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.
So we know London is a pretty fabulous city to live in, but there’s also a darker side. This Halloween, you can a step back in time to Victorian London, where danger was never far away. This October, Bourne & Hollingsworth are bringing the some of the creepiest 19th century tales to life at ‘Terror On The Thames’, with bloodied skirts on Petticoat Lane, gruesome dissections in Bleeding Heart Yard and werewolves on the Isle of Dogs.
On Saturday 31 October, revellers will be taken down the thick smoggy cobbled streets as they’re watched by mysterious figures lurking in opium dens. The shadowy dancefloor will bring together shifty grave robbers, pernicious pickpockets, razor-wielding barbers, aristocratic sociopaths and scalpel‐happy surgeons.
The late night bash will be held in a riverside venue underneath Waterloo Bridge. Guests can expect all the typical Bourne & Hollingsworth production values, with fabulous entertainment, innovative cocktails and immersive interiors. Among the attractions, guests will be able to take part in a life-size game of ‘peration’, take part in a Dorian Grey life-drawing class and dance the death waltz.
The dress code is Victorian horror, so ladies, think white lace blouses, corsets and hoop skirts, while men, cloakes and top hats wouldn’t go amiss. A make-up stand will also be at the venue to help give you a scary makeover.
- Bourne & Hollingsworth Presents Terror On The Thames on 31 October 2015 from 8pm-2am. Tickets £25. One Embankment, 8 Victoria Embankment, WC2R 2AB. Nearest station: Blackfriars or Temple. For tickets, visit TicketPorte.
For a guide to what else is on in London this Halloween, click here.
For a guide to what else is on in London in October, click here.
For a review of brunch at the Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings restaurant, click here.
Anyone that follows my Instagram profile may have noticed I love cocktails. So it’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of London Cocktail Week – an annual celebration of mixology. This year sees the team from Drink Up London hosting LCW for a sixth year in a row from 5 to 11 October 2015. For those who don’t know, LCW sees hundreds of venues across the capital get involved with special drinks promotions and events.
The main way to get the most of LCW is to buy a £10 wristbrand, which entitles you to £5 cocktails at participating venues. Last year, a large group of girlfriends and I picked up our wristbands from one of the LCW hubs and after trying one of the in-house cocktails, went on an epic bar crawl around Covent Garden, Soho and Fitzrovia, taking in about 7 or 8 bars. Many of the venues had one special LCW drink available so it was a night for experimenting (and mixing spirits… oops). I recommend to start early and also make sure you enjoy a good meal beforehand or during.
You can order your wristband online or buy one from the hub at the Vinyl Factory, 51 Poland Street in Soho, where there will also be bars and special events, or the London Cocktail Week Village at Old Spitalfields Market.
Here’s just some of my highlights during this year’s London Cocktail Week…
A one hour cruise from King’s Cross’s Granary Square on a canal boat. Daily throughout LCW. Price: £30pp.
Cocktail masterclasses from the bartenders at Happiness Forgets in Hoxton. Daily throughout LCW. One hour long. £20pp
Eat and drink your way through Soho on a guided walk by local chef Michelle Francis, who will share the history, architecture and culture of the area along the way. Friday 9 and Saturday 10 October. £69.50.
Pop-up bar for whiskey fans in Kingsland Road. Daily throughout LCW. Free entry for LCW wristband holders.
Chambord Black Raspberry Liquer are hosting a party at Brixton’s Sovereign Loss on Thursday 8 October. Featuring live music and Prohibition-style cocktails. Free entry for LCW wristband holders.
Enjoy cocktail courses paired with British American tapas in the Green Room at the House of Vans underneath Waterloo station. Thursday 8 October. £38.50.
Bringing the event to a close with a knees-up and oysters at the East London Liquor Company near Victoria Park. Sunday 11 October until midnight.
And here’s some reviews of participating bars…
- London Cocktail Weeks runs from 5 to 11 October 2015. For more information, visit Drink Up London.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, 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.