The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, and the sunset is getting far too early for our liking. Fall may mark the end of the warmth of summer, but it also marks the start of something new – and we’re not just talking about Pumpkin Spice Lattes coming back to Starbucks!
London is teeming with activities that embrace autumn’s weather and holidays. With Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Halloween shortly after, there are so many opportunities to get festive. Otherwise, get outdoors to enjoy the autumn air now that heat and humidity don’t border on suffocating.
Some of these fall activities are great for people of all ages and families, while others are more appropriate for leaving the kids at home. No matter what you’re looking to get up to this fall, there will be something on this list for you!
Kustermans Berry Farm
Neighbourhood: Mount Brydges
23188 Springwell Rd. (map)
Since 2011, Kustermans Berry Farm has been the home to the Kustermans Fall Festival, a celebration of all things autumnal in southwestern Ontario! The farm is open to the public on weekends and holidays, including PA Days at your child’s school.
The Fall Festival offers acres of family fun, from wagon rides to zip lining to friendly farm animals. There’s so much to do, it’s almost impossible to accomplish in only one day, so a return visit may be necessary.
Kustermans doesn’t shut down after sunset though, that’s when you can attend Kustermans After Dark. Running from 7pm to 11pm, Kustermans After Dark offers activities such as a haunted house, a corn maze lit only by flashlights, and a coffin ride simulator.
Experience Walt’s Acres, the theme of this year’s haunted tours. They offer two separate tours: The Corn Stalks – try not to lose yourself in the crops when someone (or something) begins to harvest – and Anna’s Barn – Walt’s daughter had a rough life growing up in a barn, and now she’s going to make your life rough too.
Many of the Fall Festival’s day activities are also available in the After Dark hours. The zip line, water balloon slingshot, and many more are still open for your entertainment.
Of course, during all of this excitement, you’re going to build up an appetite. Stop by the Kustermans Kitchen and Farm Market to pick up some lunch, or maybe even ice cream if you can stand the chill.
Regardless of whether you’re visiting in the day or at night, Kustermans Fall Festival is a thrill ride worth checking out this autumn!
Fanshawe Pioneer Village
Neighbourhood: Fanshawe Ridge
2609 Fanshawe Park Rd. E. (Enter at 1424 Clarke Rd.) (map)
Fanshawe Pioneer Village is the host to many events throughout the fall months. These events offer a historical perspective on the autumn holidays we love, taking you back in time to experience it as the pioneers would have.
Their fall events kick off with Thanksgiving Day. Stroll through the historic village to learn about how the pioneers prepared for winter – it wasn’t as easy as just turning your thermostat up back then. Participate in interactive exhibits, such as grinding corn and preserving fruits, or sample apple cider as you watch the reenactments. Thanksgiving Dinner is served at the Pioneer Village Café on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of Thanksgiving weekend. You must reserve a seat for the dinner, so purchase tickets ahead of time, and they sell out fast! Your meal ticket also grants you access to the entire park for the day. (PLEASE NOTE: All tickets for Thanksgiving Dinner at the Pioneer Village Café have been sold.)
Once the wholesome togetherness of Thanksgiving has wrapped up, the village takes a turn to the spookier side of autumn. To celebrate Halloween, Fanshawe Pioneer Village is putting on a show titled Midnight Village: Hangman’s Harvest. This event is not for kids, recommended for people at least 14 years of age. Hangman’s Harvest is a creepy spectacle, following the curious and grizzly executions that occurred in the region we call home. These hour-long traipses through the history of the gallows run from October 12th to 28th with three shows each night, beginning at 7, 8, and 9, with an additional show at 10 on Fridays and Saturdays.
The village is also open during their regular hours if the spookiness isn’t up your alley. Enjoy the brisk autumn breeze as you experience the history of the region in the outdoor museum.
As always, Fanshawe Pioneer Village is an excellent way to learn about and experience previous generations of locals. Whether you’re interested in a traditional dinner or want to learn about the macabre side of London’s past, the Fanshawe Pioneer Village should be your destination this fall.
Apple Land Station
329 Richmond St. (map)
Apple Land Station is a farm and orchard just east of London that makes a fantastic day trip for you and the family. Open seven days a week, they offer exciting fall-themed activities that get you outside and enjoying the cool autumn air!
It all started with pick-your-own apples. Explore their orchard and fill a basket with their wide variety of types of apples. See exactly what they’re currently offering at their Apple Report, so you know if you can pick your favourite type! You won’t find apples any fresher, since you’re literally plucking them off the branch! Explore the rows of trees, picking to your heart’s content. You can fill either a 10-pound bag for $15 or a 20-pound bag for $25!
But you aren’t just lugging around a massive bag of apples from the orchard back to home base. Apple Land Station has a train that will drop you off and pick you up! It’s a half-size replica of an 1850 L-Train, which is proven to be popular with children, train enthusiasts, and people with sore feet alike!
Apple Land Station has more attractions than just apple picking though! They also offer a corn maze, a sand mountain, pumpkin picking, and the opportunity to meet a whole host of farm animals!
