What’s on in London this autumn


By Amy Rosoman

Title photography by Cultura Creative Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

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Updated August 2019

Autumn in London is simply delicious when embers of warmth mix with crisp, cool nights. You’ll also relish the vibrant bursts of colour, as yellows, oranges and reds bloom across the tree leaves. In addition to nature’s captivating aesthetics, savour the array of magnetising music and taste a variety of seasonal treats.

Tower of London Food Festival

As the London foodie scene becomes even tastier and more savvy, this festival brings gourmet dreams to reality. Go wild for street food, sample tasters from intriguing pop-up restaurants and London’s best eateries, then catch top chefs (including Emily Roux – daughter of Michel Roux, as well as Billy and Jack from BBC One’s MasterChef 2016 series) cooking up a storm throughout the long weekend. Be sure to check out the craft beers and signature cocktails, as you indulge in artisan bites and scrumptious delights. Once you are full up, browse for some shopping specialities like authentic olive oils, flavourful gins and kitchen cooking essentials – there is something for every foodie fanatic.

When? 12 September – 15 September

Where? Tower of London

Nearest tubes: Tower Hill

Where to stay: The Tower Hotel – for its spectacular setting and extraordinary views of the capital, including Tower Bridge.

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London Design Festival

Embrace the city of design districts and explore art masterpieces. From bright static installations to creative workshops, this is one scene to watch. Discover the landmark project Please be seated by British designer Paul Cocksedge, an installation blending innovation and technology which serves as functioning art, situated in Finsbury Avenue Square near Broadgate. Other exhibitions include: Sea Things by Sam Jacobs at The Victoria and Albert Museum, Life Labyrinth by PATTERNITY at the Westminster Cathedral Piazza, Iri-Descent by Liz West at 181 Piccadilly St James’s and be sure to catch the special project Take the Plunge by Volume Creative at Oxo Tower Wharf.

When? 14 September – 22 September

Where? Across London city

Nearest tubes: For Fulham Road – South Kensington. For Brixton – for Brixton. For Bethnal Green – Bethnal Green. For St James’s – Piccadilly Circus. For Marylebone – Bond Street. For Victoria and Albert Museum – South Kensington.

Where to stay: The Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel – for its ravishing interior, excellent transport links around the city and walkable distance to popular sights.

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As the London foodie scene becomes even tastier and more savvy, this festival brings gourmet dreams to reality.

  • Tower of London Food Festival. © Historic Royal Palaces 2019.

    Fantastic foodie fun

    Watch some of the best chefs entertain and cook delicious dishes, then nibble your way around scrumptious food stands.$187 pp

    Book a stay at The Tower
  • Dark Arts – Harry Potter Halloween. © Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.

    Harry Potter haunts at Halloween

    Explore the ghostly wonders of the Harry Potter studios this autumn, as you come face-to-face with frightening Death Eaters.$548 pp

    Book your London city break
  • Camille Walala: Walala Lounge. South Molton Street, in the heart of London’s West End. Courtesy of London Design Festival.

    Colour and character

    Check out the mesmerising exhibits dotted across London come fall, and see which ones send your senses swirling.$188 pppn

    Book a stay at The Grosvenor House

Dark Arts – Harry Potter Halloween

Harry Potter fans will wave their wands in excitement for the Dark Arts extravaganza to celebrate Halloween 2019. The London studios undergo a haunting makeover with floating pumpkins in the Great Hall and spook-tacular sets. Look out for Death Eaters and learn how to battle them with wand combat when you watch a live duel. Keep your wits about you and tiptoe through the chilling Diagon Alley, before stepping into the shadows of the Forbidden Forest.

When? 27 September – 10 November

Where? Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Nearest tubes: Get the Overground to Watford Junction, then take the shuttle bus to the Warner Bros Studio.

Where to stay: DoubleTree by Hilton London Docklands Riverside  – for its beautiful terrace overlooking the River Thames and idyllic library for afternoon tea.

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London Cocktail week

Spend an autumnal day trying some of the most superb cocktails by the best mixologists, celebrating the finest tipples in town – with even more to offer on its 10-year anniversary. Wander through the vibrant pop-up bars, stands and vans amongst the sounds of ice breaking in shakers and sensational fragrances. From melt in your mouth classics to triumphant concoctions, sip on spirit infused fruity elixirs or exquisite espresso martinis. When you’re feeling peckish, try a bite from the flavourful street food stands and revel in a day of tasteful indulgence. With 300 bars included in this drinks festival, dotted about London – visit as many as you can squeeze in, guzzling their specialties.

When? 4 October – 13 October

Where? The Old Truman Brewery and across London

Nearest tubes: Liverpool Street or Whitechapel

Where to stay: Andaz London Liverpool Street  – for its location between the City and Old Street, discover plenty of treasures nearby, then enjoy the stylish living here.

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  • Epic tricks on Mount Battersea at The Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Festival 2019. © Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Festival.

    Bringing the piste to the city

    Look up in awe, as snowboarder pros and talented skiers switch it up with snow park magic.$318 pp

    Stay at the Park Plaza
  • Mixologist at work during London Cocktail Week. © DrinkUp London.

    Time for a tipple

    A pop-up bar here, an espresso martini there – make a toast and experience the snazziest venues around and soak up the atmosphere.$115 pppn

    Book a stay at the Andaz London
  • Scott Miller as Albert Narracott in War Horse. © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg.

