October heralds the start of autumn, and there are some wonderful things to do in London this month.
Summer is long gone, night is falling when you leave the office, and we’re pulling our best cardigans out the back of our wardrobes. October is a top time for exploring our fair city, so get out there and see it with our guide to the best things to do in London this month. Let’s go!
16. Enjoy a little jazz on the water (October 10)
More jazz, this time accompanied by the sound of waves gently lapping against London’s floating bar. Floating Jazz makes a welcome return this autumn, and with the nights drawing in, we can’t think of a better way to spend ’em. Tickets are available here.
The luxury long-distance train is run by the travel company Belmond and is also known as the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. It’ll whisk you away to Europe’s most glamorous cities, and has now added Rome, Florence, Geneva, Brussels, and Amsterdam to its available routes between March and November. It’s a bit pricey, but wait until you see the train’s suites—trust me, you’ll never want to set foot outside again. More info here.
18. Enjoy an epic weekend of art, music and tequila (October 14 – 17)
Between October 14–17, The Other Art Fair returns to The Old Truman Brewery, showcasing works handpicked by an esteemed committee at Saatchi Art as some of the most forward-thinking, influential pieces of the moment. The fair will also play host to a sound bath experience, live DJ sets, podcast recordings, tattoo pop-ups, workshops, and tequila and tonic tasters to keep you entertained. Tickets are available here.
19. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition (from October 15)
Explore the stunning details of Michelangelo’s iconic work without having to travel to Italy, as LA-based SEE Global Entertainment (SEE™) use digital technology to bring one of mankind’s greatest artistic feats to life. Visitors will be able to experience the space from never-before-seen perspectives, making for a stunning spectacle. Grab your tickets here.
Step into the Golden Age of comics at this interactive, superhero-themed cocktail experience. Armed with a mask and cape, guests can enter a world inspired by their favourite comic books and unleash their superpowers to create delicious cocktails and elixirs. Find your tickets here.
Camden’s new European brasserie will be hosting bottomless Aperol Spritz brunches from this month, and we *love* the sound of that! If you like the idea of sipping on unlimited Aperol Spritz while enjoying a three course brunch as much as we do… Tickets are available here.
22. Get a proper eyeful at the Boy Toy Brunch (October 16)
From suits and ties to, erm, birthday suits. Those feeling especially thirsty are going to love the Boy Toy Brunch, for there’s one and a half hours of bottomless prosecco or mimosas to go with an endless parade of gorgeous shirtless men, performing stripteases and feats of daring. Unsurprisingly, tickets are flying out the door, so grab yours before they’re gone!
23. Be enchanted at this incredible Harry Potter-themed woodland trail experience (from October 19)
A woodland trail inspired by the Forbidden Forest from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series is set to open at Arley Hall & Gardens in Cheshire this month. Taking fans on a journey that will quite literally illuminate some of their favourite Forbidden Forest moments, the incredible experience makes for a perfect getaway if you’re looking to escape the city, just in time for Halloween! Get your tickets here.
24. Face your fears at Colab Theatre’s immersive horror experience (from October 20)
This brand new immersive horror experience will challenge your bravery as you plunge into the depths of an abandoned basement, scrabbling in search of the vital clues in order to save a life. Just in time for Halloween, this event will give you all the thrills and then some! Grab your tickets here.
25. Go rogue at London’s Beano exhibition (from October 21)
Somerset House will play host to an exhibition dedicated to the youthful mischief of the Beano, the world’s longest-running comic. All the usual suspects – from Dennis the Menace to Gnasher to Minnie the Minx to the Bash Street Kids – are ready to make an appearance. The exhibition will run from October 21, 2021, to March 6, 2022, and you can read all about it here.
26. Lose yourself in books at a literary festival (October 21-31)
The premier event in the capital’s literary calendar falls in October, with a host of big names descending on Southbank Centre for the London Literature Festival. Literary giants such as Elizabeth Day and Lauren Child mix with figures from the worlds of entertainment and academia, in what amounts to Glastonbury for literature lovers.
27. Enjoy the Natural History Museum’s dreamy ice rink one last time (from October 22)
The Natural History Museum has recently announced the return of its last ever wintertime skating season. The dazzling ice rink is one of our favourite Christmas experiences, so we’re sad to see it go! It will be open from October 22, 2021 to January 16, 2022 this winter, so make sure to relish the magic of it one last time: After 16 years of skating fun, the space will soon be transformed into a biodiversity hub as part of the museum’s Urban Nature Project. Find more info here.
28. Explore London’s huge Banksy exhibition for a reduced price (until October 22)
Currently pitched up in Covent Garden, London’s ‘The Art of Banksy’ exhibition is home to over 90 masterpieces by the elusive artist — the world’s largest collection of privately-owned Banksy art. Marvel at famous artworks such as ‘Girl And Balloon’ and ‘Flower Thrower, and discover some of his lesser-known work and limited-edition pieces at this mesmerising, exclusive gallery. For a limited time only, you can visit the exhibition for just £19.50 if you purchase your tickets through Fever and visit before October 22. Grab yours here!
29. Hang out with Earth’s mightiest heroes (October 22-24)
It is quite literally on like Comic Con this month, as MCM Comic Con rocks up at the ExCeL on the 22nd. It’s the largest convention of pop culture in the UK, with three days of panels, meet and greets, and cosplaying on offer. This year’s headliners remain a mystery, but we’re pretty sure it’ll be an unmissable event as per usual! Find out more here.
