Guide to what’s on in London in October 2014
Autumn is well and truly here with Hallowe’en here to distract us later in the month from the dropping temperatures. October is dominated by festivals for foodies and film fans, with a host of free events going on around town. With the weather cooling down, fortunately most of these activities on around town are indoors.
For a guide to what’s on in London this Halloween, including parties and screenings and some spooky half-term daytime activities for families, click here.
- 2 – 5 October : Elefest
Festival in one of London’s most misunderstood areas, featuring open studios, art displays, theatre, music, guided walks, film screenings and more. At 12 venues across Elephant & Castle, including the Southwark Playhouse, Coronet and Cinema Museum. Some events are free. Nearest tube/train: Elephant & Castle. For more information, visit the Elefest website.
- 2 – 24 October : Take My Lightning But Don’t Steal My Thunder
An art installation in Covent Garden which looks like part of the iconic market hall has broken free of its foundations and has levitated. Created by artist Alex Chinneck, the installation is on show to the public on the east side of the Piazza. Free to visit. The Piazza, Covent Garden, WC2E. Nearest tube: Covent Garden, Leicester Square or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Covent Garden website. For Metro Girl’s gallery of photos from Take My Lightning, click here.
- 3 – 12 October : Wimbledon BookFest
A two week festival in South West London featuring readings, children’s events, storytelling, comedy and interviews from a wide range of authors, including Ian McEwan, Alan Johnson, Clare Balding, Victoria Hislop, Paul Merton, Sophie Kinsella and more. Tickets range from £7.50 to £20 and are recommend to be booked in advance. For more information and tickets, visit the BookFest website.
- Now until 5 October : Raindance Film Festival
UK’s largest independent film festival returns to the capital. Featuring over 100 films and 150 short films screened in the Piccadilly Circus area. Festival passes range from £40 to £250 or cheaper for individual screening tickets. For more information and tickets, visit the Raindance website.
- 6 – 12 October : London Cocktail Week
Bars, restaurants and other surprising venues are celebrating London Cocktail Week with a variety of offers and events around the capital. To get the most out of it, buy a £10 wristband so you can enjoy cocktails at participating venues for as little as £4. For more information, visit the London Cocktail Week website. For Metro Girl’s post on highlights of this year’s festival, click here.
- 7 October : Candlelight evening opening at Sir John Soane’s Museum
The former home of 19th century architect Sir John Soane is a treasure trove of sculptures, painting and antiquities which he collected over his lifetime. The museum is open on the first Tuesday of every month for an evening candlelight opening. Bookings are not taken in advance, with tickets only issued to the first 200 people. Open from 6-9pm, however tickets are issued at 5.30pm. Sir John’s Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP. Nearest tube: Holborn. For more information, visit the John Soane Museum website.
- 8 – 19 October : BFI London Film Festival
Film buffs rejoice for the biggest event in the British film calendar – next to the Baftas of course – but this is the one we can all experience. Eleven days of screenings, premieres, exhibitions, masterclasses and Q&As will be taking place across the capital, at venues including Leicester Square, BFI Imax, BFI Southbank and the Renoir. For more information, visit the BFI website.
- 8 – 27 October : London Restaurant Festival
Restaurants all over the capital are taking place in this festival, offering special menus, discounts and events celebrating the capital’s culinary culture. Highlights include Eat Film – a menu inspired by Cinema Paradiso, the Champagne Laurent Perrier Gourmet Odyssey road trip and American Express menus from top chefs include Angela Hartnett, Jason Atherton and Theo Randall. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website.
- 10 – 19 October : Herne Hill Music Festival
Music festival in Herne Hill, South London at various venues across SE24 and neighbouring areas including the Prince Regent, Carnegie Library, St Faith’s Church, Brockwell Hall, St Paul’s Church and Island Arts Studios. Tickets range from free to £12. For more information, visit the Herne Hill Music Festival website.
- 11 October : Africa On The Square
A celebration of African culture, featuring live music, fashion, dance, stalls, food, plus fun activities for the kids. 12-6pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the London.gov website.
- 11 – 12 October : Rumfest
The world’s biggest rum festival takes place over two days at the ExCel in Docklands at the climax of London Cocktail Week (see above). Includes chance to sample from a choice of 400 different rums, live music and cocktail masterclasses. Tickets start from £25 (includes five sampling vouchers). Strongly recommended to book in advance as only limited ones will be available on the door. 12-5pm. ExCel, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest tube: Custom House (DLR). For more information visit the Rumfest website.
- 12 October : Diwali
Food and performances, lights and saris injecting colour into the square and floating candles in the fountains for the Hindu Festival of Light. Free. 2-8pm. Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Diwali In London website.
