Guide to what’s on in London in October 2021
Find out what events are on in London in October, including London Cocktail Week, the Marathon, and lots of art fairs.
Autumn is here and one of London’s busiest festival months is back! As well as the half-term break for schools, there’s also Halloween. The capital is bustling with events this month, including art fairs, cocktail week, MCM Comic Con and the London Restaurant Festival, and the long-awaited return of the London Marathon.
Find out what’s on in London for Halloween.
Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.
- 1 – 3 October 2021 : The Cake and Bake Show
Three-days of all things baking, including demo theatre, celebrity bakers and experts, sugar craft, market stands, shopping, free-from exhibitors, doughnut masterclass, and champagne and nail bar. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £15, Children 7-15yrs £9.50. ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For tickets, visit the Cake and Bake Show website. 🐻
- 1 – 3 October 2021 : Whisky Show
Whisky Show returns to London for a physical event following last year’s online offering. Featuring masterclasses, tastings, whisky experts, food pairings, demonstrations and more. Tickets vary. Old Billingsgate, 1 Old Billingsgate Walk, City of London, EC3R 6DX. Nearest station: Monument. For more information, visit The Whisky Show website.
- 1 – 31 October 2021 : London Cocktail Week Month
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 £7 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. Tickets: £15 (valid for entire month). For more information, visit the London Cocktail Week website.
- 1 – 31 October 2021 : London Restaurant Festival
Celebrate London’s spectacular restaurant scene 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.
- Now until 2 October 2021 : Crystal Palace International Film Festival
Independent film festival returns to south London, featuring screenings and premieres of full-length, short films and documentaries, culminating in an awards night presented by Johnny Vegas. Tickets: £9-£25. At various locations in SE19, SE27 and SE25. Nearest stations: Crystal Palace, West Norwood or South Norwood. For more information, visit the festival website.
- Now until 2 October 2021 : Openaire Float-In Cinema
Watch your favourite film while sitting on a boat floating in the Paddington Basin. Hire a boat and enjoy a ride around Little Venice before mooring by the big screen. Times vary. Tickets: Boat for up to 8 people £248.40. Deckchair £19.25. Merchant Square, Paddington, W2. Nearest stations: Paddington or Edgware Road. For more information and booking, visit the Openaire website. 🐻
- 3 October 2021 : Virgin London Marathon
The delayed London Marathon is taking place in the autumn this year. Cheer on 100,000 runners raising money for plenty of good causes and pushing their bodies to the limit. The 26 mile marathon starts in Greenwich/Blackheath and ends in The Mall. Free for spectators. For more information and spectator maps, visit the London Marathon website. 🐻
- Now until 3 October 2021 : Luna Cinema
Roaming alfresco cinema pops up at various locations across the capital (and the UK). Expect old classics and new favourites. Times vary. Tickets: Adults from £16, Children from £11. Venues include Brompton Cemetery, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Regent’s Park Open-Air Cinema, Chiswick House, Kensington Palace, Dulwich Park, Victoria Tower Gardens, Wandsworth Park, Westminster Abbey, Wimbledon Park, Clapham Common, Kenwood House, Hampton Court Palace, Marble Hill and Old Royal Naval College. For more information and tickets, visit the Luna Cinema website. 🐻
- 4 – 10 October 2021 : London Craft Week
A celebration of British and international crafters, featuring over 250 makers, designers, brands and galleries. At various locations across London. For more information, visit the London Craft Week website.
- 6 – 17 October 2021 : BFI London Film Festival
International film festival returns to the capital, featuring premieres, screenings, Q&As, special presentations, shorts, talks and more. Ticket prices vary between £10-£40, festival passes £21-£60. At various cinemas in London. For more information, visit the BFI website.
- 6 – 21 October 2021 : Burials, Bombs and Fantastic Beasts’ walking tours @ Leadenhall Market
Every Wednesday in October, explore the dark side of Leadenhall Market on a guided tour. Discover the history of the site, dating back to Roman times, featuring witchcraft, murder and death. 6.30pm-8pm. Tickets: £8.14. Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Bank. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website.
- 7 October 2021 – 23 January 2022 : Mulan Rouge
An immersive, foodie, theatrical mash-up of Disney’s Mulan and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! Overs 18s only. Dress Code: ‘A hot Paris night in the Mulan Rouge’. Times vary. Tickets: £45-£60. The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Lambeth North or Waterloo East. For more information, visit The Vaults website.
