Summer has left us with a chilly autumn breeze, with days rapidly growing shorter. Never fret, though: just put that big jumper on and go out for a big old explore of London, as we know you’ll be good at that. How could you not be when there’s this many things to do? Vamos!
1. Check out the captivating ‘Seeing Auschwitz’ photography exhibition (From October 20)
Taking 100 photographs, sketches and testimonies of the largest Nazi concentration camp, ‘Seeing Auschwitz’ provides a painful but vital look at the criminal atrocity carried out during World War II. The exhibition offers up the chance, to anyone who wishes, to take a look beyond the photos using the historical context – thinking about what the subject would have endured, who would have been likely to take the photos, and what each photo can and cannot tell us. Those visiting can access a free, 60-minute audio guide with testimonies from Auschwitz survivors, providing an invaluable combination of words and photographs to gain deep insight to the tragedy. ‘Seeing Auschwitz’ opens on October 20 in South Kensington, and you can get your tickets here.
2-6. Head to one of these events to celebrate Black History Month
October marks Black History Month in the UK, and there’s plenty happening across London for anyone who wishes to celebrate black culture and black-owned business around London. Here’s a few ideas to start you off:
🎵 Have a dance at the Night Owl in Finsbury Park, a venue know for its strong support of Black History. With events all month that range from a reggae cookout to a payback funk night, you can’t go wrong here.
🎨 Take a trip to The Way They See Us exhibition put on by Sokari Higgwe , which runs from October 1-31 and showcases the work of Jacqueline Suowari in a bid to make the voice of influence black artists have much louder and change the way black art is perceived. Find it at London Lighthouse Gallery & Studio.
🎤 Head to the new speakers’ corner that has just opened ahead of Black History Month, aiming to give a platform to black poets in the city. Find it at Canary Wharf on October 8, 15 and 21, and read about it here.
📢 Head to one of the many events at London’s Union Chapel. This beautiful venue is playing host to plethora of events to mark Black History Month, from panel discussions on climate and past colonialism to music and poetry to a documentary screening on the church, slavery and reconciliation. View the lineup here.
🎙 Get inspired at the BYP Leadership Conference, which is put on for thousands of black professionals to share inspiring stories, learn and connect with others. Read more and register to the event here!
7. Wander around the newly-restored Battersea Power Station (from October 14)
Just over a year after Battersea Power Station got its very own Tube station, the restoration project is set to finally complete work some 40 years after the power station turned off its lights. Come October 14, visitors can delight in the swanky glass lift that is bound to make users feel as important as they do elated; a state-of-the-art shopping complex; and swathes of entertainment options. This is all just the start, and we guarantee you’ll be hearing the words “…is opening at Battersea Power Station” for months to come, but, for now, let’s revel in the fact that it’s finally open, shall we? Read more about the opening here.
Go down in Hawkins High history as a fashion icon and take a sassy 80s-style Yearbook photo with Reebok at Stranger Things: The Experience. The event’s official style partner will be making sure the class of ‘86 look their best — and there’ll even be a chance to win some new Reebok Classics! If your 80’s get-up really makes an impression, you might just make it onto the Hawkins High Best Dressed Board. Book your tickets to the immersive experience here.
9. Get spooky at the special Hallowed Peak experience (October 21 – November 6)
If you’re a veteran around these parts, you’ve more than likely heard us bang on about Phantom Peak – the steampunk mining town that invites you down for an open world experience of sightseeing, games and food. Now, imagine that but even bigger and the levels of spook dialled up to 11, and you might get an idea of what Hallowed Peak entails. There’s new trails, carnival acts and a thrilling threads competition based on your wonderful outfits. Find out more about the evening and get your tickets here!
10. Take in the ghostly views at the Sky Garden Halloween party (October 28)
Much like Phantom Peak, you might have heard us wax lyrical about Sky Garden – one of the best ways to take in London’s skyline – more than a few times. And this year, they’re throwing a big old Halloween party 35-floors up meaning you can bark at the moon from an optimum height. Put on your outfits and enjoy killer cocktails that the cast of Scream would surely approve of – just don’t let Ghostface through those glass windows. Find out more here.
11-17. And get lost in plenty of other Halloween events throughout the month in London
Whether you’re a horror movie fanatic or just relish any chance you have to dress up, London is a fine ol’ city – full of haunted places and train stations, might I add – to celebrate All Hallows Eve. With a roster of activities including a Wunderbar, Dystopian Bingo and an exhibition on 50 years of rebellion; you’re guaranteed to go to bed safe from the evil spirits and with a smile on your face as you drift into dreamland on October 31 (as long as Freddy Krueger doesn’t decide to show up).
