london in october

London in October: All You Need to Know

The days might be getting shorter and the weather might be taking a turn for the worse, but London doesn’t slow down in October. The sun is fast disappearing, but there are plenty of activities and events scheduled throughout the month, although most of them have by now moved indoors.

You can find food and drink festivals across London during October, from the London Restaurant Festival to London Cocktail Week, while the British Film Institute holds its annual film festival this month. Of course, you can’t forget Halloween, and the city also goes all out for the German Oktoberfest too.

If you do want to get outside, then London’s parks are resplendent in their autumnal shades of red, brown and orange, and it’s a beautiful time of the year to explore – just remember to take a jumper and a raincoat along.

To inspire your trip to the capital, here’s our complete guide to visiting London in October.

The Weather in London in October

Summer is officially over by October, but although the weather is never the best this month, don’t let it put you off visiting the city, as there’s still so much to see and to do. The days are getting shorter and the clocks go back at the end of October, as the time shifts away from British Summer Time.

You can expect mild weather, with things turning decidedly cold through the month. There will be the odd day of sunshine, but don’t expect temperatures to be higher than the mid-20s, if you’re lucky. What you can expect is lots of rain, so be prepared with a raincoat and umbrella at all times. In the evenings you might need to start wrapping up warm too. While you can get away with a jumper during the day – as long as it’s not raining – you’ll want a big coat by the time the sun sets.

visit london in october

Festivals and Events in London in October

In October, there are some wonderful events and festivals scheduled across London. Locals are beginning to move inside and so most of these events are found inside too, with a huge focus on food and drink. It’s a great chance to immerse yourself in the multicultural nature of the capital, and you’ll find great food festivals and awesome film events to visit.

London Restaurant Festival

Every October, London hosts a citywide event that celebrates the enjoyment of dining out. The London Restaurant Festival is held over the entire month and sees hundreds of restaurants across the capital putting on special menus and giving big discounts to draw in the public.

You can eat out at some of the best restaurants in the city, and you’ll find great deals at some of the fanciest and most expensive venues, giving you the opportunity to delve into London’s culinary scene like never before.

London Cocktail Week

London has a big reputation when it comes to drinking, and the London Cocktail Week is a celebration of the more refined side of the city’s drinking culture. The October event will see bars across London putting on excellent deals and mixing some new and unusual cocktails, alongside the classics too.

While the festival is citywide, the hub of the action is found at the Cocktail Village, which is hosted by the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. You’ll find pop-up cocktail stands and plenty of drinking through the week here.

london cocktail week october

London Frieze

London Frieze is an annual festival that’s held in Regent’s Park at the start of October. It’s an international event, and through the year there are other Frieze festivals held in the likes of New York and Los Angeles too, although the one in London could be considered the best.

This is one of the biggest displays of contemporary international artwork in the world, and temporary exhibition halls are set up in the park to accommodate hundreds of different artists’ work from across the world.

British Film Institute London Film Festival

For two weeks in October, the BFI – British Film Institute – host their annual film festival in the capital. Hundreds of films are screened during the event, at many different venues across the city, including iconic locations such as Leicester Square.

The festival has a huge focus on international and foreign language films, as it aims to highlight lesser-known productions that would otherwise not make their way to the UK. It’s a great chance to see alternative documentaries and powerful films, while there are also Q&As, lectures and glamorous opening and closing ceremonies.

London Literature Festival

If you’re more of a book lover than a film lover, then don’t fear because the Southbank Centre hosts an 11-day literature festival during October. The festival features many of the world’s most renowned authors, with past speakers including such novelists as Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood.

There’s a big focus on poetry too, and you’ll be able to listen to readings from top poets, including the Poet Laureate. It’s a great chance to be immersed in the literary world, and to meet likeminded people and, perhaps, your favourite writers too.

Trafalgar Day Parade

Trafalgar Day is the annual British celebration of Admiral Nelson’s victory over the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. On the Sunday closest to the anniversary a parade is held in Trafalgar Square, where you can see the armed forces and other institutions marching.

It’s a decidedly British celebration and a great chance to be patriotic or to learn more about Britain’s quirky traditions.

Diwali Festival

Also held in Trafalgar Square, the annual Diwali Festival is a rather more international event and one that is a testament to the modern, multicultural nature of London. Thousands of people fill the square at the end of October, as London’s Asian community celebrate one of the biggest events on the calendar.

