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21 reasons why Londoners love autumn

As the leaves fall and the days get shorter, we ask the capital's residents to share their favourite things to do during this lovely season

By Matilda Egere-Cooper
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© Chiara Cremaschi

1. Snapping up the foliage

‘After spending the first two weeks of autumn overdosing on pumpkin spice lattes and getting high off pecan pie, I devote the remainder of the season Instagramming pictures of pretty leaves. The best time to start snapping London’s phenomenal autumn colours is during October. If I want deserted avenues with trees of gold, I’ll stroll through Regent’s Park, for fiery reds and saturated yellows it’s Kensington Gardens. And if I want to be chased by over 600 deer for the sake of an epic shot, it’s Richmond Park.’

Luke Abrahams, instagram.com/labrahams19891

Follow Luke on Twitter: @travellerluke
Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park
© Andrew Ridley Photography

2. Going for a run in Greenwich Park

‘What I’m really looking forward to over the next few months are those beautiful crisp, blue-sky mornings when the city looks postcard-pretty. I can’t wait to hit up Greenwich Park, with all the leaves and the impressive view from the top of the hill. It’s perfect running territory and autumn is most definitely my favourite time to get out and hit the pavements.’

Alice Tate, flashanthology.com

Follow Alice on Twitter: @AliceTate_
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Conkers
Conkers
© Ed Marshall

3. Hunting for conkers

‘I love conker-picking in Hampstead Heath. Apparently spiders don’t like the chemicals in conkers and stay away, so I stock up!’

Khyati Patel, khyatiskitchen.com

Follow Khyati on Instagram: @khyatiskitchen

The Parkland Walk
The Parkland Walk

4. Taking on the Parkland Walk

‘I love wrapping up warm and heading out for a walk in autumn. I recommend the Parkland Walk, London’s sort-of answer to New York’s High Line. It’s a roughly five-mile walk from Ally Pally to Finsbury Park, during which you’ll stroll through woodland following the route of the abandoned London and North Eastern Railway, seeing sections of old train platforms. Also look out for the disused tube tunnels leading to Highgate, as they’re now home to London’s very own bat cave!’

Katie Wignall, lookup.london

Follow Katie on Twitter: @look_uplondon
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Primose Hill
Primose Hill
© Ethan Koh

5. Picnicking on Primrose Hill

‘As an Australian expat in London, my favourite place in the city has to be at the apex of Primrose Hill. I love looking out over my adopted hometown of seven years stretching out beneath me. There’s nothing better than packing a pannier bag with an autumn picnic of wine, fresh sourdough, warm lentil salad and olives, and cycling over to the Hill on a crisp Saturday afternoon.’

Naomi Mahendran, thecyclingstore.cc

Follow Naomi on Instagram: @miss__nai
A squirrel frolics in the autumn leaves in Hampstead, London.
A squirrel frolics in the autumn leaves in Hampstead, London.
© Dante Candal

6. Trekking around Hampstead Heath

‘For me the perfect autumn day consists of a long walk across Hampstead Heath, where you can catch the incredible views from Parliament Hill, pass the beautiful ponds and stop off in Kenwood House or Highgate Cemetery if you fancy it. End up with a roast and a red wine in either of the charming villages of Highgate or Hampstead.’

Annie McMonagle-Wilmot, littlemissnottinghill.com

Follow Annie on Twitter: @missnottinghill
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Fog in London
Fog in London
© Jordi Corbilla

7. Keeping warm by log fires on foggy days

‘One of the things I love about London in autumn is the fog. There’s nothing quite like walking by the side of the river through the mist, especially when it gets a bit darker and atmospheric. When it starts to get colder, there’s no more satisfying feeling than finding a log fire in a pub and warming up there. The one at The Three Tuns in Marylebone is just the ticket.’

Andy McElwaine

Beer
Beer
© Bernt Rostad

8. Grabbing a beer in the fresh outdoors

‘Although I'm never sure which coat to wear, autumn is a great mix of warmish weather and the first bites of winter. It’s essential to have a pub nearby when the weather turns and you can’t go wrong with one that has a covered outside space like Pub On The Park. Enjoy fresh air and beer for a few more months before there’s a frostbite risk.’

Alex Jones, raidersofthelostpubs.net

Follow Alex on Twitter: @thepubraider
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Highgate
Highgate
© Sandrine V-R

9. Sipping whiskey in north London

‘Every autumn I have a tradition of a walk and a whiskey. I start in Finsbury Park and head onto the Parkland Walk then wander up to Highgate. I then stroll through Highgate Village hitting all the charity shops and on to the Flask pub, for a double whiskey and an afternoon admiring the pub dogs and my charity shop swag.’

Melissa Power, instagram.com/m.powered

Follow Melissa on Twitter: @melissapower2
Nordic Bakery
Nordic Bakery
© Yuichi Shiraishi

10. Chomping on cinnamon buns from the Nordic Bakery

‘When the clocks go back, I’m using the extra hour to nab a table at the original Nordic Bakery in Soho’s Golden Square – for, as we all know, only cinnamon buns can mitigate the loss of summer.’

