Just because the days are getting shorter and the temperature’s getting a little colder doesn’t mean you can’t take full advantage of being in London this October.
Obviously there’s a ton of Halloween-y related events slated for the end of the month: From haunted houses at Forty Hall, to pumpkin carving at Drink, Shop & Do and Eltham Palace, a screening of the 1982 cult classic The Thing on Cutty Sark, and more Halloween parties than you can count (like at Kensington Roof Gardens, and the Candlelight Club. (You can also find a ton of other Halloween-related events happening in London here).
But if you’re in London any other time of the month, here are some of the many other bound-to-be-fabulous events, festivals and celebrations to look forward to this October:
1. Listen to a live book reading at the London Literature Festival
With appearances from Hillary Clinton, photographer Annie Leibovitz and Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, London’s Literature Festival is bound to be one of the biggest events in the capital this month.
The festival will be taking place between October 13th and November 1st at the Southbank Centre, where various celebrated poets, authors, speakers, collaborators, and even photographers, actors and politicians will be making appearances to delighted attendees.
The festival will also include a live reading of Nelson Mandela’s memoirs, an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Poetry International, and even A-list actor Tom Hanks will be reading from his first published short story collection “Uncommon Type.”
For more information on the different events as well as ticket costs click here.
2. Celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the British Library
It’s been 20 years since the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; (yes, it’s really been that long). And to celebrate this milestone anniversary, the British Library will be hosting a magical Harry Potter exhibit (Harry Potter: A History of Magic) where Potterheads can look at everything from manuscripts, potions, rare books, and even original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay.
All visitors will need to book their tickets in advance in order to reserve a 30-minute time slot, and tickets cost £16 for adults, £11 for seniors, £8 for students and children between the ages of five and 17, £5 for disabled or unemployed visitors, or free for children aged four and under. (Families can also purchase a family ticket and save 20% on overall ticket costs)
The event will be taking place from October 20th to February 28th, 2018, and you can find more information on the British Library’s official website.
3. Enjoy some Bavarian beer and live music at London Oktoberfest
Just because you’re over 700 miles away from Munich doesn’t mean you can’t get into the Oktoberfest spirit!
The London Oktoberfest (which is hands-down the biggest Oktoberfest-related event in the UK) will be taking place between October 5th and 8th at Canary Wharf’s Millwall Park, where over 50,000 expected attendees will be enjoying some traditional Oompah music and live bands under a massive tent; (oh yeah, and there will be beer too).
There are a variety of ticket packages to choose from like the Bavarian Ticket (which costs anywhere from £10.50 to £20.50 and includes a guaranteed seat and a 1.5 pint of Bavarian FestBeer from), or a full-blown Oktoberfest Package from £26 to £44 (two 1.5 pints of Bavarian FestBeer, a German schnitzel with Bavarian fries and more).
For more information visit www.london-oktoberfest.co.uk/.
4. Go on a restaurant-hopping adventure for the London Restaurant Festival
For the entire month of October some of the best restaurants in London will be taking part in the annual London Restaurant Festival, where attendees can enjoy various food-themed events, wine tastings, and even taster menus with famous British chefs.
Not only that, over 250 restaurants will be dishing out fixed festival menus at super bargain prices (like a three-course lunch at Skylon Grill or Babylon At The Roof Gardens for £25, and 20% off on all food at Miyako from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
You can also venture on a restaurant-hopping tour around London (for £45) and sample a tasting plate at five different restaurants in Broadgate, Devonshire Square, Regent Street and St. James’s – all in one day!
For more information check out the London Restaurant Festival’s official website.
5. Stroll around a free outdoor art exhibit at The Regent’s Park
If you’re going to be in London during the first week of October then you’re in luck, because it will be your last chance to check out the outdoor (and free!) Frieze Sculpture exhibit in the English Gardens of The Regent’s Park (which finishes on October 8th).
This year’s event includes 25 different works by various 20th-century and contemporary artists like KAWS, Urs Fischer, Ugo Rondinone, Rasheed Araeen and many, many more.
