Guide to what’s on in London in October 2019
Autumn is here! half-term, Halloween etc, plenty of drinking festivals and art fairs
Autumn is in full swing. October is jam-packed with events, including plenty of art fairs, and drinking events, including London Cocktail Week. As well as half-term holidays for the children, there is also Halloween at the end of the month with plenty of activities and parties for both adults and children on around the capital.
For a guide to London’s Halloween and Day of the Dead events this month, click here
- 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 gourmet odysseys, tasting menus, restaurant-hopping walking tours, film club and more. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website.
- 1 October – 15 January 2020 : Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders
Darling & Edge return to The Vaults with an immersive, adult pantomime, dining experience. Doors open 6.30pm, Show starts 7.30pm. Tickets from £30. The Vaults (entrance via Leake Street tunnel), Launcelot Street, Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For tickets, visit The Vaults website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Darling & Edge’s 2017 production Beauty And The Feast.
- 2 – 6 October : Moniker Art Fair
Contemporary art fair celebrating urban art and culture. Open Thu 3pm-10pm, Fri 1pm-9pm, Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Tickets: £13.52–£27.54. The Chelsea Sorting Office, 90-100 Sydney Street, SW3 6NJ. Nearest station: Sloane Square or South Kensington. For more information and tickets, visit the Moniker Art Fair website.
- 2 – 13 October : BFI London Film Festival 2019
The biggest event in the capital’s film calendar brings a host of big names for premieres, screenings, Q&As and more. Venues include BFI Southbank, Vue West End, Cineworld Leicester Square, Curzon Soho, Picturehouse Central, Prince Charles Cinema and more. For more information, visit the BFI website.
- 3 – 6 October : Frieze Art Fair
Contemporary art event in Regent’s Park, featuring over 160 galleries from around the world. Opening hours vary. Tickets start from £38.70. 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.
- 3 – 6 October : Roy’s Art Fair
This fair aims to make art more affordable and accessible. Meet and buy direct from the artists, take part in workshops and check out installations. Open Thu 5pm-9.30pm, Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Register on the website for free tickets. Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the Roy’s Art Fair website.
- 3 – 6 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: £9-£25. Victoria House, Southampton Row, Holborn, WC1A 2QP. Nearest station: Holborn. For tickets, visit The Other Art Fair website.
- 3 – 6 and 10 – 13 October : Oktoberfest London @ Canary Wharf
Celebrate the German beer fest in Docklands, featuring a host of beer, food and entertainment. Opening hours vary. General admission starts from free to £60 (depending on day and package). Millwall Park, Manchester Road, Isle of Dogs, E14 3AY. Nearest station: Island Gardens or Mudchute. For booking, visit the London Oktoberfest website.
- 3 – 13 October : Wimbledon Bookfest
Festival featuring readings, children’s events, storytelling, comedy, courses, screenings, walks and interviews from a wide range of authors, including Sir Trevor McDonald, Joanne Harris, Sir Alastair Cook, Harry Hill, James O’Brien, Tracy Chevalier, Mariella Frostup, Patricia Cornwall, Emily Maitlis, Alexander McCall Smith, Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Max Hastings, Johnny Ball, Konnie Huq, Charles Moore, Robert Elms and many 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.
- 4 – 6 October : The Cake And Bake Show
Event celebrating all things baking and decorating, featuring celebrity experts, stalls selling baking equipment, cake competitions and more. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: £14. ExCel, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House. For tickets, visit the Cake And Bake Show website.
- 4 – 13 October : London Cocktail Week
This year’s LCW is extended to 10 days to marks its 10th anniversary. Enjoy £6 cocktails in over 300 bars, visit pop-ups, cocktail parties and workshops, or visit the Cocktail Hub on Brick Lane. Visit the website to buy a LCW festival pass for £10 to enjoy the £6 cocktails. For more information, visit the DrinkUpLondon website. Check out Metro Girl’s guide to London Cocktail Week.
- 4 – 13 October : Herne Hill Music Festival
Music festival in Herne Hill, south London at various venues across SE24 and neighbouring areas including The Half Moon, Off The Cuff, St Faith’s Church, Brockwell Hall and St Saviour’s Hall. Tickets range from free to £20. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For more information, visit the Herne Hill Music Festival website.
- Now until 6 October : Serpentine Pavilion
Visit the temporary structure in the grounds of the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. This year’s Pavilion is designed by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami. Free to visit, but also contains a pop-up café inside. Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA. Nearest stations: Lancaster Gate, Knightsbridge or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Serpentine Gallery website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of this year’s pavilion.
