The best London parks for autumn
Autumn in London is all about cosying up in front of a roaring log fire in a historic pub and crunching leaves in a park. Admire the riot of autumnal colours as the city’s parks change from vivid greens to warm coppers, golds and russet reds. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite London parks that look simply picture-perfect this season.
St Dunstan in the East
Enjoy the tranquility of this stunning venue in the City of London. Severely damaged in the Blitz, the beautiful ruins of this church – built in approximately 1100 AD and dedicated to a 10th-century monk with a colourful past – have now been transformed into a public garden, providing a calming sanctuary away from the area’s crowds of workers. Unusual plants tumble over arches to frame views of London landmarks, such as The Shard, while the lawns offer a pleasant place to stop off for an alfresco lunch. This tucked-away treasure is particularly striking during the autumn months when the ruins are cloaked in deep red leaves.
Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill
Capture an Insta-worthy autumnal shot of the capital from the top of Primrose Hill, which affords a fantastic panorama across London where you can pick out its landmarks. Nearby Regent’s Park is another seasonal treasure with its tree-lined pathways, manicured gardens and playgrounds. It provides a habitat for hedgehogs and around 100 species of wild birds – and it’s also home to ZSL London Zoo.
At three times the size of New York’s Central Park, this is the largest of London’s Royal Parks. Its pastoral landscape of hills and woodlands, with ancient trees, wildflowers, animals and butterflies, offers a peaceful respite to visitors. Walk, cycle or ride a horse through the park and look out for some of the 630 red and fallow deer which have roamed freely since 1637. Be aware that autumn is rutting (breeding) season, so keep at least 50 metres away from the deer. If you have children in tow, find playgrounds at Kingston and Petersham Gates.
Home to more than 4,000 trees, this huge, centrally located park is a great spot to soak up the splendour of the season. Stroll, cycle or row a boat around the Serpentine lake (to 31 Oct). There’s also a meadow, Italian gardens and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in this 350-acre park.
St James’s Park
Located near Buckingham Palace, St James’s Park is a plum spot in which to soak up some golden autumnal colours. Visit at 2.30pm to watch the pelicans being fed; these birds have lived in the park for nearly 400 years after they were given to King Charles II by the Russian ambassador.