Diwali is a celebration of light, so you can expect this to be a joyous occasion, including shows, cultural performances and live music alongside great food, that continue late into the night.

diwali festival london october

Africa on the Square

Africa on the Square is a great event that’s also held in Trafalgar Square in October. For one day, the iconic London square is transported across continents, as a celebration of African culture and heritage is held here by local communities.

It’s another great tribute to London’s multiculturalism, and you’ll find an array of different stalls and stages set up across the square that will give you a real insight into the wide variety of African people who have moved to the city over the years. There will be cultural displays of dance and music, alongside some excellent food from across the continent.

Tequila and Mezcal Fest

Another great international event that’s held in London during October is the increasingly popular Tequila and Mezcal Fest. Held over a weekend in October for the last few years, the festival is going from strength to strength, as Londoners become more enamoured with Tequila, Mezcal, and Mexican culture and food.

There will be plenty of tequila and Mezcal to sample, as well as an insight into Mexican culture, and plenty of after-parties too.

Oktoberfest

While Oktoberfest might be a traditional German festival, London, with its international flair and love of beer has in recent years been hosting its own version in the city. From the end of September into the first week of October, you’ll find bars and pubs across London putting on deals and German-themed nights, but the real highlight is the huge event that’s held at Finsbury Park.

There’s an enormous recreation of a German beer tent, offering you the chance to drink great beer and enjoy great food in an authentic Bavarian setup.

oktoberfest in london

Halloween

The 31 October is Halloween, and the city goes all out to celebrate this ghoulish tradition. You’ll find plenty of events happening in the week leading up to Halloween, while the day itself is usually celebrated with fancy dress parties.

You can take ghost tours through the capital, find special events being held at the London Dungeon and Tower of London, and enjoy screenings of horror movies at local cinemas.

Things to See and Do in London in October

As well as all these excellent events and festivals, there’s much more to see in London throughout October too. It’s a great time to visit the museums and galleries, as they begin to put on special exhibitions, while if you love the outdoors you can enjoy the autumn scenery in one of London’s many parks.

London Dungeon

With Halloween at the end of the month, there couldn’t be a better time to visit the London Dungeon than October. As well as all the regular spooky rides and attractions found here, adults can visit the popular Dungeon Lates, when the gates open after dark

As well as exploring the dungeons, you have the chance to enjoy dungeon-themed cocktails and visit a pub frequented by Jack the Ripper. It’s an unusual evening out, and one that will terrify and enthral you in equal measure.

The Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is one of the best history museums in London, and entrance is totally free. October usually sees the museum putting on different exhibits and displays, such as artistic poppy memorials in the lead-up to Remembrance Day Sunday in early November.

You can learn more about the wars fought by Britain and the Empire across the world, and learn more about the armed forces too.

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is a great London institution that displays some of the finest portraiture from across the world, including photography and artistic works, both historic and contemporary.

October is a great time to call in, not only to escape the cold weather but because there are some intriguing exhibitions on, culminating in the incredibly prestigious BP Portrait Awards, which are held here. The exhibition showcasing the winners and contenders usually runs until the end of the month, so get in now to see some of the most captivating portraits in the capital.

Six Days of Cycling

London hosts a unique cycling event in October, as the six-day cycling series heads to the capital for epic racing. This is track cycling at its best, as teams of two compete for six days straight – yes, for six days – as they race all through the day and the night to be crowned champions.

It’s more than just a cycling event though, as the arena has a party-like atmosphere with DJs playing loud music over six days while the athletes compete on the track. It’s an incredible sporting event to watch, and quite unlike anything else you might see in London in October.

London Ice Rinks

It might only be October but already the city is beginning to gear up for the festive season, which begins with the opening of London’s iconic outdoor ice-skating rinks. While you might associate these with Christmas, by the last week of October many of the most famous ones are already ready for business and you can get a head start on the crowds by skating at the end of the month.

There are ice rinks across the capital, with some of the most well known being found at the Natural History Museum, Oxford Street, and Canary Wharf. It might seem early, but it’s a lot of fun!

ice skating london october

Autumn in London’s Parks

The weather might be colder than it has been in previous months, but embrace autumn in London by visiting one of the city’s many great outdoor parks. As summer ends, the trees begin to change from green to shades of red, orange and brown, creating beautifully colourful scenes across the capital, before they shed completely come winter time.

There are some wonderful parks to choose from to catch the autumn scenes, from Richmond Park in the suburbs, which echoes to the sounds of deer rutting, to Hyde Park in the centre.

If you’re planning a trip to London during October, check out Premium Tours’ great range of London tours.

tower of london

Castles Around London You Need to See

They say an Englishman’s home is his castle. Around London, you can find some of the most impressive castles built throughout the long history of England.

