Summer is now well and truly gone, with nary another unexpected heatwave in sight. Never fret though, it’s your chance to pop on an oversized jumper and head out to explore London before it gets really cold. And with so many things to do this October, you’ll be too busy to notice the cooler weather! So, here are some of our recommendations for the top things to do this October…
1. Support Black-owned businesses
October marks Black History Month in the UK, and there are plenty of ways to show your support in London. In particular, be sure to check out some of London’s Black-owned businesses, whether it’s to do some early Christmas shopping, grab a delicious meal, or purchase a little treat for yourself. There are all kinds of Black-owned shops, restaurants, pubs, and venues around London.
For inspiration, here are some of our favourite Blak-owned businesses in London:
🍫 Dark Sugars – wickedly indulgent hot chocolates and decadent chocolate truffles
🍻 Prince of Peckham – one of South London’s most popular pubs, landlord Clement Ogbonnaya is on a mission to make London’s pubs proper community spaces
🍩 Treats Club – these doughnuts are so good, they even ordered them to the set of Barbie!
For a full list check out Black Owned London’s comprehensive guide.
2. Head to one of these events for Black History Month
If you want to take your engagement with Black History Month a step further, head to one of these entertaining, educational, and engaging events.
🚌 Hop on board for a Black History Bus Tour that hits up all the classic London sights, but through an African/Caribbean lens, to explore the hidden stories
🚶♀️ Or take to the streets and go for a guided walk around Hackney to learn about East London’s deep connection to Black culture and activism, with Black History Walks.
📽️ Head to the Museum of London Docklands, where they’re inviting visitors to “discover and celebrate revolutionary Black women throughout history”. There will be a special film screening (Queen Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess screening + Q&A) and a talk from Olivette Otele about Black women’s role in resistance and activism.
🎤 Experience the Magic of Motown as the touring show enters its 18th year of performance.
🛍️ Shop ’til you drop at Bohemia Place’s Black-Owned Hackney market. With street food, sustainable shopping, cocktails and refreshments, and DJs, you’re set for a whole day of fun.
⏳ The Natural History Museum is commemorating Black History Month with The Explorers Family Festival (October 8), a day of free events and workshops exploring the contributions Black historians, scientists and communities have made to the study of Natural History.
📸 A special photography exhibition will pop up at the Brady Arts Centre in East London for Black History Month, between October 6 and 28. The exhibition, HERE & NOW, will celebrate Black British photographers with a particular emphasis on the impacts of African and Caribbean culture in London.
Find even more events at Black History Month’s website.
3. Delight in some awe-inspiring artwork (Opens October 13)
Cutting-edge technology and stunning media installation combine to draw visitors into a unique, colourful, and delight-ful cityscape in the middle of London. Explore and immerse yourself into the 25 different pieces, scattered across 12 zones, and you’ll find yourself wrapped up in an experience unlike any other.
Don’t miss out, grab your ticket here.
October sees the Rugby World Cup barreling its way to a thrilling final, as it all comes to a head on October 28. Regardless of who wins – or who is even in the final (we don’t know yet!) you won’t want to miss a second of the action. Be sure to check out our list of the most thrilling places in London to catch every scrum, try, and conversion, of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Head to Monet: The Immersive Experience to experience the artist’s iconic works in a whole new way. Instead of looking at his pieces up on a wall, from a distance, step right onto the easel and surround yourself with the colours and brushstrokes. It’s a truly dazzling experience.
When the leaves change colour and start to fall, you know that autumn has officially arrived. Another great sign? The arrival of pumpkin picking season. Several farms around London offer up pumpkin picking opportunities, from Garsons Farm in Surrey to Hatter’s Farm in Essex, and beyond. Some even have special pumpkin-y events, like the Pumpkin Festival at Crockford Bridge Farm in Surrey. See our list of perfect pumpking patches for pumpkin-picking pleasure here.
If you don’t want to leave London, though, you’re in luck. A special urban pumpkin patch will crop up in Cowcross Yards for a week, starting October 25. So you can get your autumn experience without leaving the city!
7. Celebrate 100 years of Disney (Opens October 13)
Yup, that’s right, 100 whole years have passed – during which time Disney has committed to screen some of the most endearing and enduring stories that we’ve all grown up with. To celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary, they’ve dreamed up the world’s biggest Disney exhibition to date. Disney100: The Exhibition dives back into the past to bring us original artworks, artefacts, costumes, props and memorabilia from renowned classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and even contemporary releases such as Encanto. There will also be plenty to see from the newest additions to Disney’s family: Pixar, Star Wars, MARVEL, and National Geographic. With 20,000 square feet of space filled with things to see, you won’t want to miss out!
Grab your tickets here.
Duh! The month only culminates in one of the greatest, and spookiest, holidays of the year – Halloween! And in a city as full of events and happenings as London, you can bet there are all sorts of Halloween activities on offer. Check out some of these spooky and not-so-spooky ways to celebrate:
👻 Enter an alternate reality at Hijingo’s Halloween – Ghost In The Machine bingo experience. The mainframe has been hacked, and a terrifying night awaits you as chaos takes over.
