It’s hard to argue against Autumn as the most beautiful season. Spring is lovely too, but allergies are pesky. The short months of Autumn are when London’s green spaces are awash with warm-coloured leaves. Rich russets and amber hues cover trees, blanket the ground, and the light is gorgeous. Sure, you could take a day trip to somewhere picturesque, but there are plenty of stunning places to see the Autumn leaves in London. So grab your favourite knitwear and take a wander to these spots.
Best spots for autumn leaves in London
The Royal Parks
All of London’s Royal Parks are stunning this time of year, and there are eight of them across the city. Farther out, Richmond Park covers over 2000 acres and is home to deer, grassland and rich autumn colours from a huge variety of international trees and plants including Japanese maples, Persian redwoods and the multi-coloured sweetgums.
But you could easily spend hours exploring the autumn leaves in central London, making your way around Green Park, St James’ Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Head to Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill for autumn leaves and city views.
One of the best places to appreciate Autumn colours in London is Kew Gardens, in southwest London. Like Richmond, it’s a little farther out but easy to get to by train, Overground or Underground. Unlike the other places featured, you’ll need to buy tickets (£14.50 for adults), so make a day of it. But with over 14,000 trees across the site, it’s worth visiting to see such a range of spectacular colours, see the leaves reflected in the lake, and gaze up at mighty giant redwoods.
The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) has caught on in the UK in recent years. The Woodland Trust has suggested the calming practice of quiet contemplation and deep breathing amongst trees should be included as a form of non-medical therapy to boost wellbeing. Luckily, London is full of woodlands, like Highgate Wood in north London and Wick Woodland in Hackney. But the biggest proper forest (and largest green space in London) is Epping Forest, which borders east London and Essex.
Take a trip on the Central Line (or Overground to Chingford) to access autumnal abundance. There are trails to suit any pace including easy walks, like The Chestnut Trail Walk and the Wanstead Park Walk to take in woodlands and lakes, to longer routes like the Upshire Walk, which is a 7 mile walk in the heart of the forest. But wherever you wander, you’re going to be surrounded by beautiful, crisp leaves.
Hampstead Heath and the surrounding areas of Hampstead and Highgate are perfect for a weekend of wandering and stopping off at pubs and cafés. There are beautiful city view points at Parliament Hill and Kenwood House, as well as woodland trails, lakes and wild grass. And they’ll all be filled with the kind of hues that will make you feel like you’re kicking leaves through a John Constable painting.
Once you’ve experienced all the Autumn splendour of the Heath, you can take a leisurely wander through pretty streets like Flask Walk in Hampstead Heath with its delightful old pubs and cute cafés if you’re in search of refreshments. On the Highgate Side, if you’ve made it up the rather steep Highgate West Hill, you’ll also be well rewarded with pubs, like The Flask (not to be confused with the Hampstead pub of the same name) and The Angel Inn, and bakeries, like The Highgate Pantry.
Also known as Vicky Park, is one of the largest green spaces in east London. It’s also one of the big draws on Bonfire Night. But there’s plenty of lush leaves to behold around the various landmarks of Victoria Park, like the Old English Garden, the large lake,and the Chinese Pagoda.
Londoners have been enjoying this park for over 170 years, these days there are places to get refreshments within the park itself. If you’re feeling peckish or in need of a caffeine fix, head to the Pavilion café or Hub café for snacks and to sit and admire the views.