- 13 – 31 October : London Horror Festival
The Etcetera Theatre hosts ghoulish and creepy theatre, comedy, performance and spoken word in the run-up to Hallowe’en, including Frankenstein: Unbolted, Scream Queens Anonymous, Shakespeare In Hell and Darker The Night. Ticket prices vary, but many around £8-£10. Most events take place at the Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 7BU. Nearest tube/train: Camden Town or Camden Road. For more information, visit the London Horror Festival website.
- 14 – 16 October : Silent Swoon Free Film Festival
Film festival celebrating heart-throbs past and present in St Martin’s Courtyard, including The Talented Mr Ripley (14 October), Crazy, Stupid, Love (15 October), and Rebel Without A Cause (16 October), which can be heard through wireless headphones. Although free, there will only be a limited amount of tickets on the night so it’s advised to register online first. St Martin’s Courtyard, Slingsby Place (off Long Acre), WC2. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the St Martin’s Courtyard website. To find out more, read Metro Girl’s post on Silent Swoon here.
- 14 – 31 October : Dance Umbrella
A festival bringing new dance to the capital and a wider audience who may not usually access the art form. Various events at locations across the capital, including the Barbican, Young Vic, Sadler’s Wells, Southbank Centre and Alexandra Palace Ice Rink. Tickets range from 10 to £28. For more information and tickets, visit the Dance Umbrella website.
- 15 – 18 October : Frieze Art Fair
Contemporary art event in Regent’s Park, featuring over 150 galleries from around the world. 12-7pm daily (except Sunday 12-6pm). Tickets start from £34.40. Regents Park (Art Fair near the Outer Circle in SE corner of the park). Nearest tubes: Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street, Baker Street or Camden Town. For more information and tickets, visit the Frieze London website.
- 17 – 19 October : Chocolate Show London
Taking place at the end of Chocolate Week, the Chocolate Show will feature top chocolate firms from both the UK and international, giving demonstrations, talks and interactive workshops from acclaimed chocolatiers and chefs, with plenty of opportunities to try. Tickets: Adults £12.50, Children £6.00. Olympia West, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest tube/Overground: Kensington Olympia. To find out more, visit the Chocolate Week website.
- 17 – 26 October : London Fields Free Film Festival
Free 10 day celebration of film at various venues in the London Fields area of East London. Includes screenings of Under The Cranes (about the social history of Hackney), triple bill of Sink The Pink and DJ party, fashion shorts and a Ryan Gosling marathon. Nearest train station: Hackney Central or London Fields. For more information, visit the Free Film Festivals website.
- 17 October – 12 April 2015 : Sherlock Holmes exhibition @ Museum Of London
An exhibition of the world’s favourite fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, featuring historic artefacts from Victorian London and author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Tickets: £12 adults, £10 concession. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest tube: Barbican or St Paul’s. For more information and tickets, visit Museum Of London website.
- Now until 19 October : Serpentine Pavilion
Visit the temporary structure in the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. This year’s Pavilion is designed by Chilean architect Smiljan Radić. Free to visit, but also contains a café inside. Kensington W2 3XA. Nearest tube: Lancaster Gate, Knightsbridge or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Serpentine Gallery website. For Metro Girl’s post on this year’s Pavilion, click here.
- 20 – 26 October : Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia
A festival celebrating the life and work of the late Welsh poet and author Dylan Thomas on the centenary of his birth. He spent a lot of his time in London in the Fitzrovia area and met his wife Caitlin in the Wheatsheaf Pub on Rathbone Place. Events include photographic exhibition A Shed Of One’s Own, swing dancing, live music, walks and readings. Tickets range from free to £10. Various venues, but near to Tottenham Court Road, Goodge Street and Warren Street tubes. For more information, visit the Dylan Thomas in Fitzrovia website.
- 21 – 22 October : RHS London Shades Of Autumn Show
Horticultural show including fruit and vegetable competition, pumpkin display, nursery and harvest displays, harvest games, cocktails and live music. Tickets: Free for RHS members, £5 for non-members in advance, £8 on the door. Opening times: 10am-7pm Tues 21st, 10am-5pm Wed 22nd. RHS Horticultural Halls, 80 Vincent Square, SW1P 2PE. Nearest tube: Victoria. For more information, visit the RHS website.
- 23 October : Bridge Lates @ Museum Of London Docklands
Check out the Bridge exhibition after hours at this late-night opening, including a bar by Rum & Sugar. As well as the exhibition, there is also a special audio installation from sound artist Scanner. Free. 6-10pm. Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, E14 4AL. Nearest tube: West India Quay (DLR). For more information, visit the Museum Of London Docklands website.
- 23 – 26 October : Affordable Art Fair Battersea
For those among us who aren’t loaded, this annual event is a chance for people to buy a unique piece of art or photography for their homes at an affordable price. There is over 100 galleries, with pieces for sale ranging for £40 to £4,000. Admission costs £10.80-£12.96 in advance, more on the door. Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ. Nearest rail: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea or short complimentary bus ride (every 15 minutes) from Sloane Square tube. Visit the Affordable Art Fair website for more information.