🌃 The Sky Garden is back again with its Halloween celebrations, high above the city. Enjoy dazzling views (or stomach-churning, if you’re acrophobic), fright-tastic decorations, and a raucous atmosphere as you party the night away.
😈 Unveil your dark side as you attend a Halloween rave at the Halloween Dark Nightmare Party. Hidden away in a Hackney warehouse, you’ll get to Monster Mash the night away.
📃 Race around London as you attempt to be the first to complete the BucketRace Scavenger Hunt: Halloween Edition. The Halloween-themed scavenger hunt will have you embarking on a four-hour odyssey around London in the hopes of winning tickets to fright night at your favourite amusement park.
🎃 Head to the Clapham Grand, one of London’s most exciting venues, where a whole roster of Halloween events await. From movie nights to circus shows, cabarets, and more, the Clapham Grand is sure to have just the event for you. Check them out here.
😨 Do the Time Warp all over again at the new Rocky Horror Halloween Brunch at Devonshire Terrace by Drake & Morgan.
🍸 Be transported into the world of Grimm’s Tales at The Thin White Duke‘s special Halloween events. They’re promising a dark night of fairy tales with burlesque performances, live storytelling, and enchanted fairytale desserts. Oh, and plenty of spooky cocktails, too. Grab a ticket here.
Alright, partner – if you’re looking for a drink and a rollicking good time, you’re going to want to head on down to the Moonshine Saloon. This cocktail experience takes you back to the days of bootleggers, outlaws, and the Wild West. Smuggle some booze in and you’ll get kitted up in appropriate attire. Once you look the part you’ll get to enjoy delicious drinks made from your bootleg booze as you rub shoulders with locals and try your luck at games. But keep your mouth shut if the sheriff comes around asking questions!
10. Explore London’s spooky past
In a city as old as London, you can bet there are plenty of ghost stories to tell, spooky corners to peer around, and haunted places to explore. If you’re brave enough, why not take advantage of the spookiest month of the year to explore London’s storied past? Whether you want to see what London’s most haunted destinations hide inside their walls, or reckon there must be a fair few ghosts to be found in London’s most haunted Underground stations, there’s no shortage of spine-chilling places to wander around.
If you fancy jumping head-on into the horror, though, you could also check out one of London’s terrifying ghost tours. These tours explore London landmarks, spooky backstreets, and more. You might even find yourself in the middle of an attempt to contact the spirits on the other side!
Forget exploring London – head to the stars and explore a completely different world in a whole other galaxy with Avora. The spectacular immersive cocktail experience drops guests onto the surface of another planet. There you can mingle with the inhabitants, scavenge for ingredients, and take part in deciding the planet’s future.
12. Celebrate London’s dining scene at the London Restaurant Festival (September 30 – October 31)
The London Restaurant Festival is back for the Autumn edition throughout October. Celebrating London’s diverse culinary scene, from Michelin-star restaurants to street food vendors, there are over 50 culinary experiences on offer. Participating restaurants include Mr Ji, The Parakeet, Empire Empire, Parilla, Barrafina, Maison François, and many, many more. From restaurant-hopping tours to masterclasses, special dinners, cuisine showcases, and beyond – there’s an event for every palate and budget.
Grab your tickets here. But act fast, they’re almost sold out!
13. Celebrate Japanese culture (October 1)
The UK’s biggest celebration of Japanese culture and food, JAPAN MATSURI, will return to Trafalgar Square for the first time since 2019. Visitors will get to enjoy live performances, martial arts demonstrations, Japanese food and drink, and plenty of gift shopping. Oh, and entrance to the festival is completely free! Just head on down on October 1, between 10 am and 8 pm and enjoy a cultural day out.
14. Munch your way along a samosa walking tour (October 4)
A special event sees up to 15 guests at a time hitting Drummond Street for a guided samosa tour, sampling the wares of traders who have been there for over 4 decades. Local guides will accompany your munching with details of the street’s history and the stories behind some of the traders. You’ll get to sample samosas from the likes of Guptas, Ravi Shankar, Diwana, and Masala King – with an array of chutneys courtesy of The Spice Shop. It then all culminates in a complimentary buffet of dishes at Chutney’s, while everyone votes for their favourite samosa. You’ll even leave with a Spice Shop gift bag crammed with goodies.
While Oktoberfest traditionally finishes in early October, there are plenty of Oktoberfest events in London with dates all through the month. So grab your lederhosen, wet your whistle, and say a hearty ‘Prost‘ at these Oktoberfest events.
