Autumn in England means a lot of things. Long lazy summer evenings are over. Wearing jackets are back. Both because it’s getting colder, and because of the seasonal high winds. And above all the knowledge that Winter is Coming.
But before it arrives we are treated to a vision of autumnal beauty as the leaves turn. At the Varsity Hotel Cambridge, this is a time of year we love for its beauty.
Life, death and rebirth is the natural cycle of things. And while we might expect the green shoots and blossom of spring to be lovely, we might not expect a time of decay and loss to also be so beautiful. For that’s what autumn is to trees.
As winter approaches, deciduous trees respond by sucking everything of value out of their leaves and back into the trunk. Including all the valuable chlorophyll which colours leaves green. Then they pump the leaves full of waste products, sever their connection to the rest of the tree, and leave them to die and decay.
Put that way, it doesn’t sound particularly pretty. But to our human eyes it is truly a thing of beauty as the leaves of trees move through greens to yellows, browns, reds and more complex colour schemes. Match that with the autumn sunlight and especially sunsets, and the result is an explosion of colour so vivid it has inspired us with wonder and awe for countless generations.
City of Autumn Colours
Autumn happens everywhere at this time of year. At least in the northern hemisphere. But not everywhere is equally beautiful. Most people live in cities, which tend to have a lot more brick and concrete than foliage. And the odd small park doesn’t compare favourably to a forest.
But Cambridge is different, and arguably an ideal location for viewing the autumn leaves. First, it is a comparatively small city surrounded by countryside. Leave Cambridge, and any direction you choose to go in you’ll find yourself surrounded by nature. But more than that, the city itself has many green spaces within its borders. And most are far more heavily tree-oriented than your average city park.
Your first choice would be the various College Gardens. As befits a university town, these gardens were laid out for contemplation, making them glorious in the autumn. However, since the Colleges are enclosed and the students have now returned, they are currently best viewed either from the Backs or from a punt on the river itself.
Then there is the University Botanical Gardens. Fascinating at any time of year, this vast expanse of plants and trees including many not native to the British Isles is especially beautiful in the autumn.
All the central Colleges and the Botanical Gardens are in easy walking distance of the Varsity Hotel. But if that’s too much effort for you, simply visit our Six Panoramic Restaurant during daylight hours for a stunning autumnal view of Jesus Green.