- 8 – 17 October 2021 : Streatham Festival
Explore the culture of this vibrant south London neighbourhood. Including talks, dance and music classes for kids, comedy shows, music and dance performances, art exhibitions, drag shows and much more. Various venues in SW16 and SW2. Nearest stations: Streatham Hill, Streatham Common and Streatham. For more information, visit the Streatham Festival website. 🐻
- 8 – 17 October 2021 : Vauxtoberfest
Two week beer festival comes to the pubs and bars of Vauxhall. Featuring opportunities to try new brews and prizes. Venues include Mother Kellys, the Black Dog, Jolly Gardeners, Tamesis Dock, Casa Madeira, Above the Stag, Pico Bar & Grill, and Vauxhall Street Food Garden. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the BeInVauxhall website.
- Now until 9 October 2021 : Dogstagram @ Leadenhall Market
Dog lovers should head to Leadenhall Market for the UK’s first pop-up photo station for dogs. There are four photo stations featuring different backdrops and props to jazz up your pet. Open Wed, Thur and Sat 12pm-8pm. Free to use. 13-15 Leadenhall Market, City of London, EC3V 1LR. Nearest stations: Bank, Monument, or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website. 🐻
- 9 – 10 October 2021 : Classic Car Boot Sale
Vintage lovers can shop pre-loved and upcycled goods, including fashion, homewares, fashion and more as this retro festival returns. 10am-6pm. Tickets: £5, free entry for under 12s. Granary Square, Lewis Cubitt Square and Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Classic Car Boot Sale website.
- Now until 10 October 2021 : Chila Burman installation @ Covent Garden
British artist Chila Burman has created a large-scale, neon art installation in Covent Garden’s iconic market hall. Main installation on daily, 7am-12am; the James Street tiger 7am-11pm. Free. Covent Garden Market, Covent Garden, WC2E 8BU. Nearest stations: Covent Garden, Leicester Square or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Covent Garden website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the installation. 🐻
- 12 October – 4 December 2021 : Jeff Koons & Cy Twombly: Primal Gestures @ BASTIAN
Artists Jeff Koons and Cy Twombly’s striking work is brought together in an unusual exhibition. Open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm. Free entry. BASTIAN, 8 Davies Street, Mayfair, W1K 3DW. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. For more information, visit the Bastian website.
- 13 – 17 October 2021 : Frieze London
London contemporary art fair returns to Regents’ Park, focusing on living artists. Expect over 160 galleries, performance-based work, talks and more. Covid-19 vaccination or test requirements apply. Tickets: £46-£145 (depending on day and entry time). Regents’ Park (south side), off Park Square West, NW1 4LL. Nearest station: Regent’s Park, Baker Street and Great Portland Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Frieze website.
- 14 – 17 October 2021 : The Other Art Fair
Over 140 emerging artists will be displaying their art at this independent fair. Open Thu 3pm-10pm, Fri 1pm-9pm, Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £11 (advance), £14 (on the door). Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6QR. Nearest stations: Aldgate, Liverpool Street or Shoreditch High Street. For tickets, visit the Other Art Fair website.
- 14 – 31 October 2021 : Royal Docks Originals Festival
Two week festival of creativity and culture in the Docklands. Including theatre, music, artworks, installations (such as the Royal Docks Rainbow from Bompas & Parr), family activities and workshops. At various locations in the Royal Docks and online. Nearest stations: Cyprus, King George V, Custom House, Prince Regent or London City Airport. For more information, visit the Royal Docks website. 🐻
- 14 October – 14 November 2021 : Wes Anderson – The French Dispatch
A new exhibition of original sets, props, costumes, and artwork from film-maker Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch. Open Tues & Sun 11am-7pm, Wed 10am-7pm, Thur-Sat 10am-9pm. Tickets: £10, under 12s free. 180 The Strand, Temple, WC2R 1EA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the 180 The Strand website.
- 15 – 24 October 2021 : Bloomsbury Festival
Popular central London neighbourhood festival returns, with this year’s theme being ‘Shining Light’. Check out exhibitions, children’s activities, talks, performances, and more. At various locations in and around Bloomsbury. Nearest stations: Russell Square, Euston or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit the Bloomsbury Festival website. 🐻
- 16 October 2021 : Rumfest
Festival for rum lovers, featuring over 400 rums on offer. Enjoy tastings, makers, seminars, cocktail masterclasses, food and live Caribbean music and dancing. Over 18s only. Open: Afternoon Session 12pm–4pm, Evening Session 5pm–9pm. Tickets: £25. ILEC Conference Centre, 47 Lillie Road, West Brompton, SW6 1UD. Nearest station: West Brompton. For more information, visit the Rumfest website.
- 16 – 17 October 2021 : National Wedding Show
Brides and grooms to be can find inspiration at this huge show, featuring everything you could need to plan your big day. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults from £17 (advance), £20 (on the door), Children (10-15yrs) from £9.50. ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For tickets, visit the National Wedding Show website.
