HomeToGo have released a ranking of the UK’s 50 top forests to visit this autumn Dalbeattie Forest comes in 9th position and Mabie Forest is 11th.
Using exclusive price and inventory data, alongside insights as to hectares covered, autumnal hours of sunshine, average rainfall, and under-the-radar status, HomeToGo has unearthed and evaluated the 50 best forests to visit as the weather turns crisp this year. Featuring iconic locations alongside off-the-beaten-path beauty spots, the list provides plenty of inspiration for breaks across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with forests and woodlands in the Snowdonia, Cairngorms, and North York Moors National Parks, as well as the Isle of Wight, Mourne, and Antrim Coast and Glens Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty all making it into the top 20.
Whether you’re searching for a spot for woodland walks or moments of tranquility in nature, it’s time to lace your boots, fill up a flask of tea, and wander with us into the list of the 50 best forests to visit in autumn 2023.
9. Dalbeattie Forest, Scotland
With an adventure playground, a visit to Dalbeattie Forest will keep the whole family happy. Of this destination’s waymarked routes, families with younger children might also enjoy the gentle, mile-long Birch Trail. Walkers can find even more charming autumnal views on the Plantain Loch Trail, with its picturesque waterside setting, while the Quarry Trail offers insights as to Dalbeattie’s industrial heritage.
How HomeToGo Produced This Guide
A shortlist of forests and woodlands in the United Kingdom was collated using information from the websites of UK tourism boards and organisations such as Forestry England, Forestry and Land Scotland, Natural Resources Wales, and NI Direct*. To rank these destinations, HomeToGo researched a number of data points to form four ranking categories, calculating a Serenity Score, a Price Score, a Rain & Shine Score, and a Room to Explore Score for each location. After obtaining the raw data, HomeToGo assigned each data point a representative numerical value between 5 and 10, with 5 representing the least positive data point and 10 representing the most positive data point. The hypothetical “perfect score” would therefore be 40 out of 40. The following equation was used to calculate this for every factor:
Score(i) = 5 · (x(i) – xmin ) / (xmax – xmin ) + 5
Serenity Score: The forest with the lowest search volume, as taken from Semrush, in combination with exclusive search insights from travellers using hometogo.co.uk, was awarded a score of 10. The remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher according to the above equation.
Price Score: Exclusive HomeToGo data was used to find the median nightly cost of accommodation during autumn (23rd September 2023 – 21st December 2023) in the surrounding area of each forest. The area with the lowest median price per night was awarded a maximum score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher. Price data was collected in September 2023 and prices are subject to change.
Rain & Shine Score: HomeToGo used insights from each destination’s nearest climate station, made available by the Met Office, to record the average hours of sunshine and millimetres of rainfall for the months of October and November in each location. The destination with the most hours of sunshine across the two months was given a score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher. The destination with the least rainfall across the two months was given a score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher. Averages of the two scores were then calculated to find each destination’s final and overall Rain & Shine Rating.
Room to Explore Score: HomeToGo used information from tourism board portals, alongside the websites for organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Forestry England, to ascertain in hectares the size of each forest. The destination covering the most hectares was given a score of 10, and the remaining areas were awarded a score of 5 or higher.
* In order to facilitate the surfacing of lesser-known, hidden gem forests, the ten largest forests in the UK were not included on this list.