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London's most autumnal outings

Golden leaves, fungi foraging, glowing bonfires and healthy harvests; it's time to grab a scarf and embrace Autumn in London

By Ashleigh Arnott
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1. RHS London Harvest Festival Show

Things to do

Some of the UK's finest nurseries, growers and independent producers will cart their harvest produce to the Royal Horticultural Society this October for their annual celebration of autumnal fruit and vegetables. Visitors can admire, taste and buy the freshly picked, dug and plucked ingredients, or those who grow their own can enter the RHS Fruit and Vegetable Competition to win cups and cash prizes.

2. October Plenty

Things to do Festivals

If your school harvest festival came to life, this is what it would end up as. This traditional celebration starts with dancing in the street in front of Shakespeare's Globe before a procession takes the fun across to Borough Market for their Apple Day activities. The Corn Queene will appear in the parade, accompanied by a Hobby Horse strung with bread and cakes and the Green Man covered in wild fruits and foliage, and flags, traditional music and morris dancers will keep the party moving.

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3. Autumn Ambles

Things to do Walks and tours

Get outdoors and breathe in some crisp autumnal air on one of the dozens of walks taking place over this active weekend organised by Transport for London. Experienced guides will lead the expeditions through some of London's most interesting, spectacular and underrated areas, with all routes starting and finishing within easy reach of public transport.

4. Fungi Breakfast

Things to do

A two-hour walk offering an introduction to fungi found on Hampstead Heath and the places you'll find them flourishing. Your outing will be followed by a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon and mushrooms (not the fruits of your morning's meander but supplied by 'official sources') at the Holly Bush in Hampstead.

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5. Hampstead Heath Conker Championship

Things to do Quirky events

The annual conker smasher is back for 2015, with Londoners of all ages gathering on Parliament Hill to try their luck in very British battle. The event will also feature other entertainment, but those looking to play should be ready to start at 3pm. Conkers are provided (so you can stop all that vinegar-soaking for starters).

6. Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival

Things to do Festivals

Glistening pearls, donkeys, shirehorses and traditional songs; the Pearly King and Queen Harvest Festival is back in town. As the last Sunday of September rolls around, it's time for Guildhall Yard to welcome the cockney masses for a shindig Dick van Dyke would give his right arm to muscle in on. The annual event features traditional English entertainment including maypole dancing, Morris dancers and a marching band – be prepared to declare your London pride by shouting along to 'Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner'.

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7. Pick Your Own Pumpkin Patch

Things to do Quirky events

Pull on some wellies and draw up a pumpkin wish list, because this Halloween you can choose your own pumpkin from a field full of the orange gourds. You'll probably need a car – the farm's a walk from the nearest tube and pumpkins are heavy – but there's no entry fee and prices start at £2.50 so it should be worth the petrol. Once you've made the big decision you can have a go at the farm's maize maze (£2 entry).

Onions at the RHS Harvest Festival show
© Bethany Clarke

8. RHS London Shades of Autumn Show

Things to do

This show of seasonal displays and planting inspiration is back for 2015 with more autumnal colour from specialist nurseries, garden designers and amateur growers who are competing in The Shades of Autumn Competition. Petersham Nurseries will be running Kokedama workshops to teach visitors how to make their own hanging moss ball planters.

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HydePark_©GilesBarnard.jpg
© Giles Barnard, courtesy Royal Parks

9. Autumn walks in London parks

Things to do Walks and tours

Pick a crisp, clear day and wander past gorgeous golden leaves and bright autumn berries. This guide will help you to choose a park to explore, plus a cosy pub, restaurant or museum to warm up in afterwards.

Borough Market, The Real Apple Store, Apple Day
© Matt Alexander

10. Apple Day at Borough Market

Things to do Festivals

How do you like them apples? Hopefully lots, because this celebration of the fruit bowl staple will be offering absolutely heaps of them. As well as plenty of nutritious crunching and munching, the day will involve an apple peeling competition, apple bobbing and Morris dancing. Local theatre company The Lion's Part will end their October Plenty harvest procession at Borough Market, providing performance, music and storytelling.

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11. Giant Brick Animal Trail

Kids Quirky events

Lego (and animal) fans of all ages are welcome in the London Wetland Centre's hour-long workshops that are taking place at weekends in October to complement the Giant Brick Animal Trail that's in place this Autumn. Participants will build their own Lego pumpkin to take home and race to build as many Lego ducklings as they can in ten minutes. Sessions cost £8.50 and should be booked in advance.

12. Camley Street Harvest Festival

Things to do

Join Alara Wholefoods for this annual event boasting a grape harvest thanks to the venue's inner city vineyard. Live music, a bonfire, organic grub and free goody bags will fill the King's Cross garden, keeping the whole family warm, full and happy.

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SouthamptonArms.jpg
© Ed Marshall

14. Cosy up next to an open fire

Bars and pubs

A brisk walk on a chilly day can only be followed by a pint next to a fire: that's the Autumn law. Our guide to pubs that will keep you super cosy will help you plan your final destination.

Find more great London events this season

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