4 Places to See Autumn Colours in London

Much like blossom in Spring, Autumn enters majestically with an explosion of colour. It’s easy to lament the loss of summer for another year, even if you are partial to a cosy knit and hot chocolate, but slow living is all about noticing more deeply what’s happening around us. Plus, the beginning of a season reminds us of the reassuring pace and pattern of nature. Whatever happens in life, the leaves will fall, the cold will come, the fresh green shoots will appear and the sun will shine brilliantly again. And it’s not just in the country where we can enjoy this natural procession, London has its own leafy hotspots to visit. Discover where to find some of the best autumn colours in London and celebrate the new season.

Where to Enjoy Autumn in London

1. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

With impressive Victorian glasshouses and beautiful landscape design, Kew is a great place to visit at any time of the year, but it’s particularly special when the seasons are changing. With the vast arboretum and the Treetop Walkway that takes you above the canopy, autumn is a highlight at Kew Gardens.

Treetop Walkway Kew in Autumn

2. Kyoto Garden, Holland Park

Part of the 22 hectare Holland Park, the Kyoto Garden was a gift from the Japanese city of Kyoto. It celebrates the relationship between Great Britain and Japan and features relaxing waterfalls and even peacocks. The leaves of the Japanese acer trees turn vibrant shades of red and orange during autumn.

3. Regent’s Park

One of London’s most famous royal parks, Regent’s Park was named after Prince Regent, later known as King George IV who lived between 1762 and 1830. The tree-lined pathways make Regent’s Park a great spot for both spring blossom and autumn leaves.

Avenues of trees in Regent's Park

4. Notting Hill

A walk through Notting Hill’s pastel-coloured streets is uplifting at any time of the year, but during autumn, the area is especially picturesque with crunchy leaves lining the pavement. Get off the tube at Ladbroke Grove and walk down, or start at Notting Hill Gate.

Whether it’s golden hour before sunset or a misty Monday morning, make time to enjoy the colours in all their glory this autumn.

6 Things Not To Miss at Kew Gardens

Spiral staircase at The Palm House Kew Gardens

When it comes to welcoming the change of seasons in London, there’s nowhere better than the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew. The horticultural haven spans a 250 year history and, boasting over 300 acres, is London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over 20 years after acquiring the site in 1731, the Prince and dowager Princess of Wales created a garden for exotic plants. By 1769, the garden was home to 3,400 plant species.

Today, there’s more than 30,000. There’s no doubt that Kew Gardens has made and continues to make a significant contribution to the study of botany.

From blossom in Spring to autumnal colours in the arboretum, Kew Gardens is a botanical escape from Central London that’s worth visiting multiple times of the year. While the gardens are home to many hidden pieces of landscape design to find at your own pace, there are a few popular things to do at Kew that absolutely need to feature on your list.

1. Explore The Palm House

Kew is famous around the world for its impressive glasshouses which include plant species that are endangered and extinct in the natural world. Constructed in 1844, The Palm House is an important resource for the Gardens’ scientists, and for visitors, it’s almost like stepping into a humid, lush jungle. Push past the giant leaves and climb the beautiful Victorian spiral staircases to get a glimpse of the top of the canopy. It goes without saying that this spot is one for the ‘gram.

2. Visit The Prince of Wales Conservatory

The Prince of Wales is Kew Gardens’ patron and his namesake conservatory contains ten different climate zones. For fans of the indoor gardening and house plant trend, this Kew attraction is cacti and succulent heaven. Though, also worth admiring are the huge lily pads that can reach up to two metres in diameter. You’ll find more lily pads in The Waterlily House near The Palm House.

Lilypads at The Prince of Wales Conservatory Kew

3. Have Tea at The Orangery

A trip to Kew isn’t complete without a slice of cake at The Orangery. The restaurant/cafe housed in this 18th century building also serves warm breakfasts and pastries. Its sunny patio is a great place to start or finish your day.

