Autumn Is Coming! Seasonal Traditions in the UK

Golden leaves crunching underfoot, the fresh morning air and that back-to-school feeling. Autumn is a beautiful season, and in the UK there are some autumn traditions that make it even more special than it already is. What is a conker? Who is Guy Fawkes? And why do you need to remember the 5th of November?

Harvest time

Autumn is a great time of year for foodies in the UK. Wild mushrooms, pumpkins, squashes, marrows, sweetcorn, fennel, beetroot, apples, blackberries, plums, pears, damsons. All in season and all delicious. Blackberry picking is a very popular autumn activity, reaching through prickly brambles to find the biggest, blackest berries to either take home in a pot or to pop straight in your mouth. If you do manage to collect enough to take home with you, why not try making a simple blackberry and apple crumble?

Blackberry and apple crumble recipe

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Peel, core and slice enough apples to almost fill a nice deep oven dish
  • Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar
  • Add the blackberries you collected to the dish
  • Bit more sugar
  • Make the crumble topping by mixing 200g of flour with 100g of sugar and 50g of oats, add 200g of diced, cold butter and rub the mixture together with your fingertips until it resembles lumpy breadcrumbs.  
  • Cover the fruit with the crumble topping and bake in the oven for about 40-45 mins, until golden.
  • Serve with cream or custard.

Crumble

That's the way the crumble crumbles

Autumn colours

As we celebrate seasonal food coming to our tables, we say goodbye to the leaves as they leave us until the spring. And they say goodbye to us with a wonderfully warming display of reds and browns and golds. To experience autumn colours at their best, head to one of the UK’s national parks (the Lake District is particularly breathtaking at this time of year). 

Halloween

Halloween is celebrated by children and adults all over the world, and in Britain it has become more and more popular over the years. As much as we’d like to turn our noses up at the over-commercialised, Americanised hullabaloo, carving pumpkins and dressing up as witches and headless men is quite good fun. And I think there’s something very amusing about a group of little girls and boys dressed as ghosts demanding sweets off their adult neighbours. 

Guy Fawkes bonfire

Bonfire night

Guy Fawkes Night

There is a famous rhyme that goes “Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot”, the rest of it I forgot. But the important bit to remember is the date. The fifth of November is Guy Fawkes Night, where we celebrate the fact that this guy, called Guy, didn’t blow up the Houses of Parliament. We celebrate by making an effigy of him that we burn on a big bonfire, and set off fireworks. And light sparklers. The day is also known as Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night.

Autumn weather

The weather in the autumn season is hard to explain. Because it’s basically all four seasons every day. September can be nice and warm. An “Indian summer” is what we call summery weather in autumn. But generally it’s a bit cloudy, a bit cold, a bit wet, a bit sunny, a bit warm and it’s windy quite a bit.

Back to school

The beginning of autumn is usually when children go back to school in the UK. New school uniform, new pencil cases filled with new pens and pencils. You know the feeling. And going back to school means you can play conkers with your mates in the playground; another autumn tradition in the UK. And you might even sing this primary school autumn classic: 

Sung by Emily Tailor, age 7 

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About the author

Joseph

Leaving rainy Plymouth to move to cold and rainy Hamburg, Joseph has been trying to pronounce ridiculously long German words ever since. If he’s not drinking a cool Weizenbier he spends his time on his bike or reading books by the river. Now working as an intern at bab.la.