The onset of autumn can be a bit depressing for many of us as the nights get darker and the temperatures get colder. So perhaps that’s why so many of us are getting more excited about Halloween than we used to – a bit of fun to lift us out of our pre-winter blues. Now it’s not only the Americans that go crazy for the annual scarefest with a host of daytime and nighttime events for both children and adult on in London. As it coincides with half-term, there’s plenty of Halloween-themed fun for kids throughout the week in the lead up to the 31 October. Meanwhile, for party animals, there’s plenty of late-night revelry, or for a calmer alternative, there’s special meals and film screenings.
For a guide to what else is on in London in November, click here.
- 1 October – 1 November : Séance! at the London Dungeon
The London Dungeon are hosting a Halloween twist on their usual attractions, set in 1873 at a gathering hosted by the top medium of the day. Guests will be transported back to 50 Berkeley Square in scenes based on real events with supernatural disturbances and visits from the spirit world. Tickets start from children £17.50, adults from £21.50. London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Dungeon, click here.
- 16 October – 1 November : Dark Arts @ Warner Bros Studio Tour
Explore some of the darker side of Harry Potter movies. Try your duelling techniques against a Death Eater, see Malfoy Manor and a 20ft model of Voldemort’s snake Nagini and floating mannequin of Muggle Studies teacher Charity Burbage. Tickets: £22.50 children, Adults £33 (must be booked in advance). Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. For more information, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website.
- 24 – 31 October : Witch Academy on the London Eye
Special Halloween experiences for adults and children. For kids, the Witch Academy includes a 30 minute ride on the Eye, Storytelling for children (4-9 years), a Halloween character host and free goody bag. For adults, there’s the Trick Or Treat Cocktail experience, including two Halloween themed cocktails, nibbles, 1 hour on the London Eye (2 rotations) and priority boarding. Tickets: Children from £16.65, Adults from £26.55 (witch academy) or £45 (cocktail experience). London Eye, near Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest tube: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Eye website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Eye, click here.
- 24 October – 1 November : Boo At The Zoo
A week of fiendish fun at London Zoo including spider talks, pumpkin patch, spooky storytime and talks at the Owl Emporium. Activities take place from 1oam-4pm and free with entry to zoo. Entrance tickets: Adults £22.50, Child £16.65. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website.
- 24 October – 1 November : Spookfest @ London Museum of Water & Steam
Learn the secret history of the engine houses, enjoy a ride on the ghost train, a trip through the creepy wood and Halloween craft activities. Tickets: £11.50 adults, £5 children. London Museum of Water & Steam, Kew Bridge Road, Brentford, TW8 0EF. Nearest station: Kew Bridge. For more information, visit the London Museum of Water & Steam.
- 26 – 31 October : Halloween Pumpkin Carving @ Eltham Palace
Pumpkin carving sessions at the Medieval and Art Deco Eltham Palace. Book a time slot at 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Tickets: Adults £13, Children £7.80. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, SE9 5QE. Nearest station: Eltham or Mottingham. For more information, visit English Heritage website. For Metro Girl’s review of Eltham Palace, click here.
The summer is finally over (sad face) and the weather is sadly getting cooler. But fortunately, London is doing its best to lift our spirits with a whole lotta fun going on around town. Obviously there’s Halloween at the end of the month (a guide to come…), but there’s tons on around town for those who aren’t interested in the ghoulish holiday.
For a guide to Halloween activities and parties for adults and children, click here.
- Now until 1 October : St Martin’s Courtyard Film Festival
Three day free film festival in St Martin’s Courtyard. Films include Shaun Of The Dead, Atonement and Billy Elliott. Enter the online ballot to receive a free ticket at the St Martin’s Courtyard website. St Martin’s Courtyard, off Long Acre, WC2. Nearest tube: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. To sign up for tickets, visit the St Martin’s Courtyard 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 Champagne Laurent-Perrier Gourmet Odysseys and American Express menus with Michel Roux Jr, Pierre Koffmann, Helene Darroze, Tomos Parry, Marcus Wareing, Jeremy Lee, Mark Hix, Philip Howard, Nathan Outlaw. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website.
