Guide to what’s on in London in October 2020
Although lockdown rules are constantly in flux and subject to change, London’s attractions, exhibitions and festivals have been gradually returning (albeit adapted to be Covid-19 safe as the pandemic continues). While physical events are continuing in adapted ways and for smaller attendees, many festivals are going online this year so you can experience the fun from the safety of your home. This month, there is Black History Month and Halloween, so expect to see many events inspired by these annual celebrations. October has plenty of boozy events on, including a month-long London Cocktail Week, Oktoberfest, Rum Week and The Whisky Show. Half-term is taking place towards the end of the month, so no doubt parents will be looking for some safe activities to entertain the kids.
Events, dates and rules are subject to change or last-minute cancellations, so always make sure you keep up to date with the relevant websites to avoid disappointment. Many events require or suggest booking in advance as they have reduced and limited availability.
Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.
Look out for the computer symbol 💻 for online events.
- 30 September – 8 October : London Craft Week
Week long event celebrating British and international designers, makers, brands and galleries. Various events (physical and virtual) on around town, including art tours, talks, fairs, installations, walking tours, demonstrations, open studios, craft trails, wine flights and more. For more information, visit the London Craft Week website. 💻
- 1 – 11 October : Kensington & Chelsea Art Week
A celebration of culture in the exclusive Zone 1 neighbourhoods, including exhibitions, workshops, talks, public art displays and more. At various venues in the district, including The Muse Gallery, Museum of Brands, Goldfinger Factory, Serena Morton Gallery. Find out more on the Art Week website.
- 1 – 31 October : London Cocktail Week
This year’s ‘week’ is extended to a whole month to give London’s bar scene a much-needed boost. Hundreds of bars across the capital will be taking part, offering £6 special LCW cocktail week concoctions for those with a wristband. There will also be self-guided bar crawls, masterclasses, bar takeovers, pop-ups and cocktail dinners. Sadly, the cocktail village won’t be open this year due to the pandemic. Tickets: £15 (valid for entire month). For more information, visit the London Cocktail Week website.
- 1 – 31 October : London Restaurant Festival
Support London’s amazing restaurant industry by sitting down to a fine meal or foodie experience. Enjoy small-scale in-restaurant experiences, Chef’s tables, feasts-at-home, drinks masterclasses, tasting menus and foodie masterclasses. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website. 💻
- 1 – 31 October : Mayfair Sculpture Trail
Existing Mayfair artworks will be joined by new installations for one month only. Walk along the iconic streets of Mayfair and spot creations by Lawrence Holofcener, Henry Moore, Antony Gormley, Patrick O’Reilly and Manolo Valder, among others. You can also download accompany audio commentary on Smartify. Free. For more information, visit the Mayfair Art Weekend website. 🐻
- 2 – 9 October : Whisky Show – Virtual Show
This year’s whisky event is going online, bringing together whisky connoisseurs with the distillers of their favourite and yet-to-be-discovered brands. You can order tasting packs in advance to taste with the virtual tasting sessions, as well as attend workshops, demos, talks and meet the brands. Tickets: £20. For more information, visit the Whisky Show website. 💻
- 2 October – 31 January 2021 : Dub London – Bassline of a City
A new exhibition explores dub reggae and its influence on the capital. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-3.30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. Free entry, but book a time slot in advance. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, Barbican, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest stations: Moorgate or Barbican. For more information, visit the Museum of London website.
- 2 October – 31 January 2021 : The Murder Express
Enjoy an immersive fine dining experience on board a 19th century train carriage. Enjoy a four-course meal cooked by a Masterchef finalist, while sipping on cocktails and watching a murder mystery unfold. Times vary. Tickets: From £60. Located at 63 Pedley Street, E1 5FB. Nearest stations: Bethnal Green, Shoreditch High Street or Whitechapel. For more information, visit Funicular Productions. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details.