- Now until 6 October : Frieze Sculpture 2019
Open-air sculpture exhibition in the English Gardens. Featuring pieces are 23 international artists, including Tracey Emin, Vik Muniz, Zak Ove, Leiko Ikemura and more. Open during park hours. Free. Regent’s Park (English Gardens in south-east corner of the park), Marylebone, NW1 4LL. Nearest stations: Regent’s Park, Great Portland Street or Baker Street. For more information, visit the Frieze website. See Metro Girl’s photos of this year’s exhibition.
- 8 – 27 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 Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Southbank Centre, The Yard Theatre, Fairfield Halls, The Place, Shoreditch Town Hall, and Barbican. Tickets prices vary. For more information and tickets, visit the Dance Umbrella website.
- 8 October – 2 November : 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; or Pleasance, Carpenters Mews, North Road, Islington, N7 9EF. Nearest station: Caledonian Road. For more information, visit the London Horror Festival website.
- 9 – 13 October : Chelsea History Festival
The inaugural Chelsea History Festival celebrates the area’s heritage. Featuring talks, performances and activites. Speakers include Helen Castor, Max Hastings, Sonia Purnell, David Nott, Dan Jones, Ali Ansari, Andrew Roberts and more. Venues include National Army Museum, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and Chelsea Physic Garden. Tickets range from free to £30. For more information, visit the Chelsea History Festival website.
- 10 – 13 October : New Scientist Live
A festival of ideas and discovery from New Scientist magazine. Featuring over 140 speakers and 150 interactive expeirences. Tickets: Adults from £42, Children from £21 (advance). ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House. For more information, visit the New Scientist Live website.
- 10 – 13 October : Darbar Festival – Music
Indian classical music festival comes to the Barbican. Tickets range from free to £50. Barbican Centre, Silk Street, City of London, EC2Y 8DS. Nearest station: Moorgate or Barbican. For more information, visit the Darbar website.
- 11 October : Hidden London Lates @ London Transport Museum
Late-night opening of the LTM centres on its new exhibition Hidden London. Expect bars, music, debates and interactive experiences. Over 18s only. 6.45pm-10pm. Tickets: £15. London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E. Nearest station: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Holborn or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the LTM website.
- 11 – 20 October : Bloomsbury Festival
The theme of this year’s festival – which celebrates arts, culture and science – is ‘Small Steps and Giants Leap’, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. 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.
- 11 – 12 October : Streatham Festival
The annual festival returns for the 19th year, featuring live music, art, family activities, drama, exhibitions, street art trail and music trail. At various locations in SW18. For more information, visit the Streatham Festival website.
- 12 October : Black Girl Fest
The UK’s first festival celebrating black women and girls, with this year’s theme being ‘Taking Up Space’. Featuring talks, workshops, masterclasses, marketplace, exhibitions, live performances, screenings and more celebrating black female culture. Tickets start from £14. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the BGF website.
- 12 October : Sweaty Betty Live
Lifestyle and fitness brand Sweaty Betty host a one-day festival, featuring workouts, meditation space, talks from the UK’s top wellbeing experts, healthy food, beauty area, pamper stations, 25% off Sweaty Betty shopping, free monogramming and more. 8.30am-7.30pm. Tickets start from £20. The Old Truman Brewery, Ely’s Yard, Hanbury Street, Shoreditch, E1. Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit Sweaty Betty’s website.
- 12 October : Grand Opening Celebration @ LUMAS Seven Dials
Event to celebrate the opening of LUMAS’ new gallery featuring an interactive, life art performance by Derek Gores. Visitors can meet the artist, take part in a framing workshop by WhiteWall, and enjoy complimentary prosecco, nibbles and DJ entertainment. 12pm-7pm. Free. Lumas, 21-23 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H 9LL. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Lumas website.
- 12 and 19 October : Vegtoberfest
The UK’s first vegan Oktoberfest celebration, featuring vegan-friendly beers, wines, street food, live music and comedy. Featuring entertainment from Old Dirty Brasstards (12) and Brassterminds (19). Over 18s only. 6pm-11pm. Tickets: £10-£15. Camden Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8AH. Nearest station: Chalk Farm. For more information, visit the Vegtoberfest website.
- 17 October : Tower Bridge Eats – Cooking and Dining with the Denizens of Tower Bridge in 1894
Late-night event at Tower Bridge with an exclusive tasting talk with food historian Dr Annie Gray. Foodies will be taken on a whistle-stop tour of 125 years of gastronomic history at Tower Bridge. Arrive at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Tickets: £20pp (includes a welcome drink and a return ticket to visit Tower Bridge within 12 months). Tower Bridge Learning Space. At Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UP. Nearest stations: Tower Hill, Tower Gateway or London Bridge. For tickets, visit the Tower Bridge website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post for more information.