Some, like the Tower of London, were built for kings and for power, while others, like Highclere Castle, were constructed by wealthy noble families looking to make grand statements.

For history lovers, there are some great castles to visit within the city and the surrounding areas, from crumbling medieval ruins and Norman fortresses, to Royal residences and lavish country estates.

Here are our favourite castles around London that you just have to see.

1. Tower of London

The most iconic castle within London is the Tower of London. For centuries, the tower has dominated the skyline of the city, ever since William the Conqueror asserted his power over England in 1066 by ordering the construction of a fortress.

The Tower of London is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country. Although the city has long since dwarfed the towers and keeps in size, it’s still a formidable structure, right on the banks of the River Thames.

The Norman kings and later English kings built much of the tower, digging moats and raising walls to defend what was, for many years, the primary royal residence.

Although the monarchy no longer live here, you can still see the Crown Jewels which are guarded within, while the Beefeaters, in their distinctive ceremonial outfits, today give tours of the castle grounds rather than defending the walls.

2. Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is one of the most important castles in England, as it serves as the Queen’s royal residence when she is staying outside of Buckingham Palace.

Located in Windsor, just an hour outside of the city, a visit here makes for a wonderfully easy day trip from London.

The castle was, like the Tower of London, built by the first Norman kings. Ever since the 11th century it’s been used as a palace by the monarchy.

Windsor Castle is one of the most impressive in the country. Despite being the Queen’s second home, you can still visit and tour through most of the grounds.

When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the sight of the castle ramparts ahead as you stroll down the Long Walk to the entrance. Inside, you can explore lavish stately rooms, learn about the different kings and queens who lived here, and admire the extravagant and extensive gardens.

Windsor Castle

3. Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle is hardly a ‘castle’ in the traditional medieval sense of the word, but more an elegant 17th century imagining of a traditional castle, built in the high fashion and style of the times.

This is a grand, noble estate, and the castle is the stately home and centrepiece. Although there have been country houses here for centuries, it was the Earls of Carnarvon who, in 1679, began the construction of the manor you see today.

It was a lavish statement of wealth and power, and the same family still own the estate today. Highclere Castle is best known for being the filming location of the hit TV series, Downton Abbey, which delves into the lives of British aristocracy. Few other locations in the country could have been quite so perfect as Highclere Castle.

The estate is located outside of London, just a few miles from Newbury. You’ll find that there are plenty of dedicated tours travelling here from the city, particularly given the popularity of Downton Abbey and ever-growing demand from fans wanting to see first-hand this aristocratic castle.

4. Colchester Castle

Located in the county of Essex now on the outskirts of the wider London region, Colchester is one of the most ancient towns in England, and is home to a castle that’s as historically important as it is impressive.

Colchester has a long history, and was an integral Roman settlement that for years was even used as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia. It’s always held a strategic location. When the Normans conquered England, they decided to build a stone castle in the town, to better control the areas leading to London.

William the Conqueror ordered an enormous keep to be built, which at the time would prove to be the largest in the country, larger even than the keep at the Tower of London. The Normans even used old Roman stones and bricks to solidify the walls, while the chosen location was, centuries previously, the site of a Roman temple.

Colchester Castle is the best and the largest surviving example of a Norman castle, as it’s changed little since its 11th century construction.

5. Warwick Castle

Although it might be a long journey from London, a trip to Warwick Castle can be one of the best days out from the capital.

Originally a wooden fort built by the Normans, the castle was constructed from stone in later centuries and was used to defend Warwick from potential threats until it was eventually turned into a country house in the 17th century.

Warwick Castle is found in a beautiful location on the River Avon. Due to many later extensions – the raising of walls, gates and tall towers – it’s one of the most quintessentially medieval-looking castles in England.

Today, the castle has become a huge tourist attraction, as not only has it been incredibly well preserved, but it’s also now home to a huge array of museums and attractions. You can find out what life in medieval England would have been like, while there are frequent stagings of mock battles on the grounds.

You might even catch a jousting tournament being held here by enthusiasts, while the enormous collection of medieval weapons on display around the castle is unmatched anywhere else in the country.

warwick castle

6. Dover Castle

Located on the coast, overlooking the English Channel, Dover Castle makes for an exciting day trip from London. This is one of the most dramatic castles in the country, as the stonewalls are perched on high cliff tops and the imposing keep rises from high.

The site has long been important, with archaeological excavations having uncovered Iron Age works and Roman lighthouses beneath the Norman-built stronghold.