- 16 – 31 October 2021 : The Gruffalo’s Child @ Kew Gardens
Families can follow a magical journey around Kew Gardens and meet characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s popular book. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets (trail included with standard entry): Adults £17.50, Children £5. Trail starts near Brentford Gate, Kew Gardens, TW9 3AE. Nearest station: Kew Gardens or Kew Bridge. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website. 🐻
- Now until 17 October 2021 : Serpentine Pavilion 2021
After a 2020 hiatus, the latest temporary pavilion by the Serpentine Gallery has been unveiled. This year’s Serpentine Pavilion is designed by Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace, directed by Sumayya Vally. Open 10am-6pm. Free. Serpentine Pavilion, 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 blog post on the pavilion.
- Now until 17 October 2021 : Frank Stella – What You See Is What You See
Launching alongside this year’s Frieze Masters is Frank Stella’s first comprehensive UK exhibition for eight years. Open Mon-Fri 9.30am-6pm, Sat 11am-5pm. Shapero Modern, 41-43 Maddox Street, Mayfair, W1S 2PD. Nearest station: Oxford Circus, Green Park or Bond Street. For more information, visit the Shapero Modern website.
- 18 – 31 October 2021 : London Horror Festival 2021
Festival of live horror performance including cabaret, film screenings, puppet shows, horror musicals, improvisation and more. Ticket prices vary. Most events take place at The Space, 269 Westferry Road, Isle of Dogs, E14 3RS Nearest station: Mudchute; or Pleasance, Carpenters Mews, North Road, Islington, N7 9EF. Nearest station: Caledonian Road. For more information, visit the London Horror Festival website.
- 18 October 2021 – TBA early 2022 : Winter Night Garden @ Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema’s permanent home has been transformed into a magical festive garden for one of its two winter cinematic experience. Walk through a magical wardrobe and travel through an enchanted forest to reach the big screen, which will be showing festive favourites and new releases. Tickets range from £10.50-£29.99. Backyard Cinema’s Capital Studios, Ram Quarter, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, SW18 1ET. Nearest stations: Wandsworth Town or East Putney. For more information and booking, visit Backyard Cinema’s website. 🐻
- 21 – 24 October 2021 : Affordable Art Fair (Battersea Autumn)
A chance for people to buy a unique piece of art or photography for their homes at an affordable price. There are over 100 galleries, with pieces for sale ranging from £50 to £6,000. Tickets: £9-£27. Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park or short bus ride from Sloane Square tube. For more information, visit the Affordable Art Fair website.
- 21 – 31 October 2021 : London Literature Festival
Festival of literature returns to the South Bank, with readings, talks, workshops, broadcasts, performance poetry and children’s reading events. Guests and speakers include Grayson Perry, Daisy May Cooper, Jack Dee, Ai Weiwei, Tim Burgess, Anil Seth, Lauren Child, Kate Mosse and Michael Rosen. Times vary. Tickets range from free to £45. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Waterloo East or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website. 🐻
- 21 October 2021 – 6 March 2022 : Beano – The Art of Breaking the Rules
Exhibition of Britain’s naughtiest kid and the comic’s history. Explore original artwork and artefacts. Open Sat, Sun & Tue 10am-6pm, Wed-Fri 11am-8pm. Tickets: Adults £16, conc £12.50, Under 6s free. Embankment Galleries (South Wing), Somerset House, Strand, Westminster, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the Somerset House website. 🐻
- 22 – 24 October 2021 : MCM Comic Con
The three-day celebration of pop culture returns to the capital, with panels, gaming, and a host of famous faces, including Tom Hiddleston, Sophia Di Martino, Charlie Cox, Anjali Bhimani, Gabriel Luna, Harry McEntire, Carolina Ravassa, Mark Rowley among others. Open Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £22-£32.50, Children £10-£15. ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For more information and tickets, visit the MCM Comic Con website.
- 22 October 2021 – 9 January 2022 : Illuminature @ WWT
Explore nature after dark in this unique illuminated trail around the London Wetland Centre. 4pm-9pm. Tickets: Adults £17.50, Children £12.50, under 4s free. WWT London, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT. Nearest station: Barnes Bridge. For more information and booking, visit the WWT website. 🐻
- 22 October 2021 – 16 January 2022 : Natural History Museum Ice Rink
One of the capital’s favourite open-air ice rink returns for the winter season for its final time. Open 11am-10pm. Tickets: Adults from 12.65, Children from 8.80. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website. 🐻
- 23 October 2021 : Diwali on Trafalgar Square
Celebrate the festival of lights with an evening event in the heart of the capital. Expect lots of light effects, food and drink. 4pm-10pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, Westminster, WC2N 5DX. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Diwali on Trafalgar Square website. 🐻
- Now until 24 October 2021 : Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street
With lockdown making us more casual than ever, no doubt our sneakers have been worn more than ever in the past year. This new exhibition celebrates the footwear phenomenon. Tickets: £12 (adults), members free. Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, W8 6AG. Nearest stations: Earls Court, High Street Kensington or Holland Park. For booking, visit the Design Museum website.
