The best places to go on holiday this October

The best places to go on holiday this October

Searching for where to go on holiday in October? You've come to the right place as we've rounded up the best holiday destinations in October for this year and next.

If you've got your July holiday destination covered or you're putting off a September holiday for a more autumnal trip, October offers a whole host of advantages to get away this year.

October is the perfect month to escape to Europe to avoid the soaring temperatures and school-holiday crowds, or to marvel at the glorious snow-capped peaks of the continent's mountainous landscapes.


It's the grape harvest season in France and Portugal, making it the best time to enjoy the rolling vineyards in their autumnal beauty, and indulge in plenty of wine tastings.

If you're looking for the best holiday destinations in October for a memorable UK staycation, there are plenty of inviting options closer to home, too. The autumn months bring crisp mornings and golden sunlight to the UK, and it's the ideal month for escaping to a rural bolthole, where you can explore the great outdoors and curl up by a log fire as the evenings draw in.

The forests put on a dazzling display of fiery foliage, and there's plenty of wildlife to spot this time of year – from rutting stags in Scotland to fluffy red squirrels in Dorset.

And while the weather can be a little unpredictable here at home, the autumn still offers the possibility of pleasant temperatures with golden sun and crisp air.

So if we’ve got you dreaming of a getaway during this magical month, keep reading for our pick of the best holiday destinations in October.

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Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands are a land of remote islands, fairytale castles and charming port towns. There's so much to explore, from glistening lochs to towering castles, and vast national parks with majestic flora and fauna dotting the landscapes.

The Highlands are renowned for their incredible array of native wildlife, including many species of deer such as red, fallow and sika.

If you visit in early October, you're likely to witness majestic stags bellowing and clashing antlers as rutting season is in full swing. This dramatic spectacle is exciting to see - just make sure to keep your distance from these magnificent wild animals.

How to visit: We're offering a six-day cruise this October to some of the Highlands' most beautiful locations on board Lord of the Glens, a deluxe private yacht. You'll see spectacular parts of the region by train on the West Highland Railway, as you travel over the beautiful Glenfinnan Viaduct.

What's more, you'll be joined on this cruise by proud Scotswoman and broadcaster Kirsty Wark, who'll give a talk about her life and career.


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Springtime in Paris certainly has its appeal, but autumn months in the French capital shouldn't be overlooked. Rather than pink cherry blossoms the trees surrounding some of Europe's best-loved monuments will be awash with golden hues.

This makes wandering around the city's already magnificent sights, like the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and Notre Dame, an even more enchanting experience than usual. It's also a great time to explore some of the attractions within easy reach of the city, like Monet's garden at Giverny.

Although most famously depicted by the artist in spring and summer, the autumn months bring their own beauty, and you'll be able to enjoy moments of tranquillity, free from the summer crowds.

How to visit: Join an eight-day cruise this October to see Paris, Versailles, and Giverny in their autumnal glory. You'll coincide with the Rugby World Cup final, so you can soak in the atmosphere - or attend the match if you have tickets

You'll also be joined by French-British chef Michel Roux Jr who'll share his culinary expertise with you during a private cooking demonstration and Q&A.


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Venice and the Venetian Lagoon are the epitome of European romance and glamour. Here you'll find extraordinary architecture, world-famous art and important historic buildings dotted along the region's iconic canals and waterways.

Venice is one of Italy's most popular tourist destinations, and can therefore get very crowded during the height of summer. In October, the city will be far less crowded, and the scorching temperatures of the summer will have given way to milder weather.

You won't have to worry about enormous queues at attractions like St Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace and Gallerie dell'Accademia, meaning you can spend more time marvelling at the intricate architecture and historical artefacts inside.

How to visit: We have an exciting eight-day cruise of the Venetian Lagoon aboard an elegant river ship, the S.S La Venezia in October this year. You'll explore Venice and its surrounding quaint and colourful islands.