- 17 – 20 October : Affordable Art Fair – Battersea Autumn
Annual art fair gives the less wealthy an opportunity 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 between £50 and £6,000. Tickets: £9-£27. 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.
- 17 – 27 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. Featured names include Elizabeth Day, Armistead Maupin, Brett Anderson, Heather Morris, Lemn Sissay, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Nikki Giovanni, Fatima Bhutto and Jung Chang. Many events are free, but tickets go up to £45. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 18 – 20 October : Om Yoga Show
One of the biggest yoga gatherings in Europe comes to Ally Pally. Expect plenty of a wide variety of yoga workshops, classes and lectures, as well as plenty of yoga lifestyle stalls and vendors. Tickets from £12. Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest stations: Alexandra Palace or Wood Green. For more information, visit the Om Yoga Show website.
- 18 – 20 October : Sicily Fest London
A celebration of Sicily and all its products, including food, drink, art exhibition, live music, performances and masterclasses by Sicilian chefs. Open Fri 18 4.30pm-10pm, Sat 19 11am-10pm, Sun 20 11am-8pm. Free entry. Boiler House, 152 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street. For more information, see the event’s Facebook page.
- 18 – 20 October : The Wine Show Chelsea
Taste over 500 award-winning wines from across the globe and take part in masterclasses. Tickets from £22.50. Chelsea Old Town Hall, Kings Road, Chelsea, SW3 5EE. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For more information and tickets, visit the Wine Show Chelsea website.
- 18 October – 5 January 2020 : The Winter Garden @ John Lewis
The flagship department store transforms its roof garden for the winter season, featuring Sage cocktails and candy floss, curling and street food from Jimmy’s Carnival Diner. Hours TBA. John Lewis rooftop, 300 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1C 1DX. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the John Lewis website.
- 19 October : Festival of the Dead
Mexican-style festival comes to Limehouse. Expect full pageantry, giant skull processions, acrobats, dancers, decorative art, amazing costumes, confetti, CO2, light shows, live music and DJs. 9pm-2am. Tickets: £29.59. Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, Limehouse, E1 0HX. Nearest station: Limehouse. For more information, visit the Troxy website.
- 19 – 20 October : Parallax Art Fair
Over 300 artists showcasing their painting, drawing, sculpture, jewellery, textiles and crafts available to buy commission free. 11am-5pm. Register on the website for free entry. Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, Kensington, W8 7NX. Nearest stations: Kensington High Street. For more information, visit the Parallax website.
- 19 – 20 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, food pairings, RumFest auction, dance finale and cocktail masterclasses. 12pm-6pm. Tickets: £47.25-£85.00 (includes all rum samples). ILEC Conference Centre, 47 Lillie Road, West Brompton, SW6 1UD. Nearest station: West Brompton or West Kensington. For more information visit the Rumfest website.
- 19 October – 12 January 2010 : Natural History Museum Ice Rink
A 1,000 square metre rink in the gardens of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Open 10am-9pm. Session times last 1 hour. Adults from £12.65, Children 12 and under from £8.80. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.
- 22 – 24 October : Edson Diaz-Fuentes x José Manuel Baños @ Santo Remedio
Mexican restaurant Santo Remidio’s founder Edson Diaz-Fuentes invites top Latin American chef José Manuel Baños to collaborate on a special, five-course tasting menu, paired with wine. 6.30pm-10pm. Tickets: £85. Santo Remedio, 152 Tooley St, London Bridge, SE1 2TU. Nearest station: London Bridge. For tickets, visit DesignMyNight website.
- 22 – 27 October : Six Day London
Cyclists from around the world compete in a series of competitions in London and internationally. Tickets start from £19. Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Park, Stratford, E20. Nearest station: Stratford. For more information, visit the Six Day Series website.
- 24 October : Diwali Festival @ Devonshire Square
Celebrate the Indian Festival of Lights with WeWork Devonshire Square. Featuring Indian folk and classical dancers, Rangoli visual art, complimentary food & drink tastings from Cinnamon Kitchen. 5pm-7.30pm. Free to attend, but book a slot on Eventbrite. Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
- 24 – 26 October : Harvest & Apple Day @ Borough Market
A host of Harvest-themed activities and events are taking place at Borough Market, including demo kitchens, pumpkin-carving, juice and cider-making, face-painting, storytelling and more. Londoners are invited to bring fruit from their gardens and allotments for a community cider and apple juice initiative. 11am-4pm. Free entry. Market Hall, Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, Borough, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.
