As summer starts to wane and London is embraced by the cool air and warm colours of autumn, a beguiling mix of contrasts emerges in the city. The atmosphere of snug excitement means you’ll be enticed to explore in the bright, bracing days and tempted by indoor delights when the sun begins to sink in the late afternoon. There’s definitely something compelling about it – nearly 30% of visitors to London who booked with us chose to come between September and November in 2015.
With the cool air and warm colours, autumn in London is all about contrasts
What about the weather?
London’s autumns are rarely too hot or cold, but chances are you’ll more inclined to grab a scarf than your shorts. Having said that, there’s always the chance you’ll get an unseasonably warm day – if the weather swings more towards late summer than early winter, pack some nibbles and a blanket and go lounge in one of London’s glorious parks with the locals.
If the weather is inclement, head to a local pub for a carb-heavy feast
What should I pack?
It’s definitely a good idea to pack a thick coat, and sturdy shoes are a must if you’re planning to explore by foot. Having something waterproof to hand is sensible, as even when temperatures are balmy there’s a chance you might get caught in a shower. Scarves and gloves are a British autumn staple, and if you really want to blend in grab yourself a pair of Wellington boots. They’re great for splashing through puddles after ones of those pesky showers we mentioned.
Another great activity to partake in on a rainy day is a traditional High Tea
What should I eat?
As the days get cooler, British food can be summed up in one simple, wonderful word – stodge. This is the heart of comfort food, from shepherd’s pie topped with fluffy, buttery mash to steamed fruit puddings covered in rich, vanilla-scented custard. And probably the best place to enjoy this carb-heavy feast is in a pub – especially if it’s near the fire and accompanied by a glass of hot chocolate or mulled cider.
What should I look out for?
Like the rest of the year, autumnal London is full of fun stuff to seek out. Check out some of the latest celluloid sensations at the BFI London Film Festival in October, and the Lord Mayor’s Show in November is a display of typically British pageantry that dates back to the 16th Century. But the undisputed UK autumn highlight has to be Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th, where spectacular firework displays, bonfires and baked potatoes all come together in a gloriously cosy and family-friendly evening. There are many events across London, but they’re popular with everyone so make sure you book tickets early.
Keep an eye out for the wild deer of Richmond Park
A park should be on your London autumn agenda regardless of the weather. Get a taste for the true British countryside in the rural splendour of Richmond Park (keep an eye out for the wild deer!) or feel chic and sophisticated as you peruse the city skyline from the heights of Primrose Hill. On a clear day, the sky will be full of sharp, full light that seems to highlight each shade in the changing leaves – a sight that’ll leave you with a new appreciation for the hidden beauty of London. Better yet, you can grab a walking tour of the city’s Royal parks that’ll only take up an afternoon and makes the best of the English capital’s greener spaces.