While the increasingly cooler temperatures of autumn signify the impending winter to come, to some of us it also means colourful leaves, Halloween parties, and an excuse to spend as much time in cosy pubs as possible.
Here are the best things to do in autumn in London...
1. AUTUMN AT KEW GARDENS
While Kew Gardens is typically known for being gorgeous in summer, the autumn leaves are in full effect in these Royal Botanical Gardens. Head there until the end of October to check out some of the autumn artworks they’re showcasing; sixteen works of art by four artists, all of which highlight the beauty and transience of nature, will be exhibited. You can travel to Kew Gardens on the District Line.
2. CATCH THE FIREWORKS ON BONFIRE NIGHT
Remember, remember, the fifth of November… celebrate Bonfire Night (also known as Guy Fawkes Night), the anniversary of the end of the plan to destroy the Parliament Buildings in 1605, by heading to one of the city’s firework displays (including Victoria Park, Crystal Palace Park, Morden Park, and many more). Wear your warmest clothing, grab a hot chocolate, and watch the sky explode in colour!
3. TAKE A TOUR OF WEST LONDON’S MOST BEAUTIFUL AUTUMNAL FACADES
The beautiful houses of West London truly come alive in autumn when they’re covered in vines of red, orange, and yellow. For the best changing leaves, check out Kynance Mews in South Kensington, Wimpole Street in Marylebone, or Curzon Street in Mayfair. For one of the best examples of London’s changing leaves, head even more west to Richmond Park (and keep your eye out for the deer that roam the park!).
Need a hostel in West London? Check out St Christopher's Inns in or
4. EMBRACE YOUR SPOOKY SIDE AT ONE OF LONDON’S HALLOWEEN PARTIES
Halloween, though not celebrated nearly as much as in North America, is growing in popularity in London – any chance to wear fancy dress and party! Head to Belushi's for an epic Halloween party this year. Take full advantage of the live DJs, free face painting artists and Halloween drinks specials serving up a killer mix of £1 ‘blood’ syringes and exclusive jagermeister offers. For those who love to go above and beyond - go all out for the chance to win a £50 bar tab going to the best dressed. There are several Belushi's branches dotted all over London!
Other parties to check out include Halloween Raveyard, Secretsundaze ‘Club Kids’ Halloween Party, The Mansion Halloween Ball, or The Halloween Ball: Once Upon a Midnight Dreary.
5. SCORE TICKETS TO ONE OF AUTUMN’S HOTTEST GIGS
As one of the most exciting cities in the world, there’s always a concert or gig to attend in London. This autumn you can find Royal Blood, Londoner Dua Lipa, Queens of the Stone Age, Wolf Alice, and pop sensation Harry Styles, while BluesFest London is on at the end of October. Reading more your thing? This year’s London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre is bringing in huge names such as Philip Pullman, Rebecca Solnit, Tom Hanks, and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Or check what gigs are on at Koko or the Roundhouse in Camden if you're staying at St Christopher's Inns Camden.
6. SPEND A RAINY AFTERNOON AT A GALLERY OR MUSEUM
One of the best things about London’s galleries? Well, that most of them are free, of course, including the Tate Galleries, the British Museum, The V&A, The National Portrait Gallery, and The National History Museum. With so many incredible exhibits dotted around London this autumn, there’s art for everyone’s tastes. Top picks for paid exhibits this autumn include a Basquiat exhibit at the Barbican and the art of Modigliani at the Tate Modern.
7. WARM UP IN ONE OF EAST LONDON’S COSY PUBS
Shoreditch hasn’t lost its cool factor just yet. Make sure to stop into one of East London’s cosy pubs for a pint and a pie (that’s pie and mash, of course). Top picks? Ten Bells near Spitalfields Market (a pub with a connection to Jack the Ripper), Shoreditch’s The Barley Mow, The Dove on Broadway Market, or, for a real taste of Bethnal Green, The Hare on Cambridge Heath Road or the traditional English pub. If you happen to be more central to the city, a good cosy gastro pub to try out right in the heart of London is the St Christopher's pub at 121 Borough High Street in London Bridge.
Need a hostel in East London? (just minutes walk from bustling Shoreditch)
8. HIT UP ONE OF LONDON’S MANY FOOD MARKETS
The weather isn’t so cold that you can’t brave one of London’s best outdoor food markets on a crisp Saturday or Sunday. The city’s favourites include Borough Market (right by St Christopher's Inns The Village), Maltby Street Market, , Brick Lane, Berwick Street Market, Brixton Market, and Broadway Market (make sure to check out Netil Market around the corner, too). For a real local experience, head to Ridley Road Market in Dalston. And if you really don’t want to face the cold, check out one of Street Feast’s indoor locations (Hawker House in Canada Water is open every Friday and Saturday evening).
Article and photos by Brenna Holeman. Check out her travel blog This Battered Suitcase