- 2 – 11 October : Wimbledon BookFest
Ten day festival featuring readings, children’s events, storytelling, comedy, courses and interviews from a wide range of authors, including Sebastian Faulks, Louis de Bernieres, Alexandra Shulman, Vince Cable, Brian Moore, Seann Walsh, Andy McNab, Steve Backshall, Boris Becker, Shirley Williams, Stella Duffy, Ben Fogle, and more. Tickets range from free to £90 and are recommend to be booked in advance. 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.
- 2 October – 3 January 2016 : Dressed By Angels
An exhibition of over 100 costumes from Angels’ archives, worn by Fred Astaire, Noel Coward, Laurence Olivier, Tom Baker, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep, among others, Opening hours vary. Tickets: Adults £16, Children £9. Old Truman Brewery, Loading Bay, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, Shoreditch, E1 6QR. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Aldgate. For booking, visit the Dressed By Angels website.
- 3 October : NFL Fan Rally
Fans of American football can warm up ahead of the New York Jets V Miami Dolphins match at Wembley Stadium that afternoon. Featuring a celebration of American football with players, cheerleaders and NFL legends. 12-4pm. Free. Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the London.gov website.
- 3 – 4 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. 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.
- Now until 4 October : Raindance Film Festival
UK’s largest independent film festival returns to the capital. Featuring over 100 movies and 150 short films screened in The Vue Piccadilly and Wes End. Tickets: £12. Passes range from £100 to £175. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Raindance website.
- 5 – 11 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. For tips and highlights of this year’s LCW, click here.
- 7 – 18 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.
- Now until 8 October : Victorian London In Photographs
Exhibition of archive shots of Victorian London on show at the London Metropolitan Archives. Opening times: Mon and Sat 9.30am-4.45pm, Tues-Thurs 9.30am-7.30pm, Closed Fridays and Sundays. Free entry. London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HB. Nearest station: Farringdon. For more information, visit the City Of London website.
- 9 – 18 October : South Norwood & Thornton Heath Free Film Festival
Following last year’s inaugural festival, the free film event is returning to South Norwood and Thornton Heath. Screenings, talks, film quizzes and more at various venues across the South London suburb. Screenings include Northern Soul, Despicable Me, The Gruffalo, Quadropheniaand more. For more information, visit the Free Film Festival website.
We’re one step closer to spring and with the nights gradually getting lighter, we’re being encouraged to venture out more. Of course there is the distraction of Valentine’s Day in the middle of the month, but if you’re cynical of the commercial celebration of love or are happily single, there’s plenty more going on in February. Here’s a guide to what’s on in London in February… and thankfully, most of the events are indoors.
For Metro Girl’s special Valentine’s guide, click here.
- 29 January – 1 February : Destinations – The Holiday & Travel Show
Presented by The Times, the Holiday and Travel show is full of inspiration for your next adventure or holiday. As well as meet lots of travel companies, there is also the Experience The World zone, where you can sample culinary delights from around the world, or see a nurse for vaccination advice. Tickets: £11 in advance. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest tube: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Destinations – Holiday & Travel Show website.
- 3 February : Budvar Tank Tuesdays Closing Party @ Zigfrid von Underbelly
Enjoy an evening of art, music and drinking at London’s smallest gallery. Photographer Claude Crommelin will be unveiling his final exhibition of street art images, representing Hoxton Square, while DJ Francois Dirty South and DJ duo Gem Precious & Judy Walsh will be on the decks. There will also be a free pint of Budvar Tankové Pivo to the first 102 people through the door. Open 6pm-1am. Zigfrid von Underbelly, 11 Hoxton Square, Hoxton, N1 6NU. Nearest station: Old Street or Hoxton. For more information, visit the Zigfrid von Underbelly website.
- 6 February : Farewell Leicester Square – Friday Lates @ London Transport Museum
Mark the end of the Goodbye Piccadilly exhibition, which focuses on Londoners during WWI and the onset of the jazz age. Featuring activities, workshops, illustrated talks, live music from the KD jazz and dance orchestra band and cocktails mixed by Erik Lorincz, head bartender from The Savoy’s American Bar. 6.45-10pm. Tickets: £10, £8 concession. London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Charing Cross. For tickets, visit the London Transport Museum website.