And from mythical animals, a six-metre-high toy-human figure, and a stacked column of bronze footballs, there’s no telling what type of mind-blowing and thought-provoking artwork you’ll stumble across during your visit. (Visitors can also download Art Fund’s Frieze Sculpture Audio Tour app for free which includes descriptions of the different types of artwork on display).
For more information on the outdoor exhibit click here.
6. Sip on deliciously-discounted drinks during London Cocktail Week
London’s Cocktail week is basically a seven-day long cocktail party extravaganza; and with delicious cocktails at discounted prices at various bars around London, you can’t really go wrong.
Although a ton of bars, restaurants and pop-ups around London will be taking part in the week-long event, Old Spitalfields Market will be the epicentre of all the festivities (as always), as here attendees can check out the area’s Cocktail Village – which is a maze of different pop-up bars offering unlimited £6 cocktails.
Visitors can also attend different tours, masterclasses and parties, or even learn how to mix their favourite cocktail or how to pair certain drinks with different types of food.
You can get a £10 digital festival pass by downloading the London Cocktail Week app, and then use it on your mobile to search for the different participating bars around the city.
The event takes place between October 2nd and October 9th, and you can find more information about it here.
7. Visit London’s top museums during the after-hours for the Museums At Night series
Returning yet again for another autumn session, London’s Museum At Night series gives both tourists and locals a chance to attend some specially-themed night-time events, talks and more at some of the best museums and galleries in London.
The series takes place between October 26th and 28th, and some of the many venues on the roster include the National Gallery, the Houses of Parliament, the Bank of England Museum, the Charles Dickens Museum, the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of London, Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, and the London Canal Museum; (not to mention countless others around the UK as well).
Some venues have events with ticket costs ranging from £6 to £20, but others have free admission (like the Bank of England and the Natural History Museum). For those hoping to get into the Halloween spirit, head to the London Canal Museum to take a spooky trip down the Islington Tunnel! (If you have the guts for it, that is).
For more information on which museums and galleries are participating in the series (as well as ticket costs and schedules) click here.
8. Immerse yourself in Mexican culture at the Tequila & Mezcal Fest
If you happen to be in London on October 7th or 8th, and you also happen to like tequila (who doesn’t, right?), then checking out the annual Tequila & Mezcal Fest is a must.
The festival will be taking place at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, so visitors can celebrate anything and everything Mexican-related under one singular roof. Visitors can even attend seminars on how to make the perfect margarita, watch a folkloric dance performance or Aztec ceremony, and gawk at different types of contemporary art. (And there will be tons of goat, beef, chorizo and vegetarian tacos on offer as well).
Tickets cost £20, and you have to choose between three different selected times: Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. or 9:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information on how to book tickets, check out the Tequila & Mezcal Fest official website here.
9. Watch the UK’s best cycling event for Six Day London in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
From October 24th to October 29th, the Lee Valley VeloPark in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be hosting the Six Day London cycling event, where visitors can watch some of the best professional cyclists in the world compete in various competitions over the span of six days.
The event will also include music and entertainment, and even appearances from some of the best professional riders on the planet like Mark Cavendish!
Tickets range from £20 to £38.50 for adults depending on the date and event, although kids under the ages of 16 can get into an event for as little as £7.
Tickets are hard to come by so if you’re thinking about attending the event, you better book your tickets here ASAP.
10. Watch The Sea Cadets march through the streets of London for the annual Trafalgar Day Parade
For the past hundred years, The Sea Cadets have marched from The Mall to Trafalgar Square in London on the closest Sunday to October 21st to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
This year the event (appropriately titled the “Trafalgar Day Parade”) will be taking place on October 22nd, and you can expect to see all sorts of events and festivities happening in and around Trafalgar Square before and after the parade.
The parade normally starts at 11 a.m., but you will be able to find more information on The Marine Society & Sea Cadets’ official website closer to the date.