    A powerful performance

    If you haven’t seen it yet (or want to watch it again), catch the award-winning Warhorse in London this Autumn, before it leaves London.$344 return

    Book return flights to London

War Horse

Based on the incredibly moving novel by Michael Morpurgo, this show displays the story of a bond between boy and horse. The remarkable horse Joey is separated from Albert, his true owner, and shipped to France from Devon to join the Cavalry as World War One is upon them. The play follows Joey’s phenomenal journey, as he serves both sides of conflict – dividing and uniting people from all sides throughout. The skilful puppeteers deliver an outstanding performance, bringing a selection of magnificent horses to life, as they gallop, whinny, snort and charge (keep your eyes peeled for the scenes in slow-motion, they are striking). This isn’t to take away from the actors, who together pull off one of the most emotive stage shows in history.

When? 18 October – 23 November

Where? Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre

Nearest tubes: Wembley Park Station

Where to stay: Waldorf Hilton – for its London luxury and wonderful setting in London’s Theatre District.

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The Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Festival

Head to the ice cool Telegraph Ski & Snowboard Festival, the UK’s only festival of its kind. The set-up is crisp and fresh. Check out the stands with the latest gear, get frosty on the ice-skating rink and tuck into warming wintry bites from a choice of Alpine food stands – you’ve got to order the crepes. Catch live music and comedy stand-up, then grab a pint (or toffee vodka) and party on to late night Après ski activities on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy the Après schedule, along with the street food village, vintage Ferris wheel and treasure hunt.) Watch the pros on Mount Battersea, a 50 ft real snow kicker, as the best of the best show off their awesome skills and sickest tricks.

When? 24 October – 27 October

Where? Battersea Park

Nearest tubes: Get the Overground to Battersea Park

Where to stay: Park Plaza Westminster Bridge – for amazing views of Big Ben, easy access to the London Underground and Waterloo train station, and an array of bars and restaurants along South Bank.

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Ally Pally’s Firework Festival

Watch the city sky light up in a dazzling firework display, bursting with colours and patterns. Marking the historical moment Guy Fawkes was stopped in the Gun Powder explosion plot, this annual event sparks across the whole of Great Britain. Get tickets for the whole family to see Ally Pally’s Firework Festival and be spoilt with a choice of two different days to see the epic, colour-popping displays. Adult early bird tickets start from £9.50 and all early bird children tickets cost less, with a small booking fee when ordered online. Make the most of everything here, there aren’t only amazing fireworks – from fairground rides, live music, food and drink vendors and more, get ready to soak up the electricity of this event. Just remember to wrap up in jackets, hats, scarfs and gloves as November nights get chilly.

When? 1 November – 2 November

Where? Alexandra Palace

Nearest tubes: Wood Green

Where to stay: Aloft London Excel – for its sleek luxury feel, inside swimming pool and brilliant transport links, including the DLR Overground.

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  • Alexandra Palace Fireworks. © Lloyd Winters.

    Snap, crackle, pop!

    Watch the sky light up, in all sorts of sparkling shapes and sizes – make the most of Britain’s greatly celebrated Bonfire Night.

    Stay at the Aloft London Excel
  • Singer-songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae plays the EFG London Jazz Festival this year. © Serious Ltd.

    Jazz, soul and blues

    Listen to beats that will get you moving, hear lyrics that’ll make you feel and music that’ll change your thinking.

    Book a stay at the Grosvenor
  • Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. © PWR Events.

    Glide across Hyde Park ice-skate rink

    Relish the crisp, cool air, and soak up the last of the autumnal sun.

    Book a stay at the Intercontinental

EFG London Jazz Festival

Swing to the rhythmic sounds at the 27th London Jazz Festival, which lasts 10 days and features 2,500 artists across 60 amazing London venues. Attendees will get to listen to the rich vocals from a glorious mix of musicians and singers. Catch Grammy Award winner Corrine Bailey Rae, who hit the charts in 2006 with Put Your Records On and Like a star, making her first appearance at this festival performing at the Southbank Centre. For something unique, sensory and extraordinary, see Dan Tepfer: Natural Machines at London Kings Place. Make your way to the Barbican and experience the blend of pianist and composer Nik Bärtsch, with visual artist Sophie Clements sharing sculpture, film and installation elements. With such a choice of talent around this autumn, your hardest decision will be picking who to watch.

When? 15 November – 24 November

Where? Across London city

Nearest tubes: For Southbank Centre – Waterloo. For London Kinds Place – King’s Cross St Pancras. For the Barbican – Barbican.

Where to stay: The Grosvenor – for its immaculate grandeur and boastful location near Victoria Station, just 500m from the beautiful Buckingham Palace.

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Winter Wonderland

Seasonal celebrations are coming, and the magic of Winter Wonderland can’t be missed. Whether you wander through the bright lights of Hyde Park with a mulled wine in hand or whoosh around on the whirlwind of rides – there is something to make everyone’s cheeks rosy with delight. Find your way through a maze of ice sculptures, glide across the ice-skating rink and warm-up with roasted marshmallows. Stroll through the alpine Christmas market stalls, catch mesmerising shows at the Winter Palace Theatre and meet the man himself in Santa Land.

When? 21 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Where? Hyde Park

Nearest tubes: Knightsbridge

Where to stay: InterContinental London – The O2  – for its replenishing spa and mesmerising views of the Canary Wharf skyline from the Eighteenth Sky Bar.

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