A very special guest, chef Rick Stein, joins the trip for its final few days, accompanying a tour to Rialto food market before hosting a cooking demonstration and taking questions from guests.


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Some of the most beautiful locations in Croatia can be found in Dalmatia, a historical region on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. Here you’ll discover natural wonders, like Kornati National Park - an archipelago of over 80 protected islands, islets and reefs just off the Dalmatian Coast - and the serene waterfalls of Krka National Park.

Although you might associate Croatia with summer holidays, October is a great time to visit. The temperatures are cooling off, but you’ll still find average temperatures of around 20 degrees. The famously crystalline waters remain around 20 degrees too, after a long summer under the beating sun, making it an ideal time for swimming.

How to visit: Our eight-day cruise on a boutique ship will take you to some of the best spots along the Dalmatian coast, including Kornati National Park, Krka National Park and the fascinating heart-shaped island of Galešnjak.

There’ll also be the chance to discover many of Croatia’s elegant cities, with walking tours of Šibenik, Zadar, Hvar, and Split.


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Lake Como

The autumn months are a fantastic time to explore Italy's famous lakes. Lake Como is one of the most picturesque, and has so much to offer at this time of year.

This season is a great time for walking in clean, crisp air while absorbing the magnificence of the snow-topped mountains and marvelling at the golden colours in the gardens of the lake's famous villas.

Lake Como can be quite busy in the summer months, but in October you'll be able to wander the cobbled, winding streets of the surrounding villages without having to squeeze through thrumming crowds.

October is also the time of harvest food festivals, where you can taste the freshest local produce along with a good glass of wine in many charming lakeside villages.

How to visit: On this exclusive eight-day trip with Good Housekeeping you'll stay in the historic town of Colico, on the banks of Lake Como. Highlights include a cruise on the lake, which is a brilliant way to see the opulent villas and alpine mountains in their autumnal glory.


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Andalucía is Spain's most southern region, and the home of many things that typify Spanish culture. Think tapas, flamenco, white-walled villages and sun-drenched olive groves on rolling hills.

As the most southern region in mainland Europe, the summers here are sizzling, with average daytime temperatures in August reaching around 31 degrees.

While this might be ideal for a beach break in one of the region's many luxury resorts, the cooler autumn months are better suited for more active holidays, like exploring Andalucía's many historical attractions.

October weather will still be pleasantly sunny — ideal for discovering sights like Seville's Alcázar, Cordoba's historic Mezquita, and the dizzying viaduct in Ronda.

How to visit: We have a special six-day trip to Andalucía this October which will take you to Seville, where you'll see a passionate Flamenco performance, to Cordoba, where you'll enjoy a traditional Andalucian horse show, and to Ronda, where you'll learn to make traditional Andalucian tapas and visit a local winery.


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Bordeaux is one of our favourite destinations in Europe for a food holiday and the city and surrounding rural landscapes are particularly resplendent in autumn.

This is when the rolling vineyards will be bursting with grapes ready to be harvested and when the countryside is adorned with brilliant gold, red, and orange leaves.

Although it's beginning to get a little chillier at night, you can still expect pleasant temperatures in October, with average highs of 19 degrees. All in all, it's a great time of year for tasting clarets at renowned vineyards, wandering the cobbled streets of historic villages, and indulging in fine French cuisine.

How to visit:
Join Good Housekeeping's special eight-day cruise along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers in October to discover Bordeaux at its autumnal best, with several vineyard visits and wine tastings.

Making the trip extra special is an appearance from award-winning French chef, Raymond Blanc, who'll share some of his expert knowledge of his cuisine and ethos in a Q&A and a live cooking demonstration on board the luxurious Scenic Diamond.


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October is one of the best months to visit Porto, the enchanting city on the northwest coast of Portugal.

In the mid-autumn, the weather is usually still warm and pleasant, with temperatures that are more manageable for long days of sightseeing than during the height of summer.

