For those heading to London this autumn, get ready to fall in love. The capital is a wonderful place to visit regardless of the time of year, but thanks to the city’s amazing green spaces, it looks particularly beautiful during this period of transition. Also, as we’re often very prepared for bad weather conditions (it is the UK, after all) there are still loads of amazing things to see and do even when it’s raining or cold outside.
To help you get extra excited for your London autumn holiday, we’ve rounded up a guide for your visit. Before we delve in, ensure you check out our Premier Hotel Loyalty Program which covers some of the best hotel rewards at some of the capital’s most exclusive, impressive hotels. This includes the likes of the Grand Royale London Hyde Park Reward, to the London Premier Kensington reward. As a Premier Club Rewards member, you can enjoy exclusive privileges including earning free night and complimentary room upgrade. Premier Club rewards membership will make your stay memorable, luxurious and rewarding.
Discover more about our premier hotel membership rewards here.
What to pack
First things first, let’s take a look at some of the essential things you’ll need to bring with you to ensure your trip goes smoothly.
- London is recognised for rainy weather, and while autumn isn’t the worst time for rainfall in London, we suggest bringing a rain jacket and umbrella if you’re thinking of staying outside for long periods of time.
- London has one of the finest climates in the UK; nevertheless, as the weather is unpredictable, we advise bringing a light to medium waterproof jacket. Be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes and if they are waterproof, all the more enjoyable.
- Make sure you’ve also included a few jumpers or cardigans in your suitcase, as the evenings can get much colder than the day time, so if you’re planning to be out and about after dusk, you’ll want to wrap up a bit.
- A lot of businesses in London are ok with casual clothing, especially if you’re hitting a pub. If you’re considering going to a more upscale place, we recommend bringing a nicer outfit just in case.
- A must for any time of year when heading to the UK but well worth a mention – don’t forget to bring your UK adaptor plug to make sure you don’t fall short when it comes to plugging in your vital appliances! If you do forget, give one of our friendly members of staff a shout and they should have one you can borrow.
Best London autumn events
From cultural events to one-off or annual all-out celebrations, there are a million and one things to do in London during autumn. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourites to help get you inspired.
Open House London
This is the event of the year that spotlights the diverse architecture of London. But it’s not just for architecture buffs! Step inside buildings you’ve only ever been able to appreciate from the outside. This event attracts both tourists and locals alike, as the entrance is given to over 800 buildings around the city for tours, walks, and talks for the weekend of Sept. 21-22, 2019. You can think ahead, too! Request a guide ahead of time, download the app, and show up fit to appreciate and study the incredible architecture of London. Our particular highlight? Are you curious about what goes on inside some of London’s most iconic suit-makers? Us too! Find out at this new addition to Open House London, during which five of Savile Row’s best tailors will open their doors to the public for a weekend of made-to-measure examination.
Celebrated for its broad collection of trees and plants, Kew Gardens is another crucial autumnal highlight. This autumn, Kew Gardens will still be entertaining its must-see Chihuly exhibit with its impressive organic, glowing sculptures. Get down there and see items never before exhibited in the UK.
London Film Festival
The London Film Festival has been taking place yearly since 1956 and will take place this year from Oct. 2- 13, 2019. This year 225 movies from 77 nations will be presented in about 15 venues across the city, ensuring something for everyone. Whether it’s one film or multiple you’re planning on viewing, there are different passes for the varying levels of film fans.
Bonfire Night: London Fireworks Displays
The anniversary of Guy Fawkes’s conviction will see the conventional bonfires, burning of effigies and fireworks take place at multiple locations across the city, often in local parks. However there will also be more comprehensive displays in central London – the possibilities are limitless! The Lord Mayor’s Show and Fireworks is an example of this – the yearly extravagant procession returns and as usual, it will be a top family day out. Only a few days on from the excitement of Bonfire night, this is a show not to be missed.
London Cocktail Week
Fan of a tipple? You’re in luck with this one! From 4-13th October, enjoy London’s Cocktail Week, in over 300 venues all across the city. Check out some of London’s finest cocktail bars or head to the festival’s Cocktail Village in Old Spitalfields Market. Here, you’ll discover pop-up bars and food pairing gatherings. Close to the heart of town, you can also travel the various nightclubs and bars dotted around the area, with a lot of them being only a short walk away. Fancy a drink with a view? Enjoy the last of the Autumn sun at some of the greatest rooftop bars in the capital.
London Museums at Night
London possesses some amazing museums, but have you ever experienced them after dark? Museums at Night is a biannual festival of galleries and museums that are all open late. This year’s event is produced by Culture24, a Brighton-based foundation. The autumn celebration takes place across London from Oct. 31-Nov.2 and will have Halloween themes this year.