🍻 Camden Oktoberfest (October 7, 14, 21, 28)
🍺 Oktoberfest Brixton(October 7, 14, 21, 28)
🍻 Oktoberfest 2023 at Market Hall Oxford Street (October 14, 21)
🍺 Oktoberfest Spezialitäten at the German Gymnasium (celebrations until October 2, Oktoberfest Spezialitäten menu until October 31)
If you’re not a fan of the cooler weather and miss the sunny blue-sky days of summer, you might need a hit of dopamine. If so, get on down to Dopamine Land. It’s an immersive, multi-sensory museum specifically designed to activate everyone’s inner kid and boost your happy emotions. You’re sure to walk away smiling with glee!
October marks the start of the K-Music Festival on October 1, which will see seven special shows taking place across London. The whole thing will kick off at the Barbican Centre with a performance from award-winning composer Jung Jaeil, who is responsible for such iconic scores as those in titles like Parasite and Squid Game.
Read all about it here.
18. Take a bite out of National Curry Week (October 2 – 8)
Curry is basically the national dish of England – right? So naturally, there’s a week-long celebration of the beloved category of dishes. To celebrate, a variety of special menus and discounted dishes are on offer.
🎃 Keeping it autumnal, and curry-y, Karapinchais celebrating National Curry Week (and their fifth birthday) with a limited-time special Pumpkin Curry for just £5.
🍛 Babur has opted to join the celebrations with a special menu just for the ocassion, with the likes of Dungar Chicken Tikka, Gilafi Seekh Kebab, Butter Chicken, and more.
🥘 Or explore the less familiar side of Indian cuisine with Yaatra’s food, which takes diners “beyond the beaten track of Indian cuisine and into unexplored territory”.
19. FOCUS on some art (October 4-7)
October is absolutely chock-full of exciting art fairs and events. But one that you definitely don’t want to miss is the FOCUS Art Fair at Saatchi Gallery. The Saatchi Gallery has earned a reputation as being one of the most curatorially exciting galleries in London, and they’re clearly not resting on their laurels. This October, the FOCUS Art Fair finds them collaborating with the FOCUSPHERE, a collection of young galleries around the world, to present traditional and contemporary art alongside cutting-edge technology.
20. Try out a new menu of autumnal cocktails
Autumn signals the return of the cosy season – which means roaring fires, warm sweaters, and warming drinks. One London venue that got the seasonal memo is Discount Suit Co, which has just launched an all-new autumn menu of spirited cocktails. Hidden away from the streets of London in an abandoned tailor shop, guests can enjoy eight new classically inspired cocktails. Drinks include the likes of the Wigan Casino (a blend of gin, passionfruit, rambutan, green chartreuse, kombu, and Tokaji) and the Drugstore Cowboy (mezcal, tequila, peach, and yuzu tepache). Be sure not to miss out, before they change the cocktail menu again!
21. Catch a flick at the BFI London Film Festival (October 4 – 15)
Calling all cinema heads and film fans, this one’s for you! The BFI London Film Festival, which spreads itself around multiple venues and cinemas in London, showcases the world’s best new films, series, shorts and immersive storytelling. But it’s more than just a chance to catch a flick, it’s also a great opportunity to spot some stars, with celebs hitting the red carpets and appearing at events throughout the festival’s duration.
Go back in time to the 70s for a slice of sporting history as you watch George Foreman and Muhammad Ali fight for the heavyweight championship of the world. The Rumble In The Jungle Rematch event drops you into the story and is brought to life with live music, dancing, celebration, and plenty of food and drink to create a historic experience unlike any other.
23. Go wild at DRUMSHEDS’ opening party (October 7)
Sure, we may have lost Printworks, but out of the ashes comes another new London nightlife venue. DRUMSHEDS officially kicks things off on October 7 with a huge night of disco, glitter, and glam. You won’t want to miss it, so grab your ticket before they sell out.
Let’s just hope that the planning permission doesn’t go through for those flats – we wouldn’t want to lose DRUMSHEDS so soon after Printworks!
24. Battle it out at the Peckham Conker Championship ‘23 (October 7)
The schoolyard competition gets taken up a notch at the Peckham Conker Championship. There are both Junior and Senior Competitions, with the winners receiving the ‘Golden Nut’ – a 22-carat gold Conker. Be sure to sign up early, so that you don’t miss out! Be forewarned – it’s a little more brutal than you might expect!
25. Get up close to the moon (October 10-28)
The incredible lunar display from Luke Jerram returns to London once again, this time dropping down at Southwark Cathedral. The Museum of the Moon fuses together lunar imagery from NASA, moonlight, and a special surround sound composition from BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer Dan Jones. It’s a stunning sight – one that takes over our Instagram feeds every time it returns to London!
During the Museum of the Moon’s display at Southwark Cathedral, there will be a number of complementary events, including a Candlelight concert. Guests will be entranced by the visual spectacle of the moon, the room suffused with candlelight, and a string quartet performing iconic tracks from sci-fi and fantasy soundtracks.
