This 350 acre Royal Park is an oasis of arboreal beauty nestled between the tourist crush of Oxford Street and the Henries and Tabithas of Kensington. With over 4,000 trees, your eyes are in for an autumnal treat. Look out for the buttery yellows and firey oranges of the beeches, limes and chestnut trees that line the avenues along the Serpentine. And always remember the official Hyde Park motto: ‘Life’s a beech, so kiss my ash’.
London’s neverending winter is just around the corner, but fortunately so is a taste of Lebanese sunshine on Edgware Road. There are countless restaurants to choose from, but Beirut Express, Fatoush and Valentino further up the road are good choices for fresh tabbouleh, shawarmas and warming fuul (a fava bean dish with spices and herbs).
Ever tried to stroll calmly through Hyde Park but had your good times ruined by a ponytailed rollerblader in a tank top? Well, you could be that guy, merely by taking a skate class with the folks from www.skatefresh.com.
North London’s finest ancient woodland explodes into life when the days start drawing in. From the age-old oaks up at the very top of the heath down to the maples and improbably rare wild service trees further down, it’s a veritable painters’ palette of autumnal hues.
The Brew House café at the newly renovated Kenwood House is absolutely tea-lightful, and you don’t even have to leave the Heath for it. This former stately home is also full of brilliant works of art by masters like Rembrandt and Van Dyck, in case you needed another reason to visit. Which you didn’t.
The story goes that when brutalist architect Erno Goldfinger put plans in motion to build a small modernist block in Hampstead, neighbours were up in arms – none more so than James Bond author Ian Fleming, who apparently named his most famous villain after him. He beckons you to enter his web of sin (2 Willow Road), and you should definitely go in, especially as it’s now a National Trust house.
Some of the trees in this gorgeous hillside royal park – which was originally walled off by Henry VIII for use as a deer park – date back to 1600, and taking pride of place are the avenues of 400-yearold Spanish sweet chestnuts. In autumn they produce edible nuts which, unsurprisingly, are both sweet and Spanish. Like Julio Iglesias dipped in caramel. And if that’s not the taste of autumn, we don’t know what is.
Us Brits have never been that great at the whole space travel thing. No Union Jacks jammed into the surface of the moon for us. But what we do have is a lovely planetarium at the Royal Observatory, where you can go on an immersive journey through the universe from the comfort of its 120-seat domed theatre.
Old Vicky P is home to countless ravers throughout the summer festival season, but calm returns once the temperature starts to drop. The silver birches, planes, oaks and rare purpleleaved Norway maples are all sights to behold. The weeping beech by the pagoda, however, sounds like the worst seaside holiday ever.
The People’s Park Tavern may sound like a meeting place for radical, turn-of-thecentury revolutionaries, but Karl Marx never drank here. Which is a shame, because it’s a good pub, with its own onsite microbrewery, a selection of gastro-treats and a fine garden facing onto Victoria Park.
It’s not just the usual assortment of gorgeous British trees like oaks and willows that makes Battersea Park such a special autumn destination – its variety of gardens (from subtropical to winter) make it one of the city’s prime green spaces. The hybrid strawberry tree with its red bark is a standout, and by autumn’s end it’s covered in fruit and white flowers. Its trunk apparently has the largest girth in the country, you can make your own joke about how popular it is with the lady trees.
As Axl Rose once asked, do you know where you are? You’re in the southwest London jungle, baby – and no one beats that area’s drum quite like bar and pizza joint Bunga Bunga. Yes, it’s named after Silvio Berlusconi’s sex parties, and yes, it’s frequented by royalty and ‘Made in Chelsea’-ites – so yes, it’s a great party joint.