🍺 Oktoberfest Wunderbar: Pergola Paddington are hosting two spooky Saturday and Sunday nights at their Oktoberfest pop-up.
🎥 Adventure Cinema: Catch a host of films at this brilliant outdoor screen at London’s beautiful Osterley Park.
😈 Dystopian horror at Hijingo: An immersive Halloween bingo experience.
💀 The Horror Show! exhibition at Somerset House: A deep dive into 50 years of Creative Rebellion in Britain.
👻 50 Berkley Square at London Dungeon: An experience set in one of London’s most haunted houses – not for the faint-hearted!
🧛♂️ Spooky London walks around Leadenhall Market: Dive into some of the city’s tales of witchcraft, murder and death.
🍩 Indulge in some Halloween themed treats: many a London bakery will be happy to oblige here, and we particularly love the offerings from Crosstown Doughnuts, The Hummingbird Bakery, and the splendid Afternoon Tea on offer at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
18. Or, for something more laid back, pick yourself the perfect Jack-o’-lantern at one of these Pumpkin patches
Even if you plan to have a chilled night in with just sweets and a Stephen King movie marathon for company, you’re going to need a Jack-o’-lantern to guard your doorstep. These pumpkin patches are all reachable from London and will all provide you with a pumpkin fit to frighten Pennywise the clown away. Plus, snaps among all those sweet fruits are bound to be a hit for your Instagram feeds. Read the list here!
19. Shake your hips to some bangers at Disco Classical (October 28)
A feel-good night just before the clocks go back, totally-not-thinking-about-the-extra-hour-of-darkness? Oh, go on then! When it’s Disco, you know all the hits are coming out and at Disco Classical, which waltzes into Indigo at the O2 on October 28, all guests are guaranteed to lose themselves in a dance to Sister Sledge, the Bee Gees and all the classics wrapped up the gift of a giggly night out in London. Book your spot here.
I didn’t know that we all needed this linkup of the ages, but now you can consider me intrigued – he says, removing his monocle and heading for the “special occasion” number in the drinks cabinet. The grand commercial building that you’ve probably walked past countless times is opening up its vaults for a scotch-filled speakeasy in the form of The Libertine. It opens in October, and you can read all about it here.
21-25. Take part in London’s Diwali celebrations
Diwali’s five days of celebration begins on Saturday, October 22, and the festival of lights is observed around the world by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists. It’s a five-day festival with the main festivities this year taking place on the Monday (October 24). Here’s some of the ways that London will be commemorating Diwali.
🍛 Enjoy this food and drink offering all month at TH@51: A brand new menu for Diwali takes diners on a journey through the diverse corners of India.
🎉 Wembley Park’s Diwali celebration: See Bollywood performers, a light parade, Odissi dancers and much more at this free celebration on October 1.
🤩 Diwali on the Square: The free Diwali celebrations that welcomes a 35,000-strong crowd each year returns to Trafalgar Square on October 9.
🎨 Finding Diwali: The National Maritime Museum is hosting this takeover by South Asian art collective CommonGround&, showcasing an experience of sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the festival of light.
🤩 Diwali at Dishoom: You all know about Dishoom, and they’re hosting a night of poetry, live music and bespoke dance performances curated in partnership with Sweety Kapoor on October 20.
26. Take part in the Peckham Conker Championships (October 8)
Time to get serious, people. We’re here to tell you about the title to end all titles. Either you go to bed every night in September dreaming about landing victory here, or you’re prone to telling lies. Yes, the Peckham Conker Championships are back for a whole afternoon of the undisputed GOAT of childhood games that school probably banned you from playing. Find it at the Brick Brewery Taproom, with both junior and senior sessions, on October 8. Book your place here.
Admittedly, you’d have to reach quite high to touch the elbows of the tall-and-little-armed beast that is the T-Rex, but you get the point. Jurassic World takes you into the world of the franchise where “life finds a way” – putting you eye-to-eye with an Indominous Rex. You’re unlikely to bump into Jeff Goldblum or Laura Dern, you may cry for the help of that duo as you take on the Raptor enclosure and take a wander around ExCel London’s paradise. Happily, it’s just been extended until January, and you can get your tickets here!
28-31. Say ‘Prost’ to Oktoberfest
Ah yes, the most Wunderbar time of the year has arrived in London once again – it’s Oktoberfest, baby! Sink all of those steins, dust off the lederhosen that may-or-may-not still smell of beer from last years shenanigans, and get down to one of these brilliant London Oktoberfest events. Cheers! Prost!
🍻 Pergola Paddington’s Wunderbar pop-up: we’ve told you about the Halloween events here, but the Wunderbar runs all the way through Oktoberfest with plenty of parties planned.