26. Settle in for one of these stunning candlelight concerts
Whether you’re after a peaceful way to spend a night out or a romantic date idea, a candlelight concert provides an absolutely unbeatable ambience. It’s also worth mentioning that at a selection of these Candlelight concerts, guests will be treated to delicious diamond shaped Toblerone Truffles during the show. Check out these incredible performances throughout October:
✨ Candlelight Orchestra: A Tribute to Joe Hisaishi (October 7)
🕯️ Candlelight: A Tribute to Ed Sheeran (October 27)
✨ Candlelight: A Tribute to Queen (October 27)
See even more Candlelight Concerts happening in London here.
27. Have a spirited night out during London Cocktail Week (October 12-22)
Billing itself as “the world’s greatest celebration of cocktail culture”, London Cocktail Week finds bars across our glorious city banding together to celebrate all things mixed, shaken, and stirred. Nab yourself a wristband and you’ll get “access to specially created £8 Signature Cocktails in the very best bars in London”. It’s essentially a week-and-a-bit-long happy hour running across hundreds of bars.
The week will also see all sorts of cocktail masterclasses, pop-ups, special menus, and events to enjoy. It’s a cocktail-lovers dream. And you can even participate if you don’t drink, or don’t want to drink too much, with each participating bar also offering a no- or low-alcohol cocktail option for £6.
Grab your wristband (for just £15), and find out more, here.
28. Catch Taylor Swift’s Eras tour on the big screen (October 13)
Still crying because you missed out on tickets to the tour? So did we… Or maybe you’re just desperately after even more Eras content. Same, to be honest. Well, either way, you’re in luck as Taylor Swift’s Eras tour is set to hit the big screen as the concert film gets a worldwide cinematic release on October 13. And yes, that worldwide release includes London too.
29. Marvel at London’s most exciting new talent (October 12-14)
The Roundhouse Theatre is not just a powerhouse live venue. It’s also a considerable source of support to young artists and up-and-coming names in music, theatre, and beyond. So be sure not to miss The Roundhouse Rising Festival x BBC Introducing Live, where London’s rawest new acts will be showcasing their talents. Special guests include the likes of Sam Ryder, Maisie Peters, and Piers from Rudimental – so it’s set to be a thrilling weekend.
There will also be talks and educational sessions covering topics like How BBC Introducing Can Help An Artist, Being an Independent Artist, How to Smash a Live Set, and more. Whether you’re a music fan or an aspiring megastar, it’s not to be missed.
30. Celebrate this iconic club’s 24th birthday (October 14)
What does a club do to commemorate its birthday/anniversary/another year open? Throw an absolute rager of course! And that’s exactly what London institution, fabric, is doing to celebrate. You might be wondering, just how epic of a rager are they planning? They’re going big, with a non-stop 30-hour rave that will see them partying from 11pm on Saturday all the way through to the wee hours of Monday morning. You might want to book the day, or the week, off work if you’re going!
Grab your ticket here.
Ever wanted to try the famed Tajima variety of wagyu beef? Until now, it’s only been available to those able to make a trip over to Japan. But now, Tokyo’s famed wagyu beef specialist, Aragawa, is making its way to London. Opening in October, the new restaurant will be the “first-ever appearance of the hyper-rare Tajima beef on London’s gastronomic scene, as it has never before been available outside Tokyo.”
32. Or check out another of London’s newest openings
This Autumn has seen a whole slate of new openings hitting the town, from Italian restaurants to speakeasy’s, neighbourhood pubs, brunch places, and more. Here are a few of the newest openings that will be landing in London this October:
🍗 Fowl (Opens October 3) – the team behind Fallow open up a ‘beak-to-feet’ chicken shop that they promise will be like no other.
🔥Portobello 177 (Opens October 4) – Notting Hill gets a new neighbourhood restaurant with a Caribbean- and Japanese-influenced menu, from the team behind the beloved Trailer Happiness (located right above the bar itself).
🥩 Solis (Opens October 4) – a ‘chicken and steak grill’ in Arcade Battersea with flavour influences from Spain, Portugal, Uruguay, and Argentina.
🥘 Paro (Opens October 5) – the first solo restaurant from 23-year chef Niaz Caan, who has been cooking since the age of 14; ‘a love letter to Calcutta’.
🍸 Bar Lina (Opens October 6) – an aperitivo bar tucked away beneath the original Lina Stores’ delicatessen in Soho, taking over what used to be the pasta kitchen.
🍝 Il Gattopardo (Opens October 6) – a new Mayfair restaurant inspired by 1960s Italy. Expect the utmost in refined, understated luxury.
🍷 Bambi (Opens October 6) – a wine bar with a hefty record collection, a high-spec vintage sound system, and a powerhouse team overseeing food and drink.
🍜 Kinoya (Opens October 7) – an intimate 23-seat Japanese izakaya-style restaurant with classic ramen dishes and izakaya small plates.
🍽️ Saltine (Opens mid-October) – a quirky new standalone venue from the team behind the Fink’s cafes, with chef Phil Wood from St John Marylebone.
🍴 Akara (Opens October 24) – Brazillian and West African fusion, centred around the namesake black-eye bean fritters.