James Fitzgerald, jfitzgerald.co.uk

Follow James on Twitter: @jamesfitz789
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Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema

11. Snuggling up at the movies

'There's always the temptation to revert to hibernation mode when autumn rolls around. But snuggling up with a good movie doesn't have to mean becoming a hermit. London has plenty of alternative cinemas that include fleecy blankets in the price. My top pick is Backyard Cinema's 'Lost World'. Films are screened in a secret jungle in, er, Elephant & Castle, and there are cocktails and proper ice creams too.'


Emily Gibson, www.curious-london.co.uk

Follow Emily on Twitter: @CuriouslyEmily

Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest

12. Heading to Oktoberfest

‘Because we’re heading out of the EU and mainland Europe conceivably don’t want anything to do with us anymore, I’m going to restrict Oktoberfest happenings to my home city. That means descending on London Union’s Oktober Feast, where beer will run as golden and freely as Ulrika Jonsson’s hair.’

Hugh Thomas, hughlthomas.com

Follow Hugh on Twitter: @hughwrites
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Mist around gravestones at Fulham Cemetery
Mist around gravestones at Fulham Cemetery
© John Esslinger

13. Getting spooked on Halloween

‘As an American, autumn is all about Halloween for me. It’s a time to curl up in my PJs with a glass of red wine and drive my fiancée nuts by watching ‘Hocus Pocus’ on repeat. When it’s time to venture out, I’ll round up my most up-for-anything group of friends and head to Ultimate Power Ballads’ ‘Bat Out of Halloween’ night. I mean, what more could you want out of autumn than the chance to dress up like a zombie Freddie Mercury and belt out some quality Meat Loaf tunes?’

Stacy Sobieski, adventurestacy.com

Follow Stacy on Twitter: @Adventure_Stacy
Bonfire night fireworks
Bonfire night fireworks

14. Getting warm and cosy at Bonfire Night

‘One of my big autumn highlights is Bonfire Night. I make up a big picnic of roast tomato soup, hot dogs with sautéed onions, cinder toffee and a large flask of mulled cider. I invite a bunch of friends over to Richmond and we walk up to Richmond Hill, right opposite the Roebuck pub. We get ourselves cosy under lots of blankets and settle in to watch the firework displays taking place all over London and Surrey – with a sparkler in hand, of course!’

Beth Windsor, fitsposure.com

Follow Beth on Instagram: @insta_ginge
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Thanksgiving at Christopher's
Thanksgiving at Christopher's
© Christopher's Restaurant

15. Eating all the food at Thanksgiving

‘Autumn isn’t complete without Thanksgiving, and I love how Londoners get properly into this American holiday. Last year I ate my body weight at the Dirty Bones Thanksgiving Feast – and I plan to do it all over again come November 24.’

Kelly Prince-Wright, kellyprincewrites.com

Follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellyprincew
Stanfords
Stanfords

16. Exploring the city’s bookshops

‘For me, autumn prompts reflection on what I still want to achieve before NYE rolls back around, and usually that means remembering the pitiful amount of books I’ve read this year! Wandering the city’s best bookshops is half the fun of choosing a great read. Whether it’s the beginnings of the Foyles Christmas rush, a charming visit to South Kensington Books, or browsing Stanfords for next year’s travel inspiration, I love a warm fruit tea in one hand and a new novel in the other.’ 

Caitlin McAllister, caitlinwriteslondon.com

Follow Caitlin on Instagram: @caitmca
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Present and Correct
Present and Correct

17. Indulging in ‘back to school’ stationery

‘I may be grateful that my school days are far behind me now, but there’s nothing like using the start of autumn as an excuse to indulge in some epic stationery purchasing. My favourite spot for stocking up on pens, paperclips and pretty postal supplies is Present and Correct in Islington. They stock the finest contemporary designs as well as amazing vintage finds. Oh, and they have a killer Instagram account.’

Flora Tonking, theaccidentallondoner.com

Follow Flora on Instagram: @accidentallondoner
flea markets
flea markets

18. Visiting the flea markets

‘Autumn is a fantastic time for flea markets as many students move house for studies. Hackney Flea Market has lots on in autumn with gorgeous vintage fashion, art and furniture to discover.’

Róisín Lonergan, roisinlonergan.co

Follow Róisín on Twitter: @TheRealRoisin
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Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall

20. Catching a classy concert at the Royal Albert Hall

‘A highlight for me each year has to be the Classical Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall. It really is a smorgasbord of popular classical music complete with lights, balloons and the odd surprise cannon (spoiler alert). There’s something about the magnificent surroundings that makes listening to classical music even more thrilling.’ 

Lizzy Pollott

Follow Lizzy on Twitter: @lizzyp
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Man walks past autumn leaves.
Man walks past autumn leaves.
© Garry Knight

21. Enjoying a calmer city

‘London is so beautiful in the autumn. The tourists thin out a bit and we get our city back. The leaves start to change colour and the sun (sometimes!) continues to shine. And there’s nothing better than wrapping up warm and strolling along London’s streets with a hot chocolate in your hand.’

Victoria Cameron, aspoonfulofsugarblog.com

Follow Victoria on Twitter: @spoonfulofsugr

Here's even more things to do this season

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