Guide to what’s on in London in October 2016
The nights are drawing in and the temperatures are dropping as the countdown to Christmas kicks off. However, there’s plenty of reasons to live in the moment this October with lots of festivals and special events on around London. Of course, for those with a love of fancy dress, the month ends with Hallowe’en with plenty of ghoulish fun to be had in the capital.
For a guide to Halloween activities and parties on around town, click here.
- 1 October : NFL on Regent Street
American football festival returns to Regent Street. The shopping haven will be pedestrianised between Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus to celebrate Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars game at Wembley. Includes appearances by NFL players and coaches, cheerleaders, inactive games, NFL merchandise, food and drink. Free. Regent Street, Soho/Mayfair, W1. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Regents Street website.
- 1 – 2 October : Classic Car Boot Sale
A boot sale with a difference, featuring vintage fashion, homewares and pop culture memorabilia up for purchase from the boots of over 100 classic cars. Entry: £5 (£4 in advance). Lewis Cubitt Square (off Stable Street), Kings Cross, N1C 4AY. Nearest station: Kings Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Classic Car Boot Sale website.
- 1 – 31 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 Veuve Cliquot Gourmet Odysseys, American Express menus, restaurant hopping tours, London’s longest lunch and Eat Film. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website.
- Now until 2 October : Raindance Film Festival
UK’s largest independent film festival returns to the capital. Featuring over 100 movies and 150 short films screened at cinemas in the West End area. Venues include Vue Piccadilly Circus, Century Club and The Hospital Club. For more information and tickets, visit the Raindance website.
- 29 September – 2 October and 6 – 9 October : London Oktoberfest
Celebrate the German beer fest in Docklands, featuring a host of beer, food and entertainment. (NB: this event is nothing to do with the one which was cancelled at the last-minute last year). Opening hours vary. Tickets start from £5-£10. Millwall Park, Manchester Road, Isle of dogs, Canary Wharf, E14 3AY. Nearest stations: Island Gardens or Mudchute. For booking, visit the London Oktoberfest website.
- Now until 2 October : Spiegeltent
A Spiegeltent is popping up in Canary Wharf for 11 days with a host of entertainment for adults and children, including comedy, live music, cabaret, burlesque, circus and more. Ticket prices range from free to £15 depending on event. Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14 5AH. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For most information, visit the Canary Wharf website.
- 3 – 9 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 £5. For more information, visit the London Cocktail Week website.
- 5 – 16 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 15 venues including Odeon Leicester Square, Hackney Picturehouse, Ritzy Cinema and Curzon Mayfair and Cine Lumiere. For more information, visit the BFI website.
- 5 – 16 October : London Literature Festival
The London Literature Festival returns to the Southbank, with renowned writers, futurologists and transhumanists discussing the future in these uncertain times. Among the highlights include Christopher Ecclestone, MyAnna Buring and Nikki Amuka-Bird perform a reading of The Time Machine and Margaret Atwood discussing her latest book. Many events are free, but tickets go up to £25. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 6 – 9 October : Frieze Art Fair
Contemporary art event in Regent’s Park, featuring over 150 galleries from around the world. Opening hours vary. Tickets start from £27.95. Regents Park (Art Fair near the Outer Circle in SE corner of the park). Nearest stations: Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street, Baker Street or Camden Town. For more information and tickets, visit the Frieze London website.
- 6 – 9 October : The Other Art Fair
The bi-annual fair is a great place to buy art from 130 emerging and undiscovered artists. There will also be guest artists, immersive theatre, live music, bar and restaurant. Opening times vary. Tickets start from £8.80. Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For tickets, visit The Other Art Fair website.
- 7 – 16 October : Herne Hill Music Festival
Music festival in Herne Hill, south London at various venues across SE24 and neighbouring areas including the Prince Regent, Herne Hill Station, Carnegie Library, St Saviours’ Hall, St Faith’s Church, Brockwell Hall and The Charter School. Tickets range from free to £20. For more information, visit the Herne Hill Music Festival website.
- 7 – 22 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 Sadler’s Wells, Unicorn Theatre, The Place, Village Underground, Shaw Theatre, The Pit (Barbican) and the Rooftop of the NCP Car Park in Farringdon. Tickets prices vary. For more information and tickets, visit the Dance Umbrella website.
