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Where to see autumn colour in London now, from royal parks to a particular row of riverside plane trees

Autumn tail: Kew is home to some of the most spectacular trees in London (PA)
Autumn tail: Kew is home to some of the most spectacular trees in London (PA)

The official term for the phenomenon happening all around us right now is senescence.

Sure, the word has connotations of deterioration and ageing but the autumn trees certainly do it in style, seeing themselves out for winter in a blaze of copper, bronze and gold.

Here are some of my favourite places to enjoy the autumn colours.

St James’s Park, Westminster

London’s Royal Parks offer some amazing autumn views. Across their parkland they are responsible for nearly 200,000 of our public trees.

One of my favourite places to catch the season is on the Blue Bridge that crosses the lake in St James’s Park. The trees reach down to the water, providing a perfect reflection on a still day.

In pursuit of autumn colour in St James' Park? George knows just the bridge (Niklas Halle'n/AFP)
In pursuit of autumn colour in St James' Park? George knows just the bridge (Niklas Halle'n/AFP)

The Albert Embankment, Lambeth

Look across the river between Westminster and Lambeth bridges and admire the line of plane trees neighbouring the Palace of Westminster in Victoria Tower Gardens.

If the autumn weather gets the better of you, the Garden Museum has an excellent exhibition about the Antiguan artist and gardener Frank Walter.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

 (PA)
(PA)

It would be hard to write this list without including Kew, which of course is home to some of the most spectacular trees in the capital. However, autumn at Kew is particularly special because it has a great collection of deciduous conifers.

This might not sound particularly thrilling but the trees themselves are.

From golden yellow larch (Larix) to fiery orange swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) trees, they are worth looking out for. You’ll find a lot of these trees located by the ponds and lake at Kew.

Big Wood, Hampstead Garden Suburb

The winding streets stop abruptly for two small pockets of woodland, Big Wood and Little Wood.

Big Wood is made up of a mix of species including oak, cherry, hazel and importantly, the wild service tree (Sorbus torminalis), a living indicator of ancient woodland. The leaves on these trees are shaped a little like maple leaves and go a deep copper-orange this time of year.