The extensive stonewalls were continually expanded by successive kings looking to strengthen the English hold over the channel, and massive additions were made during the Napoleonic Wars to protect against potential invasions from the continent. Therefore today, Dover Castle can claim to be the largest castle in the United Kingdom.

As well as exploring the fascinating history behind the castle, and the battles that have taken place here, one of the best things about Dover Castle is its setting. You can enjoy sweeping views over the coast from the towers.

7. Leeds Castle

No, this Leeds Castle is not found in the north of England, but just south of the capital, by Maidstone in Kent.

That makes it a whole lot easier to get to from London, and it’s perfectly located to make for a pleasurable day trip. The castle is named for the small village of Leeds, which is in close proximity, and its rural setting makes this one of the most picturesque castles in England.

Leeds Castle is built on islands along the serene River Len, giving the structure an unbeatable aesthetic. The current castle is more of a manor house, dating primarily back to the 19th century when it was vastly remodelled, but some sections of moat and older medieval walls and gates still exist too.

The Normans built most of the original castle, but in later years it became a firm favourite amongst the English monarchy, with Henry VIII even going as far as to redesign it to make it more fitting as a residence for his wife Catherine of Aragon.

As well as delving into the history, Leeds Castle’s magnificent grounds are perfectly landscaped, and you can enjoy losing yourself in the vast maze that’s been created here and that’s proving enduringly popular with tourists.

leeds castle

8. Hever Castle

Just south of London is another historic English castle that played an important role during the reign of Henry VIII.

Hever Castle was first fortified during the 13th century, before it was transformed into an estate and country house by the Boleyn family from the 14th century onwards.

After divorcing his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn, who had grown up at Hever Castle. The castle was passed into the royal line, but Anne Boleyn had the misfortune of falling foul of the king, who had his own wife beheaded on treason charges.

Hever Castle was then given to a later wife of Henry VIII, before changing hands several times through the following centuries. Now it’s primarily a tourist attraction, and you can explore the intriguing political tales left behind during the Tudor period and even see where Henry VIII slept during his days at the castle.

9. Berkhamsted Castle

In Hertfordshire you can find the crumbling remains of Berkhamsted Castle, once one of the most important castles in the Home Counties.

Today, there is little left of the castle except for a few sections of ruined walls, the moat and the hilly mound that formed the centrepiece of the fortification. It’s still great to explore though, making a real change from many other castles around London that have been redesigned and refurbished. In many ways, visiting Berkhamsted Castle gives you a more authentic insight into history.

The castle was built by the Normans, as they pushed out from London to control the rest of England in the 11th century, and was used by royalty and nobles for many more years.

Eventually though, the castle fell into disrepair and was abandoned entirely by the 16th century. The walls fell down, buildings collapsed and the stones were taken for construction work in the nearby town.

10. Mountfitchet Castle

Mountfitchet Castle is found close to Stansted. This Norman-era castle has been turned into a fascinating living history museum.

This was originally just a wooden motte and bailey fortification, constructed of wooden timbers surrounding a big mound. Little survived except the earthworks, but in the 20th century the castle was reconstructed in as faithful a way as possible.

As well as raising new walls, an entire Norman-era medieval village was created and staffed with enthusiastic actors who entertain and teach visitors about life hundreds of years ago.

At this museum, you’ll also find free-ranging wildlife, from pigs and chicken to deer and birds, alongside a fascinating toy museum and local tea room, making a trip to Mountfitchet Castle a great day out for everyone.

11. Severndroog Castle

Severndroog Castle is one of the smallest castles you can visit around London, but it’s definitely one of the most fascinating too.

The castle is located in Greenwich and, by any stretch of the traditional word, it’s not really a castle but more of an elaborate house. An Englishman’s home is his castle though, and this house was built tall, with a few turrets added to the roof for effect and extravagance.

Severndroog Castle was constructed at the end of the 18th century, and was commissioned as a memorial to Sir William James, who won several battles across India during the expansion of the British Empire across the subcontinent. His wife had the castle built in his memory and to enshrine his exploits.

The tall house, or folly, was built to offer supreme views over the countryside, but it has long since become part of a highly urbanised area of the capital, giving the castle an unusual dimension in London, and offering incredible views over the city instead.

It’s a unique place to explore, and it makes for a real change if you have been visiting Norman-built, medieval castles before this. The castle has some intriguing exhibits and you can climb to the rooftop to look out over the rest of London.

