10 Reasons to Go to London This Fall

There are plenty of exciting hotel openings, exhibits, and more to discover in the U.K.’s capital from now until the end of the year.

10 Reasons to Go to London This Fall

The eagerly anticipated Bankside hotel opens in October 2018 near the Tate Modern.

Courtesy of Bankside

A constantly evolving city, there’s never a bad time of year to visit London (especially if you don’t mind the rain). With several world-class art exhibits and long-awaited hotel openings coming this fall, here’s AFAR’s selection of the 10 most exciting things to do from Shoreditch to Soho in the coming months.

Sip cocktails at Coupette

This bar in Bethnal Green opened last year, but it’s worth revisiting this fall after it recently earned the Best New Opening award in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2018. It specializes in cocktails made with French calvados and armagnac, but while you’re there, don’t miss the Champagne Piña Colada made with Bacardi, coconut sorbet, and Moët & Chandon. 423 Bethnal Green Road, London, coupette.co.uk

Stay at the Redchurch Townhouse

The Soho House Group has seen a flurry of activity in its hometown of London in 2018, including the opening of the White City House in the former BBC headquarters and the reopening of Kettner’s Townhouse after being closed for two years. But this October, the Redchurch Townhouse opened across the street from the existing Shoreditch House that opened in 2007. With 37 rooms and an outpost of the Mayfair restaurant, Cecconi’s, the decor is decidedly retro but the art is all from East London artists under 40. Best yet, you don’t have to be a Soho House member to eat or stay here. 25-27 Whitby Street, London, redchurchtownhouse.com

"Weeping Window" is on display until November 18.

“Weeping Window” is on display until November 18.

Courtesy of Imperial War Museum London

Remember the end of World War I
As the centenary of World War I’s end approaches, the Imperial War Museum in London installed a cascade of thousands of handmade ceramic poppies from one of its windows in remembrance of members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty. If the poppies—made by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper—seem familiar, you may recognize them from their original installation at the Tower of London in 2014 to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI. You can see Weeping Window from now until November 18, 2018. IWM London, Lambeth Road, London, free, iwm.org.uk

Eat at a Michelin-starred wine bar in Shoreditch

Even though it’s only been open for six months, the Shoreditch wine bar Leroy just earned its first Michelin star in early October. The accolade is a surprising departure for the guide, which typically doesn’t award stars to places this casual. But a French menu of shared plates like goose rillettes and boudin noir, plus an extensive list of international wines, makes it more than a deserving choice. 18 Phipp Street, London, leroyshoreditch.com

The design-focused lobby of the new Bankside hotel

The design-focused lobby of the new Bankside hotel

Courtesy of Bankside

Check into the Bankside
One of AFAR’s most anticipated hotel openings of 2018, the 161-room Bankside officially opens on October 29, 2018, on the south bank of the Thames within a 10-minute walk of the Tate Modern, Borough Market, and the Globe Theater. In addition to a makers-in-residence program featuring up-and-coming artists, the six-story property also has an ambitious goal to be London’s most sustainable hotel with a zero-landfill-waste target. 2 Blackfriars Road, London, banksidehotel.com

See the new David Hockney window at Westminster Abbey

For his first stained glass window, David Hockney created a colorful work to celebrate the reign of Queen Elizabeth II that was installed in the north transept of Westminster Abbey in late September 2018. Instead of featuring her image, The Queen’s Window is an abstract rural scene to honor the monarch’s love of the countryside. 20 Dean’s Yard, London, £22, westminster-abbey.org

London’s latest public art installation will delight Harry Potter fans.

London’s latest public art installation will delight Harry Potter fans.

Courtesy of Lumos

Walk through a tunnel of gigantic wands
Between October 18 and November 12, 2018, Harry Potter fans can walk through a tunnel of nine 15-foot-tall wands situated between St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge. Lit every night at 6:45 p.m., the installation is being erected to help raise awareness for J.K. Rowling’s charity Lumos in advance of the November 16 release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Peter’s Hill, London, wearelumos.org

Expand your mind at the Southbank Centre

If you weren’t able to get tickets to Yayoi Kusama’s major exhibition at Victoria Miro gallery this fall, The Moving Moment When I Went to the Universe, you still have a chance to see the Japanese artist’s other works in London. From September 26, 2018 to January 6, 2019, the Southbank Centre’s Hayward Gallery is hosting Space Shifters, a group exhibition of 20 artists including Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden, Anish Kapoor’s Sky Mirror, Blue, and various other minimalist sculptures that play with the idea of perception and illusion from the 1960s onwards. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, £17 (US$22), southbankcentre.co.uk

Cakes and Bubbles will serve sweets like these churros con chocolate.

Cakes and Bubbles will serve sweets like these churros con chocolate.

Courtesy of Cakes and Bubbles

Indulge your sweet tooth at Cakes and Bubbles
After hosting a pop up at Soho’s Hotel Cafe Royal in 2016, Albert Adrià—the world-famous pastry chef of elBulli–is returning to open Cakes and Bubbles permanently on November 8, 2018. Adrià’s signature cheesecake will be served along with other items, including churros con chocolate, egg flan, and a long list of sparkling wine by the glass and bottle. 68 Regent Street, London, hotelcaferoyal.com

Revisit 1930s fashions

From October 12, 2018, to January 20, 2019, the Fashion and Textile Museum is hosting Night and Day: 1930s Fashion and Photographs. The exhibit will feature both—yes, you got it—day and evening styles plus a collection of photographs of the era’s starlets wearing them. 83 Bermondsey Street, London, £10 (US$13), ftmlondon.org

>> Next: Plan Your Trip with AFAR’s Guide to London

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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