- 6 – 7 February : London Remixed Festival
A two day celebration of emerging talents from the worlds of ghetto funk, drum and bass, reggae, anarchic hoedown, Latin breaks, brass band hip hop, electro-Afro music, Balkan beats, blues remix, electro swing, tropical bass, Ethiopian dub, DMC scratch masters +and more. Tickets £7-£15. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street (overground) or Old Street. For more information, visit the London Remixed Festival website.
- 7 February – 8 March : Orchid Festival
An orchid display is coming to the Princess of Wales Conservatory for four weeks. The sea of colour from one of the world’s most stunning flowers will certainly brighten up a dull winter’s day. General entrance tickets to Kew Gardens includes orchid exhibition: £15 adults or £14 concessions. Brentford Gate, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest tube: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- 9 February : Trader Vic’s Tiki Cinema
Trader Vic’s in the London Hilton are hosting monthly screenings in their Tiki-themed bar and restaurant. This month’s screening is Casablanca. Film starts at 7.30pm, food is served from 6pm. Tickets: £13 (including screening and a cocktail). Trader’s Vic, 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1BE. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Trader’s Vic website.
- 9 – 22 February : Imagine Children’s Festival
Two week children’s festival at the Southbank Centre, including art, theatre, books, music, free fun and workshops. Including readings and appearances from Russell Brand, Judith Kerr, Lauren Child, Laura Dockrill, Anthony Horowitz and Helen Skelton. Lots of activities and events are free. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information and booking visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 10 – 15 February : Ealing Music & Film Valentine Festival
Five day festival at Ealing Studios featuring musical performances, film screenings, tours of the studios, talks and exhibitions. This year’s theme is Polish heritage. Ticket prices vary. Events take place at various venues, including Ealing Studios, University Of West London, Ealing Town Hall and Ealing Abbey. Nearest tube: Ealing Broadway or South Ealing. For more information, visit the Ealing Music & Film website.
With the onset of October, people inevitably start thinking about the fast approaching winter and Christmas festivities. But first we’ve got Hallowe’en to mark first. Every year, the scarefest seems to be getting bigger and bigger and 2014 will be no exception. If you’re a fan of the spooky holiday, there’s plenty going on in the capital for both adults and children alike. Parents looking for some half-term ideas to keep their children occupied will also find some inspiration. I strongly advise booking in advance to many events as those who just turn up without a ticket may be disappointed.
This guide is for 2014, for the new 2015 guide to London at Halloween, click here.
- 28 – 29 October : Little Shwop of Horrors
To get prepared for the Hallowe’en festivities, why not head down to M&S and Oxfam’s pop-up which will sell fancy dress and items donated by the likes of Jessie J, Nadine Coyle, Simon Pegg and Naomie Harris. Shoppers are encouraged to bring their own items to ‘shwop’, with proceeds from sales going to fight poverty worldwide. Open 8am-9pm. Marks & Spencer Marble Arch, 458 Oxford Street, W1C 1AP. Nearest tube: Marble Arch. To find out more about shwopping, visit the M&S website.
- 1 October – 2 November : Halloween at the London Dungeon
Of course, one of the city’s scariest places is the London Dungeon, who are making the most of All Hallows Eve with a month of frightful goings-on. As well as the usual features, the Hallowe’en festivities will also include the new character The Master Of Tricks and his Wheel Of Misfortune and some other special surprises. London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Dungeon, click here.
- 1 October – 3 November : Halloween Show @ The London Bridge Experience
The experience will be running its usual adventure with a Hallowe’en twist. Open 10.30am-5pm Sun-Fri, 10am-6pm Sat. Tickets: Adults £20, Children 5-15 yrs £16, Students over 17 £18. London Bridge Experience, 2-4 Tooley Street, SE1 2SY. Nearest tube/rail: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit the London Bridge Experience website.
- 25 October – 1 November : Witch Academy on the London Eye
Imagine you’re on a broomstick and can soar into the sky over London… then open your eyes and realise you’re on the London Eye as part of the Witch Academy. As well as a 30 minute ride on the big attraction, an academy experience also includes a Hallowe’en character host, storytelling for four to nine-year olds and a free goody bag. Tickets: Children – online in advance £17.93 or £19.92 on the day, Adults £24.25 online in advance or £26.94 on the day. London Eye, near Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest tube: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Eye website. For Metro Girl’s review of the London Eye, click here.