Their Halloween-themed corn maze has two difficulties: a toddler maze, simple enough for your little ones to navigate on their own without trouble, and the Mythological Maze, which involves hunting down secret rooms and solving puzzles in order to find your way out.
Head over to the Pumpkin Hallow to pick your pumpkin right off the vine! They also have hundreds of pumpkins that have already been picked and washed for your convenience.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention their bakery. They are pie experts over at Apple Land Station. From savoury dinner pies like beef and chicken pot pies to incredible dessert pies including pumpkin, strawberry rhubarb, and you guessed it, apple pie. They use the freshest ingredients, especially what they pick from their own farm, and hand-make every pie with love. Their pies are as authentic and wholesome as if your grandmother baked it herself!
Apple Land Station is a great way to spend a day with the family on an autumn day. Explore the exciting attractions, pick some apples, and grab a pumpkin for carving all in one place!
Clovermead Adventure Farm
11302 Imperial Rd. (map)
Clovermead Adventure Farm used to be known as Clovermead Apiaries, also known as a bee farm. They still keep bees and produce some of the best honey in the region, but they’ve expanded their scope from bees to adventure! The farm is a destination throughout the year with plenty of activities and attractions beginning in the spring and continuing throughout the summer. The beginning of fall marks the kickoff of Clovermead’s Pumpkin Festival! A celebration of all things autumn and pumpkin!
For $14.99, your ticket will get you anywhere in the adventure farm. Hop on a wagon or the bee train for a ride, visit some farm animals, and take a spin on the pedal carts. Clovermead Adventure Farm is jam packed with activities for the family!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Pumpkin Festival without pumpkins. Head out into Clovermead’s expansive pumpkin patch and search for the one that’s perfect for you, whether it be the perfect décor, awesome for carving, or you get a good sense that it’s packed with seeds for roasting. Your pumpkin isn’t covered by the ticket cost, so you will have to buy it separately, but the experience is well worth the small extra charge!
They also have pumpkin-based events running through the day! Pumpkin Drop, Pumpkin Rolling, and Pumpkin Cannon shows happen at various times every Saturday! For a bit of extra gourd-based excitement, make sure you stop by and watch in wonder as the pumpkins are dropped, shot, and rolled in amazing and crazy ways!
Rural charm and family fun are always in stock at Clovermead Adventure Farm. Take a day to escape the hustle and bustle of city living with your family this fall and experience the Clovermead Pumpkin Festival!
Great Lakes Farms
Neighbourhood: Port Stanley
5111 Union Rd. (map)
Great Lakes Farms, found just south of London in the Port Stanley area, is an apple orchard and farm with over 50 years of growing experience! Family owned and operated, Great Lakes Farms is a wonderful way to spend a fall day with your family.
Wander through the orchard and pick your own apples, selecting from four different varieties: macs, gala, courtland, and empire! They give you a bag to fill – either small (15 pounds) for $20 or large (25 pounds) for $30. Fill it up with your favourites and, as long as the bag can tie up at the end of it all, you can take them all home to munch on or bake into your favourite dessert! If you eat a lot of apples, they even have a loyalty program – purchasing a large bag gives you 2 stamps, a small bag gives you 1, and once you have 5 stamps, you get a free small bag of apples! That may seem like a whole lot of apples, and it is, but someone’s got to eat them!
On top of picking apples you can also pick your own pumpkins, pears and gourds! All of this produce will be the freshest you can find, since you’re picking it yourself! Guaranteed freshness and quality, who can argue with that?
In the fall, Great Lakes Farms also adds activities for the kids. For only $6.50 per person, or $15 for a season pass (September to November), your kids can climb, explore, and race through the Fun Farm. With attractions like a pirate ship, pedal tractors, a corn maze, and a zip line, you’ve got a whole day of activities ahead of you!
Great Lakes Farms not only knows how to grow apples, they also know how to bake with them. Their bakery is always bustling with activity as they turn their fresh apples into delicious confections that you can eat there or take home with you! Apple pie, apple crisp, apple strudel, apple muffins, and apple cookies are all handmade and baked just for you! Their rustic café has a porch overlooking the orchard, so you can enjoy your favourite treat with ice cream as you watch others pick!
Great Lakes Farms is a fantastic day out for the family, so get out there and enjoy the fall foods and weather before the snow starts to fall!
London is known as the Forest City for a reason. There’s so much greenspace in and around the city limits to explore on a hike. Experience the magic and majesty of nature transforming from greens to reds as you wander the many walking or biking trails that snake through London’s forests and greenery.
One of the favourite trails at Santa Knows Best is around Fanshawe Lake. Whether you’re walking or biking, it’s a beautiful sight to behold any time of the year, but the fall colours really add an extra element that is unlike anything else. Walking along the Thames River in Harris Park is also a remarkable sight with the added bonus of access to the downtown core!
Check out AllTrails for a full rundown of hiking trails in and around London. Some are much longer than others, so know your walking limit and look for one that matches your expectations!