St. James Park in London during autumn season with golden trees and sunshine, United Kingdom (Photo: Getty Images)

Cosy pubs with roaring fires, parks resplendent with colour and a whole host of seasonal events – autumn is a brilliant time of year to visit London. As the nights draw in, the city comes alive with culture and a huge range of fun things to do. From fantastic fireworks displays to inspiring exhibitions, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re visiting the UK’s capital this autumn.

Immerse yourself in some of the world's best contemporary art

Exploring the innovative and thought-provoking exhibits at Tate Modern, a beacon of contemporary art in the heart of London (Photo: Getty Images)

From the Tate Modern on the South Bank to the Whitechapel Gallery in east London, the city has a wealth of world-class art galleries. But autumn is a particularly great time to visit, as lots of galleries kick off the season with new blockbuster exhibitions.

Frieze London is the showpiece event, and especially good if you're interested in buying some art. For five days, this renowned art fair takes over Regent’s Park, giving you the chance to admire contemporary artwork from celebrated artists. There’s also a programme of interesting talks, as well as an outdoor sculpture exhibition.

Continue your art-themed visit by going to W London for a unique art-inspired afternoon tea. With its central location in London’s buzzy Soho and its stylish cocktail bar, it’s a fabulous place to stay, too.

Bask in the glow of the city’s autumnal colours

A stroll through London's parks in autumn, where every leaf tells a story of seasonal change and natural beauty (Photo: Getty Images)

At this time of year, the city is a feast of colour, from golden leaves on the trees to glowing fireworks that light up the skies. The best way to see London in all its autumnal glory is to go for a walk in one of the city’s lush parks. If you want to stay central, you can explore green spaces like Regent’s Park or Hyde Park. Alternatively, head further afield to Hampstead Heath, a leafy oasis in north London, or Greenwich Park in south London, where you’ll have stunning views of the city.

When it comes to fireworks, London really knows how to put on a show. One of the biggest and best displays in the UK’s capital is the fireworks festival at Alexandra Palace in north London – a two-day bonanza on November 3 and 4 that provides a terrific fireworks display against the backdrop of the city’s skyline. For something south of the river, try the Battersea Park fireworks , a sparkling display on the banks of the Thames.

Indulge in retail therapy at London’s historic covered markets

A journey of flavours and traditions at Borough Market, where every stall offers a unique taste of London's rich culinary heritage (Photo: Getty Images)

There are plenty of opportunities for shopping in London, but there’s something special about the city’s bustling markets, some of which are steeped in centuries-long history. Take Borough Market, for example, which has occupied the same spot in some form since 1756. It's now a foodie paradise with more than 100 stalls, restaurants and bars. Staying south of the river, Brixton Village is a vibrant market and cultural hub that’s packed with places to eat and drink, and shops selling homeware, clothes, books and more.

If you’re in central London, a trip to Covent Garden Market is a must. Previously a fruit and vegetable market, it’s now a shopping haven. In the grand Piazza building, you’ll find designer shops and beauty outlets. Venture inside the covered market for antique shopping on Mondays and charming British crafts stalls from Tuesdays to Sundays. For a hidden gem in central London, check out Canopy Market in King’s Cross. Tucked away behind Granary Square, it’s open Friday to Sunday and protected from the elements by a glass roof. Traders sell everything from fresh produce and street food to handmade crafts.

Treat yourself to an elegant afternoon tea and seasonal cocktails

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Transcend the ordinary afternoon tea experience with W London's Afternoon Tea  (Photo: Marriott International)

Cute finger sandwiches, mouthwatering cakes and a glass of fizz – afternoon tea in London is always a real treat. For something a bit different, The Park Tower Knightsbridge, a Luxury Collection Hotel, London has created a Hyde Park-themed afternoon tea, inspired by the iconic green space. Set over 16 floors, the hotel’s rooms offer impressive views of the city thanks to its Knightsbridge location. Alternatively, elevate your traditional afternoon tea with W London's Afternoon Tea with Lois O'Hara – a captivating experience that immerses you in a world of vivid creativity, seamlessly blending art with culinary delights

On the subject of eating and drinking, you won’t want to miss London Cocktail Week, which has events popping up all over town. Celebrating London’s thriving cocktail scene, it promises everything from mixology masterclasses to specially made signature cocktails at some of the city’s best bars.

The fantastically located London Marriott Hotel Park Lane will be marking the occasion with some special cocktails, while buzzy London Marriott Hotel County Hall, close to iconic landmarks such as Big Ben and the London Eye, will also be mixing up some curated tipples. Don't forget Sheraton Grand London Park Lane, whose chic bar, Smith & Whistle, has a range London Cocktail Week concoctions in store – enjoy the hotel's art deco interiors and views of Green Park as you sip.

Continue your exploration of London's vibrant cocktail scene at three iconic locations. Edition London offers a blend of traditional and modern ambiance at the renowned Berners Tavern & Punch Room. Experience historical elegance with bespoke beverages at the St Pancras Renaissance Booking Office 1869. Enjoy curated cocktails in the intimate, speakeasy-style Luggage Room, recently reopened at London Marriott Grosvenor Square.

Celebrate the city’s seasonal festivities

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Concocting mystical moments with spooky, Halloween-inspired cocktails, where each sip whispers a tale of enchantment (Photo: Marriott International)

Guy Fawkes Night isn’t the only seasonal event that London puts on a show for at this time of year. At Halloween, the city celebrates all things spooky with everything from ghost walks to pumpkin picking. W London is hosting a special Halloween event on October 28. The theme is ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’, and there will be entertainment from an artist who DJs while he paints, all while wearing a rabbit mask. It will all become clear on the night!

Meanwhile, the masterful team of mixologists at Smith & Whistle will conjure up a cauldron of seasonal concoctions, infusing each potion with a dash of mystery and a sprinkle of spooky surprises.

On November 11, there’s the annual Lord Mayor’s Show – a London tradition that dates back to the 13th century. Expect to see an impressive procession of floats and groups winding their way around the three-mile route through the City of London.

Later in the month, on 23 November, you can celebrate Thanksgiving at JW Marriott Grosvenor House London in the heart of Mayfair, with a special menu laid on for lunch and dinner at the hotel's superb JW Steakhouse. If you’re having dinner, a nightcap in the hotel’s Bourbon Bar will round things off nicely.

Have a fun-filled trip that your family won’t forget

Embracing the joys of autumn with family adventures, where every moment becomes a cherished memory (Photo: Getty Images)

From the recently refurbished Young V&A museum to the iconic London Zoo, there are endless London attractions that are perfect for family days out.

This autumn, there’s the added bonus of the Disney 100 exhibition, which opens on October 16 at the Excel Centre. Celebrating 100 years of all things Disney, the show will feature more than 250 artefacts, artworks, costumes, props and memorabilia. With exhibits from classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, more recent hits like Encanto, and of course the Star Wars franchise, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Disney fun doesn’t end there, either. At Aloft London Excel, a sleek, modern hotel with direct access to the Excel Centre, there will be a special Disney bedroom package that will delight the whole family.

Published: October 06, 2023

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