5 Perfect Mini-Breaks For Autumn

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Looking for a city break that’s made for a cosy weekend away? Book a Fuller’s Beautiful Bedroom at one of these characterful hotels, and autumn might suddenly become your favourite season...

5 perfect mini breaks for autumn

Best for… Riverside walks 

The Head of the River, Oxford

 

Located right beside the River Isis, overlooking the stunning Folly Bridge, The Head of the River pub is a super-scenic spot for a quiet weekend away, as well as being within walking distance of many of Oxford’s main attractions. 

The pub's 20 bedrooms are each individually designed, combining classic styling with modern touches for a truly comfortable stay. From small but perfectly formed Cosy Rooms to luxurious Indulgence Rooms, you’ll find a space to suit the break you’re looking for, and each booking comes with fast free WiFi and a delicious Fuller’s breakfast included.

Once you’ve checked in – and perhaps settled in with a drink or two at the bar – you’ll find plenty to do nearby to fill a city mini-break. Oxford University’s stunning parks are an ideal spot to take in the vibrant changing colours of autumn – ask the bar to fill your flask with a Fuller’s hot chocolate before you head off for the full, cosy effect. 

A stroll around the city’s stunning streets, which are home to Oxford University’s majestic buildings, is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. When it comes to walking tours, you’ll be spoilt for choice: you might pick a tour conducted by an alumni of the university, an Inspector Morse walk, a CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein tour, or even a wander to see some of the locations from the Harry Potter films, which takes in the famous Bodleian Library. 

If the weather’s a bit chillier, The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford Castle and Prison and Pitt Rivers museum are great places to learn a bit of local history, while the centre of town is packed with shops and cafés to provide a change of scenery. If you’re visiting in October, you mustn’t miss the IF Oxford Science + Ideas Festival, with over 100 events happening across the city.

Finally, a trip to Oxford isn’t complete without spending time on or beside the river: make the most of The Head of the River’s idyllic location by catching a river tour or sightseeing cruise, or simply by strolling along the river’s banks. From Folly Bridge, which is in view of the pub, it’s a peaceful 30-minute stroll to Iffley Lock, taking in a view of Longbridges Nature Park along the way.

Best for… Top-notch food

The Wykeham Arms, Winchester

 

Voted Town Pub of the Year 2018 by The Good Pub Guide, and nominated as a top-30 pub out of tens of thousands by The Times newspaper, The Wykeham Arms is a much-loved Winchester institution. Ideally situated close to the city centre, sandwiched cosily between Winchester Cathedral and the College, a pub has stood on this site since 1755, and its fireplaces, nooks and sofas make it perfect for the fireside snuggling that’s pretty much a prerequisite for a romantic autumn break.

The Wykeham’s Beautiful Bedrooms are designed with period features and comfort in mind, from the roll-top bath, exposed beams and brickwork of the Double Suite, to the grandeur of the Garden Suite’s mezzanine-level bedroom. And of course, your stay includes the famous Fuller’s breakfast and the chance to sample some of the pub’s fantastic food. 

For the full experience, and to make the most of The Wykeham’s seasonal food menu (did we mention the pub’s two AA rosettes and award-winning Head Chef?), we recommend booking a dinner, bed and breakfast package.

Once you’ve checked in, explored your room, and enjoyed a drink, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in Winchester city centre, including some stunning architecture. The Cathedral was built in 1079, making it an unmissable and majestic sight for guests, while the City Mill and Museum each attract their fair share of history lovers. Families should make a bee-line for Winchester’s Science Centre and Planetarium, which offers plenty of hands-on entertainment for children.

Although there’s lots to explore in Winchester city, The Wykeham Arms is also on the edge of the countryside, making it ideal for those who want to make the most of the changing season. The two-mile Keats’ Walk can be joined a short walk away from the pub, and follows the route of the poet’s daily stroll along the river and into town. When he stayed in Winchester, this glorious walk inspired his poem ‘To Autumn’ – and if you choose the Wykeham for your autumn mini-break, you’ll understand why.

Best for… Culture vultures

The White Swan, Stratford-Upon-Avon

 

Stratford Upon Avon is a picture-perfect town, and The White Swan is a jewel in its crown. Functioning as a pub since 1560, the hotel has 41 Fuller’s Beautiful Bedrooms that reflect the unique history and character of the four-star, Grade-II listed pub. The White Swan has a large range of room styles for guests to choose from, including Accessible Rooms suitable for wheelchairs, and Character Rooms located in the oldest part of the building, which dates back to 1450 – all of which marry modern amenities with bags of historical style.

