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Suz Pathmanathan

Autumn in London

  • When is Autumn in the UK? This year, autumn begins on the 23rd September 2019 and ends on the 22nd December 2019.
  • When is the best time to visit London in Autumn? Between September and October, when the weather is mild and the summer crowds have thinned out.

Autumn in London is the sweet spot between the stuffy vibrancy of the summer months and the gloomy bone-chill of winter. So, next time you're in the city, or if you're lucky enough to call yourself a local, dig out a light knit and head out between September and October. While the remnants of summer sunshine remain and it's cool enough to get your steps in without breaking a sweat, here are the best things happening in the next few months.

Scenic strolls

If you haven't been to Crystal Palace Park yet, now's the time. The Park, located in south London, is home to a beguiling maze with a stone plaque on the floor that reads: "Pause here for a while, listen for the echoes, past, present, future, follow in their footsteps". And if that isn't exciting enough, the park also has dinosaurs that hide between trees, some of these are kept at a 'safe distance' from the public on an island. But on Heritage Open Day, September 15th, visitors are invited to take a guided tour around the island and get up close and personal with the Park's Jurassic inhabitants. Dinosaur Day Until 15th September, 2019 People of all ages and interests can join expert-led tours around the Dinosaur Islands. Kids can enjoy hands-on events, including drawing, mask and badge-making on extinct and endangered animals See more things to do at Crystal Palace Park. Renowned for its vast collection of trees and plants, Kew Gardens is another essential autumnal highlight. This autumn, Kew Gardens will still be hosting its must-see Chihuly exhibit with its striking organic, luminous sculptures. Get down there and see pieces never before displayed in the UK.

Chihuly: Reflections on Nature Until 27 October 2019: The world’s most celebrated contemporary glass artist is back, showcasing his latest work against the stunning backdrop of Kew Gardens. Exotica In the Shirley Shirwood gallery Until 27 October 2019: Experience a diverse collection of paintings of beautifully unusual tropical plants. Get to know some of the best parks and gardens in the city with our ultimate outdoors guide.

Meander through a museum

There's no better way to see the city turn hue than a Hop On Hop Off tour bus. But the best part is, if you've already got a London Pass, you can easily explore historic sites and museums located all over London. Jump on the classic red tour route and head to the Science Museum in South Kensington. Running until next year, the Museum's exhibit The Art of Innovation explores the relationship between science and art over the past 250 years. Discover more about how both helped shape and convey the world around us. Stick around after hours for the museum's Lates, every last Wednesday of the month. The Art of Innovation Until 26 January 2020 This ambitious exhibition will showcase the breadth of the Science Museum Group Collection, with iconic artworks and objects of scientific discovery displayed alongside works by some of the biggest names in visual arts: Hepworth, Hockney, Boccioni, Lowry, Constable, Turner and more. Driverless: Who is in Control? Until October 2020 Artificial intelligence is gaining an ever-increasing presence in our lives. Everything from deep-sea exploration to getting a cheeky takeaway is being reimagined with some form of automation. While you’re here why not check out the museum’s famous IMAX cinema, or even the V&A , located around 5-minutes away on foot.

FOOD: Bigger than the Plate Until 20 October 2020

Inviting visitors to participate, taste and debate, this bold exhibition explores current experiments at every stage of the food system – from compost to table

Mary Quant Until 16 February 2020 From miniskirts and hot pants to vibrant tights and makeup, discover how Mary Quant launched a fashion revolution on the British high street, with over 200 garments and accessories, including unseen pieces from the designer's personal archive.

Go Wild

You’ll find London Zoo in Regent’s Park, right next to the canal. In all its autumn glory, this zoo is even more spectacular. Educational and inspiring, the zoo contains a wild array of different species including the Land of the Lions, which allows visitors to get up close and personal with the big cats. Biaza Domestic Animals Until 4 October 2019 This two day workshop at ZSL London Zoo will focus on the care and welfare of domestic animals in zoos and how we can improve their well-being by using science-based behavioural management techniques. Featuring lectures from expert speakers. History Tours Until 6 October 2019 Visitors will journey through the Zoo with an experienced guide, hear stories of how ZSL helped inspire Charles Darwin’s ground-breaking work, follow the friendship of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, discover the history of the many Grade I and Grade II listed buildings at the Zoo, and much more. Take a leisurely stroll from the zoo to neighbouring Camden Town and explore the diverse and famous Camden market. To finish off your day, you can catch one of Jason’s Original Canal Boat Tours which takes you sailing (slowly) down the canal to Little Venice as the sun begins to set.

Discover the river

This September, London is celebrating the month-long ‘Totally Thames’ festival. With something for everyone, this festival features art installations, river races, river walks and much, much more. The Ship of Tolerance Until 6 October, 2019 The Ship of Tolerance is an international art project created by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, two of the most celebrated artists of their generation. The Ship of Tolerance – a 60-foot long, hand-crafted wooden ship - is dedicated to educating and inspiring young people. Via a curated workshop, primary schools, refugee groups and cultural organisations see children paint silk panels to make sails for The Ship of Tolerance. Close by, you'll find the Tower Bridge Exhibition. Walk along the glass floor walkway of this beautiful and legendary bridge that took eight whole years to complete - it's definitely a good selfie spot. To the north of the bridge, you’ll also find the Tower of London. Explore, if you dare, the legendary tower and dungeons; admire the crown jewels and absorb hundreds of years of history. And if you’re there between the 12-15th September, the BBC Good Food Show Feast will be set up in the Tower’s grassy moat area, with delicious street food for you to try.

Fancy a cocktail?

Are you a cocktail lover? From 4-13th October, enjoy London’s Cocktail Week, in more than 300 venues all over London. Check out some of London’s best cocktail bars or head to the festival’s Cocktail Village in Old Spitalfields Market. Here, you'll find pop-up bars and food pairing sessions. Close to the centre of town, you can also explore the diverse nightclubs and bars dotted around the area, with most being only a short walk away. Enjoy the last of the Autumn sun at some of the best rooftop bars in the capital.

Penny for the guy?

We can’t talk about things to do in London in autumn without mentioning the big two – Halloween and Bonfire Night. As the days grow shorter, and the leaves start to fall, get your Halloween costume ready. And watch out for those trick or treaters! From the end of October, you’ll find organised firework displays throughout London. One of the best is in Battersea Park, where you can join thousands to see London illuminated. London has an endless supply of exciting things to do and interesting places to visit, made even more beautiful against a backdrop of autumn colours. Enjoy your London in autumn and if you're looking for more inspiration on things to do, we've got you.

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