Red phone booths line the cobbled streets as black taxi cabs speed past you, and in the vast distance sits Big Ben, a great British icon and the Gothic Revival’s most cherished feat. Welcome to London, one of the world’s most famous cities, home to the royal family, fish and chips, and the charming inflections of Cockney English.
Think of London like the United States’ posh cousin: your similarities begin and end with a language mostly forged by the man responsible for creating the world’s most tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet, and over 1,700 modern words of the English language. That is to say that London is synonymous with America in its ubiquitous iconography, how its very name beckons the rest of the world, a haven of cultural artifacts dating back to the 18th century. The city’s enigmatic charm is at once like a memorabilia museum for all your favorite cultural remnants, and an architectural playground of history swept away by the modern attractions of urbanism. London’s attractions are vast, so let our guide help you organize your trip and rental accommodations in London around the monuments and fall activities you covet the most. For a comprehensive travel reference detailing London’s transportation, check out New York Habitat’s guide to London’s underground metro system. Getting around the city is quite simple once you familiarize yourself with London’s major attractions; you’ll be glad you planned your trip in the fall, as London glows, a city of fiery embers.
Checking off London’s must-visits
You just landed. You’re tired and wondering what comes next. Getting to London once you’ve landed is easier than you think. Most tourists choose to stay in the heart of Westminster (which is locally synonymous with the British Government) in the very heart of Central London, where millions of tourists visit every day. Staying in Westminster will put you just blocks away from the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament), Westminster Abbey (a medieval church west of the Palace of Westminster), St. Jame’s Place, Buckingham Palace (home of Queen Elizabeth), and 10 Downing Street (the headquarters of the Government of the United Kingdom).
Our vacation rental between Tachbrook Street and Moreton Street is a great 1-bedroom option in Pimlico, London for travelers who want to be in reach of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. This short-term rental is perfectly located near London’s most iconic attractions and has a beautiful view of the London Eye.
During the fall, the Buckingham Palace Gardens are awash in vibrant color, the perfect photo moment for family and friends. A guided tour through the Palace takes you through all 19 State Rooms where the Queen and other members of the royal family host ceremonial gatherings. Buckingham Palace was first opened to the public in 1993, and it has remained the epicenter of the United Kingdom’s national landmarks.
Art, Museums, Cinema, and Fall Exhibitions
Once you’ve explored London’s infamous political hub, dive into the food, art, and vivacious cultural hubs that permeate throughout the city. Held throughout October and November, these festivals are a great way to immerse yourself in London’s diverse entertainment offerings. Our licensed real estate agents can help you organize your fall vacations and help you find furnished apartment rentals that best accommodate your stay in London. For an expansive immersion in London’s fall festivities, check out these tours and seasonal events:
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: In honor of Harry Potter and its subsequent film adaptations, the Hogwarts After Dark tour perfectly coincides with the Halloween season for a spooky, dark atmosphere as guests are guided through the underground of the Dark Arts in the Wizarding World.
- Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Day): Watch the city light up to commemorate November 5th, a celebration known for its ever-evolving cultural currency: history buffs will recall Guy Fawkes’ famous poem and cinephiles will remember V for Vendetta’s reinterpretation of the Gunpowder Plot. Enjoy the pyrotechnic display near the Houses of Parliament this fall season.
- London Restaurant Festival (1-31 Oct.): Sample the diverse cuisines that build the social fabric of the city and the various restaurants that bring these dishes to life. In its 11th year, the festival will feature up to 60 events.
- Regent Street Motor Show: A marriage of the past and present, this is the largest public motor show in the UK, showcasing vehicles of the future and remnants of London’s past. Experience over 125 years of London’s motor history.
- London Film Festival: Held for only two weeks (2-13 Oct.), this annual festival screens over 300 international films, and is one of London’s premier festivals to indulge your inner cinephile.
- National Gallery: Located in Trafalgar Square (Westminster), this museum houses over 2,300 paintings. Get your camera ready.
There’s no shortage of entertainment in London. Those looking to experience a classical ballet and opera should visit the Royal Opera House, located in Covent Garden (Central London) or get lost in the stars this fall at the National Maritime Museum’s Moon Exhibition (until Jan. 5th).
This charming Covent Garden 2-bedroom rental is conveniently located near the Piccadilly Train and rests in the heart of Bloomsbury, a district in the West End of London. Colorful and lively, this furnished vacation rental has all the amenities (washer, dryer, full-service kitchen) to accommodate your stay in the city, and features a lovely terrace. Covent Garden has wonderful live performers and street artists sure to charm you as you roam the city.
An autumn stroll through London’s famous parks
Watch the city transform before your eyes, the warm red and orange of the leaves, and the crisp, cool air. Fall in London is a beautiful time to see the city come to life—Englishmen in peacoats, and women in parkas with fur collars. What better way to watch the city move and breathe before you than a daily stroll through one of London’s most historic parks?