Once you’ve checked in and popped into the pub itself, you’ll find it hard to tear yourself away from its cosy log fires and stunning wood-panelled decor. It’s well worth lingering over a drink and a delicious Fuller’s meal (especially on a Sunday, as the roasts here really wow) before heading out to explore.

When you eventually venture outside, Stratford Upon Avon has plenty on offer for those looking for a spot of culture. Famous for being Shakespeare’s birthplace, make sure you book a spot on one of the guided tours that take you around the five homes the playwright lived in, which are all located in the town. Holy Trinity Church is another must-see for fans of the bard, as it’s the spot where he was baptised and buried, while a visit to Stratford-Upon-Avon wouldn’t be complete without a trip to catch a play or event at the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre – just make sure you book in advance.

Finally, don’t leave without making the most of The White Swan’s location close to the River Avon by taking the time to enjoy a river tour by boat, or the pleasant, 1.5-mile Stratford Riverside Walk. Suitable for all abilities, this walk offers a relaxing dose of countryside air and the chance to gather your thoughts beside the river’s gently lapping waters, while you imagine what the view might have looked like back in Shakespeare’s day.


Best for… Exploring London’s sights

The Sanctuary House Hotel, London

London is a fantastic city to enjoy in autumn, as it’s filled with historic houses, unparalleled shopping opportunities and top entertainment, all ripe for exploring when the weather turns chilly. The Sanctuary House Hotel is located in Westminster, in the heart of London, offering an oasis for those looking for an exciting city break in impressive surroundings.

The hotel’s 34 Beautiful Bedrooms combine classic elegance with modern luxury, and after enjoying a full Fuller’s breakfast (will you choose fresh bread, croissants and jam? A classic eggs benedict? Or perhaps a hearty full English or its veggie equivalent?), or dinner in Fuller’s Ale & Pie pub, you can step outside and find Big Ben practically on your doorstep. 

From here, there are plenty of iconic sights to explore within walking distance, including St James’s Park, the Palace of Westminster, Hyde Park, Clarence House, and Buckingham Palace – you might want to use the Royal Visit walking tour as a guide on your stay, to make sure you catch all the key sights.

In such a prime location, you’re also only a couple of tube stops from Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Soho, where you can make your stay even more memorable by soaking up some of the city’s eclectic nightlife – if you still have the energy after a busy day of sightseeing.  

The Sanctuary House Hotel’s cosy beds are the ideal place to get a perfectly restful night’s sleep before preparing for a morning walk along the South Bank, taking in landmarks including the historic Globe Theatre, the imposing London Eye, the delicious delights of Borough Market, and the Monument to the Great Fire of London. 

At this time of year, the trees along the river are turning crisp and golden, and the winding Thames river looks at its best bathed in soft autumn light. Before you head back to the hotel, don’t forget to make a stop off at Sanctuary House Hotel’s sister pub, The Counting House in Cornhill, for a hot chocolate – or perhaps something a little bit stronger.

Best for… Historic hospitality

The King’s Arms, Woodstock

 

This historic pub and hotel is a quick, ten-minute walk from Blenheim Palace – and, incredibly, it’s actually older than the 300-year-old World Heritage Site. Recently refurbished, when you book your autumn mini-break at The King’s Arms, whether you choose an intimate Cosy Room or a beautifully appointed Indulgence Room, you’ll get the chance to enjoy all the luxuries you’d expect in a modern hotel in a stunning, historic setting. 

Enjoy Bramley toiletries, free, fast WiFi and Nespresso coffee in your room, as well as the famous Fuller’s breakfast at your leisure, before you set out to explore.

The main attraction of this city mini-break has to be the famous Blenheim Palace itself. Enjoying the palace’s 2,000 acres of greenery and parkland in autumn means you can see the trees gradually turning red and yellow in a blaze of colour, explore trails and wildlife, and get lost in nature. Catch the palace’s Autumn Festival (24-26 Sept / 1-3 Oct) and you’ll get to enjoy a food market, family games and live music – or perhaps you’d prefer to get spooky at the palace’s half-term Halloween entertainment (22 Oct - 3 Nov).

Throughout autumn, the gardens and Palace State Rooms, including the room where Sir Winston Churchill was born, are open, along with the Butterfly House, Miniature Train, and Bee Trail. Beyond the palace, Woodstock is home to both the Oxfordshire Museum and the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum – and the pub is a quick 20-minute drive to Oxford itself, where you’ll find an abundance of shops, museums, architecture and entertainment to enjoy. 

With so much within reach of its guests, The King’s Arms is in the perfect spot for an autumnal city break that combines history, culture, shopping and family-friendly fun. And of course, when you stay at a Fuller’s hotel, you also get to enjoy delicious, seasonal food, lavish Sunday lunches, and extensive drink menus, just a few steps from your pillow. 

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