Teeming with historical pubs with welcoming open fires, cosy cafes offering steaming cinnamon hot chocolates and sprawling parks carpeted with golden leaves, head to London to experience idyllic autumn vibes
After a sweltering September, autumn has finally hit the UK, and all we can think about is crunching through fallen leaves, watching When Harry Met Sally and curling up in a suitably distressed armchair next to an open fire to read a book. So, don your chunkiest scarf and your comfiest boots and head to the capital to sample some of the city’s cosiest offerings.
No 1a Duke Street, Richmond
For an autumnal brunch, head to this achingly well-decorated spot nestled in a side street between Richmond Green, Richmond Station and the riverside. Bristling with hygge vibes, this high-ceilinged haven features plenty of booths and armchairs to snuggle into while you sample the range of cocktails (the bloody mary really hits the spot) and brunch offerings. From lemon balm buttermilk pancakes to soul-soothing shakshouka (tomatoes, onions, pepper, spices, and eggs), fill your belly while warming yourself by the open fire, or simply enjoy a coffee while wrapped in one of the thick blankets that adorn the chairs under the heaters in the courtyard.
1A Duke St, Richmond TW9 1HP, no1adukestreet.co.uk
Cinnamon Village, Tufnell Park
Perched on a quiet corner down the road from Tufnell Park Station, Cinnamon Village offers the perfect retreat. It serves a mixture of British and Turkish breakfast dishes, including eggs benedict, menemen (eggs, tomato, green peppers and spices), tava (a stew usually made with either beef or chicken) and, of course, some of the best cinnamon rolls in London. Split over two homely levels and decorated with an array of personal accents (we challenge you to find a space on the coffee machine not taken up by fridge magnets from all over the world), beautifully crafted cushions and furniture, it serves as a hub for local regulars reading books or newspapers and on-the-go, coffee-starved commuters alike.
112 Fortress Rd, London NW5 2HL
The Antelope, Tooting
Sumptuous Sunday roasts, a roaring fire and a resident Irish folk band — what more could you ask for on an autumnal weekend in London? The Antelope isn’t just a hub for sports-lovers (though there is a room dedicated to live games with a vast projector screen) — it’s sprawling floorspace wraps around a central bar and extends out into a spacious garden, meaning there’s space for all types of pub-goers. Just a short walk from Tooting Common, follow up your Sunday ramble with a traditional roast, which comes with all the trimmings in generous portions, though if roasts aren’t your thing, there are burgers and small sharing plates, too.
76 Mitcham Rd, London SW17 9NG, theantelopepub.com
The Park Theatre, Finsbury Park
This local theatre has been serving its community for more than a decade with its two performance spaces, where big names such as Ian McKellen, Joanna Lumley and Damian Lewis have appeared in show. However, it also features a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture spread out over three floors where you can sit, enjoy a thin-base pizza, a glass of wine or even just a coffee. The warm lighting, comfy sofas and creative vibes are more than enough to spark some inspiration this autumn.
13 Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP, parktheatre.co.uk
For culinary dabblers and chef de parties alike, Borough Market is a source of great joy. During the autumn months, some exciting seasonal produce starts to appear on the market shelves, from beetroot, squash and marrow to venison, mushrooms and pumpkins. Hours can be spent strolling through the winding passages sampling interesting flavours and concoctions, punctuated with regular stops for something mulled or a tea you’ve never heard of before. Borough Market dates back to the 12th century and has a festive energy brimming with potential — though we recommend going during the week to beat the Saturday crowds.
Borough Market, London SE1 9AL, boroughmarket.org.uk
The Flask, Highgate
The Flask is an institution, with parts of the pub dating back to 1663. It’s spider’s web of wood-panelled rooms — sporting candles, groaning bookshelves and historical portraits — that offer the perfect spot for respite, especially for those who have traversed the beautiful green space of Hampstead Heath to get there. Mind your head, pull up a booth and order a hot toddy along with one of the British classics on the menu, such as calves’ liver with garlic mash or beer-battered haddock and chips. If you’re lucky, you may be able to grab a seat by the fire in The Committee Room.
77 Highgate W Hill, London N6 6BU, theflaskhighgate.com
Tucked away in the heart of Tooting Broadway Market, you’ll find a French bistro boasting hearty dishes, rich red wines and luxurious desserts. With a new dining room surrounded by the hustle and bustle of Broadway Market, Bordelaise is famous for its liberal helpings of moules frites and its lusciously soft steaks — and with the soft lighting and cheerful vibe, you won’t find a cosier spot in either of Tooting’s markets. Furthermore, keep an eye on the website so you don’t miss the live music events.
Tooting Broadway Market, Tooting High St, London SW17 0RJ, bordelaise.co.uk
Swans Bar at Maison Assouline, Piccadilly
If you’re after a stylish autumnal experience that doesn’t sacrifice on cosiness, the Maison Assouline Swans Bar is the place for you. Tucked away between Maison Assouline’s lofty shelves loaded with colourful coffee table books, the Swans Bar offers its guests some of the finest cocktails in the city. Cross your fingers for the cosy corner booth (the bar is small, so get your bookings in early) and sample artful twists on classics, such as the Swans pisco sour (BarSol Italia, sauvignon gomme, pineapple and wood bitters, citrus and egg white). All beverages come with delicate dishes of snacks, perfect for snaffling alone while nose-deep in a new novel or with friends. It’s the ideal spot for Christmas drinks.
196A Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9EY, maisonassouline.com/swansbar