It’s autumn in London. The mornings are growing crisper, the days are getting shorter, and there’s a sense of seasonal change in the air. Autumn is a great time to be in the city, not least because the leaves turn and there are lots of exciting events going on throughout the capital. If you’re in London this season, here’s a guide to the best of what’s on.
Autumn in London
Autumn is an ideal time to visit London. The summer crowds thin out and the weather is usually pleasant and mild. The days are long enough to get a good amount done before darkness sets in, and the changing leaves add an extra bit of character to the city.
There are a lot of things to see and do in London in autumn, from fall foliage to food festivals. The city gears up for its last hurrahs before winter sets in, and everything from parades to fireworks comes out in support. Whether you like pomp and ceremony or casual exploration, there’s something for you to enjoy in London this season.
Autumn Events in London
Every year London comes alive with a number of festivals in the fall. September brings Totally Thames, an annual month-long celebration of the River Thames. Its creative program includes music and exhibitions, and it’s a great way to get into the spirit of the season.
Totally Thames is followed by lots of culinary fun in October. The London Restaurant Festival runs throughout the month, and there are great food-themed weeks to enjoy along the way. Think Cocktail Week followed by Chocolate Week and you’ll start to understand how delicious this month is.
November brings a number of one-off events like Guy Fawkes Day, or Bonfire Night. Celebrated annually on the 5th of November with fireworks throughout the city, this day commemorates the failed Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.
Guy Fawkes Day is followed by the Lord Mayor’s Show, another event with historic roots. Dating back over 800 years, this annual tradition in which the newly-elected Lord Mayor of the City of London goes to Westminster to swear loyalty to the Crown is the oldest civic procession in the world. It includes a parade through the City and Westminster complete with gilded carriages, floats, and bands.
There are a lot more festivals and events taking place in autumn in London, from the NFL Football to Halloween, both of which seem to get bigger and more popular every year. I hope these have sparked some interest and gotten you excited to discover more.
London Autumn Foliage
Beyond annual events, the main thing I love about autumn in London is the colors. The foliage is beautiful in the fall, and there’s a lot of it around. Having studied in New England during my university years, I also appreciate that London’s colorful leaves linger for longer than those in Rhode Island.
My favorite places for autumn leaves in London are Kynance Mews in Kensington and Hampstead Heath. The former has one of the most incredible displays of Virginia creeper draped down the archway at the entrance and the facade of one of the houses. It’s spectacular to see in full color, and a great place to photograph the highlights of the season.
The latter is bright with reds and oranges, and there’s no better place to spend a sunny morning soaking up the hues. Given how wild the park is, it feels like being on an autumn walk out in the countryside.
Trips from London in Autumn
And speaking of the countryside, one of the best things to do in autumn in London is take a trip to one of the many places where the leaves are at their brightest. I went to the Westonbirt Arboretum in the Cotswolds last year and fell in love with the foliage there. I’ve had an equally amazing time soaking up the colors in the New Forest in the autumn.
I’ve also written about 5 great autumn day trips from London where you can get more into the seasonal spirit. From castles to orchards and vineyards, there are a lot of parts of England that come into their own in the fall.
Regardless of what you do, I hope you enjoy autumn in London. It’s a great season for being in the city, and now that it’s here I can hardly wait for what’s to come.
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