October is also a great time to visit many of the quintas, traditional wine estates, in the surrounding Douro Valley, with the grape harvest in full swing. You can even get get involved in the harvest celebrations yourself by taking in part in traditional grape treading.

The beaches near Porto are much quieter at this time of year too and free of the jostling summer crowds. You can spend a relaxing day ambling down the many promenades that stretch alongside miles of golden sands.

How to visit: Good Housekeeping readers can visit Porto and cruise the Douro River on an exclusive eight-day tour in October 2023. You'll get the chance to visit characterful towns, sample delicious port wines and take part in a traditional grape harvest festival.


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New Forest

The New Forest is an exquisite slice of English countryside, with its sprawling woodlands, open moors and, of course, its lovely, free-roaming ponies, who've called this region home for about 2,000 years.

In the autumn, you might spot a different kind of animal roaming free in the forest. This is 'pannage' season, when pigs are released to roam free and feast on the fallen acorns.

The New Forest will likely be at the height of its autumn colour in October. Exbury Gardens are particularly mesmerising at this time of year, where the bright red and orange of fiery acers and nyssa trees, are set against a backdrop of majestic oak trees.

How to visit: Spend two days in the New Forest with our special offer at the Montagu Arms, a welcoming hotel with an award-winning restaurant and its own pub.

You'll have tickets included to either the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, or to Exbury Gardens, where you can take in the incredible autumn colours from The Rhododendron Line, a storybook steam railway, plus dinner allowances each night.


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Dorset has some of England's most idyllic coastal scenery, including the vast dune heaths of Studland Bay and the resort town of Bournemouth.

Inland, you'll find fields, farmland and gently rolling hills dotted with quintessential country villages. These are the landscapes which inspired Thomas Hardy, who based his fictional region of Wessex on this heavenly county.

There are wonderful walks to take throughout Dorset, including sections of the South West Coast Path, or through the peaceful inland countryside, stopping off at cosy pubs for lunch or a drink.

During the autumn months, the tapestry of fields and woodlands will have become a kaleidoscope of oranges, red, and yellows, making walking routes even more picturesque than usual.

How to visit: Enjoy a two-night stay at Summer Lodge in Evershot, Dorset. This Georgian manor house is a great base for long autumnal walks, or you can hop on one of the hotel's bikes to explore the village and local area.

Your stay will include dinner on both evenings, a bottle of house wine on the first night, and access to the spa.


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Another great option for a UK staycation in October is a short break in London. As the most-visited city in the country, the capital can get extremely busy during the summer, especially at its world-famous monuments, like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.

Avoid the peak of summer and the school holidays and explore these incredible historic sites in relative peace in October.

Although the weather is famously temperamental at this time of year, there's still the chance of sunny days with crisp air, perfect for wandering around the city's parks, like Hyde Park, Green Park and St James's Park, enjoying the views and the October hues.

If you're less lucky with the weather, there are plenty of snug pubs and pretty tearooms to hunker down in as you wait for the rain to pass.

How to visit: There's no lack of excellent hotels in London, but Rubens in Westminster is a standout — especially for those hoping to visit Buckingham Palace.

The hotel is right next door to the palace and overlooks the Royal Mews, so there’s a chance you could spot royal carriages coming and going.

We're offering a two-night getaway at Rubens, including a three-course dinner in the AA Rosette-awarded English Grill and a Royal afternoon tea in The Palace Lounge.


If you're tempted by a London getaway but would prefer to stay somewhere a little further from the hustle and bustle, consider our two-night break at the Richmond Hill Hotel. You'll be on the doorstep of Richmond Park, which feels almost rural, but still within easy reach of the city.

Head into the city or explore nearby attractions like the incredible botanical gardens at Kew. Our offer includes a dinner allocation and a champagne afternoon tea.


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Top October holiday destinations, from the Scottish Highlands to Porto. Here's the ultimate guide to where to go on holiday in October 2023.