Six ways to make the most of the great outdoors this autumn

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Six ways to make the most of the great outdoors this autumn

Despite the cooler weather and darker evenings, there are still lots of incredible experiences we can still have in the great outdoors.

Spending time outdoors boosts both your physical and mental health. Research from mental health charity Mind shows that being in nature improves your mood and self-esteem and reduces anxiety and stress1. Plus, being active outside, even if it's just walking, makes you physically fitter too.

So, pull on your wellies or walking boots, throw on a cosy puffer jacket, don a scarf and hat, grab a flask of hot chocolate and take your pick from these inspiring ways to make the most of our beautiful autumn and winter scenery.

Enjoy nature's fantastic show of colour

Head to your local park or nearest woodland and delight in the spectacular seasonal display as the leaves on the trees turn from green to red, copper and gold and then fall to create a delightfully crunchy carpet underfoot. Or why not bring along a bike to enjoy the woods from a different perspective.

Head for the coast

Beaches aren't just for the summer. Wherever you live in the UK, you are never more than 70 miles from our fantastic coast line2. Our beaches are beautiful bathed in golden wintery sunshine and at this time of year they're unlikely to be too crowded. Walk through sand dunes, collect shells, fly a kite, skim stones into the sea, build sandcastles, enjoy a game of footie or take your shoes off, roll up your trousers and brave a paddle.

Right now, our home energy customers could win the chance to enjoy a Fresh Air Getaway in one of nine staycation destinations – including Cornwall at The Shipwreck, an ocean-front luxury property built entirely from the washed-up timber of a cargo ship, by entering our weekly Fresh Air Getaways prize draw.

Become an amateur tree sleuth

Use one of the many free plant and tree identifying apps, such as the Woodland Trust's Tree ID App, to discover the names and characteristics of the trees and plants around where you live and learn to identify them by sight.

Get creative with nature's autumnal bounty

Stand at the foot of a horse chestnut tree and search out their spiky seed pods, stamp on them to reveal the shiny conkers within and collect a few for stringing up for an age-old game of conkers. Gather pine cones to use in a table centrepiece or festive wreath. Collect sticks from the forest floor and build a den with your kids.

And, following the first frost, pick the plump purple sloe berries off the blackthorn bush to make sloe gin that will be ready in time for Christmas.

Go on a wildlife safari

You don't need to go all the way to Africa to see incredible animals and birds up close. You can spot fantastic wildlife right here on your doorstep. Britain's waters are home to 40% of the world's Atlantic grey seals, for example, and the best time to spot them on the beach or close to the shore is between October and December, when they come inland to have their pups3.

Dolphins, porpoises and whales also hang around the UK coastline. While deer roam wild in our forests and small muntjac deer are a common site in the rural areas surrounding towns and cities. September to November is deer-rutting season when the male deer lock antlers as they fight over female deer. You can even go on a deer rut ramble at National Trust properties around the UK4.

Or if you want a more exotic experience, consider Leopard Creek at Port Lympne Reserve – one of the staycations up for grabs in our Fresh Air Getaways prize draw. Here you could go on an exclusive safari with the chance to meet and greet giraffes and rhinos. 

Start messing about on the river

Rivers and canals crisscross the UK and lakes dot the country. Many of these beautiful waterways offer year-round boat hire. Row a boat out on a lake, learn to steer a canal boat through locks or get behind the wheel of a motorboat.

If you fancy making a weekend of it, and braving the cooler water temperatures, at the Another Place hotel in the Lake District a private tutor will teach you how to expertly kayak around the lakes, while at the Lighthouse Cottage on the Isle of Skye you can enjoy a group kayaking experience. You can enter to win a luxury holiday at these venues with our Fresh Air Getaway prize draw.

So what are you waiting for? From beautiful beachside hideaways to a Highland retreat, enter once to be automatically entered into each weekly prize draw for your chance to win a staycation at a stylish hotel or holiday home across the UK. And what’s even better, you’d have 12 months from winning to go on your perfect Fresh Air Getaway.


1. Mind: Nature and Mental Health

2. Nearest beach: About nearest beach

3. The Wildlife Trusts: Where to see seal pups 

4. National Trust: Deer rut rambles