- 3 – 4 October : Fun Palaces Weekend
Fun for the family through online and in-person experiences, artworks and workshops exploring arts, science, craft, technology, heritage and sports. At libraries and other venues. For more information, visit the Fun Palaces Weekend website. 🐻💻
- 3, 10, 17 and 24 October : The Official Camden Oktoberfest
Celebrate Oktoberfest in a socially-distanced festival of beers on Saturdays in October. Featuring live music, DJs, German meat and plenty of beer. Entry in timed sessions (12pm-4.30pm or 5.30pm-10pm). Tickets: From £20.00. Electric Ballroom, 184 Camden High Street, NW1 8BP. Nearest station: Camden Town. For more information, visit the Camden Oktoberfest website.
- 3 October – 21 February 2021 : Black Greenwich Pensioners
A look at the stories and legacies of the Black Royal Navy pensioners who lived at Greenwich and served at sea. Open 10am-5pm. Mezzanine Gallery, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest stations: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Old Royal Naval College website.
- 5 October – TBA : Heart of the Nation: Migration and the Making of the NHS
The Migration Museum is launching a digital exhibition showcasing the valuable contribution of migrants to the National Health Service. (The museum is scheduled to re-open to physical visitors on 23 October). Migration Museum, Lewisham Shopping Centre, SE13 7HB. Nearest station: Lewisham. For more information, visit the Migration Museum website. 💻
- 5 – 18 October : Frieze Sculpture
Open-air sculpture exhibition in the English Gardens of Regents Park. Featuring 12 pieces by international artists, including David Altmejd, Fabio Lattanzi Antinori, Gianpietro Carlesso, Eric Fischl, Patrick Goddard, Lubaina Himid, Kalliopi Lemos, Richard Long, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk, Rebecca Warren and Arne Quinze. 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. 🐻
- 7 – 18 October : BFI London Film Festival 2020
This year’s festival is mostly online with over 50 virtual premieres, free online events and screenings across the UK. Watch screen talks from David Bryne, Riz Ahmed, Letitia Wright, Miranda July and many more. Ticket prices vary. For more information, visit the BFI website. 💻
- 7 October – 1 November : Face to Face exhibition @ King’s Cross
A new exhibition of social documentary and portrait photography, curated by Ekow Eshun (Chairman of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group). It features art from around the world by international artists being displayed on the the 90-metre long tunnel. Free. King’s Cross Tunnel, 1 Pancras Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4AG. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the project’s website.
- 7 October – 21 February 2021 : Nauman Neon @ Tate Modern
In Bruce Nauman’s first London exhibition in nearly 20 years, explore his immersive installations, including neon art and poetic sculptures. Open 10am-6pm. Tickets: £13 (free for members). Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest station: Blackfriars. For more information and booking, visit the Tate Modern website.
- 6 October – 3 January 2021 : Summer exhibition @ Royal Academy of Arts
The summer exhibition is now winter as it was delayed due to Covid-19. Check out new art from a mix of established and emerging artists and architects, including Tracey Emin, Rebecca Horn, Anselm Kiefer, Julian Schnabel, Gillian Wearing and Ai Weiwei. Open daily 10am-6pm. Tickets: £20-£22. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the RA website.
- 8 – 18 October : Vauxtober Fest
Two week beer festival comes to the pubs and bars of Vauxhall. Featuring opportunities to try new brews and prizes. At various venues in Vauxhall. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the BeInVauxhall website.
- 9 – 18 October : Streatham Festival
Explore the culture of this vibrant south London neighbourhood, with many events going online this year. Including talks, dance and music classes for kids, comedy shows, music and dance performances, art exhibitions, drag shows and much more. Online and various venues. For more information, visit the Streatham Festival website. 🐻 💻
- Now until 10 October : Luna Cinema
Luna Cinema are hosting their usual outdoor screens at various venues across London, Films include a mix of classic and newer releases. Tickets: Adults £16-£18, Children £13.50. Drive-in tickets: £29.50-£39.50 (depending on car size, capacity and position to screen). For more information on the Luna’s outdoor cinema, visit their website. 🐻
- 15 – 21 October : RumFest
The format of this year’s celebration of rum has changed to Covid and is now spread across various venues. More information TBA. For more information, visit the Rumfest website.