4. Get Inspired at The Plant Family Beds

If you know your visit to Kew will leave you feeling green fingered, The Plant Family Beds, a traditionally British walled garden is a must-visit. While the glass houses are botanical bliss, they’re not something you can realistically replicate back home. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or allotment, this area of Kew has plants living alfresco in the Great British weather. If you prefer your veg plot over peonies and roses, the Student Vegetable Plots are in the same area. Get advice from first year Kew Diploma students and buy some produce grown on royal soil, if you’re lucky enough to visit when they’re doing a veg sale.

5. Wander the Treetop Walkway

For a very different view of a canopy of trees, ascend the 18 metre high Treetop Walkway that overlooks the Temperate House. Nestled in the arboretum, the contrast of trees and leaves with towering skyscrapers in the distance is an another must-see at Kew, especially during Autumn.

Treetop Walkway Kew in Autumn

6. Discover The Temperate House

After years of renovation, the Temperate House reopened to the public in May 2018. At twice the size of the Palm House, it’s the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse. As the name suggests, plants from the temperate region (that’s Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Islands) are safeguarded here.

Steeped in history and science, The Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew are as much an educational day out as they are a place to picnic, walk and breathe fresher air. Spend a few slow hours here and you’ll leave with a better connection to nature and the knowledge that you’ve made a small contribution to the protection of our planet’s biodiversity. Not bad for a Sunday, right?

Other things to do in the Borough of Richmond: Petersham Nurseries

Slow-Going Sundays at Victoria Park Market

What does your perfect slow Sunday look like? For many of us, Sunday is the nominated day of the week for kicking things down a notch, relaxing and enjoying the little things. But, you don’t need to escape the city to experience a slow Sunday.

One of the best places to embrace a slow Sunday in London is at one of the city’s markets. While Columbia Road Flower Market has long been a Sunday institution for Londoners, it’s always worth keeping an eye on newer markets popping up at the weekends. One of the best new additions to the city’s Sunday market scene is Victoria Park Market.

Punnets of plums at Victoria Park Market, London

Three Reasons to Visit Victoria Park Market

Victoria Park Market opened in June 2017 and runs along a leafy pedestrianised street between Bonner Gate and Gore Gate. This street called The Nightwalk, welcomes around 50 traders every Sunday, including those selling traditional farmer’s market fare and hot food.

1. The Setting

Victoria Park is one of London’s most picturesque parks, complete with scenic canal boats, a Chinese pagoda and a boating lake. You can easily combine a trip to the market with a stroll around the park, or even a picnic during the warmer months.

Victoria Park Canal, London

2. The Space

Unlike other markets in London, especially those that are indoors, Victoria Park Market is spacious and much less crowded. There’s no fighting for elbow room here; you can happily zig-zag down The Nightwalk at your leisure. While it’s a true slow market, it is growing in popularity, so don’t leave it too late if you have something in mind to put on the table for tea.

3. The Choice

Aside from the general benefits of market shopping (supporting small producers, eating in-season food with provenance and embracing much less plastic packaging that at the supermarket), Victoria Park Market has a really good variety of traders. From macarons to dog treats and gyoza, you’d be a very strong-willed person to leave with your tote bag empty. You can even pick up all the ingredients for your roast dinner, as well as a hearty hangover cure in the hot food section. Those monster grilled cheese sandwiches ought to do the job.

Why not make Victoria Park Market your next slow Sunday pittstop?

What You Need To Know:

  • Address: 56-57 Gore Rd, London E9 7HN (via Bonner Gate)
  • Nearest Station: Bethnal Green
  • When? 10am-4pm every Sunday
  • Card or Cash? A mix of both. Some stalls only take card

Sustainability and Slow Living at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond

With almost 100,000 Instagram followers, Petersham Nurseries is one of London’s worst kept secrets.

The elegant-meets-boho lifestyle concept combines eclectic interior products with lush plants and renowned food. But if you’ve only visited the newer Covent Garden branch that opened its doors in 2017, you’re missing out.

