Top 10 in London Autumn

There’s so much going on right across London this autumn! We’ve picked ten of our favourites

A taste of the country in the City
Capel Manor Gardens
Bullsmoor Lane, Enfield, EN1 4RQ
City Harvest Festival
18 Sep 10am – 4pm

Little ones will love this Harvest festival in the lovely rural oasis of Capel Manor Gardens. The show brings together local community farms and gardens from right across London. Come along to see ducks, geese, rabbits, ponies, peas and pumpkins compete for the best in show. Can you pick a winner? The Enfield Brass Band will be playing and once you’ve admired the city’s harvest you can explore Capel Manor’s 30 acres with its Italianate Maze, 17th Century Walled Garden, Japanese Garden, Georgian Manor House and Stables and Sunflower Street. There’s also a Garden gift shop and Terrace Restaurant.
Tel: 0845 6122122

Messing About on the River
Mayor’s Thames Festival
11 – 12 Sep Noon – 10pm
From Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge and beyond

Make your way down to the river and join in with the Mayor’s Thames Festival. You’ll find loads of activities taking place throughout the weekend on the River Thames, the riverside walkways, roads, bridges, docks and public open spaces from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge and beyond. The festival is a wonderful celebration of London and its river which hopes to increase interest in and appreciation of the river and its environment. You’ll find street arts, illuminations, art installations, exhibitions, river events, massed choirs, circus, music and dance, food and feasting! And the festival is free!

Art for Tots
The Little Grand Tour

This is my idea of the perfect day out with my little ones this autumn! The Little Grand Tour tutors introduce art to children in a relaxed way and aims to inspire children with a life-long love of art. By taking them round art galleries and museums on fun and stimulating ‘tours’, famous works such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Constable’s Haywain and even the Turner Prize exhibits come to life. Two of their most popular tours are ‘A Big Impression’ at the National Gallery discovering the Impressionists and ‘Funny Faces’ at Tate Britain looking at the art of portraiture from the Tudors through to the 20th century. Your little ones will be able to draw as they tour, and tell you all about their day out with their postcard collection. It’ll transform their experiences of art galleries forever!
Tel: 0781 500 7161

Spooky Fun
Osterley Park and House
Jersey Road, Isleworth, Middlesex TW7 4RB

Halloween Pumpkin Festival
 30 & 31 Oct 1 – 4pm
Osterley Park is a lovely day out any time of year but we’d recommend heading down for some Halloween fun this October. Head Gardener Andy Eddy grows a very colourful selection of squashes at Osterley, and a wide selection of them, including the much-loved pumpkin, forms the centre of a weekend of family fun in the Walled Garden. You’ll find cooking demonstrations, food tasting and pumpkin carving sessions, as well as lots of Halloween-themed games and activities. Plenty of fun for tots without being too scary!
Tel: 020 8232 5050

Baby Heaven at Earl’s Court
The Baby Show
22 – 24 October 2010, Earls Court, London

Whether you’ve just had a baby, are about to have one or even just thinking about it, pop along to Earl’s Court for expert advice and information on everything you need to know about babies! There will be live talks and a ‘Meet the Midwives & Health Professionals’ Centre for informal one-to-one chats with experts. You’ll also find shopping heaven for all your baby needs with amazing choice and unbeatable value on everything you need for your pregnancy, baby and toddler; from boutique offerings to high street brands plus the latest launches and innovations. You can try, test and buy all essential products at The Baby Show. As well as all this there are maternity fashion shows for mums-to-be and fantastic play zones for the little ones! And we’ll be there so come and say hello to Baby London!

Fantastic Fireworks
Battersea Park
Bonfire Night Fireworks Display
6 Nov from 6pm

Battersea Park will host its annual fireworks extravaganza this November and if past displays are anything to go by you can expect spectacular fireworks, music and sparkle! Gates will open at 6pm and the bonfire will be lit at 7.30pm with the fireworks display starting at 8pm. After many fireworks events spent with various offspring screaming hysterically, I can’t recommend enough taking along ear defenders for tiny ears; mine love watching the fireworks but hate big bangs!! There will be a large food court and bar open from 6pm with an international BBQ, hot dogs, roasted chestnuts, and mulled wine and beer can be bought at the bar. Do note that Southern train services will be making changes to its services that call at Battersea Park station on 6 Nov, so allow extra time for your journey. Crowd management arrangements will also be in place at Battersea Park station from 6pm to 10pm.
Tel: 0845 070 6870

Eggs and Honey Anyone?
Kensington Gardens
Buckhill in Kensington Gardens, next to The Magazine and just off West Carriage Drive
New Royal Parks’ Allotment in Kensington Gardens
Until1 Oct open daily from 9.30am – 4.30pm

The first Royal Parks’ allotment with a bee hive and hen house opened earlier this summer. Bring along your tiny gardener to get advice on growing vegetables and encouraging wildlife in your bit of urban space. You’ll find information on sustainability as well as ‘Fruit for small spaces’, ‘Be kind to bees’, and ‘Don’t let rubbish go to waste’. The organic allotment, which has largely been made out of recycled materials, provides lots of examples of how to be sustainable. With its bee hive and hen house this allotment should be a hit with tinies and entry is free!

For Budding little Artists
Wimbledon Common
Near The Windmill, Off Windmill Road, Wimbledon Common, London SW19
The Big Draw
9 Oct 11am – 5pm

You’ll find ‘Big Draw’ events taking place right across the city throughout October. Wimbledon Common will be hosting its ‘Drawing room on the Common with a Chalk Walk’ for anyone who likes to scribble, whatever your artistic ability. There will be chubby chalks and chalks on sticks so even the tiniest artists can join in! You’ll find an open air Drawing Room with a Chalk Walk for runners, walkers, cyclists, dogs and horses. There will also be a clothes line for drawings, and a secret glade of hidden objects to find and draw. The Windmill Cafe will turn creative and ‘Constable Corner’ will be set up as a space to draw the Windmill, and the windmill will be open too. A perfect day out for families with little ones!  or

Autumn Colour
Black Park Country Park
Black Park Road, Wexham, SL3 6DS (signposted from the A412 between Slough and Iver Heath)

One of the jolliest days out on a pleasant autumnal afternoon with little ones is a stroll through a country park collecting autumn leaves (good for making a gluey collage with afterwards if you and your tot are feeling creative!). If you’re on the western side of London Black Park is a great spot for lots of fresh air, great walking and plenty of leaves! You’ll find miles of stony paths through the woods, as well as a Lakeside café and a children’s woodland play area. The park is mainly flat with no stiles and few gates or other barriers, so ideal for pushchairs and you can picnic anywhere.

Plenty to do at Ham
Ham House
Ham Street, Ham, Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey TW10 7RS

The National Trust is having a special ‘Kids Go Free’ August this year so pop into Ham House and have a look around. There are also wonderful gardens to explore. Ham’s new Art Cart, with a wide variety of family activities suitable for all ages, will be available on 15 and 29 Aug; focusing on creative crafts based on the house and garden. Or come along on 25 & 26 Sep for ‘Home Grown at Ham’ , with tours of the garden, cooking demonstrations, stalls, and activities for children, all based around Ham’s 17thcentury working kitchen garden. Ham always has a garden toy box full of games, including building blocks, racket games, hula hoops, dominoes, as well as an easy to follow self-guided house trail with stickers and garden trails which are suitable for all ages.
Telephone: 020 8940 1950