Autumn staycations: the best spots

Posted on | Posted in Hospitality

We’ve always loved al fresco socialising in the UK, with the beer garden a much-loved staple of British society. In the past few years, though, we’ve seen a rise in outdoor socialising, attributed largely to the restrictions brought in during the pandemic and the changes hospitality venues had to make.

Many restaurants, bars, and hotels had to adapt over the course of the pandemic, investing in structures like canopies that would allow them to serve customers safely outdoors throughout the year. The result is that outdoor drinking, dining and socialising is firmly here to stay.

While at the mention of ‘al fresco’, many minds will jump to balmy days and evenings under a summer setting sun, the cooler months of autumn are actually a great time to encourage customers to enjoy a spot of eating and drinking in the great outdoors. Here’s why:

  • Crowds tend to be fewer in autumn, with it much easier for people to get that perfect outdoor spot than in the middle of summer.
  • Customers get to enjoy crisp, fresh air without worrying about uncomfortable heat. And if it does get chilly in the evening, handy heaters or even warm blankets to snuggle up in are great options.
  • Nature is very soothing. Even in the middle of a city or when the weather’s not the greatest, the smallest bit of nature (like being surrounded by blue sky or hearing occasional birdsong) can have relaxing effects on your customers.

Here are five of our favourite autumn weekend away cities in the UK.


York minster

Small, quaint and packed with history, York is one of the UK’s most popular weekend away destinations. There’s something for everyone here, from strolls along the 13th-century city walls to shopping in the gift shops that line the medieval streets. When it’s time for a bite to eat or a cocktail, though, York really shines.

Bar roof terrace overlooking York Minster

(image: Jack Hardy)

Enter Sora, an Asian fusion tapas & cocktail bar that sits high above the city overlooking the Gothic minster. To help celebrate the magnificent views, we installed a canopy on Sora’s terrace area so guests can soak up the scenery no matter the weather – perfect for autumn.


Edinburgh cityscape

Some cities lend themselves to exploring in the autumn months, and Edinburgh is one of them. Temperatures in the city tend to be pleasantly warm, while the turning seasons create a slightly moody atmosphere alongside a splash of golden and orange hues to the landscapes.

The best part? Edinburgh is a weekend destination with a bustling outdoor café culture. Visitors can happily spend an evening winding down in one of the many cosy pavement cafés and enjoying the historic surroundings.


Big Ben in London

When looking for an autumn weekend away destination in the UK, London is a no-brainer. As the capital of England, it’s immersed in world-class history, art, culture and iconic sights, all dotted amongst a striking city skyline.

Bar roof terrace overlooking St Paul's Cathedral in London

When it’s time to slow down, what could be better than sipping a drink overlooking one of the city’s most famous sights, St Paul’s Cathedral? Sabine Rooftop Bar is an oasis from the city; a “secret garden” where guests can escape the busy streets and relax surrounded by stunning views.


A cityscape of Belfast

Welcoming pubs, hearty food and plenty of things to see and do – Belfast in autumn is not to be missed. Visitors can expect the same friendly Northern Irish welcome as they’d receive during the summer, with fewer crowds and plenty of brilliant events to discover.

The International Arts Festival takes place throughout autumn and is a celebration of music, theatre, dance and arts. A year-round attraction that’s also definitely worth checking out is Titanic Belfast, a museum all about the iconic ‘Ship of Dreams’.


Cardiff waterfront

Voted one of the world’s top 10 must-visit countries by both Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, Wales offers a blend of gorgeous nature, colourful coastal towns and surprisingly modern cities – including its capital, Cardiff.

An ideal base for explorations into the wild countryside Wales is known for, Cardiff also offers a buzzing city centre with a strikingly modern waterfront, excellent shopping and thriving pubs and bars. And like many other modern cities today, Cardiff has plenty of sheltered outdoor spots where revellers can enjoy a meal or relax with a drink all year round.

We hope you enjoyed reading more about our favourite UK weekend away destinations for autumn. If you’re a bar or restaurant owner who wants to welcome more visitors throughout the year, a canopy could be the perfect solution. Get in touch today to talk about what’s possible.