🔥Kolae (Opens October 27) – the team behind the much-loved som saa in Spitalfields launch a new three-floor outpost for Southern Thai cooking.
🥘 Mambow (Opens in October) – the Malaysian food concept from Peckham’s Market Stalls gets its first permanent site.
🥟 Kink(all)y (Opens in October) – a luxurious modern twist on traditional Georgian khinkali dumplings atop an accompanying subterranean cocktail bar, Kinky.
🍷 Bistro Bleu(recently opened) – a French bistro above a traditional English pub (The Rugby Tavern) promises a cosy slice of the French life.
See our list of the best new restaurants and bars to try in London, here.
With London’s absolute plethora of galleries and museums, there’s never a shortage of new exhibitions and shows to see. Here are some that are opening in October, and some that you’ll have to rush to see before you miss out.
EXHIBITIONS OPENING IN OCTOBER
🤎 Frank Walter: Artist, Gardener, Radical (October 4 – February 25): Garden Museum – a major exhibition of landscape and nature paintings by Frank Walter, one of the most significant Caribbean visual artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
❤️ Jose Campos – Studio Lenca: El Camino (October 4 – November 4): Soho Revue – Campos’ largest European show to date, exploring questions of upbringing, uprootedness, and undocumented existence.
💙 Christo: Early Works (October 6 – 22): Gagosian Open, 4 Princelet Street – the inaugural offsite exhibition from Gagosian’s new Open series presents the artist’s sculptural works, which are veiled in fabric or plastic and bound with rope or twine, in an 18th century East London townhouse.
💛 Wangari Mathenge (October 7 – November 4): Pippy Houldsworth Gallery – a solo show of portraits of domestic works in Kenya, seeking to reclaim their own narratives and be recognised for their individual characters, personalities, and ambitions.
🧡 GO | BETWEEN (October 10 – 15): Cromwell Place – a duo show featuring the work of painter Marcello Barceló and ceramic artist Virginia Leonard.
💚 Kojo Marfo: Crucible of Hope (October 11 – 15): JD Malat Gallery – the Ghanaian-born artist draws inspiration from living in New York City, and traditional Akan artefacts, sculptures, and carvings.
💙 Nicole Eisenman (October 11 – January 14, 2024): Whitechapel Gallery – the first UK survey of the American artist, with 100 works (paintings, drawings, and sculptures) that date from 1992 to the present day.
🤎 Johanna Billing: Each Moment Presents What Happens (October 11 – January 28, 2024): Whitechapel Gallery – a moving image work that finds school pupils engaging with the process of creation through an exploration of a never-recorded John Cage performance.
💜 Japan: Myths to Manga (October 14, 2023 – August 11, 2024): Young V&A – the first exhibition following the Young V&A’s reopening finds them exploring storytelling, art, design, and technology in Japan.
🧡 Turn it Up: The Power of Music (October 19 – May 6): Science Museum – explore the power of music with plenty of hands-on experiences and a musical playground.
💛 Kat Kristof: Her & The Self (October 20 – November 25): BEERS London – Hungarian-British artist Kat Kristof examines self-perception and how it is affected by inner and outer forces.
EXHIBITIONS CLOSING IN OCTOBER
❤️ Hannah Lim: Beastiaries (Ends October 7): Wilder Gallery – Lim’s solo show presents her reinterpretations of Chinoiserie, through the lens of her Singaporean and British heritage.
💙 Manu García: Juego (Ends October 14): BEERS London – the concept of ‘play’ or ‘juego’ is explored through abstracted, conflicting paintings that pose as many questions as they refuse to answer.
💜 Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney (Ends October 15): The Wallace Collection – the all-dog exhibition comes to a close, with puppy portraits from throughout history.
🤎 Alistair Guy: Incidentals 2 (Ends October 15): House of Swaine’s New Bond Street flagship store – photographs inspired by the freedom of travel, accompany the luxury goods store’s products.
🧡 Noises In The Florid Sky (Ends October 20): Pictorium Gallery – a solo exhibit from Lydia Hamblet, with 18 new paintings from the British artist that showcases a ‘vibrant symphony of colour’.
❤️ Stories of Soho (Ends October 22): Self Space Soho – a photography exhibition ” dedicated to the real stories of the thousands of people living and working in Soho”.
💚 Charlie Gray: Performance (Ends October 29): Leica Gallery – 12 portraits of actors, artists, entertainers and musicians in Gray’s signature style, shot on Leica cameras.
34. Take a break from the booze
There’s no shortage of ‘sober’ months for those looking to cut down on their imbibing or stop completely. Many people choose January to make the big change, often following a particularly raucous night (or nights) out for New Year’s. But Sober October is perhaps the most enduring example of an alcohol-free-month initiative. It’s also got the best name! If you’re looking to cut down, or cut out, alcohol this month, here are some ideas for you to check out:
🍸 Who says you have to give up beer, wine, and colourful cocktails when you give up alcohol? There are all sorts of alcohol-free alternatives to enjoy! Grab a drink from one of these sober-friendly bars.