If you’d like to visit some of the castles in and around London, check out Premium Tours’ great range of out of London tours.

visit kensington palace

Everything You Need to Know About Kensington Palace

Seventeenth century Kensington Palace is found at the heart of royal life in London. The historic residence is the home of many members of the extended monarchy, including William, Kate and their young family, and Harry and Meghan who are due to move to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor in the spring of 2019.

Kensington Palace though, is very much open to the public, and you can tour through the stately rooms, learn more about the royals past and present who have lived here, and admire the elegant, landscaped gardens.

It’s a beautiful part of royal history in the centre of London. For anyone with an interest in British heritage and traditions, then Kensington Palace is a must visit attraction when you are in the capital.

Where Is Kensington Palace?

Kensington Palace is superbly located on the edge of Hyde Park, in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Kensington Gardens, where the palace is located, is separated from Hyde Park by the Serpentine, while Hyde Park is just across the road from Buckingham Palace and The Mall, making the whole area rich in royal history and perfect for exploring in a day.

You can easily walk between Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace in half an hour, although you may take longer stopping off along the route through London’s most iconic park.

If you are travelling into London to visit Kensington Palace, then the nearest train station is Paddington, while the nearest tube stations are High Street Kensington or Queensway.

Both tube stations are just a short walk away, with Queensway on the Central Line and High Street Kensington on the Circle and District Lines.

You can also make use of tube stops at Hyde Park Corner, Green Park and Victoria if you are looking to explore the other royal palaces in the area too.

There are also plenty of bus stops close by, while the main intercity National Express coach station is at Victoria. Being a popular tourist spot in a busy area of London, you’ll also find that Kensington Palace is usually featured on many hop-on hop-off bus routes, or there will be stops close by that will give you easy access to the grounds.

visit kensington palace

The Best Time to Visit Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace is open throughout the year, and you can visit regardless of the weather or the season.

The main indoor exhibits can be toured anytime, however you may find the gardens to be best viewed at different times of the year. In summer, it can be hot, while in winter the gardens may be beautifully layered with frost but freezing to wander through. In spring you can experience the gardens in bloom, while in autumn they are resplendent in different colours as the trees shed their foliage.

Generally speaking, the busiest time of the year in terms of tourist numbers is summer, a trend that is the same across the capital. From May to September, you can expect things to be at their peak and for lines and queues to be at their lengthiest.

The palace operates different opening hours through the year, and is closed for 3 days over Christmas, on the 24, 25 and 26 of December.

From 1 March to 31 October, Kensington Palace opens at 10am and closes at 6pm, with the last admissions being at 5pm.

From 1 November to the end of February, doors open at 10am but close earlier, at 4pm, with the last admission being at 3pm.

To avoid the crowds, you might want to consider arriving early to get in just as the doors open, particularly in summer.

You can check the Kensington Palace website before travelling, in case there are any unexpected closures, as some areas are temporarily shut off to the public for restoration or refurbishment.

You can also check the website for any seasonal events that may be held here. Over Easter, events are often held in the gardens, such as Easter egg hunts, while over the Christmas period there may be festive events too.

The temporary exhibitions can also change, although generally this does not happen that frequently.

How Much Does it Cost to Visit?

To explore Kensington Palace you need to purchase a ticket. You can do this on the door or you can reserve online, in advance.

Current prices, as of 2019, are £19.50 for an adult and £9.50 for a child. If you are hoping to visit lots more palaces in and around London or are returning more than once, then you may want to consider purchasing membership to the Historic Royal Palaces group.

HRP are a charity that looks after many of the royal palaces in the country, and an annual membership costs from £53 per adult, with discounts for family passes. Membership gives you unlimited access to the palaces through the year and a discount in many of the shops and cafes.

 

Restaurants and Cafes

Kensington Palace has several restaurants and cafes that are open to the public, while within walking distance you’ll find plenty of other options.

If you get hungry during your tour, then call in at the Palace Cafe, where you can pick up a light snack, a cup of coffee, or a cold drink for some light refreshment.

Kensington Palace Pavilion and Tea Room is open daily for breakfast and lunch, but the highlight here is the traditional Afternoon Tea, which you need to book in advance. There’s little else more authentic than relaxing on the pavilion, while enjoying sandwiches and cake in the grounds of a royal palace.

Touring Kensington Palace

You can quite easily self-guide your way around Kensington Palace, as the exhibits and displays are clearly labelled and simple to navigate.

You can purchase a guidebook, complete with map and extra information on the rooms and history of the palace and grounds on your way in, if you’d like to learn a little more during your tour and take home a souvenir.

