Autumn almanac: London’s October and November highlights


So, summer may now be verily winding down in the Northern Hemisphere – and not least in its most popular locales for a city-break, such as the UK capital – but in between all those log, lazy, hazy sunny days and the chilly but bright excitement of Christmas, there’s autumn to throw yourself into, especially in the likes of London. So, what’s going on that guests at a budget hotel near Heathrow Airport, like the Park Grand Heathrow hotel, ought to look out for…?

Festivals and fairs

• Art fairs

There’s many an art fair to enjoy in London in the autumn months, including ‘Frieze’, a contemporary sculpture-based event featuring many a marquee in Regent’s Park, the urban contemporary art-focused Moniker Art Fair at Shoreditch’s Old Truman Brewery and The Other Art Fair at Victoria House, next to Bloomsbury’s British Museum (just the thing to pop into the centre of town for, surely, after enjoying a Park Grand Hounslow buffet lunch?)

• The BFI London Film Festival

The biggest event in the capital’s cinematic calendar, it sees the premieres of many and various movies at red-carpet showcases across different venues, many of them glitzy and celebrity-attended (10th-21st October)

• Museums at Night

A welter of fantastic venues (the London Transport Museum, The Museum of Brands and The Wiener Library) will be remaining open until after dark for talks, workshops and the opportunity to browse their collections, wine-glass in hand, in relative peace and quiet (25th-27th October)

• MCM Comic Con

An annual pilgrimage for cosplayers the nation over (and even those who hail from beyond British shores), this gargantuan event oat London Docklands’ ExCel centre attracts movie, TV and gaming fans from across the entertainment spectrum (26th-28th October)

• London Jazz Festival

Featuring acts ranging from jazz masters to cutting-edge musicians, this multi-venue festival caters to the whole, wide jazz music genre and is set to include performances celebrating the Windrush Generation (16th-25 November).

Family favourites

Christmas market

• Enchanted Woodland

A light festival for all the family with a mile-long walking route that winds around Syon Park’s ornamental lake at, featuring trees illuminated in beautiful, different colours (9th-25th November)

• Winter Wonderland

Yes, it’s the festive fest that’s the humungous Christmas market meets fun-fair meets beer hall meets ice rink meets circus show that fills a corner of Hyde Park every November and December; but why highlight for autumn? It’ll be far busier if pop along right on Christmas, of course (from 22nd November)

• Christmas at Kew

With Kew’s irresistible light trail switched on, visitors to the botanical park can wander through its gardens after dark, trace a line as they follow twinkling lights, warm up themselves with mulled wine and visit a Victorian funfair; an ideal event for guests staying at a Heathrow Airport family hotel and no mistake, given the park’s location on the western side of the capital (22nd November-5th January)

Sport events

• American football

Returning to London for another autumn, the NFL is due to rock up at Tottenham Hotspur FC’s White Hart Lane stadium in October for three consecutive Sunday matches (14th-28th October)

• Six Day Series

Make a beeline for the Stratford Olympic Park’s Lee Valley VeloPark if you’re a track cycling enthusiast; the lights’ll be down low and the music turned up as the cyclists hit to the track and it’ll be genuine party time (23rd-28th October)

• Ice skating

The capital’s ice rinks open for the run up to Christmas from October onwards, the first being the Natural History Museum, which is set to get going in time for the October half term school holidays; be sure, many, many more will follow as October slides into November and, in turn, the latter in December.