🥨 Oktoberfest at BOXPARK: Stilt-walkers, traditional Bavarian games, street-food, and, of course, beers can all be found at Boxpark during Oktoberfest season.
💃 KRAFT presents Oktoberfest: A plethora of Oktoberfest events across multiple venues are being held by this German beer company, complete with pretzels, beers, and dancing galore!
🕺 Bermondsey Bierkeller: Catch live Oompah bands all through October at this lively south London beer hall.
32. Enjoy a cup of Joe for National Coffee Day (October 1)
Every day is coffee day for many of us. But let’s celebrate the world’s greatest drink that kisses us every morning and welcomes in another day, sometimes with a few caffeine jitters if you accidentally put too much into that percolator. If you hadn’t already noticed, London has more places to get coffee than bottles of water at this point (okay, probably not true), so start the month off with that helping of hot java. Read our handy guide on where to get a good cup.
33. Shop at over 70 different stalls over at the Big Market in Peckham Levels (October 2)
It may only fall on October 2 but Christmas is coming early for market lovers in south London. 70 vendors, ranging from your favourite bars to some delightful grub to crafted jewellery, come together to form The Big Market over at Peckham Levels this weekend. When it popped up in May, it attracted over 3,000 visitors and it’d be no surprise if we saw a similar crowd flock in this weekend!
34. Dial up nostalgia-mode at the first ever immersive fairground for adults (opens October 4)
A 20,000 square foot funfair? For adults? Okay, I’m running out my door faster than a child hearing those distant ice cream van tunes for the first time in summer. We might be entering winter, but Canary Wharf is welcoming in Fairgame; a playground for adults with candy-floss cocktails, prizes to be won, a giant hook-a-duck game and much more. Read all about the experience here.
35. Show off your inner Van Gogh at this paint and sip night (October 7)
On a starry night in October, you can unleash your talents in the arts of both painting and socialising at this lovely little pop-up event in Holborn. The London Art Bar is giving you brushes, cocktails, nibbles and prosecco before letting the rest of the evening do the talking, with guests producing their best work in two-and-half hours. Find out more here!
Okay, cards on the table – we love London (obviously, that’s how this website started), but sometimes it is good to take a little break, and the beautiful colours of autumn provide ample opportunity to just that in the land outside the Big Smoke. Here’s a few suggestions to get you started.
37. Whizz through four different decades at the Old But Gold experience (from October 7)
With themed cocktails for every decade – the seventies through to the noughties – you’re basically moving like Marty McFly and discarding the needs for roads four times in the space of one evening. Old But Gold at The Boiler House celebrates music from all the different eras with floor-to-ceiling screens and an immersive sound system. Jump from Whitney Houston to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the blink of an eye and a swing of the hips – this night is not one to miss. Book your place here.
While it’s now officially too cold for festivals in London (we miss them already), we’re now well into gig season. There’s hundreds and hundreds happening in the capital this month. Here’s a few that you should know about.
🎤 Andrea Bocelli (October 1): The O2
🎸 Petrol Girls (October 6): The Garage
🥳 Maximo Park (October 7): The Roundhouse
🥁 The Menzingers (October 8): The Roundhouse
🎙 Lingua Ignota (October 10-11): EartH Hackney
🎉 The Four Tops And The Temptations (October 11): The O2
🎵 Digga D (October 13): O2 Academy Brixton
😠 PUP (October 14): The Roundhouse
🤩 Ludovico Einaudi (October 16-18): Royal Albert Hall
✌ Dinosaur Jr (October 16): Kentish Town Forum
💃 Japanese Breakfast (October 19 & October 25): Hackney Church and Kentish Town Forum
⚽ Sports Team (October 21): The Roundhouse
🎊 Pavement (October 22-25): The Roundhouse
🎶 Cave In (October 24): Heaven
🥺 Bon Iver (October 25-26): Wembley Arena
😎 Rina Sawayama (October 26): O2 Academy Brixton
54. Attend the UK’s first whisky-with-water pop-up bar (October 7)
While Milroy’s Of Soho might boast the Vault Bar behind a bookcase, the Spitalfields site are stepping up the sibling rivalry with a pop-up that’s the first of its kind in the UK. Head down to the bar on October 7 to partake in a whiskey-with-water masterclass, teaching you how a tiny drop of water can impact the flavour profiles of your favourite whisky. Book your spot here.
Yes, there’s still the best part of three months to go until Christmas Day, which makes it ridiculous to even think about right now. Life, however, is all about being ridiculous sometimes, so for many of us, getting those decorations out or going on a shopping spree falls into that category. Liberty is on hand for the early-festive-frolickers to let themselves loose in – it’s been open since the beginning of September and is already looking incredible!