How long you spend at Kensington Palace will depend on your interest and your pace, but you’ll require a minimum of one hour and probably no more than three hours.

The History of Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace has a fascinating past that’s waiting to be discovered on your tour through the grounds. While nothing can compare to walking through the elegant interior of the palace and its lavish apartment, here’s a brief journey through 300 years of royal history to spark your intrigue.

While the palace may now be in the heart of the affluent Kensington area, when it was first built in the 16th century, this was just a small, rural village in the countryside, far from the chaos of the City of London.

In the late 17th century the ruling monarchs, King William II and Queen Mary II, bought the palace and grounds for the very reason that it was far from London – at least at that point in time.

The palace became the main residence of King William II, as he was in ill health and required the fresh air. Since then, the palace has always been crown property, although Buckingham Palace would in later years become the favoured residence of the reigning monarch, and Kensington would become home to other members of the royal family.

After their purchase, William and Mary began to build and expand the property, a process that has continued throughout the years. Famous British architect Christopher Wren added much of the detail you see today during Queen Anne’s day, which is also when the landscaped gardens began to take shape.

In the 18th century, King George II was the last reigning monarch to actually live at the palace whilst they held the Crown, but many more important royals would still call Kensington Palace home.

Perhaps the most notable resident was the future Queen Victoria, as she was raised in the palace and spent much of her childhood here before becoming Queen.

The palace was also the home of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Even after divorcing Charles, Diana still lived here until the tragic accident that resulted in her death in Paris.

kensington palace

A Royal Residence

Kensington Palace continues to fulfil its role as a royal residence today, despite large parts being open to the public and the grounds receiving thousands of visitors.

As well as being home to the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, who have lived here for decades, the palace has also become home to the younger generation of royals, many of whom have been captivating the world with their marriages, and public and private lives.

Kensington Palace became the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – otherwise known as William and Kate – after their marriage in 2011.

Harry has been living in a cottage on the grounds for some time, and after his marriage to Meghan in 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have continued to live here, although they will move to Windsor in the spring of 2019.

The size and scale of the palace ensures that, despite the large number of residents, they have their own private lodgings and space within the grounds, which are usually renovated in a grand and expensive fashion before they move in.

The Kensington Palace State Rooms

The section of the palace that can be visited by tourists primarily consists of the Kensington Palace State Rooms, which were refurbished and reopened to the public as recently as 2012. The palace has had a long history of tourism before this, reaching back to the Victorian era when it was a popular sight.

The staterooms encompass some of the most historic elements of Kensington Palace, including rooms used by Queen Victoria, and apartments lived in by King William and Queen Anne, amongst others.

The King’s State Apartments

The King’s State Apartments are one of the grandest and most regal parts of the palace that visitors can explore.

The rooms here are incredibly well refurbished and offer you a glimpse into the Hanoverian past of the monarchy, as you are taken on a historic journey through the apartments lived in by the Georgian kings.

You’ll find intriguing relics from past inhabitants, and you’ll be given a revealing insight into how the past kings and queens of the United Kingdom lived their daily lives.

The Queen’s State Apartments

The Queen’s State Apartments are another fascinating area of the palace open to visitors, and here you can explore the rooms that were originally ordered to be built by Queen Anne during the initial expansion of the palace after its purchase by the royal family.

The wonderful apartments were Queen Anne’s personal rooms, and she lived here for many years after the death of her husband, King William II.

The rooms are beautiful, and you’ll be given an insight into the lives of their former occupants, with a particular focus on the story of Queen Anne.

Queen Victoria Exhibitions

Queen Victoria, who ruled as monarch during the height of the British Empire, spent much of her childhood at Kensington Palace, and the residence had a particularly special place in her heart.

There are rooms dedicated to Queen Victoria’s legacy, where you can learn more about her early life in the palace and her life as Queen.

You’ll find fascinating exhibits collated from her personal items, which will give you a unique feel for her upbringing and daily life.

The Gardens

Much of the extensive Kensington Gardens that surround the palace can be explored too. They are incredibly beautiful throughout the year, as they change colours with the passing seasons.

At the Pavilion you can enjoy a taste of leisure royal style, as you relax in the gardens and enjoy the lawns – and afternoon tea too if you really want to indulge.

You can tour through the Sunken Garden, photograph the iconic palace fountains, and enjoy wonderful views of the architecture of the buildings from the outside.

kensington palace

Kensington Palace is a marvel of history and royal tradition. For anyone visiting London, it’s a must see attraction to enjoy a glimpse into the inner workings of the monarchy that have called the palace home for 300 years.

