Ah, the autumn… there’s a reason why Americans like to refer to it as ‘fall’ – all those leaves, yes, falling from their trees and heaping on the ground in a corking cornucopia of shades; all golds, yellows, bronzes, russets, reds and browns.
And in London you’d be forgiven for assuming it’s a time for less busy goings-on, reflection and taking-stock, what with winter not long for the Northern Hemisphere and peeps popping on and are doing up their jackets, coffee shops and cafés looker fuller inside than out and pedestrians scurrying here and there, dodging the raindrops and puddles equally as they jump into nearby black taxis or red double decker buses rather than walk their way to wherever they’ve got to get to.
And yet, were to think that the tourist trade and visitor numbers drop off a veritable cliff in the autumn (especially at Hyde Park Paddington hotels), you’d be dead wrong. For the UK capital is just as essential a destination this time of year as it is in the spring and summer. The difference being that, often, the best of what’s going on is going on indoors rather than out – and then some.
Yes, the theatres, concert halls, museums and gig venues always have fantastic autumn/ winter seasons lined up, while come the end of September the sport’s ‘winter season’ of football and rugby is well underway and flourishing. So, while nature’s doing her second most spectacular act of the year, you can enjoy yourself in warmer environments, soaking up London’s world-leading culture to chase those philosophical, end-of-summer blues away…
- Theatre – don’t spend more than you have to on the world’s most revered theatre tickets! When people think about London theatre, their first thoughts typically bend towards the West End; don’t get us wrong, the West End’s great, but pretty seriously expensive if you don’t do it right, so instead of buying tickets for shows weeks in advance and paying through the nose for them, get hold of yours via Leicester Square’s ‘half-price’ ticket stall or queue up in the morning for return tickets at a theatre itself for that evening’s performance
- Music – the best live music needn’t make your wallet wilt! Whether it’s jazz, classical, house, drum & bass, Indonesian Gamelan music or Mongolian throat-singing, London’s got a concert for you; better yet, it’s not difficult to find one that’s easy on the wallet, truly
- Views – finally, autumn’s undeniably a beautiful time of year, and to go with your slightly philosophical view, why not take in some of London’s more spectacular views? They’re free and they’re decent exercise to boot. There are two kinds of tall object in London – hills and skyscrapers – the former’s the cheaper of the two options, as most skyscrapers like to charge you for the privilege of standing in a high place, and admittedly they can outside the very centre of town too (either in The City or Canary Wharf), either way, though, take your pick of vantage point type.
So, don’t let those grey skies get you down; London’s arguably at its most scenic come the autumnal months and there’s more than enough to do indoors and out; yet indoors is where it’s most active. Whether you’re ensconced in the candlelit caves of Gordon’s Wine Bar (near Westminster and the Northern Embankment), sipping a tea in the magnificent British Museum (Russell Square), stamping your feet to the Celtic beat in Waxy O’Connor’s (Rupert Street, near Piccadilly Circus) or sampling oh-so fine dining at the Grand restaurant Paddington (1-2 Queen’s Gardens) we’re certain you’ll be telling everyone that London’s at its best when the leaves start to fall in, yes, fall.