October is fall in the United Kingdom and the start of a quieter season for travelers. There are still some lovely outdoor things to see, such as the national parks, but without too many other visitors. Read on to learn more about traveling to the UK in October.

Weather

October is the middle of fall in the UK and the month in which the fall colors are at their brightest and best. The nights are getting longer as winter approaches, although there are still plenty of daylight hours for sightseeing. Edinburgh, for example, sees 10.5 daylight hours at the start of the month and just over 9 hours at the end. Average fall temperatures throughout the UK range between 48°F and 64°F (9°C and 18°C). There's a lot of regional variation, and northern areas are likely to be much colder than southern ones.

Of the UK capitals, London holds the warmest averages of 50°F (10°C) and 61°F (16°C), while Edinburgh has the coolest temperatures of 43°F (6°C) and 55°F (13°C). Belfast and Cardiff, meanwhile, have a difference of a couple of degrees at 46°F/57°F (8°C/14°C) and 48°F/59°F (9°C/15°C), respectively. Like most of the rest of the year in the UK, October can be wet, so bring a raincoat.

Crowds & Costs

Early October is shoulder season for travel in the UK, but later in the month, the low season starts. Prices don't vary much throughout the year. It may be easier to get your first choice of hotels for your dates in popular places, while in some more remote or off-beat areas, hotels and businesses start shuttering for winter by late October. It's an idea to check the hours of operation in advance.

UK schools break for a week in late October, so this might temporarily bump up visitor numbers in places popular with families 

Where to Go

Admiring the autumn foliage is a major reason to visit the UK in October. While you can potentially do this in many parks and cities, certain national parks and other natural areas are best. The Lake District in northwest England, the Wye Valley that spans southeast Wales and eastern England, and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park in Scotland are particularly appealing for leaf peepers. And if the weather is fair in Northern Ireland, try the Castlewellan Forest Park for views of the Mournes or Cladagh Glen which takes you through an Ash woodland.

What to Do

If you want to experience the beauty of the Scottish Highlands before the cold, dark winter sets in, October is a good time to embark on a road trip through the northern area. Start and end in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, and visit national parks (the Cairngorms) and UNESCO-listed sites (North West Highland Geopark) along the way. When the weather's cold, warm up at the end of each day with a Scotch whisky.

And as the weather becomes less suitable for outdoor excursions, consider cultural venues like the many museums and galleries on offer. London's National Gallery, British Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum are a start. Though if in Wales, now is the time to visit historic manor houses, castles, gardens, and autumn woods, like Bodnant Garden, Dinefwr Castle, and Colby Woodland Garden. And when in Northern Ireland, take a Black Cab Tour of Greater Belfast's historical sites. This tour includes the political murals and the peace line, a series of historically important sites in Ireland's history.

Events in October

Royal National Mòd, Scotland. In the middle of the month, this traveling festival in Scotland is a celebration of Gaelic culture, featuring literature, song, dance, arts, and culture.

Hull Fair, England. This traveling funfair has been going on for more than 700 years. While the rides and attractions might have changed over the centuries, the spirit of fun hasn't. It takes place in mid-October.

Sŵn Festival, Cardiff, Wales. Cardiff rocks at this music festival in mid-October, with venues all over the city staging an eclectic array of bands and DJs.

Belfast International Arts Festival, Northern Ireland. Held for over a fortnight in Belfast toward the end of the month with a striking program of visual arts, performance arts, music, and dance. 

Traveling to the UK in October? Check out these great itineraries

The North Coast 500: Road Trip Through the Scottish Highlands - 5 Days. Beginning and ending in the Highland capital of Inverness, you'll follow a loop counterclockwise as you wind your way past mist-shrouded mountains, hidden lochs, and rugged coastlines.

Discover the Highlights of England & Wales - 14 Days. From mysterious Stonehenge to the Beatles' hometown of Liverpool to the historic campuses of Oxford and Cambridge, this two-week trip takes you to a wide range of classic sights.

More Helpful Information

The United Kingdom in September
The United Kingdom in November