Whether you're eating Diwali sweets in India, admiring the leaf turn in New England and Canada or writing haikus about maple trees in Japan, here are the best places to visit from September to March.
October to April
Aurora Borealis is one of the most vivid and extraordinary natural phenomena on the planet. Caused by the earth's magnetic field making contact with charged particles from the sun, the Northern Lights appear to streak across the night sky, creating luminous flashes of colour.
The best time to see this magnificent event is between September and March, when the skies are at their darkest. You'll need to be far north - Iceland, Arctic Scandinavia, Canada and the Yukon are all great places to try.
Discover spectacular waterfalls, geothermal wonders and Viking history - with Northern Lights excursions between October and April.
Explore all things Cosmic in this special stargazing departure
August to November
What better season to take a culinary tour of Italy than during harvest time? Combine rustic gastronomy with days in the cities to make the most of this uncrowded window, when you'll have more space to linger over the best sights without feeling like a sardine. Autumn is the time to try authentic local castagnaccio (chestnuts) in the lake district, nutty porcini mushrooms near Venice, tortelli di zucca (pumpkin pasta) everywhere and zesty limoncello in Sicily. If you're in Sicily in November, you're in the right place to try biscotti dei morti ('biscuits of the dead' - balls of either chocolate or lemon) on All Souls Day - and take a moment to cherish any loved ones who have passed on.
Discover the rich flavours of the south on this sun-kissed tour of Italy's foodie hotspots
Delight in the rich gastronomy of Tuscany with wine tasting, bread making, cooking classes and guided touring
September to November
If you love autumn in Europe, seeing leafy New England in the fall should be high on your wishlist. Its blazing showcase of scarlets, gold, bronze, purple and orange leaves put Britain’s trusty hues in the shade. ‘Fall’ is not just ‘autumn’: it is autumn cranked right up to 11.
You’ll never forget the sight of Vermont’s white churches peeping through the red canopies, of Massachusetts’ winding forest roads, or the lakes in Maine reflecting back the glorious colours. Our escorted tours in New England give you the perfect chance to experience these iconic destinations all on one trip, with an expert driver and Tour Director to make sure you get the best possible views of it all.
Be in New England for the Fall on these best-selling tours
Experience the spectacular foliage of the Fall in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire
Discover cool culture and magnificent scenery on this affordable 15-day tour
Sunday 27 October 2019
Diwali is a magical time to be in India. The biggest celebration in the Indian calendar, the 'Festival of Light' lasts for five days and symbolises the triumph of light over darkness. Hindus, Sikhs and Jains throughout the country decorate their houses with candles and colourful lights, and exchange gifts, prayers and homemade sweets. Spectacular firework displays fill the skies, and ornate rangoli motifs (Hindu folk art) made with dyed rice and candles fill the floors of many homes and temples. The festival ends on the fifth day with much feasting.
October is the ideal time to visit South Africa, with temperatures pleasantly rising but the northern rains yet to arrive. Hermanus, on the south coast, offers the best land-based whale watching in the world now, as the Southern Right Whale population peaks during this month. Playful and curious, these remarkable creatures number just 3,000 due to overhunting - however, thanks to hunting bans and conservation efforts, numbers are slowly on the rise.
This month is also the start of hatching season for South Africa's native ostriches. You may well see the birds in the wild, but to get up close and personal, visit one of Oudtshoorn's many ostrich farms.
Old Japan may have been and gone, but in Kyoto, you can be transported back to the time of the empire. This beautifully preserved city escaped the bombs of World War II, and is characterised by its exquisite gardens, calm temples, red-lipped geishas, and 2,000 vivid Buddhist and Shinto shrines. If you miss cherry blossom season, consider visiting at maple leaf season between October and November, when its stunning parks, temple gardens and boulevards turn many shades of crimson.