- Now until 9 October : Clangers, Bagpuss & Co Exhibition
Exhibition of vintage children’s TV characters including Bagpuss, The Clangers, Pogles Wood, Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine. See the original puppets, sets and filming equipment. Open 10am-5.45pm. Free admission. Museum Of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PA. Nearest station: Bethnal Green. For more information, visit the Victoria & Albert museum website.
- Now until 9 October : Wimbledon Bookfest
Festival featuring readings, children’s events, storytelling, comedy, courses and interviews from a wide range of authors, including Kate Atkinson, Nick Clegg, Deliciously Ella, Rose Tremain, Jeremy Paxman, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Miriam Gonzaléz Durántez and more. Tickets prices vary. A majority of events take place in tents on Wimbledon Common, but also other venues nearby. Nearest station: Wimbledon. For more information and tickets, visit the BookFest website.
- Now until 9 October : Serpentine Pavilion and Summer Houses
Visit the temporary structure in the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. This year’s Pavilion is designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), while four architects will design four 25sqm summer houses. Free to visit, but also contains a Harrods pop-up café inside. Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA. Nearest stations: 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.
- 10 – 30 October : London Horror Festival
Festival of live horror performance including cabaret, film screenings, Zombie weekends, midnight performances and a short horror play competition. Ticket prices vary. Most events take place at the Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, Islington, EC1V 4NJ. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the London Horror Festival website.
- 13 – 16 October : Stylist Live
A four-day urban festival featuring the best of Stylist magazine, featuring fashion shows, learning labs, pop-up boutiques, farmers’ market, culture lounge, comedy, debates, street food, cocktails and talks and interviews from the likes of Caitlin Moran, Cherry Healey, Gizzi Erskine, Sophie Ellis Bextor and more. Opening times vary. Tickets start from £25. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the Stylist Live website.
- 14 – 16 October : Chocolate Show London
A celebration of chocolate with top firms from both the UK and international giving talks, demonstrations and interactive workshops from acclaimed chocolatiers and chefs, with plenty of opportunities to try. Opening hours vary. Tickets: Adults £12.50. Olympia National Hall, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. To find out more, visit the Chocolate Week website.
- 14 – 16 October : The Wine Show
A showcase of award-winning wines from around the world. Featuring three halls, including prestigious wine producers and champagne, Global Masters competition wines and masterclasses. Tickets: £30. Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EE. Nearest stations: Sloane Square or South Kensington. For booking, visit the Wine Show website.
- 15 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, Westminster, WC2N 5DN. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the London.gov website.
- 16 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. 1-7pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 5DN. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- 19 – 23 October : Bloomsbury Festival
The theme of this year’s festival – which celebrates arts, culture and science – is ‘language’. Featuring talks, concerts, sound and visual art installations at streets, parks, museums, galleries, laboratories and special buildings in and around WC1. For more information, visit the Bloomsbury Festival website.
- 20 – 23 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. Advance tickets start from £10.80. Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea or short complimentary bus ride from Sloane Square tube. For more information, visit the Affordable Art Fair website.
- 22 – 23 October : VegFest
Festival for vegans and vegetarians, featuring food market, shopping, meet the experts, entertainment, cookery demos and kids’ cookery. Tickets: £12 (advance), £15 (on the door). Kensington Olympia, Hammersmith Road, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the VegFest website.
- 22 – 23 October : RumFest
The world’s biggest rum festival takes place over two days in West London. Includes chance to sample from a choice of 400 different rums, live music and cocktail masterclasses. 12-6pm. Tickets: £39.50-£49.50. ILEC Conference Centre, 47 Lillie Road, West Brompton, SW6 1UD. Nearest station: West Brompton or West Kensington. For more information visit the Rumfest website.
- 22 – 23 October : Parallax Art Fair
Over 200 artists showcasing their painting, drawing, sculpture, jewellery, textiles and crafts available to buy commission free. 11am-5pm. Register on the website for free entry. Chelsea Town Hall, King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EE. Nearest stations: Sloane Square or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Parallax website.