☕ Or head to the Pawsitive Cafe, a proudly non-alcoholic venue that’s great for brunches and doggy-friendly outings. They also offer up a selection of therapeutic and wellness-oriented activities and events
🍹 For even more alcohol-free drinks, check out these mouthwatering mocktails that you have to try in London.
35. Dive into the work of Marina Abramović at the Southbank Centre
In early October (October 4 – 8), Marina Abramović and the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) are hitting the Southbank Centre and taking over the entire Queen Elizabeth Hall. Every aspect of it, from the backstage area and dressing spaces to the green rooms and everywhere else will be turned into a set “for long-durational performance art by some of the most groundbreaking artists of our generation”. Audiences will be able to wander around the experience, explore typically hidden parts of the Southbank Centre, and immerse themselves in the work. Abramović will participate in two performances (October 4 and October 8) and will be present at other times.
Beforehand, on October 1, Abramović will also be in discussion with Katya Tylevich in an event that gives attendees a chance to hear more about her new biography, Marina Abramović: A Visual Biography.
36. Or make your way to Frieze London for the world’s best contemporary art in one place (October 11-15)
Each October, Regent’s Park plays host to a huge, stunning celebration and exploration of contemporary arts from around the world. This year’s iteration of Frieze London marks the event’s 20th anniversary, so it’s sure to be bigger, bolder, and more glamorous than ever before. With a roster of some of the most exciting artists in the world, this year promises to be “the most international edition of the fair to date.”
Running at the same time as Frieze London is Frieze Masters. Where Frieze London focuses largely on work created post-2000, Frieze Masters celebrates work made before the year 2000. Connecting the two fairs is the free outdoor Frieze Sculpture showcase, which stays on show from mid-September all the way to mid-November.
37. And then get cultured at these other London art fairs
There’s plenty of art to enjoy (and perhaps even buy) at these art fairs in London throughout October. So if you’re after a browse through some art, or have an empty wall in need of a painting, check out these art fairs:
🖼️ Roy’s Art Fair presents the 9th edition of their artist-run art fair, which allows “emerging and established artists an alternative opportunity to showcase their work in a unique and affordable way”. (Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, September 28 – October 1)
🎨 The inaugural Women in Art Fair aims to address the gender imbalance in the art industry by giving female artists, curators, and gallerists an opportunity to show their work. (Mall Galleries, The Mall SW1, October 11-14)
🖼️ Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair is back for its 26th edition, this time partnering with neon specialists Gods Own Junkyard for a vibrant alternative to Frieze Week. It’s a fun, immersive, and engaging art fair that wants to reframe how art can be experienced. (The Truman Brewery, 85 Brick Lane, October 12 – 15)
🎨 The Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair is Europe’s largest art fair dedicated to collectable print works. Get your hands on a print from the likes of David Shrigley and Tracey Emin, as well as many other established and up-and-coming talents. (Woolwich Works, The Fireworks Factory, Royal Arsenal, October 26-29)
Got some ink that reminds you of an ex? Wanting to move on, but finding it hard to re-enter the dating game with someone else’s name tattooed across your arm? Well, you’re in luck because Tinder has partnered up with London tattoo studio Sixty Ink to offer free tattoo cover-ups to singles. Tinder will take over Sixty Ink’s tattoo studio for a three-day pop-up (October 11-13) called ‘Ink Twice’. For a chance to remove the troubling memory, just sign up for a chance at a free tattoo.
October finds London packed to the rafters with gigs from huge names in the music world. Here are some of the ones we’re most excited about, from throw-back emo bands to chart-topping pop and rock acts, indie darlings, and everything in between:
🎸 Muse (October 1 & 2): The O2 – you know Muse, they’re one of the biggest rock bands of all time… With support from home-grown heroes, Nova Twins.
🎤 Jorja Smith (October 4): HERE at Outernet – one of the most alluring, and unique, voices in music today launches her new album ‘Falling or Flying’ with an album launch show.
🤘 Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (October 6): O2 Forum Kentish Town – grungy stoner rock meets psychedelic metal.
🎶 King Krule (October 9 & 10): Eventim Apollo – jazz, hip-hop, and punk influences combine with the singer-songwriter tradition for deceptively compelling tunes.
📻 Busted (October 10): The O2 – talk about a pop-punk throwback
🎤 Mitski (October 11): Union Chapel – following the much-anticipated release of her latest album, Mitski takes to the stage with an intimate acoustic show
🥁 blink-182 (October 11 & 12): The O2 – talk about even more of a pop-punk throwback!
🎧 Sampha (October 12-14 & 17): Hackney Church (St John at Hackney) & Rough Trade East – the critically acclaimed singer, songwriter and producer has worked with everyone from Kendrick Lamar, to Frank Ocean, SBTRKT, Jessie Ware, and Solange. Don’t miss!
🎸 The Sonics (October 13): The Garage – the absolute OGs of punk rock, these guys were screaming lyrics about drugs, love, and witches over scratchy guitar riffs before anyone else.
