Although it can be hard to say goodbye to the hazy summer evenings, when you can think of nothing better than hanging out on a rooftop terrace, watching the sunset over the city and enjoying a sparkling cocktail or two, there is truly something special about the arrival of autumn in London. If you haven’t planned out your trip to London yet and are considering the best season to go, then autumn should definitely be a strong contender. The summer months can be crazy in the city with lots going on and occasional sweltering temperatures but there is something to be said for the cool and crisp autumn mornings, the significant drop in the number of tourists milling around and the fact that there is still plenty to see and do.
And if you needed any more convincing, here are just some of the things you can get up to over autumn in London:-
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate
For many people, the thought of autumn in the UK brings to mind chilly weather, the opportunity to wrap up warm or stay indoors under blankets with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. If that sounds like your idea of complete bliss then you are going to love the Chocolate Show which makes its way to London mid-October. It is the UK’s biggest chocolate exhibition and features celebrity demonstrations, hands-on workshops, top chocolatiers and a full-on celebration of chocolate in all its forms whether that be in a mug or in cakes, truffles, ice cream and every other conceivable variety. The Chocolate Show takes place at the Olympia National Hall in Kensington and there are expected to be around 20,000 visitors in attendance so make sure you book your ticket now if you want to be involved.
See the crisp colours of autumn
London’s Royal Parks are extremely well known and fantastic places to visit whatever season you happen to be in London but there is nothing quite like visiting one of these eight parks when they are in the full glory of autumn. From the rich, warm colours to the piles of fallen leaves, make sure you find out which park is closest to your chosen hotel, perhaps The Montcalm Brewery Hotel on Chiswell Street London and factor in some time to spend wandering around and exploring the nearest open space, breathing in the fresh autumn air and feeling as though you are miles away from a bustling city centre, rather than in the heart of one of the UK’s largest cities. Richmond Park, the city’s largest park, is a wonderful choice if you want to experience a full array of autumnal colours as well as having the opportunity to see the Red and Fallow Deer who roam freely here. With deer mating season taking place over late September to early October you may also have the chance to watch the males rut, or fight.
Culture by night
Autumn also sees the arrival of late night openings at many of the city’s best museums; Museums at Night is a three day festival which takes place from October 29 to October 31 and sees attractions such as the Charles Dickens Museum, the Natural History Museum, Osterley Park and House, the National Maritime Museum and Dr Johnson’s House all offering late-night exhibitions and a programme of talks, tours and special events to coincide with the spooky time of year. It’s a brilliant opportunity to visit some of these incredible museums after hours and to be shown a side of them which you may not otherwise have experienced.
Enjoy the diversity
This year there are two very special events being celebrated in London during the autumn with the Diwali Festival and Africa on the Square which will both take place in Trafalgar Square and are free events for the public. The Diwali Festival takes place mid-October and is a true celebration of this festival of light with thousands of people coming together to celebrate. The event usually starts around 1pm and continues until after dark with live music, stage performances, family friendly games and activities as well as delicious and traditional Indian cuisine on offer. Africa in the Square takes place the day before and is a celebration of African culture with live entertainment, food, dance performances and a whole range of free family activities to enjoy as well. Trafalgar Square is centrally located and very easy to reach; if you are staying in one of the hotels near Chiswell Street London you should have no problem using public transport to reach the Square.
Family friendly fun
UK schools break up for a week towards the end of October and early November and this is a great time for families to visit the city as many popular attractions will hold special family friendly events. Attractions such as the Tower of London, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum can always be relied upon to have an interesting programme of events to help children explore and engage with the exhibitions and information around them. Of course Halloween and Bonfire Night are also celebrated around these times so you may find that a lot of attractions also have themed events taking place which should be suitable for children of all ages and may help them get into the spirit of things.
Take a romance stroll
From November to early December the Enchanted Woodland arrives in Syon Park and is the perfect place to take a romantic stroll if you are coming to London with a loved one. The event sees the Park’s 400 plus trees and 600 year old gardens come alive with interactive lights and specially designed illuminations. The whole park is transformed and although the trail isn’t particularly long (it can be completed in around 30 minutes if you walk briskly), it’s a lovely place to take a pleasant stroll followed by a trip to the Garden Kitchen Restaurant at Syon Park which offers mulled wine and hot chocolate.