- 29 October 2021 : Soane Lates: Spotlight on Soane
Late-night opening of the Sir John Soane Museum, featuring expert talks on some of the museum’s wonders and a glass of wine. Time slots: 6pm or 7.30pm (90 minutes). Tickets: £25. Sir John’s Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn, WC2A 3BP. Nearest station: Holborn. For booking, visit the Sir John Soane Museum’s website.
- 29 – 31 October 2021 : Brick Lane Bier Fest
Beer fest comes to Brick Lane, with plenty of premium German brews, cocktail bar, food, live music, drag queens, DJs, games, fancy dress parade and more. Over 18s only. Open Fri 6pm-10pm, Sat 1pm-5pm / 6pm-10pm, Sun 2pm-6pm. Tickets from £15. 91 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street. For more information and tickets, visit DesignMyNight.
- Now until 31 October 2021 : Frieze Sculpture
Open-air sculpture exhibition in the English Gardens of Regents Park. Featuring pieces by international artists, including Rasheed Araeen, Daniel Arsham, Anthony Caro, Gisela Colón, José Pedro Croft, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Stoyan Dechev, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Divya Mehra, Annie Morris, Isamu Noguchi, Jorge Otero-Pailos, Solange Pessoa, Vanessa da Silva, Tatiana Wolska, Rose Wylie and Yunizar. 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. 🐻
- Now until 14 November 2021 : Remember the Future exhibition
Artists in residence will set up studio at Orleans House and explore in art ways we could fix the Earth’s ecological crisis. Among the artists taking part in the six-month project include Ackroyd & Harvey; Nestor Pestana; Bryony Benge-Abbott; Vicky Long and Eloise Moody. During the exhibition, there will also be workshops, talks, family activities and late night events. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Entry: free (donations welcome). Orleans House Gallery, Orleans Road, Twickenham, TW1 3BL. Nearest station: St Margaret’s. For more information, visit the Orleans House Gallery website.
- Now until 21 November 2021 : The Art of Banksy
Exhibition of Banksy’s art made up of pieces from private collections (although not curated or authorized by the artist himself). Expect prints, canvasses, screen prints, sculptures and other unique works. Open Mon-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu-Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 9.30am-7pm, Sun 10am-6pm. Tickets: £21.50-£24.50. 50 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9LJ. Nearest stations: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For tickets, visit the Art of Banksy website.
- Now until 21 November 2021 : The Making of Rodin @ Tate Modern
Explore the sculptor who changed modern art in a new exhibition of his plasterwork. Entry times 10am-4.30pm/5pm. Tickets: £18, under 12s free. Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest station: Blackfriars. For more information and booking, visit the Tate Modern website.
- Now until 23 December 2021 : Noël Coward: Art & Style exhibition
Exhibition celebrating the life and work of playwright Noël Coward. Open daily 10:30am-4pm. Free entry, but booking required. Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest stations: St Paul’s or Bank. For more information, visit the City of London website.
- Now until 31 December 2021 : Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser
An immersive and theatrical exhibition charting the evolution of Lewis Carroll’s iconic character and how she has inspired media, fashion and culture. Open Wed-Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: £20, under 12s free. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information and to book your timed entry, visit the V&A website. 🐻
- Now until 31 December 2021 : Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition
London Muggles can get their Potter fix a bit closer to home with an exhibition of photographs charting the whole franchise. You can also enjoy a drink at the Butterbeer bar. Times vary. Tickets: Adults £20, Children 5-15yrs £14. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN. Nearest stations: Covent Garden, Temple or Holborn. For more information and booking, visit the Harry Potter on Location website.
- Now until 2 January 2022 : Summer Exhibition 2021 @ Royal Academy of Arts
The delayed summer 2021 exhibition features over 1,300 works from new and established artists. Open Tues–Sun: 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.
- Now until 9 January 2022 : Marble Arch Mound
An 25-metre artificial hill has been erected by Marble Arch, offering visitors views down Oxford Street and over Hyde Park. Advance booking recommended. Opening hours vary. Free entry. Marble Arch, Westminster, W1H 7EL. Nearest station: Marble Arch. For more information and booking, visit the Marble Arch Mound website. 🐻
- Now until 29 January 2022 : Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds – The Immersive Experience
An immersive experience 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. Overs 12 only. Times vary. Tickets: £40-£90. The Old Metal Exchange, 56 Leadenhall Street, City of London, EC3A 2BJ. Nearest station: Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. For booking, visit the War of the World’s website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the show.
- Now until 27 February 2022 : 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.
- Now until 22 April 2022 : Sculpture In The City 2021/2022
Free public art exhibition, bringing 18 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 exhibition.
- 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. 🐻