the autumn trees more spectacular than at Westonbirt, especially in the Acer Glade and Maple Loop where you can find the fiery Japanese maple trees. The arboretum also has free, family-friendly events running that celebrate the season and encourage kids to get creative too. They can look at seeds, fungi and leaves under the microscope and make an autumn bookmark at the Discovery Sessions on 26 and 27 October, or find out why trees change colour and create some autumn-inspired art during the half-term event.   

Japanese maple leaves in autumn at Westonbirt Arboretum

Image credit: Westonbirt Arboretum 

Goldney House

There is one final chance to go on a Historic Garden Tour at Goldney House in 2019. Book in for the 15 September and see the usually closed-to-public garden, which is sheltered behind the Grade II listed Georgian house. During the tour you’ll spot a host of intriguing features, from the elaborate 18th century grotto to Corinthian columns, an orangery and a heritage orchard.  

Read more on gardens and nature in Bristol:

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