The weather’s colder in October, which might put people off travelling. Don’t let it put you off: there’s still plenty to see and do, even in chilly old England. So have a read of our guide, and find out the best destinations in October, from Somerset to Mexico.
Best for British cities
Somerset really is rural England at its very best. In October, though, it gets even better, because this month is apple-picking season. The beautiful orchards and farmyards of the county are piled high with apples, and plenty of delicious West Country cider. The best place to start your journey is on the edge of the Somerset Levels, a flat area of plains and wetlands, at the small town of Highbridge. Here, you’ll find Rich’s Cider Farm, a family-run business offering a range of typical Somerset produce, including farmhouse ciders, pressed apple juice, traditional chutneys, and cheeses. Make your way down to Bridgewater, and explore a charming town filled with scenic canals and waterways, before heading towards Yeovil in the south of the county, where you’ll find an ancient market town surrounding by beautiful countryside, perfect for walking and hiking.
New Forest, England
England is beautiful in the autumn. The spectacle of nature in the waning of the year is best viewed in the New Forest, in Hampshire. Here the trees wear shrouds of gold and red, and the early morning mist lies heavy across the forest floor. Deer can be seen darting between the ancient beech and oak trees – many of which are 300 years old. During the autumn, pigs come out for their annual pannage. This tradition, dating back to the Norman Conquest, sees pigs wander the forest floor, picking up the acorns and chestnuts that have fallen from the trees. This mesmerising sight is almost unique to the New Forest, and is perfect for taking beautiful photographs. Afterwards, find a country pub in one of the many charming villages, such as Beaulieu, Lyndhurst, or Ringwood, and relax by a roaring log fire.
Best for warmer weather
Unsurprisingly, it’s usually very hot in Morocco. In October, the weather turns more agreeable, making it one of the best times to visit the country. Hot weather or not, Morocco never lacks for charm, and much of it can be found in its cultural capital, Fez. Full of exotic appeal and ancient history, it’s perfect for a relatively inexpensive culture-packed city break outside of Europe. Visit the walled, maze-like medina of Fes el Bali, home to the smelly but fascinating leather tanneries, the world’s oldest university – the University of Al Quaraouiyine – and the breathtaking 14-th century Bou Inania Madersa, a religious college full of elaborate architecture and calligraphy, and one of the best sites open to non-Muslims. Wander the bustling markets in search of local crafts, try some delicious Moroccan food, and take in the atmosphere of this wonderful city.
Athens is the cradle of Western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy. Its ancient history saw the arts, philosophy and culture flourish; the fruits of this are in evidence throughout the city, particularly at the iconic Acropolis, where the Parthenon is, the Panathenaic Stadium, where athletic contests were held in the 4th century BC, and the Agora, the ancient focal point of the city. But Athens didn’t cease to innovate after the ancients left: there is the medieval Byzantine museum, the bizarre Evzone guards who strut around Syntagma Square, and the Cine Paris, a rooftop outdoor cinema first opened in 1920. The modern city, recovering from troubled times, offers a vibrant food and drink scene, galleries, and art. The weather’s not too bad, either, with an average daytime temperature of 19.5°C; Athens is therefore ideal for an autumn break, without the expense of flying to exotic locations.
Best for October traditions
Isle of Man
Halloween is a popular tradition celebrated all over the world on 31 October. The trouble is, a lot of local traditions have been pushed aside in favour of a commercialised, American variant. But if you know where to look, you’ll still find remnants of the ancient customs that Halloween derives from. One of these, Hop-tu-Naa (pronounced ‘hop-chew-nay’) can be found celebrated in the Isle of Man. Manx National Heritage sponsors annual events across the island to help preserve the island’s unique Celtic traditions, many of which are quite recognisable. For instance, Manx children will carve faces and images into turnip lanterns and go from house to house demanding sweets. But they might also sing local songs in the Manx language, and eat the traditional dish of ‘mrastyr’ – potatoes, parsnips and fish mashed up with butter. It’s good to see these customs surviving, and it’s an excuse to visit this underappreciated island, with its attractive towns such as Douglas and Peel, and its beautiful, walkable landscapes.
Late October sees Mexico erupt in sound and colour for the Día de Muertos, the Day of the Dead. This vibrant tradition has become an international symbol of Mexico. As the name suggests, it’s associated with death: during this three day period, children will decorate altars, and people will go to graveyards to be with the souls of their departed relatives. Despite this, it’s actually a joyous, colourful occasion, and people will give out gifts of sweets in the shape of skulls and bones to their family and friends. Head to a public market to find some of these, including delicious ‘Pan de Muerto’ bread. You’ll also see parades to and from the cemeteries, and – as of 2016 – a large public parade through the centre of the city, featuring colourful costumes and skull-shaped masks. Mexico is, naturally, blessed with warm weather throughout the year. In October, an average high of 22.9°C makes it a great escape from chilly Europe.
Looking to travel on a different month?
Hinds – image by Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Cariátides – image by Guillén Pérez via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Dar el-Makhzen Mosaics – image by Anthony Tong Lee (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Folklorico Dancers – image by Mike via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
New Forest in the Auutmn – image by JackPeasePhotography via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Golden Cow – image by Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Hop-tu-naa turnip by Graham Midghall (01) – image by Culture Vannin via Flickr (public domain)
Yo dawg, we heard you like Fez so we put a fes in your Fez… – image by Zlatko Unger (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)