- 24 – 26 October : Oktoberfest London – Halloween Special
A special spooky edition of the popular German beer festival. Opening hours vary. General admission starts from free to £60 (depending on day and package). Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Oktoberfest London website.
- 24 – 27 October : Where Light Falls @ St Paul’s
Light projections inspired by those who risked their life to save St Paul’s Cathedral during World War II. 24-26 6.30pm-10pm, 27 8pm-10pm. Free. St Paul’s Cathedral, St. Paul’s Churchyard, City of London, EC4M 8AD. Nearest stations: St Paul’s or City Thameslink. For more information, visit the Historic England website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the show.
- 25 – 27 October : 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 £26/£28.50. ExCel, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the ComicCon London website.
- 26 October : Diwali – Festival of Light @ National Maritime Museum
Celebrate Diwali with an afternoon of dance, music (drumming workshops), art (lantern making, Rangoli art), parade, light installations and more. 11am-4.30pm. Free. National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9NF. Nearest station: Greenwich, Cutty Sark or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.
- Now until 26 October : Chihuly Nights @ Kew
Late night openings of Kew Gardens to see Dale Chiluly’s art glassworks illuminated after sunset, accompanied by music. Open Thu, Fri and Sat 7.30pm-10.30pm. Tickets: Adults £18. Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information and tickets, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- 26 – 27 October : Vegfest
Festival for vegans and vegetarians, featuring food market, shopping, meet the experts, entertainment, cookery demos and kids’ cookery. Open Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: £12-£20. Olympia (West Upper & Central Levels), Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the VegFest website.
- Now until 27 October : Harvestfest @ Skylight London
Rooftop bar Skylight London has an autumnal makeover, with city views, cocktails, street food, blankets, heaters, Hay Bale Skittles, horseshoes and apple-draughts, DJ nights and more. Open Thu-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-11pm. Free entry. Skylight, Tobacco Quay (Pennington Street entrance), Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For more information, visit the Skylight London website.
- Now until 31 October : Under Ground London exhibition
Exhibition of subterranean London, featuring images, maps and plans of tunnels, lost rivers, sewers, deep shelters and underground railways. Open during office hours. Free entry. London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HB. Nearest station: Farringdon or Angel. For more information, visit the City of London.gov.uk website.
- Now until 13 November : Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds – The Immersive Experience
A new immersive experience from DotDotLondon. Inspired by the classic story, travel back in time to Victorian London and the Martian invasion of 1898. Experience immersive theatre, virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms and other cutting-edge technology. Times vary. Tickets: £39.50-£84.50. The Old Metal Exchange, 56 Leadenhall Street, City of London, EC3A 2BJ. Nearest station: Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. For more information and booking, visit DotDotLondon. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the DotDotLondon’s previous experience Somnai.
- Now until 15 November : Nicole Wassall – Precious Metal exhibition
British artist Nicole Wassall presents an exhibition of her art, using a variety of metals and objects, such as brass frames, suspended gold wires, granite, coins, wood, sound, and a silver marionette puppet. Open Tues-Fri: 12pm- 6pm, Sat: 12pm-4pm. Fiumano Clase gallery, Unit 12, 21 Wren Street, King’s Cross, WC1X 0HF. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Fiumano Clase website.
- Now until 1 December : Architecture of London
Exhibition of 400 years of London architecture. Mon-Sat 10am-5pm. Sun 12pm-4pm. Tickets: Adults £10, concs £7. Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest station: St Paul’s, Bank or Moorgate. For more information, visit the City of London.gov website.
- Now until 5 January 2020 : Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson brings his interactive installations to the Tate. Times vary. Tickets: £18 (free for members). Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest station: Blackfriars. For more information and tickets, visit the Tate Modern website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the exhibition.
- Now until 19 January 2020 : The Immersive Wolf Of Wall Street
Enjoy a taste of ’90s high-flying Wall Street hedonism with an immersive theatre production, adapted from the hit film. Expect a restaurant, bars, supercars and more. Over 18s only. Dress code: 90s American office attire. Times vary. Tickets: £58-£100. 5-15 Sun Street, City of London, EC2M 2PT. Nearest station: Moorgate or Liverpool Street. For more information, visit the Immersive Wolf website.
- Now until June 2020 : Sculpture In The City 2019/2020
Free public art exhibition, bringing contemporary pieces to the streets and spaces of the City of London. Free. At various sites around the Square Mile. Nearest stations: Fenchurch Street, Monument or Liverpool Street. For more information and a map of the artworks, visit the Sculpture in the City website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the 2019/2020 exhibition.
For a guide to London’s outdoor ice rinks this festive season, click here.