Fro culture to creepy… Autumn is best known to some as Halloween month, so it definitely brings on a spooky vibe, though you don’t have to wait until the end of October to go on a ghost tour! There is a range of ghost tours hosted throughout the city which takes guests on a walk through London’s most interesting dark heritage and examines the most disturbing and haunting tales of the Old City. A lot of the tours include a number of grizzly sights, even including a walk down “disgraceful Cheapside” that features tales of cannibalism and canine haunting (yes really!) before proceeding on to the Old Bailey Courthouse. This is the infamous site of numerous executions and the trial of a noted Victorian serial killer 100 times more active than Jack the Ripper!
Best free things to do in London this autumn
Though you’ll be pleased to know, you don’t have to part with much cash (or any!) in some cases to have a really great autumnal experience in the city. Whilst London is a really expensive city to live in and visit, there’s also a wealth of amazing things to do for free. This will leave you with more cash to spend at the bar – winner!
Here are a few of our favourite free things to do at this lovely time of year.
See the sights from above
Take advantage of the incredible views and colours of the city at this time of year from a unique vantage point. Most of them are free and they are a good way to add in some exercise on your trip to boot. There are two main kinds of tall spots in London (or anywhere for that matter), when it comes to viewpoints – hills and skyscrapers. Hills are obviously the cheaper of the two options, as most of the city’s skyscrapers like to charge you pretty crazy amounts for the chance to stand in a high place, and they’re also typically outside the centre of town. Our personal natural viewpoint in London can be accessed by jumping on the tube to either Chalk Farm or Camden Town. From there, head to the back of Regents Park to climb up Primrose Hill, perhaps London’s most well-known (but also fairly peaceful) natural vantage point. If the weather is on your side, you might even want to take a picnic – though pack a brolly in case! This is a scene from the North and therefore straight ahead is the beautiful foliage of Regents Park as it slowly begins its shift to the sepia end of the spectrum.
Autumnal scenes in the Parks
Likewise, access to some of the city’s most famous and spectacular green spaces is completely free. London boasts some beautiful parks that can be savoured all year-round. These parks are particularly pleasant in the fall when the leaves change colours! Hampstead Park is home to sprawling woodlands, paths and ponds, cafes, and one of the greatest views in the capital atop Parliament Hill. Hyde Park sits in the middle of London and has walking trails, bike paths, and even equestrian paths.
Africa on the Square
For this colourful, exciting and family-friendly event, an entire continent will squeeze itself into Trafalgar Square on a Saturday in October for the Africa on the Square festival. Featuring live music, dance, and even a talent show, as well as market and food stalls, the event is expected to attract a crowd of 25,000. This event is part of the wider Black History Month celebrations which will be taking place at various times and locations throughout the city, with lots of opportunities to learn about black heritage.
Diwali on the Square
From one wonderfully colourful event to another, this celebration in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 9th November marks the religious holiday of Diwali. The London Diwali festival draws in approximately 35,000 people each year to celebrate this Hindu, Sikh and Jain festival of light. So you can expect lots of lively music, dance and an authentic market with food, craft, art and henna. So regardless of the weather, it’s sure to be a fun day out! Craving more colour? Head to the National Maritime Museum where there will be a rota of fun Bollywood-style dance classes and much more.
Enjoy all the fun of a sporting event
Even if you don’t want to part with the cost of a ticket for a world-class English football match (they are super expensive for the top clubs, these days) you don’t need to miss out on the fun and adrenaline. It’s no secret that football is a huge part of English culture, so when the Premier League championship is in full swing (which it is right now) lots of pubs and bars show the games. This is the second-best way to watch the sport – second only to being there live, of course. You’ll be surrounded by football fans with a pint in hand. A perfect score.
Not a football fan? American Football will also be making an appearance in London with the Chicago Bears playing the Oakland Raiders at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, October 6th. Likewise, for rugby lovers, men’s and women’s teams from England, Ireland, USA and France will be competing this October in the RugbyX tournament. Again, both of these championships will also be shown in some of the city’s best pubs and sports bars.
Where the Light Falls event
Historic scenes are projected onto the exterior of St Paul’s Cathedral for three nights only for this one-of-a-kind exhibition, taking place from the 25th to the 27th of October. Historic England has paired with The Poetry Society and light show company Double Take Projections. Where The Light Falls is a free event, commemorating those who risked their own lives during the Blitz to ensure the cathedral stayed safe, under Winston Churchill’s instructions that the building must be saved ‘at all costs’. So, expect a night of quiet, peaceful reflection in stunning surroundings.
Don’t miss out on the fun this autumn! Book your accommodation in London now.