- 22 – 23 October : Fabula Festival
Two 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 require tickets and advance booking. Most of the events will be taking place at the Redbridge Central Library, Clements Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1EA. Nearest station: Ilford. For more information, visit the Redbridge council website.
- 23 October : October Plenty
Beginning at Bankside by the Globe, this harvest celebration by the Lions Part theatre company features ancient seasonal customs, performances and general festivity, ending at the food stalls of Borough Market. Attendees can take part in apple-bobbing, conker fights, dancing, eating and drinking. Free. Nearest stations: London Bridge, Southwark or St Paul’s. For more information, visit the Lions Part website.
- Now until 23 October : Merge Festival
The annual arts, music and performance festival returns to Bankside, drawing upon the area’s heritage and contemporary culture. Events include Bompas & Parr’s supernatural voice installation Voice of God, slapstick food demonstrations, the Riverside Stage and a giant airship. For more information, visit the Merge Festival website.
- 25 – 27 October : Kidtropolis
New family event featuring fun, interactive challenges and experiences, live shows and entertainment. 9.30am-6pm. Tickets: £13.50 online, £15.50 on the door. ExCel, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Custom House (DLR). For booking, visit the Kidtropolis website.
- 27 – 29 October : Museums At Night
Museums across the capital are opening their doors for some after-hours action, such as performances, lectures, balls and sleepovers, including the Brunel Museum, Freud Museum, The Fan Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London Transport Museum, Benjamin Franklin Museum and much more. For more information, visit the Museums At Night website.
- 28 – 29 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. Opening times: Fri 28 10am-6pm, Sat 29 10am-5pm. Tickets: Free for RHS members, £6 for non-members in advance, £9 on the door. RHS Horticultural Halls, 80 Vincent Square, SW1P 2PE. Nearest station: Victoria. For more information, visit the RHS website.
- 28 – 30 October : MCM London Comic Con
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 £15. ExCel, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the ComicCon London website.
- 28 October – 4 November : Kilburn Literary Festival
The North West London suburb of Kilburn hosts their second literary festival, featuring talks, workshops, readings and competitions. Events range from free to £10. 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.
- 29 October – 19 November : Crystal Palace International Film Festival
Screenings, premieres and Q&As during this three week long festival in South East London. Venues include Phoenix Centre, St John’s Church Hall, Stanley Halls and Virgo Fedelis. Nightly screenings at 7.45pm. Nearest stations: Crystal Palace and Norwood Junction. For full listings and tickets, check the CPIFF website.
- Now until 30 October : Dinner At The Twits
An immersive and gruesome dining experience inspired by Roald Dahl’s classic The Twits. From the same team behind Alice’s Adventures Underground and food wizards Bompas & Parr. Minimum age 14+. Tickets: £80-£110 (feature a 90 minute show, arrival cocktail, banquet with wine, box of chocolates and hot beverage). The Vaults, Launcelot Street (off Lower Marsh), Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For booking, visit The Twits dinner website. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog post on the production.
- Now until 31 October : London Bridge City Summer Festival
Replacing the More London Free Festival is an expanded festival featuring live music, theatre and dance performances, fitness classes, film and sports screenings and return of the London Riviera pop-up bar and restaurant. Free. Events taking place between Tower Bridge and London Bridge on the south bank of Thames. Nearest stations: Tower Hill or London Bridge. For more information, visit the London Bridge City Summer Festival website.
- 31 October – 6 November : Spirit Of Christmas Fair
For the super organised, get ready for Christmas early with this fair, where you can stock up on gifts, design and food all ready for the festive season from over 750 independent boutiques. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Opening times vary. Tickets: £19.75. Olympia Grand, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website.
- Now until 11 November : Backyard Cinema – Lost World
Roaming cinema club Backyard Cinema brings a new level of adventure to your favourite action movies. Sit inside the Lost Jungle with sound effects, tropical plants and trees and special surprises as you watch films such as Jurassic Park, Jungle Book, Hunger Games, The Goonies, Lion King, Apocalypse Now and Peter Pan. Tickets from £16.50. Lost World, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. For booking, visit Backyard Cinema’s website. Read Metro Girl’s review on the Lost World here.