Cross these parks off your list:
- Hampstead Heath: Think you can explore all 790 acres? Located in one of the highest points of London, this park features three open-air bathing ponds—but we recommend staying warm and cozy during the fall season. Visit the grave of late poet John Keats (10 Keats Grove) and reminisce about England’s 18th century romantic poets. And bonus traveler points if you happen to roam down Flask Walk, an avenue in Hampstead known for quaint pedestrian cafes, eateries, and local shops. Don’t forget to visit the Freud Museum and Parliament Hill for a stunning view of city’s major landmarks (Gherkin, The Shard, 20 Fenchurch Street).
- Hyde Park: One of the largest parks in London, known for the political mainstay of Speaker’s Corner where many social advocates have held public ceremonies, readings, and marches. The park is surrounded by two bodies of water, most famous being the Serpentine. Make sure to visit the Albert Memorial, commissioned by Queen Victoria.
- Kensington Gardens: This park is in Central London, and is among the Royal Parks of London. It’s 270 acres and features the bronze statue of Peter Pan.
A tour through London’s sprawling boroughs
Experience London’s buzzing nightlife and counterculture by visiting some of the towns and neighborhoods that border the city. Looking to meet the hipsters of London? Camden is your spot. This alternative hub is home to London’s goths, punks, rockabillies, and body mod community. Camden Lock is an open market full of tourist goodies: memorabilia shops, popular restaurants, and local bakeries.
Soho is an area of Westminster known for its nightlife culture and LGBTQ+ community, theaters, jazz, and local eateries. During the day, the neighborhood is a bit more tame and known for its mom-and-pop music shops, cafes, and quaint bakeries.
And New York Habitat would be remiss if we didn’t also map out the city’s best spots to eat and shop, two things we know tourists love to do. The Portobello Road Market is a world-famous antiques, fruit and vegetable market. It also features a secondhand flea market for pre-loved vintage fashion known as the Portobello Antiques Dealers Association (PADA). It’s open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Monday-Saturday). The Borough Market in Southwark, London, dates back to the 12th century. The present buildings were built in the 1850s and are infamous for their art deco style.
Tourists that are brave enough to venture from Central London will find refuge in the creative hub of London’s East End. Known for its dazzling street art scene, Shoreditch is a treasure trove for independent business owners, local boutiques, vintage shops (Atika: one of Europe’s largest thrift stores), and contemporary designers. Columbia Road Flower Market features an array of local vendors eager to cure your green envy. Bring home a vibrant succulent or opulent herbs and bouquets to decorate your furnished New York Habitat rental with.
A must-visit is Beigel Bake, a famous bakery in Shoreditch—London’s rivalry to New York’s Russ & Daughters and Katz Delicatessen—lauded as the best bagels in the city. Beigel Bake is almost like a rite of passage, and this upcoming holiday season is a great time to embark on some of London’s traditional celebrations. If you’re craving Indian food, Dishoom is a classic food destination that has many locations throughout London.
This 1-bedroom nightly rental in Notting Hill will place you close to the Portobello Road Market and other main attractions in London’s West End. Notting Hill is a quaint neighborhood with rustic townhomes and cobblestoned streets—like something out of a Woody Allen film, if only Allen was an Englishman. Romantic and charming, our various rentals in Notting hill will give you a wonderful mixture of London’s city life and domestic charisma.
Tourists who want a bit more magnetism during their stay will love this 1-bedroom vacation rental in Chelsea—a true bachelor’s pad on Fulham Road & Britannia Road, near the Fulham Broadway underground station. Sleek, contemporary decor gives this vacation rental a stylish sampling of London’s iconic neighborhood, Chelsea. With industrial lighting, blue-grey walls, marble-style countertops, and hardwood flooring, this rental is quite luxurious and a great option for those who want to experience the flair of London-style opulence.
Still curious about our listings? Our real estate agents can help you find the right rental accommodations to best suit your travels, and our list of five top-rated short-term rentals in London is a convenient resource to use as well.
End your tour of London’s vast boroughs with Piccadilly Circus in the West End—the Times Square of London: Here you’ll see bright lights, neon billboards, and the beating heart of London’s mainstream consumerism. You’ll find an opportune photo op at Alfred Gilbert’s Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain and Statue. (Fun fact: Many have mistakenly thought the statue to be of Eros, but it was made in honor of Eros’ brother, Anteros.)
New York Habitat has an amazing array of short-term rentals based in London. We encourage you to speak with one of our real estate agents to find the best rental to accommodate your traveling needs this autumn. Whether you are looking for a cozy, quiet space in Kensington, London or a contemporary furnished apartment near the electric streets of Soho, we have unlimited resources to help you plan out your fall London trip.