🎤 Diana Ross (October 14 & 15): Royal Albert Hall – the most iconic vocalist of all time? Who else came even close to rivalling The Beatles?
📻 Madonna (October 14-18, December 5 & 6): The O2 – the Material Girl herself…
🎸 Wheatus (October 20): The Garage – are you just a teenage dirtbag, baby?
🎙️ The Japanese House (October 23): HERE at Outernet – hazy, lush indie music with collaborative efforts from the likes of the 1975’s Matty Healy, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), and Charli XCX, among others.
🎸 Rodrigo y Gabriela (October 23): London Palladium – the greatest guitar double act of all time?
📻 McFly (October 27): Alexandra Palace – well, you can’t see Busted and not see McFly too, right?
🎙️ Glen Hansard (October 30): London Palladium – the Irish songwriter started out busking at the age of 13, and then became an award-winning actor after starring in a movie loosely based on his own life.
40. Get lit(erary) at the London Literature Festival (October 18-29)
Hosted at the Southbank Centre, the London Literature Festival is a book-lovers dream. The festival brings together all fans of the written and spoken word, young and old, to celebrate literature and words. Now entering its 16th iteration, this year’s festival will feature a wide-ranging display of talent that includes George the Poet, Yu Miri, Teju Cole, Sir Patrick Stewart, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kerry Washington, Jacqueline Wilson and more.
Find out more, here.
41. Or head to this Wimbledon literary celebration (October 12-22)
If you need even more book-loving festivities and explorations of literature, then make your way on over to Wimbledon. There, the Wimbledon BookFest is bringing 10 days of culture, community, and global connection-focused events. Headliners include the likes of Clive Myrie, Ben Okri, Annie Macmanus, Afua Hirsch, and even the Wombles!
42. Grab a seat at one of these limited-time culinary events
Even outside of the London Restaurant Festival, there is an absolute plethora of one-off and limited-time dinners and foodie experiences to enjoy around London this month.
💃 Mayfair’s luxurious Spanish dining destination, El Norte, has launched a weekly La Fiesta party that takes place every Friday. Munch on Spanish tapas, down bottomless sangria or cava, and dance alongside talented Spanish dancers.
🥩 Cult London burger vendors Black Bear Burger are transforming their Brixton restaurant into a steakhouse every Thursday, only until the end of October.
🍽️ Peckham Arches will be hosting two dates of their Supper Club series in October: Chrissy’s Kitchen Supper Club (October 18) and ‘Lots of Butter’ Supper Club with Ana De Costa (October 25). Be sure to book!
🍷 Battersea’s Ploussard continues a three-month exploration of ‘ploussard‘ grapes and celebration of London’s top female sommeliers with an October 25 event with Ania Smelskaya, founder of the natural wine specialising April Wines.
🔥 Cinnamon Kitchen will celebrate 15 years of service with a special Spice In The City event on October 6. Chef friends Will Bowlby (Kricket), Adriana Cavita (Cavita) and Gavin Malleappah (Rambutan) will join them in the kitchen for a one-off, four-course dining experience and celebration.
🥩 Gaucho’s monthly Beef and Wine Masterclass with El Esteco returns on October 23, highlighting perfectly paired Argentine beef and wine.
✈️ Rosewood London is celebrating their 10-year anniversary with an exclusive three-night pop-up (October 10-12) with help from their friends from CHAAT, Rosewood Hong Kong’s one Michelin-starred restaurant. Sample the flavours from the esteemed Hong Kong restaurant, without having to pay for airfare!
🔥 Legendary Turkish restaurant from Antalya, 7 Mehmet, is landing in London at Notting Hill’s The Counter for a one-night dinner celebrating “one of Turkey’s most famous and enduring restaurants”. (October 13)
🍝 LUCA will kick off their fortnightly The Masters series of Italian wine-tasting dinners with Italy’s most renowned wine producers on October 25. The first event will explore wines from San Leonarda.
🐟 The team from Dartmouth’s The Seahorse is venturing up to London to cook up a special lunch with their seafood-obsessed friends at Trullo on October 8. Expect a midday aperitivo followed by a long, lazy lunch.
43. Head out for a lovely autumn walk
Throw on a cosy sweater, wrap yourself up in a scarf, maybe pop some hot chocolate into a thermos, and get out and about to enjoy the autumnal colours of London. Every walk is improved, after all, by mountains of leaves to kick, and crunchy fallen leaves to step on. Check out our guide to these stunning London walks for an Autumn weekend wander.
44. Celebrate Battersea Power Station’s first birthday (October 21-29)
Look, I know Battersea Power Station has been around for longer than a year. What they’re celebrating is a year since the re-opening of the site under its new guise – as a shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. Their ‘Behind the Bricks‘ festival will explore the building’s history and transformation with nine days of events and activities.