To find out more about guided tours of London, including the royal palaces, see Premium Tours’ great range of London tours.

visit london in september

London in September: The Complete Guide

September is the last chance to make the most of summer in London, and it’s a great time to get out and about in the city to visit great festivals and quirky events. There’s a lot going on in September, and a lot of it’s outside with the likes of Proms in the Park entertaining crowds with great music, while the traditional Great River Race plays out along the Thames.

In September, you’ll also have the last chance to tour around Buckingham Palace before the royal residence is closed to the public until next summer, while across London you’ll find film events, comedy festivals, and design and fashion weeks being held in wonderful locations.

This is one of the best months of the year to travel to the capital. To help you plan your trip, here’s our complete guide to visiting London in September.

The Weather in London in September

September is the last real month of summer in London. After this, you can expect temperatures to begin to drop drastically, as the seasons turn to autumn and then into winter. At the beginning of the month, it’s still going to be shorts and t-shirt weather, as temperatures can hit mid-20s Celsius, while the skies are clear and the sun is shining.

Towards the end of September though, things can begin to get a little cooler, as the temperatures begin to drop. Throughout the month, expect chillier evenings, so be prepared with jumpers. Being England, the weather is also very unpredictable, particularly in September, when the seasons are beginning to transition. Check the forecast before you head out into the city, as you might want to be prepared with raincoats and umbrellas.

london in september

Festivals and Events in London during September

September is a great month for festival lovers, as you can catch the end of the summer season for many big events, while others make use of the last of the summer sun to entertain Londoners. Enjoy a celebration of the River Thames, watch boat races and immerse yourself in London Fashion Week or at the London Design Festival. There’s a lot going on in September. Here are our favourite festivals and events to visit in the capital.

BBC Proms in the Park

The Proms is an iconic British music event that takes place from July through September, as classical music lovers in the capital enjoy some sterling performances from some of the best orchestras in the world.

As the summer season draws to an end in the middle of September, the epic finale of the Proms is played out in Hyde Park, as crowds in the thousands enjoy listening to the ending of this huge musical event. You can expect fireworks, unbelievable classical performances and plenty of rousing music to be played late into the night. Get tickets as soon as they are released, because this is a popular event. If you miss out though, then the BBC always televises it.

Totally Thames

The River Thames is one of the most important natural landmarks in the city, as London grew and developed through the centuries along the banks of the waterway that divides it. The river is many things to Londoners; it’s a historic part of the city, a way to travel around and an enduring sight. Totally Thames is a month-long festival that celebrates what the river means to Londoners.

Along the Thames throughout the entirety of September, you’ll find different events happening, many of which are free and open to everyone. There are small music festivals, art installations and riverboat racing too. You can join boat cruises along the river, learn more about the history of London and its relationship with the Thames, and find plenty of great pubs offering fantastic deals overlooking the water.

Classic Boat Festival

Another great event that’s found on the Thames is the Classic Boat Festival. Held at St Katherine Docks over one weekend in the middle of September, this is one of the best components of Totally Thames. The event collects together some of the best classic boats in the country, from tall sailing ships to vintage motorboats.

It’s a colourful and lively spectacle, as the array of boats is lined up along the docks. There are some great talks, you can board the boats and even cruise out along the Thames too.

london boat festival in september

Underbelly Festival

Southbank is one of the cultural hubs of London, and through summer the area hosts the huge Underbelly Festival, which quite literally entertains visitors for weeks on end. The festival sees different events being played over summer, with the final few weeks being in September. Underbelly Festival is a unique event, featuring alternative artists, musicians and performers from around the world.

There are comedy shows, burlesque shows, cabaret and family-friendly circus acts too. There’s a little something for everyone at the Underbelly, so check September’s schedule and catch the last performances at the Southbank.

Greenwich Comedy Festival

Another entertaining event to visit in London during September is the ever-popular Greenwich Comedy Festival. Over several days in the month, Greenwich hosts some of the country’s best comedy acts, as they perform in the grounds of the National Maritime Museum.

There are different tents, with both emerging acts and well-established acts on stage. Tickets are surprisingly cheap given the great location and the quality of the comedians, and the Greenwich Comedy Festival is often cited as the best comedy festival in London. You won’t want to miss out if you are looking for a few laughs in September, so grab your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

London Design Festival

The London Design Festival is a nine-day event that’s been taking place in London every September since 2003. The modern festival celebrates London’s influence as a design capital of the world, and you’ll find hundreds of events and thousands of visitors across the city.

