9 reasons to visit the UK this fall
Leaves changing from shades of green to brilliant hues of orange and red, with brisk, cool breezes swirling through the air. Fall has arrived in glorious fashion. With school back in session and travel demand dwindling (not to mention a drop in the exchange rate between the pound sterling and the dollar), fall is a great time to jaunt over to the United Kingdom. Fantastic festivals, quirky traditions and local hotspots make it a destination worth your time.
1. Seasonal colors abound.
I love seeing the vibrant colors and feeling a curtain of leaves rain down around me. England is the perfect spot for viewing fall’s spectacular change of color. In fact, the U.K. rivals the northeastern U.S. when it comes to the picturesque season change.
2. Walk through the woods.
Be sure to check out Faskally Wood, approximately 90 minutes north of Edinburgh, Scotland. This 62-acre park hosts the Enchanted Forest, a glittering display of lights and music. This year’s theme is “Shimmer” and includes a wall of light that visitors can walk through.
3. Get cozy at a pub.
Photo courtesy Anizza/123rf.com
Chilled from the crisp fall air? Pop into a local pub for a pint and warm up. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in London is one of the oldest pubs in town. There has been a pub at that location since 1538. It was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in the 1666 and was a popular location for many literary greats, including Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens. Lacking a natural light source, it has been said this pub helped inspire many dark characters.
4. Get your laugh on.
Known for Monty Python, Mr. Bean and many other hilarious comedians, there is no shortage of humor and laughs. During fall, comedy festivals take place throughout the country; those in Birmingham, Greenwich and Halifax are well known.
5. A foodie’s paradise (or worst nightmare).
With London dedicating an entire month to the celebration of its amazing restaurants, fall is definitely a foodie’s paradise. Food and wine festivals and food pop-ups (similar to food trucks) come alive during the autumnal months. For those with an adventurous palate, try “Dinner at the Twit’s.” Based on characters from Roald Dahl, enjoy a 90-minute show and dinner courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Twit that will leave your stomach churning. Please note this is not recommended for guests under the age of 16.
6. Film festivals.
Cinema fans rejoice! During the fall season, the U.K. hosts numerous film festivals. The BFI London Film Festival is an 11-day movie lover mecca, with more than 240 films, documentaries and shorts competing for top prizes. For all things fantasy, sci-fi, horror and animation, check out the International Festival of Fantastic Films.
7. Election night, done right.
Tired of the political circus surrounding the U.S. elections? Celebrate a different type of election — the Lord Mayor — on Nov. 12. Each year, the Lord Mayor is elected to serve as the Ambassador of London. Once the vote has been cast and the Ambassador elected, a large parade of elaborate floats and marching bands make their way to the residence (the Mansion House). A dazzling fireworks display caps finishes the day’s festivities.
8. Bonfire (Guy Fawkes) Night.
On Nov. 5, 1605, explosives expert Guy Fawkes was arrested while standing guard over barrels of gunpowder that had been smuggled beneath the House of Lords. Standing at the ready to light the powder, the assassination attempt on King James I was successfully foiled that evening. To celebrate the failed attempt, citizens lit bonfires with effigies of Guy Fawkes on top. Over the centuries, the celebration has evolved into cities and towns continuing the burning effigy bonfires, as well as amazing pyrotechnic presentations.
9. The holidays are just around the corner.
Since the U.K. doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving the same way Americans do, many holiday displays are up beginning in mid-November. On Nov. 18, Hyde Park in London will transform into Winter Wonderland, complete with twinkling lights, ice skating, rides and shows.