Guests can enjoy a 1950s-themed hair and beauty salon pop-up, a special Searcys promotion to mark the opening of their brand-new champagne bar, expert panel talks, historic exhibitions, and guided tours of the restored Art Deco splendour of Control Room A.
Find out more here.
45. Find all of the Croydon giraffes before they’re gone
Giraffes? In Croydon? Yup! There are actually 30 of them currently scattered around the area as part of a free sculptural art trail to celebrate the diversity and creative spirit of Croydon whilst raising funds for Crisis. They won’t be around for much longer, though, with the giraffes disappearing from Croydon on October 27.
Read all about the giraffe sculptures here.
46. Catch a flick at the UK’s only music film festival (October 26 – November 12)
Lovers of concert movies and music-focused documentaries will not want to miss this. The UK’s only music film festival, Doc’n Roll, returns this October for its tenth edition. This year’s festival includes films about the likes of TLC, Judee Sill, Cyndi Lauper, The Zombies, The Elephant 6 Recording Co, Nick Cave’s seminal band, The Birthday Party, and much, much more. 50 events will take place around the UK, with 25 premiere feature films to catch. It’s set to be a rocking doc-ing good time.
47. Don your best cosplay for MCM Comic Con (October 27-29)
The superheroes are coming to town, and you can join them! The end of October handily sees two highlights of the year for fans of dressing up – Halloween and MCM London Comic Con. Fans will descend upon ExCel London for three days of celebrating all things pop culture – from anime to TV, film, art, and more.
Find out more and grab your ticket here.
The West End or Broadway – which one reigns supreme? We reckon we’ll opt for the former, and we think you’ll agree. How can you argue with the incredible roster of shows on offer through October?
👑 The Empress (October 5 – 28): Lyric Hammersmith – the so-called ‘Golden Era’ of the British Empire through the eyes of Britain’s socially and culturally diverse Asian population.
💊 Faking Bad (October 5 – 28): Turbine Theatre – “The Unauthorised ‘Breaking Bad’ Parody Methsical”
⌛The Time Traveller’s Wife (Starts October 7): Apollo Theatre – the enduring love story receives the musical West End treatment.
⚽ Dear England (October 9 – January 13): Prince Edward Theatre – the turbulent story of the England men’s football team under the management of Gareth Southgate.
🌊 The Ocean At The End Of The Lane (October 11 – November 25): Noël Coward Theatre – following a sell-out debut run at The National Theatre, the much-praised Nail Gaiman adaptation heads to the Noël Coward Theatre.
🚨 The Flea (October 11 – November 18): The Yard Theatre – a retelling of 1889’s Cleveland Street Scandal when a homosexual brothel in Fitzrovia was targeted by police.
🎹 Elephant (October 14 – November 4): Bush Theatre – part gig, part musical, music and history intertwine as a young woman falls in love with music.
🤣 I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This (October 16 – 21): Soho Theatre – rising star comic, Ania Magliano, kick-starts her 35-date tour across the country with six nights at the Soho Theatre.
King Lear (October 21 – December 9): Wyndham Theatre – see the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s take on the Shakespearean classic in a limited run before it moves to New York.
🪵 Stick Man (October 21, 2023 – January 2, 2024): Leicester Square Theatre – the family-favourite holiday story of Stick-Man navigating the world as he races back to the family tree in time for Christmas.
🎙️ The Interview (October 27 – November 25): Park Theatre – an insight into the infamous and controversial 1995 BBC interview between Princess Diana and Martin Bashir.
🏊♂️ Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man and the Pool (Ends October 7): Wyndham’s Theatre – the stand-up brings his Broadway smash hit comedy to the West End for just four weeks.
💊 The Effect (Ends October 7): Lyttelton Theatre – are Connie and Tristan falling in love, or is it the new drug they’re testing?
🐘 Mlima’s Tale (Ends October 21): Kiln Theatre – a spiritual dive into the ivory trade, and its lasting effects and corruption.
🎬 Shooting Hedda Gabler (Ends October 21): Rose Theatre Kingston – a movie-set drama that reframes Ibsen’s ‘Hedda Gabler’ through the lens of the #MeToo movement.
🪞 Pygmalion (Ends October 28): Old Vic – the Olivier-award-winning duo of Bertie Carvel and Patsy Ferran brings the classic George Bernard Shaw satire to new life.
👑 Macbeth (Ends October 28): Globe Theatre – Shakespeare’s cursed Scottish play lands at the Globe in a thrilling new production.
🎤 Grease the Musical (Ends October 28): Dominion Theatre – summer lovin’, happened too fast…
49. Get your science on with a boozy experience
Lit Lab’s Science and Sip takes all the best parts of science class at school (the experiments, of course!) and combines it with a spirited atmosphere. You’ll be creating mini explosions and extracting DNA all while creating (and drinking) delicious cocktails. Lit Lab’s next boozy scientific experience will be a Halloween-themed event on October 28, so keep an eye on their socials for the ticket release.
50. Keep exploring this wonderful city
More things to do inspiration…
Also published on Medium.