Petersham Nuseries’ original location, just beyond the heart of picturesque Richmond-upon-Thames, is delightfully tucked away. It’s nestled alongside the River Thames – a stone’s throw from Richmond Park, famed for its grazing deer. It creates a slow and (almost) bucolic escape for those in need of respite from capital city life, especially when choosing to arrive by foot across the footpaths, as the owners encourage.

While Petersham Nurseries’ Instagram-worthy asesthics and laidback luxury feel are undeniable, there are a host of even more meaningul and slow-inspired reasons to make it that little bit further to Richmond.

Petersham Nurseries Shop

Exploring Sustainablity and Slow Living at Petersham Nurseries

1. It’s a Family Affair

Petersham Nurseries is a true family business. Gael and Francesco Boglione moved from central London to Richmond a little over 20 years ago. They later acquired the plant nursery bordering their home when it was threatened by developers. Instead of welcoming a plot of new builds for neighbours, the Bogliones slowly created a vision, blending the nursery with their past experience of buying and selling unusual furniture. Today the Boglione’s children are at the forefront of the brand’s ethos and its story. The experience of visiting Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is as carefully curated as the plants they stock.

Plants at Petersham Nurseries

2. Slow Food First

Alongside the popular tea room, Petersham Nurseries offers an Italian-inspired restaurant that respects the philosophy behind the slow food movement. This philosophy, formed by Carlo Petrini, was born in Italy in the 1980s. It has since evolved into an ethos that encourages the protection of local food traditions and promotes good, clean and fair food production. Good meaning flavoursome and of quality; clean meaning the processes involved do not harm or limit harm to the environment and finally; fair meaning fair conditions and compensation for food producers. The seaonsal ingredients that fill Petersham Nurseries’ menus are sustainably sourced and waste is kept minimal. This conscious and natural approach is extended across all areas of the business, including to staff travel.

Spiral staircase at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond

3. In Tune with Nature

Positive living and reconnecting with nature forms a key part of the brand’s ethos. They hope to encourage visitors to draw inspiration from the beauty of nature and experience positive living through consideration of the environment. While popular, Petersham is peaceful. It’s the perfect place to find escapism, breathe fresher air and get a dose of greenery.

We hope to have created a place of calm, somewhere that respects and is in tune with nature and positive living– Lara Boglione, today’s Manager Director of Petersham Nurseries.

So, in addition to offering flora and fauna to frazzled city-goers, Petersham Nurseries and the Boglione family prove that a successful business model on both the outskirts and in the very heart of a capital city can work with, and not against, sustainable ethics. In fact, it’s arguably the commitment to these very principles, and of course, an incredible eye for sourcing beautiful things, that has owed to the continued success of the Petersham brand.

The Beautiful Allotment Summer Pop-Up in Hoxton

Always on the hunt for slow places to explore in London? The next place to add to your list this summer is Beautiful Allotment at The Geffrye Museum in Hoxton. This English country garden-style drinking and eating space has been brought to us by Bourne & Hollingsworth, the creative lifestyle company who work hard to create unique pop-ups and interiors-led social spaces.

Beautiful Allotment Geffrye Museum, Hoxton

Set in the beautiful courtyard of the Geffrye Museum, this planty pop-up is a serene escape from busy Shoreditch around the corner. Place your drinks order at the wooden pottings sheds. Then, choose from sofas, day beds, poly tunnels, deck chairs, and even a treehouse, to sip on their botanical-inspired cocktails and tuck into their locally-sourced BBQ food.  You can spend the afternoon nestled amongst vegetable patches and hay bales, watching volunteer gardeners slowly make their way around the gardens, tending to the tomatoes and rainbow chard. It’s rustic with an informal atmosphere, perfect for a relaxed get-together with friends.

Geffrye Museum Pop-Up Garden in Hoxton

Botanical Cocktails at Beautiful Allotment

What You Need To Know:

  • Address: Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA
  • Nearest Station: Hoxton
  • When? 25th July – 26th August, Wednesday to Sunday
  • Card or Cash? Card only
  • Is Booking Required? No, but advised for groups
  • Is There an Entry Price? Beautiful Allotment is free to enter