- 25 October – 2 November : Glamoween @ Madame Tussauds
Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars (well, their waxwork doppelgangers at least…) will gather at a Halloween party at Madame Tussauds. Children dressed in Hallowe’en costume will get in free with a paying adult (£24 in advance online, £55.80 on the day). Madame Tussauds, Marylebone Road, NW1 5LR. Nearest tube/train: Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Madame Tussauds website.
- 28 October : Family Day Hallowe’en @ Benjamin Franklin House
Walk along the creaky floorboards of this 18th century house before a spooky storytelling by Benjamin Franklin’s friend Polly Hewson and other ghoulish goings on. 4-5pm. Tickets £5 for children, free for adults. Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, London, WC2N 5NG. Nearest tube: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website.
- 30 October – 1 November : Eat Your Heart Out pop-up cake shop
Food art curator Miss Cakehead is celebrating Halloween with the most gruesome looking cakes you’ve ever seen, such as three slaughtered little pigs or giant spiders. A three day pop up will be open at the Hoxton Hotel which is free to visit. Hoxton Hotel, 81 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3HU. Nearest tube/Overground: Old Street or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit the Miss Cakehead website.
Every year Hallowe’en appears to be bigger than ever before, and 2013 is no exception. Having just returned from the USA, where they really go to town for the Pagan festival, the UK has got a bit of catching up to do to match it. However, if you’re a fan of the spooky holiday, there’s plenty going on in the capital for both adults and children alike. Parents looking for some half-term ideas to keep their children occupied will also find some inspiration.
For the 2014 guide to Halloween in London, click here.
- 25 September – 9 November : Halloween at the London Dungeon
Of course, one of the city’s scariest places is the London Dungeon, who are making the most of All Hallows Eve with six weeks of frightful goings-on. As well as the usual features, the Hallowe’en festivities will also include a new character of the Pumpkineer, a graveyard themed shop and some other special surprises. London Dungeon, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Dungeon website.
- 18 October – 3 November : Climb Of The Cursed at Up At The O2
The climb over the roof of The O2 has been given a Hallowe’en makeover, featuring a few shocks and surprises on your ascent. Once you read the summit, you’ll be given a Gothic-style map of some of the capital’s horror hotspots. The experience takes place during day and night. Tickets £30, highly recommend to book in advance. Up At The O2, SE10 0DY. Nearest tube: North Greenwich. For tickets and information, visit the Up At The O2 website. For Metro Girl’s review of Up At The O2, click here,
- 26 October – 2 November : Witch Academy on the London Eye
Imagine you’re on a broomstick and can soar into the sky over London… then open your eyes and realise you’re on the London Eye as part of the Witch Academy. As well as a 30 minute ride on the big attraction, an academy experience also includes a Hallowe’en character host, storytelling for four to nine-year olds and a 4D experience. Tickets are half-price for kids if booked online in advance, or £17.40 on the day. London Eye, near Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest tube: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the London Eye website.
- 26 October – 3 November : Boo At The Zoo
London Zoo has plenty of spooky goings on during half-term week. Special events will be taking place across the zoo including The Curiosity Shop of Horrors, creepy creatures in the Amphitheatre and see the Nocturnal animals. London Zoo, Outer Circle of Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY. Nearest tube: Camden Town or Regent’s Park. For more information and tickets, visit the London Zoo website.
- 26 October – 3 November : Shriek Week at Ally Pally
Alexandra Palace hosts a week of creepy activities, including spooky storytelling, pumpkin carving, inflatable play area, Dance Macabre at the ice rink (1 November), face-painting and gory games. Alexandra Palace, N22 7AY. Nearest train station: Alexandra Palace or tube station: Wood Green. For more information, visit the Ally Pally website.
- 31 October : Pumpkin Carving Competition at Fortnum and Mason
Two competitions for adults (6pm on the Lower Ground Floor) and children (3pm in the Demonstration Kitchen) to see who can make the most creative and imaginative pumpkin. Adult participants pay £10 to enter, while children 10 and under are free. All entrants must sign up beforehand. Fortnum and Mason, 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER. Nearest tube: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. To find out more, visit the Fortnum and Mason website. Read the rest of this entry