Your guide to festivals in London, including music, food, comedy and the arts

Great festivals taking place in the capital

The Big Draw

  • Critics choice

The month-long, annual festival designed to provide opportunities for people of all ages to discover, or return to, the pleasure of drawing features hundreds of events, many of which are free to attend at venues countrywide. This year's theme is 'It's Our World', with events designed to encourage participants to consider the environment and its sustainability, including reportage sketching workshops, 3D 'drawings' of the city and exploring science through art. The festival kicks

  1. Various Venues
  2. Until Sun Nov 2
More info

London is the Place for Me

This two-day festival celebrating everything Caribbean will bring a whole load of literature, music and limin' to west London this October. The programme includes calypso making workshops, Caribbean poets, steel bands and film screenings. Saturday will close with a carnival-style party, while a singalong and concert rounds things off on Sunday evening.

  1. The Tabernacle 55-61 Tabernacle St, EC2A 4AA
  2. Sat Oct 25 - Sun Oct 26
More info

Muswell Hill Geisterfest

A celebration of ghosts and ghouls for north London which takes place on Halloween. Spooky. The Highgate vampire will be lurking as you peruse the local traders' market, enjoy live music and show off your costumes before the fancy dress competition. Those who are a scream in the kitchen can enter the scary bake-off or bring their best carved pumpkin. See the Muswell Hill Geisterfest website for details of the various workshops and competition judging.

  1. Muswell Hill
  2. Fri Oct 31
More info

Nour Festival of Arts

  • Free

This celebration of the Middle East and North Africa's arts and culture will feature a huge range of events, from an Egyptian Woodcraft workshop at Kensington and Chelsea College (Oct 25) to a performance by Algerian singer Souad Massi in the Royal Albert Hall (Nov 2). There are also food tastings, film screenings, discussions, exhibitions and plenty more music and craft in the calendar, and many on the events are free. Check the Nour Festival website for the full line-up and to

  1. Various Venues
  2. Until Sun Nov 30
More info

October Plenty and Apple Day

  • Free

If your school harvest festival came to life, this is what it would end up as. This traditional celebration starts with dancing in the street in front of Shakespeare's Globe before a procession takes the fun across to Borough Market for their Apple Day activities. The Corn Queene will appear in the parade, accompanied by a Hobby Horse strung with bread and cakes and the Green Man covered in wild fruits and foliage, and flags, traditional music and morris dancers will keep the

  1. Bankside Pavilion A 50 Holland St, SE1 9FU
  2. Sun Oct 26
More info

Inside Out Festival

This fifth annual celebration of London universities' contributions to the capital's cultural life will see more than 50 walks, talks, performances and activities flood both university campuses and leading London venues over seven days. Highlights include walking tours and talks on underground medieval London in a crypt (Oct 21), Cockney-Yiddish music hall (Oct 22), an exhibition representing 50 years of illustration (Oct 20), and a talk on Charlie Chaplin's America plus

Mexico's Day of the Dead Festival

  • Free

Mexico had spooky down way before we started carving pumpkins. Their Dia de los Muertos celebrations have been happening for around 3,000 years, and is a day used for remembering loved ones who have passed away and sending prayers to those you have recently lost. This event, brought to London by the Embassy of Mexico, will include an exhibition of pieces by contemporary artists, a tribute to those lost in World War One, Daily screenings of 1984 cult classic 'Under the Volcano'

  1. Bargehouse Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse St, SE1 9PH
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sun Nov 2
More info

Great British Bioscience Festival

  • Free

Not many scientists look like Doc from 'Back to the Future' (regrettably), but many are just as exciting. Discover how much we depend on biology at this free festival with more than 20 displays and workshops run by real-life scientists. Become a vet or farmer of a virtual farm, journey through a giant gut, learn about new inventions such as pain-free injections and remarkable replacement limbs and visit the flight arena to see the invisible electrical world of bees. The event is

  1. Museum Gardens
  2. Fri Nov 14 - Sun Nov 16
More info

Framed Film Festival

Now into its third year, this international film festival is curated especially for children, and the line-up features films, events and workshops that 4-to-11-year-old cinema lovers will be delighted by. This year's theme is childhood experiences, so the stories in the schedule involve a lot of making friends, embarking on adventures, being naughty and longing to be grown up. Highlights include the Dutch film 'A Christmoose Story' (Nov 22), which stars a giant talking moose who

  1. Barbican Centre Silk St, EC2Y 8DS
  2. Sat Nov 22 - Sun Nov 23
More info


  • Free

Why would you call your event Photomonth when it's actually on for two months? It's a conundrum we'll just have to move on from, because it would be a shame to put you off this vast festival of photography which includes exhibitions, talks and workshops in a selection of venues across east London. Full listings will be announced on the Photomonth website in due course, but already confirmed is 'Imagining the East End' (Cass Gallery, Oct 2-Nov 2), a collection of images inspired

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