5 ways to embrace autumn in London
Autumn is a very special time of year that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. While many people rave about the summer sun and snowy winters grab the headlines, autumn is unfairly marginalised. More than just an interim between seasons, autumn is the perfect excuse to get cosy and enjoy a new crispness in the air.
If you’re in London this autumn, you’re perfectly located to enjoy the best that the season has to offer. From crunchy leaves and hot chocolate to roaring fires, the capital has no shortage of ways to revel in the most underappreciated of all the seasons.
1. Crunch the leaves in London’s parks
As a city, London is lucky to have a wide selection of parks, including eight that are classified as royal parks. While they are fantastic places to visit all year round, it is when these green spaces are transformed into every shade of auburn and chestnut that they really come into their own.
With Hyde Park on the hotel’s doorstep, there really is no excuse not to get out and enjoy the colourful show that nature puts on in autumn. Don’t just look at the leaves; take the opportunity to interact with them. There’s nothing quite like feeling that satisfying crunch under your shoes as the sun filters through the trees on a crisp autumn day.
2. Enjoy an indulgent hot chocolate
The best thing after an autumnal walk is to warm up with a decadent hot chocolate and London has no shortage of options. Pop into chocolatier Paul A Young’s shop on Wardour Street and treat yourself to a luxuriant drink built around ganache and hot water. Add ginger, cardamom, chilli, nutmeg or cinnamon for an added boost of warmth.
Alternatively, head to Harrods, where on the second floor, you will find the Godiva Chocolate Café. Here, the espresso-sized Hot Chocolate Suckao Shots come in either dark, milk or white variations and offer an intense hit of chocolate. For a longer drink, opt for the Hot Chocolixir, which combines ganache with steamed milk and is topped with silky soft foam.
3. Find a cosy pub with a roaring fire
After a long day exploring London, it’s worth settling into a traditional pub with a roaring open fire. Any residual chill from outside will soon be banished and this quintessential British pastime will allow you to people watch and try some local beers.
The Andover Arms is a good candidate, as this proper pub in Hammersmith lights its fire as soon as there is a nip in the air. Adding to the charm are its wood-panelled bar and little nooks in which to make yourself cosy.
4. Seek out the best comfort food
Cooler weather calls for comfort food and the variety you go for will depend on your own tastes and more likely than not, just a little bit of childhood nostalgia. Luckily, London is full of establishments that serve up top quality dishes that will warm you right through.
Make your way to French brasserie Balthazar in Covent Garden for a cheesier-than-most mac ‘n cheese, with added bacon, if you’re feeling particularly self-indulgent. If a pie with creamy mashed potato is your idea of the ultimate comfort food, then stay in the same area.
Head to the J Sheekey Atlantic Bar for a fish pie brimming with smoked haddock, salmon and halibut. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a shepherd’s pie from The Ivy. There’s a reason it’s world-famous!
5. Enhance your autumn wardrobe with a heritage piece
Dressing for autumn can be tricky, but if you notice you’re missing a key piece in your wardrobe for this time of year, you’ve come to the right place. London’s heritage brands offer timeless items that you will enjoy pulling out of your closet year after year.
Nobody should be without a Burberry trench coat, a style icon of the company that dates back to 1856. Hats are an autumn essential and family-owned Lock & Co has been producing headwear for the great and good since 1676. Perhaps it’s a Liberty scarf that is the final flourish needed for your outfit. Picking just one of their sumptuous prints is a tough task, but a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Image credit: Miramiska via iStock