56-62. Lose yourself in one of these dreamy concerts by candlelight
🕯 Candlelight Vivaldi Four Seasons (October 1, 14, 27)
🕯 Candlelight: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac (October 10)
🕯 Candlelight: Hip-Hop’s Greatest Hits (October 21)
🕯 Candlelight: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Soundtracks at Southwark Cathedral (October 21-22)
🕯 Candlelight: Nutcracker & More ft. Ballet (October 22)
🕯 Candlelight: Halloween Film Scores & Classics (October 29)
63. Secure a bargain at the Classic Car Boot sale (October 8-9)
There’s not many things better in life than picking up something you’ve wanted for a while at a great price, and car boot sales are a breeding ground for this very concept. Cheap! Deals! Everywhere! The Classic Car Boot sale is back at King’s Cross this month, boasting bargains on everything from fashion to music on a day soundtracked by live vinyl DJ sets. More info here.
World Mental Health Day falls on October 10, and this little café in Golders Green encourages guests to talk openly about mental health, while serving delicious treats and hot drinks. Read more about their mission here.
65. Tuck into bottomless a bottomless wine and roast extravaganza (from October 9)
We’re well into roast season now that it’s gotten chilly, and this frankly incredible offer is here to start you off on the right path. Bottomless wine. Bottomless roast. If that doesn’t float your boat, we’re not sure what will. You can even pay a little extra to turn that wine into prosecco, like some kind of alcohol-to-alcohol messiah. Enjoy the offer from Vagabond in Battersea and Canary Wharf, and find out more here.
66. Gorge yourself silly at the first bread-only fine dining restaurant (October 19)
Getting a bread basket before you tuck into your food is a dangerous, yet deeply satisfying game and one that I’m sure will continue until the end of time. In some people’s eyes, it’s actually the best part. Some genius (Asda) has created the first bread-only fine dining spot, named “The Baker’s Dozen”, to tap right into this – offering up various delights such as sliced sourdough with Marmite butter and pecorino plus delectable brown bread ice cream. Secure your place here.
67-76. Waltz around one of London’s brilliant exhibitions
New and essential exhibitions are constantly popping up in the wonderful city filled with culture that is London. Here’s a few you should be checking out this month.
❤ Faces of Soccer Aid (just opened): Maddox Gallery
🧡 Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination (opens October 6): Science Museum
💛 The Artist Is Present (opens October 7): GUTS Gallery
💚 Frameless (opens October 7): Marble Arch Place
💙 The Art Of Emotion (opens October 8): Boxpark Shoreditch
💜 Bitches by Daniel Sachon (October 12-17): 59 Greek Street
❤ Human Stories: The Satirists (opens October 13): NOW Gallery
🧡 Executions: The History of Public Punishment in London (opens October 14): Museum of London Docklands
💛 Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art (October 26): Hayward Gallery
Closing in October
💚 The Art of Movement (ends October 20): The Design Museum
77. Snag some records with serious underground cred (October 20)
In conjunction with the last week of the Sweet Harmony: Radio, Rave & Waltham Forest, 1989-1994 exhibition, the ‘Sweet Harmony’ Record Fair is popping up for one day only. Featuring records from independent record labels, record dealers, and record shops all based in Waltham Forest, audiophiles won’t want to miss the chance to grab some brilliant records and support independent businesses.
78. Have a lovely time at the ‘World’s Most Rubbish Bar’ (October 20-22)
Sounds like a oxymoron, but we can safely say that this rubbish bar guarantees a whale of a time. It’s back for London cocktail week to show off some mean drink-making skills using only sustainable product thanks to the zero-waste brand Discard Spirits Co. Find it between October 20-22 at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH.
79. Indulge in some delightful grub at this Chinese food festival (October 28)
As the temperature drops, you’ll be wanting to treat your stomach to some excellent hot food; and this three-day Chinese Food Festival at the end of the month is sure to be just the tonic. After you’ve finished off a mouth-watering selection of Chinese and Pan-Asian delights, you can take part in masterclasses including woodblock, lantern-making, and even tea-tasting. Book your spot here!
80. Touchdown at Wembley Stadium for some NFL action (October 30)
Though it comes just before Halloween, a rendition of An American Werewolf In London (1981) won’t be taking place at Wembley Stadium – but if you swap the word ‘football’ in for the mythical beast in that title, you’ll have something closer to the truth. The NFL is returning to the home of football (or soccer), for its annual showing, a the Jaguars take on the Denver Broncos. You can get the best seats in the house at Club Wembley too, which you can read more about here.
81-91. Keep exploring this wonderful city
More things to do inspiration…
Also published on Medium.