30. Hop on a train to Edinburgh for only £15 (from October 25)
FirstGroup‘s new, 100% electric train service Lumo launches this month, with one-way tickets between London and Edinburgh starting at just £14.90. The service promises passengers budget- and environment-friendly rail fares in an effort to reduce air travel between the two capital cities. More info here.
31. Celebrate Halloween (October 31, but really, all month)
As far as I’m concerned, spooky season lasts the whole month of October, so there’s plenty of opportunity to celebrate Halloween beyond October 31. From scary bottomless brunches to chilling immersive experiences, here are some of the best things you can do to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve, and all the eves leading up to it.
32. Wander amongst a sculpture garden (until October 31)
Regent’s Park sees a tonne of arty new arrivals, as Frieze Sculpture has taken up residence in the English Gardens for autumn 2021. Billed as “a museum without walls”, it’s always a highlight of the London art calendar – check out all the info here!
In this particular exploration game, you will play the role of a passionate historian on a mission to bring London’s ghoulish spirits to salvation. From Green Park, Mayfair and Bond Street, to the most haunted house in the city, you will be guided to some of the most frightful places in the city, following step-by-step instructions in order to solve clues. Get your tickets here.
34. Feel the thrills at this chilling Halloween candlelight concert (October 31)
Halloween is plenty creepy already, but when you add the iconic soundtracks of Psycho and the 1978 version of Halloween to proceedings, it’s only going to get eerier. Haunting, atmospheric, and hopefully without any errant ghouls or ghastly beasts, this Halloween candlelight concert is a brilliantly unique way to spend All Hallow’s Eve. And if you’re brave enough, you can find your tickets here…
Tonight Josephine’s Grease-themed bottomless brunch will make you nostalgic for warm Summer Nights! Enjoy a delicious brunch and Pink Ladies cocktail plus bottomless bubbles and beer while sassy Sandy and debaucherous Danny put on a fab drag show. Find your tickets here!
If you’ve ever felt the urge to plunge into the wilderness to live free and feast on wood-fired cooking every night, but aren’t quite ready to give up the London lifestyle just yet, here’s a compromise to keep you snug and well-fed this autumn. Tucked away in a freight container yard between Holloway and Kings Cross, you’ll find Campfire, an excellent open-air venue from Two Tribes Brewing. Enjoy delicious barbecue and beers around the fire pit and revel in the cool autumn evenings. Read more here.
This unique London adventure will take you to a number of filming locations from the magical franchise, as well as the thoroughfare that is thought to have inspired Diagon Alley. You’ll need to follow clues to discover said places and solve clues to score points in the game. Get your tickets here.
This game will send you back in time on a mission to stop the spread of the Great Plague. Follow the clues to uncover facts about the city’s deadliest pandemic, hear the story of the courageous Nathaniel Hodges, and learn all about the crazy remedies that Londoners tried to avoid getting infected. But that’s not all: you’ll also discover church ruins, fascinating churchyards, and many other hidden spots along the way. Get your tickets here.
39. Visit the Royal Academy’s delayed Summer Exhibition (all month)
Summer may be over, but nonetheless one unmissable summer event has just kicked off, albeit a little late. For the second year running, the Royal Academy’s famous Summer Exhibition is falling in autumn. It’s the world’s largest open submission art show, showcasing a winning mix of amateur and professional creations. This year, it’s led by Yinka Shonibare and a panel of artists, under the theme of ‘Reclaiming Magic’. Read more here.
👨🎨 The EY Exhibition: Cézanne, Tate Modern (from October 6): huge show dedicated to Paul Cézanne, French painter
🍷 Poussin and the Dance, National Gallery (from October 9): classical world paintings by Poussin
⚧️ Hyundai Commission: Anicka Yi, Tate Modern (from October 12): art questioning migration, class, and gender
🏢 Light Lines: The Architectural Photographs of Hélène Binet, Royal Academy of Arts (from October 23): bringing new life and intrigue to striking buildings from around the world
🌪️ Late Constable, Royal Academy of Arts (from October 30): a look into Constable’s later career
🍴 Cornelia Parker, Tate Britain (until October 16): art installation featuring sculptures made with everyday objects
🖌️ Milton Avery, Royal Academy of Arts (until October 16): Milton Avery’s first European show
🖼️ Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Tate Modern (until October 17): abstract art across a variety of fascinating disciplines
🏛️ Serpentine Pavilion 2021, Hyde Park (until October 17): annual Hyde Park installation
📸 James Barnor: Accra/London – A Retrospective, The Serpentine (until October 22): works of a portraitist, photojournalist and Black lifestyle photographer in London and Ghana
👩 Paula Rego, Tate Britain (until October 24): revolutionising the way women are depicted in art
🏰 Bellotto: The Königstein Views Reunited, National Gallery (until October 31): Bernardo Bellotto’s paintings of Königstein
52-67. Explore these pretty places during autumn
London is never quite so beautiful as it is in autumn, so embrace the season! Put on a scarf and enjoy one of London’s best hot chocolates, settle in for a pint in one of the city’s oldest pubs, or take an autumn walk through the city. Here are some more beautiful places you should visit this season for gorgeous foliage and crisp air:
68-82. Discover London’s best new bars and restaurants
September brought some new arrivals, and so will October — here are some incredible new places we wrote about last month, which are well worth adding to your October bucket list for a good meal and drink!
83 – 85. More things to do inspiration…
Also published on Medium.