The festival has a broad focus, with design encompassing everything from architecture to product packaging, but the consistent focus is on innovation and creativity within the sphere. There are talks, lectures, seminars, displays, exhibitions and art installations to explore during the London Design Festival.

While there are many different venues across London, the iconic Victoria and Albert Museum – which focuses on art and design – acts as the central location for the festival, hosting big events and exhibitions, and offering unique tours and displays to visitors.

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week is another citywide event that takes place in September. This popular festival of fashion actually takes place twice a year, so if you missed the first round early on in February, then in September you have a second chance to attend and to learn more about the city’s relationship with fashion.

This is not just one of the largest fashion events in the country, but in the world. For one week, you can expect the streets to be filled with fashionistas from all over the globe, as they arrive in the city looking to jump on the latest trends. There are many events held during the weeklong festival, with the most impressive being the fashion walk shows put on by the big designers.

london fashion week in september

Open House London

Open House is one of the most intriguing and fascinating citywide festivals held in London during the year. Towards the end of September, hundreds of different properties and buildings across the capital open their doors to the public, allowing visitors to explore some of the most interesting, and usually closed off, parts of London.

Open House London is an architectural festival. The driving idea behind it is to allow the public free access into private buildings. It’s a wonderful project, and the schedule of events and open buildings is ever growing and different each year. This is an opportunity to explore the London skyline in a way that’s normally impossible and you’ll be able to visit iconic skyscrapers and historic houses throughout the festival.

Open House London releases the list of buildings and tours nearer the time, so check in with them in August to find out more about the schedule of events happening during September.

The Great River Race

The Great River Race is a must-see event if you are in London in September. Another part of the lengthy Totally Thames river celebrations held through the month, the Great River Race is more of a marathon than a race, as the course stretches for just over 20 miles.

Small, traditional boats powered by oars compete against each other to cross the finish line first. Hundreds of crews will be competing and thousands will be lining the riverbanks to cheer them on. It’s always a fun-filled day, with fancy dress and plenty of cold drinks to go around.

Things to See and Do in London in September

As well as a huge array of great festivals and events to attend in London during September, there are also lots of great things to see and do. Explore the classic sights and attractions of London, as you would any month of the year, but make sure you call into Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, because they have a few special tours and events planned.

Walking Tours

Enjoy London in the last of the summer sunshine by taking a walking tour of the capital. It’s a great way to get out and about, to take in the fresh air, and get a little bit of exercise as you walk from one destination to the next.

There are walking tours that cater to all interests. You can take history-focused tours that guide you through iconic locations, you can join Harry Potter-themed tours that show where the films were shot, or you can take budget-friendly, tips-based walking tours where you only ever pay what you feel it was worth.

Buckingham Palace

You can visit Buckingham Palace and see the iconic Changing of the Guard Ceremony throughout the year, but September is the last opportunity for visitors to actually walk through the gates and explore the inside of the palace.

Throughout the summer months, Buckingham Palace is open to the public, although you can only see a small section of the vast number of its rooms and corridors. You’ll have the chance to see the lavish furnishings and extensive art collections within the rooms, so for anyone with even a passing interest in British history or the Royal Family, it’s a must do in September, because the doors won’t be opening again until the following summer.

visit buckingham palace

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is one of the city’s most iconic and recognisable sights, and you can tour through the castle, the keeps and the dungeons with the Beefeaters, who are the ceremonial guards as well as guides within the tower.

In September though, you also have the chance to visit the Tower of London’s food festival, which is held – hopefully in the sun! – in the moat surrounding the castle. You can try some delicious food and watch demonstrations from celebrated chefs, all in an unbeatable and historic location.

Luna Cinema

Luna Cinema is one of the country’s best-loved outdoor cinema providers. They set up their screenings in some of the most unique venues across the United Kingdom, from castles to palaces.

The company sets up huge projections in fantastic locations, providing outdoor seating under the stars and putting on a range of food and drink to enjoy while you watch a classic movie. September is the last chance to catch a screening, as, after this, the summer evenings disappear and open-air cinemas become a risky affair in the deteriorating English weather.

London Parks

Enjoy London’s great parks during September before autumn begins to appear. See the last of the vibrant greenery before trees begin to shed their leaves in preparation for winter, and enjoy the wildlife, deer and birds before they begin to hibernate through the colder months.

If you’re planning to visit London this September, check out Premium Tour’s great range of London tours. We’ll show you a different side to the city.