You can visit London all year round. In fact, 37.3 million people did just that last year, up 3.5% on the previous year, despite heightened security fears following several high-profile terror incidents on the continent. London is glorious whatever the season. There are hundreds of London attractions and no matter what the weather does, you will have an awesome time.
In summer, London’s parks and leafy squares are a magnet for sun-starved locals and visitors alike. In the winter, head down Oxford Street and admire the festive window displays, check out the latest exhibitions at the V&A or the National Gallery, or book tickets to a show. But what can you do in London in the autumn, when the weather hovers between summer sun and winter chill? Let’s find out.
A Walk in the Park
Once autumn comes, London’s parks break out in a riot of autumnal colour. Leaves change from verdant green to russet red, vibrant copper, and gold. Take a leisurely stroll through Richmond Park and admire the wonder of nature. It may be a bit cold for a picnic, but you won’t notice with so much finery on display.
Kew Gardens cover 130 acres of park and formal gardens. In the summer, the gardens are alive with colour and visitors, but in autumn, the steady stream of tourists slows down and you can admire the gardens in their enchanting, autumnal magnificence.
On a fine day, explore the Treetop Walkway – it towers 18-metres above the woodland. On a cold day, head straight to the Palm House and enjoy some tropical warmth. Tickets can be bought online, via the kew.org website.
London Restaurant Festival
Foodies will love London in October. The city plays host to the London Restaurant Festival. It’s the perfect excuse to visit some world-class restaurants, tuck into festival menus, and take a restaurant hopping tour. Popular Festival events include Champagne Gourmet Odysseys, the Ultimate Gastronomic Weekend, and Eat Film.
You will need to sign up for tickets if you want to take part. Tickets are limited, so books yours early to avoid disappointment.
Museums at Night
When the lights go down, the fun really starts…
Is Night at the Museum your favourite film? If so, you will love the Museums at Night festival at the end of October. This is a fabulous opportunity to celebrate Britain’s heritage and visit some of the capital’s most iconic museums and galleries after dark.
Why not celebrate Halloween in the capital? Many museums hold Halloween-themed special events in October. Visit London in the autumn and you can learn more about the city’s dark underbelly. Take a spooky ghost tour around Jack the Ripper’s old stomping ground, visit the Library of Screams at Strawberry Hill House, or indulge in some gruesome fun at the London Dungeons.
Alternatively, hang out in the London Tombs, which are part of the London Bridge Experience. You never know, you might come face-to-face with the ghost of a plague victim!
London Film Festival
The BFI London Film Festival takes place 4-15 October. It is one of the world’s top film festivals and the event regularly attracts big-name stars and renowned directors. This is your chance to celebrate the silver screen and support the UK film industry. You can also have fun!
If you want to see your favourite stars walk the red carpet or catch some amazing debuts from up-and-coming directors, check the festival schedule on the BFI.org website. Priority tickets and advance bookings are available online.
London Cocktail Festival
There are hundreds of venues across London that serve delicious cocktails made to order, but if you happen to be visiting London during October 2-8, make sure you sample some world-class cocktails in London’s best bars. Yes, it’s London Cocktail Week!
Old Spitalfields Market is where the cool people hang out. There, you’ll find pop-up cocktail bars, food vendors, and enthusiastic bartenders serving up their signature cocktails for £6 a go. What’s not to like about that?
To take part in London Cocktail Week, pick up your LCW pass online via the official website.
London is always busy, whatever the season, so if you are planning a visit this autumn, book your accommodation well in advance.
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Also published on Medium.