John and I had the chance to spend a few days in London in September. I love London…the hustle and bustle, beautiful architecture, history….so many things to see and do. I’ve been fortunate to visit London on several occasions, but never without the kids and never in the fall. I have to say…London in the fall is kind of magical. . With the leaves in the park changing and days a little shorter and getting cooler, visiting London in September might be my new favorite time of year.
As London moves from summer into fall, the crowds of tourists thin, the kids are back in school and rich hues of gold and red start to take over the parks. Pubs offer shelter from rainy days with some comfort food by the fire and the city comes alive with all kinds of fun events in autumn.
On this visit we split our time between The Waldorf Hilton, London and The Savoy London. Both are located just on the edge of the West End. It was a great location with easy access to great shopping, dining and the theater.
Things to See in London in the Fall
The Tower of London
So many of the go-to London sights are so much easier to see when you visit London in the fall! In previous visits to the Tower of London, the lines have been long and crowds have been heavy, but with kids back in school and the summer visitors back at home, we enjoyed wandering the grounds and seeing regularly crowded attractions like the crown jewels, with no wait or long lines. You can read more about why you should plan to visit the Tower of London here.
Hyde Park is one of my favorite urban parks, and seeing it during the fall with the changing leaves it is even more stunning! Start your stroll at Kensington Palace and be sure to see the Princess Diana Memorial Playground if you are traveling with kids.
Buckingham Palace is open to the public for tours every year between July and October. I was amazed at how short the lines were on our visit this time. Tickets can be very hard to come by and lines can be crazy long during July and August. In late September there were still tickets available and no lines! I would recommend the slightly more expensive ticket that gets you access to the Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery…rather than just the State Rooms.
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is a fun (and free) place to visit and a great place to escape a rainy day.
Events in Autumn in London
If you are a football fan, then you are in luck! Autumn in London is in the heart of the football season, and no matter which team you cheer for, you are certain to be able to hit a game or two while you are in town. Be sure to check schedules EARLY….like several months early, to watch for tickets to go on sale and be prepared to buy immediately because they go like hotcakes.
A couple of other things to check out this fall in London:
Hidden London: the Exhibition at London Transport Museum
London Restaurant Festival
Unlike other visits to London with the kids, this time we had the pleasure of really exploring some of the great fine dining restaurants in London. We left the day before the opening of the London Restaurant Festival opening, but if you are planning a trip to London in the fall, and you love food, you might want to try and work your trip around this awesome festival that happens every year in the city. We visited several of the restaurants that are participating in this year’s festival while we were in town and they were fabulous! If you are looking for some great restaurants in London, here are a few to add to your list:
Where to Eat in London
ROKA– An award winning Japanese restaurant with a few locations, we hit up the one in Aldwych and it was super hip and had amazing food. Had my first taste of some incredible wagyu here and I don’t know if I can ever eat a normal steak again. 😉
Hawksmoor– A favorite when we’re in town. There are several locations, and if you are looking for sticky toffee pudding, they have some of the best!
The Gilbert Scott– loved the location of this delicious steakhouse in a gorgeous room at the St. Pancras Hotel.
Tea at Harrod’s – This was experience simply because it is Harrods. I have to say though, there are so many amazing teas in London, that I prefer a smaller more intimate location. Tea time at the Kensington Hotel in South Kensington is hard to beat.
Breakfast at Balthazar– Located in Covent Garden and is always one of my favorites in NYC too…so I had to grab some Eggs Benedict while I had the chance. 😉 We had Christmas brunch at the location in SoHo in NYC this past year…I love it that much. 😉
Pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele – Super inexpensive and totally amazing Neopolitan style pizza. Get the Margherita with double mozzarella. You can thank me later. 😉
Afternoon Tea at Laduree, Covent Garden – We had to find a place to escape a major downpour and lucky for us Laduree was right next door. We grabbed a quick tea of scones, Macarons and tea (or hot chocolate) it was the perfect afternoon snack.
Paul – French fast food at it’s finest. Ham and cheese baguettes, gorgeous salads and pastries, everything is yummy.
Pret – Another quick grab and go…I wish they had more of these in the US!
Be sure not to miss the colorful streets of Notting Hill, the celebratory streets in Chinatown, a weekend night in the WestEnd, Covent Garden, a dinner in MayFair, shopping along Regent Street and so much more. London is such a lively and beautiful city! Walk a LOT and soak it all in!
Weather in London in the Fall and How to Pack
Packing for the weather in London in the fall can be a bit tricky. You want to be out and about exploring, so you need to be comfortable, but you also need to be prepared for temperature swings and inclement rainy weather. If you are wondering what to pack for a trip to London in the fall, here are a few of my recommendations. Click on any affiliate image for more product info.
London in the fall is beautiful and fun and I hope you get a chance to visit! If you want to explore some other things to do in London and places to stay in London, check out these posts:
If you’re heading to other places in Europe, here are some more posts you don’t want to miss! You can check out our entire Europe Travel Gallery to see all of our posts and helpful info.
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