Top things to do in London in autumn

Things to do in London

London born and bred, we love the Tower of London, the London Eye and the Changing of the Guard as much as anyone.  Sometimes though it’s the out-of-the-way less celebrated bits of London that are really memorable.  Want to find out more? Here’s our insider’s guide to a few of the top things to do in London this autumn.

Brunch in Ladbroke Grove

If you’re happy to brave the crowds in Portobello Road market, line your stomach first with a fabulous brunch in nearby Ladbroke Grove. Home to a rising number of friendly, good-value eateries, the choice is pretty eclectic. Choose from fabulous custard tarts at Lisboa Patisserie or a traditional pie and mash at Cockneys Pie & Mash. For vintage style, great food and a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere, head for Lowry & Baker. Then make your way to Portobello Road via the antique furniture and vintage clothing shops in the streets around Golborne Road.

Vintage charm and delicious food at Lowry & Baker
Brunch at Lowry & Baker
Vintage china adorns the walls at the pocket-size Lowry & Baker
Vintage charm at Lowry & Baker

Best bookshops

Unfortunately, bookshops in London are a dying breed but there are several which stand head and shoulders above the rest. One of the all-time classics is Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street.  Set in an Edwardian building, highlights include the galleried main room and magnificent stained glass windows.

Browse books at the atmospheric Daunt book shop in Marylebone High Street
Daunt Books in Marylebone High Street

Over on Piccadilly, next to Fortnum & Mason, Hatchards is the UK’s oldest surviving bookshop. Although now owned by Waterstones, it has managed to retain much of its atmosphere. Just a few doors away, Maison Assouline is as much about lifestyle as books. Owned by the eponymous publishing house, this part bookstore, part café is the place to leaf through luxuriously bound books.  While you browse, sip coffee or cocktails in the Swans Bar.

Browse exquisite coffee table books and much more at Maison Assouline
Maison Assouline, Piccadilly

Walk in the park

With over 40% of London made of public green space, it’s not difficult to find somewhere for a stroll.  The big hitters in the centre of town – St James’ Park, Kensington Gardens, Regents Park – are great options for crossing from one area of London to another. In west London, Holland Park houses the Japanese-style Kyoto Garden. Meanwhile in the north, Kenwood and Hampstead Heath are firm favourites with the locals at any time of year. Visit now and you’ll catch a last glimpse of some spectacular autumn colours.

Striking autumn colours at Kenwood House, Highgate
Visit Kenwood House in Highgate for spectacular autumn colours

A time to reflect

From Hampstead Heath, you’re within walking distance of Highgate Cemetery. The cemetery is home to a host of famous names and some magnificent architecture. Choose between a guided tour (West Cemetery) or roaming freely in the East Cemetery where Karl Marx is buried.

Continue down the hill to the bottom of Swain’s Lane where Holly Village is a private hamlet of 8 extraordinary Gothic houses with an incredible history. Built around a green, the homes were built in 1865 by the Victorian philanthropist, Baroness Burdett-Coutts.

Gothic spires are extraordinary architecture at Holly Village in Highgate
Holly Village in Highgate

Open House Festival

Peek behind the doors of some of London’s buildings and neighbourhoods during the 2 week Open House Festival (8-21 September 2022). This is a chance to get inside some of London’s most iconic buildings, visit communities and explore the city’s architecture.