- 24 – 25 October : Parallax Art Fair
Over 200 artists showcasing their painting, drawing, sculpture, jewellery, textiles and crafts available to buy commission free. Free entry. Open Fri 24th 1–6pm Sat 25th 11am-5pm. Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EE. Nearest tube: Sloane Square or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Parallax website.
- 24 – 26 October : ComicCon ExCel
The popular convention celebrating film, TV and games featuring superheroes, cartoon characters and sci-fi. Including memorabilia stands, comic village, retro gaming, a fringe festival, the chance to meet the stars from your favourite film or TV show and much more. Opening times vary day to day. Tickets start from £10.00. ExCel, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest tube: Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the ComicCon London website.
- 24 – 27 October : Fabula Festival
Four day celebration of libraries and the arts in Redbridge, covering arts, music, theatre and reading. Featuring workshops, performances, demonstrations, readings, Q&As, children’s activities and more. Many events are free, but some required tickets and advance booking. Most of the events will be taking place at the Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1EA. Nearest train: Ilford. For more information, visit the Redbridge council website.
- 24 October – 2 November : London International Animation Festival
Showcase of animation from around the world featuring gala premieres, retrospectives, filmmakers Q&As, workshops, audience voting and screenings. Tickets start from £10.50 (Barbican session tickets) to £95 for full pass. Venues include the Barbican, Rio Cinema (Dalston) and Horse Hospital (Bloomsbury). For more information and tickets, visit the LIAF website.
- 24 October – 30 August 2015 : Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2014 @ Natural History Museum
An exhibition of the annual Wildlife Photographer Of The Year – the 50th year of the competition. Although entrance to the museum is free, this exhibition is ticketed. Adults: £12.60, Children & Concessions: £6.30. Open 10am-5.50pm daily. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the NHM website.
- 26 October : Brixton Flavours
One day food festival in Brixton celebrating the different culinary journeys of the suburb at venues across Brixton Village, Market Row, Station Road, Atlantic Road and Coldharbour Lane. A £15 ticket gives you access to free taste samples at 21 venues, 15 flavour tokens to spend in participating venue on secret dishes and discounts on food and drink. 11am-7.30pm. For more information, visit the Brixton Flavours website.
- 26 October : October Plenty
Beginning at Bankside by the Globe, this free harvest celebration by the Lions Part theatre company features ancient seasonal customs, a performance of the play The Musicians of Bremen and general festivity, ending at the food stalls of Borough Market. Attendees can take part in apple-bobbing, conker fights, dancing, eating and drinking. Nearest tube: London Bridge, Southwark or St Paul’s. For more information, visit the Lions Part website.
- 27 – 28 October : Rooftop Film Club at Kensington Roof Gardens
Pop-up cinema company comes to the stunning Kensington Roof Gardens over two days, featuring screenings of The Grand Budapest Hotel, Notting Hill, Dirty Dancing and Breakfast At Tiffany’s. In a heated marquee with a freshly prepared hot snack prepared on the barbecue. Tickets: £22. Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street (entrance on Derry Street), Kensington, W8 5SA. Nearest tube: High Street Kensington. For more information visit the Rooftop Film Club website.
- 30 October – 2 November : Day Of The Dead Festival
Embassy of Mexico has teamed up with tequila brand Jose Cuervo and Arte Mexico to bring the 3000 year old Mexican celebration, Dia de los Muertos to London’s Southbank. Featuring Day Of The Dead art displays, Jose Cuervo masterclasses, children’s art and crafts workshops, and a screening of Under the Volcano. Free, but workshops require registering in advance.11am-6pm. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH. Nearest tube/train: Waterloo or Blackfriars. For more information and registration, visit the Oxo Tower website.
- 30 October – 4 November : Kilburn Literary Festival
The North West London suburb of Kilburn hosts their first ever literary festival, featuring talks, workshops, readings and competitions. At various venues across NW6 including the North London Tavern, Tricycle Theatre and the Sheriff Centre. For more information, visit the Kilburn Literary Festival website.
- Now until 11 November : Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red
Check out Paul Cummins’ art installation featuring 888,246 ceramic poppies in the moat surrounding the Tower Of London. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during WWI. Tower of London moat, Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB. Nearest tube: Tower Hill. To find out how to buy a poppy, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website. For Metro Girl’s photos of her visit to the installation, click here.
- Now until December : Bond In Motion
An exhibition of over 50 James Bond vehicles, including the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me and Aston Martin DB5 from Goldeneye. Tickets – Adults: £14.50, Children: £9.50. Booking in advance highly recommended. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit the London Film Museum website.
- Now until 4 January 2015 : The Art Of The Brick
Nathan Sawaya’s Art Of The Brick exhibition features a range of sculptures made from millions of Lego building blocks, from recreations of iconic artwork to new contemporary pieces. Tickets – Adults: £14.50-£16.50, Children under 12: £8-£9.50. Open daily, hours vary. Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit The Art Of The Brick website.