- 16 – 25 October : Bloomsbury Festival
Celebration of the central London district returns with the theme for this year being ‘Vision’. Expect a mix of over 130 digital and live socially distanced events, covering arts, science, literature, performance, discussion and reflection. Around 60% of the events are free, while some are ticketed. Physical events take place in and around Bloomsbury, WC1. Nearest stations: Bloomsbury or Holborn. For more information, visit the Bloomsbury Festival website. 💻
- 16 October – 6 June 2021 : Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Witness the beauty and diversity of the natural world in this annual photography exhibition. Open Wed-Sun 11am-5.50pm (closed Mon-Tues). Tickets: Adults £14.95, Children £8.95. Natural History Museum, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the NHM museum website. 🐻
- 17 October : Bake for Beirut fundraiser @ Borough Market
Borough Market trader Arabica and author and food influencer Clerkenwell Boy hosts a foodie event to raise money for those affect by the Beirut explosion. Along with a bake sale by various traders, there will also be an online auction, cookbook raffle and more. 11am-2pm. Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.
- 22 October : Design as a Power for Change live panel discussion
Fashion and design school, Istituto Marangoni London are hosting a live event to showcase rising new talent in interior design. The live panel will be moderated by Elle Decoration UK’s Editor in Chief Ben Spriggs and will feature Lee Broom, Bethan Laura Wood and Mac Collins. 5pm. To watch the event, visit the school’s Facebook page. 💻
- 23 October – 8 November : Pop Up Screens presents Forbidden Forest Cinema
Watch your favourite films in an immersive film experience, with plenty of spooky films on in the run-up to Halloween and following days. Tickets from £19.50 (Kids go free in half-term). Unit 8, Copeland Park, Peckham, SE15 3SN. Nearest station: Peckham Rye. For more information, visit the Pop up Screens website. 🐻
- 30 – 31 October : Halloween Late @ the Painted Hall – Greenwich
Late night opening of the stunning Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich in conjunction with History Riot. Expect spooky ghost stories, live music, food and drink and more. Sessions at 6pm-8.30pm and 7.30pm-10pm. Tickets: £20 (inc a mulled wine and annual pass to the ORNC). Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest stations: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the ORNC website.
- 31 October : Halloween @ Skylight
Celebrate Halloween at a rooftop venue with a difference. Featuring cosy igloos, cocktails, street food, indoor and outdoor spaces, amazing views of the city skyline, croquet and petanque. Open 12pm-10pm. Skylight Rooftop, (Pennington Street Car Park entrance), Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell. For more information, visit the Skylight website.
- Now until 31 October : Rooftop Film Club presents Drive In Film Club
This year, the Rooftop Film Club launched a drive-in experience for those with cars while their usual rooftop experience is on hold. Food and drink will be available, delivered to your car by roller-skating servers. Daytime and evening screenings available. Tickets: One vehicle £27.50-£29 (depending on screening time). Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. For more information, visit the Rooftop Film Club website. 🐻
- Now until 12 December : Atelier Picasso
Pable Picasso’s studio has been recreated in an immersive art experience. Featuring the artist’s furniture, sculpture, ceramics, drawings and prints. Open: Tues-Sat 10am-6pm. BASTIAN, 8 Davies Street, Mayfair, W1K 3DW. Nearest stations: Green Park or Bond Street. For more information, visit the Bastian Gallery website. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details.
- Now until 24 December : The Drive In
Drive-in cinema offers film screenings and live experiences (e.g. musical performances, theatre, etc) in Enfield. With refreshments available, social distancing guidelines and the audio beamed in through your car stereo. Tickets: One car £35. The Drive In, Troubadour Meridian Water Harbet Road, Enfield, N18 3QQ. For tickets and more information, visit The Drive In website. 🐻
- Now until July 2023 : Scenes in the Square
Check out bronze sculptures of iconic film characters around Leicester Square. Eight interactive characters, such as Lauren & Hardy to Wonder Woman will be placed in the square for four months. Free. Leicester Square, Westminster, WC2H 7DE. Nearest stations: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Leicester Square website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the exhibition. 🐻