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We leave the Parisian greyness and we take advantage of a lifting of the sanitary restrictions to make a small trip in London, where the yellowed leaves of the autumn already mix with the festive atmospheres of Christmas, and warm up a very autumnal atmosphere. And as visiting the huge city of London is not an easy task in a short time, we will concentrate on South Kensington and its surroundings, with some quick excursions in other districts.
Things to do in London in autumn
We get our take-away coffee like all the locals and we go for a walk in Kensington Garden for the view on the yellowed leaves of the hundred-year-old trees. As far as colors are concerned, I recommend the Now exhibition at the Saatchi gallery, which shows a collection of new English talents from the best art schools. I have a crush on the work of Helen Bur, a young English painter who is a master of color. Art in London is often free. For more contemporary art, we make a detour to Southbank for a trip to the Tate Modern. Otherwise, in South Kensington, you can visit the V&A, the National History Museum or the Science Museum. The hardest thing is to choose. Finally, to delight all your senses, go to the famous Jazz Café in Camden. Nothing better to brighten up a rainy Sunday, on the jazzy Sudanese tunes of The Scorpios.
Where to eat in London in autumn
Who says you can’t get good pains au chocolat in London? Guillam Coffee House will prove you wrong. And the coffee is excellent. But when everything is grey around, you need to add some color and light. That’s what Fait Maison did, a café where the ostentatious decoration, based on artificial flowers and lots and lots of gold, dazzles the eye. As far as light is concerned, the Partridges store has nothing to be ashamed of. It is a must in London to buy food from all over the world, but you can quickly leave your wallet there. Not far away, the Gloucester’s Arms pub welcomes gin lovers in its cosy atmosphere. But beware, the food leaves a bit to be desired, because despite the elaborate decoration, it is a restaurant of the popular and cheap pub chain Greene King. Maybe you can try the pizzeria across the street, Da Mario Kensington, which was apparently Princess Diana’s favorite spot… But London is also about afternoon tea in cozy hotels. We told you about Number Sixteen, still on the South Kensington side. This time, as we didn’t have any reservation, we go to St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster, crossing Kensington Garden. This luxurious hotel welcomes you for an affordable afternoon tea in a luxurious and historical setting. Covert operations were conducted here during the Second World War, from an entire floor of the hotel, while MI6 was stationed two floors above. SOE agents printed secret coded messages on pieces of silk. An original sample hangs in the lobby. There is even a rumor that a tunnel runs under the grand staircase in the lobby to the Houses of Westminster…
- It is always easier to come to London by train than by plane, since St. Pancras station is so central. However, prices have skyrocketed since the Brexit-Covid combo, so make sure you book well in advance.
- With lockdown/not lockdown, Londoners can’t stop going out whenever it’s allowed. To avoid disappointment, once again it is advisable to book your restaurants and outings well.
*Music: The Scorpios – Mashena*