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London events in October

Your guide to the best happenings, events and things to do throughout October in London

© Kendra Bean

The return of crisp days and cold evenings mean that autumn is well and truly here, but that's no excuse to hibernate. October is all about long leafy walks, pubs with fires, sunday lunches and picking out some of the capital's best fancy dress (for Halloween, of course). So get out there and enjoy London this October with our pick of events happening across the capital, because next thing you know it will be winter and that means a little something called Christmas is fast approaching.    

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our October event highlights


Guerrilla Girls

The feminist activist group looks at the Whitechapel Gallery’s history of exhibiting female artists including Sophie Calle, Nan Goldin, Sarah Lucas and Bridget Riley for this Archive display. Founded in 1985 by an anonymous group of artists to expose the inequality of the male dominated art world, culture in general and politics, the Guerrilla Girls will don their gorilla masks and scan their critical eye over this east London institution. Will we like what they find?

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Whitechapel Gallery , Whitechapel Saturday October 1 2016 - Sunday March 5 2017

Picasso Portraits

The 2016 exhibition schedule just got a whole load more exciting with the announcement of the National Portrait Gallery's major autumn show. 'Picasso Portraits' traces the development of Pablo Picasso through the portraits he painted throughout his life – from child genius to the most famous artist in the world. 

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National Portrait Gallery , Leicester Square Thursday October 6 2016 - Sunday February 5 2017

Beyond Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio remains art’s ultimate bad boy some 400 years after his death. A maverick and a murderer, he embodies the ‘live fast, die young’ mantra of rebels the world over. However, the drama of Caravaggio’s short life is more than matched by that of his art. A master of theatricality and illumination, Caravaggio revolutionised painting in Rome at the end of the 1500s by painting straight on to canvas and using ‘ordinary’ folk as models.

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National Gallery , Trafalgar Square Wednesday October 12 2016 - Sunday January 15 2017

Hackney Wonderland

Not as funky as Boogie Wonderland, but with a lot more rock ’n’ roll swagger, the cheap-as-chips one-day festival in E8 expands to two days for its third year. Pick up a wristband to get entry to all four of the festival's venues and catch indie stars (Mystery Jets, We Are Scientists, Swim Deep, Lucy Rose) alongside up-and-coming new bands. This being Hackney, there will also be plenty of afterparties.

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Oval Space , Bethnal Green Saturday October 15 2016 - Sunday October 16 2016

Bloomsbury Festival

Bloomsbury Festival returns in 2016 with a packed line-up featuring performances, live music and events celebrating the rich heritage of the area. This year's theme is 'language' and events explore its many forms. Headline events include Coram's Songs which sees a promenade performance set around the Foundling Hospital, and a nighttime street party showcasing a wealth of dance disciplines including Bollywood, B-Boy and Swing styles.

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Various Locations in Bloomsbury , London Wednesday October 19 2016 - Sunday October 23 2016

Julius Caesar

'Julius Caesar' will be revived as part of the Donmar's Shakespeare Rep season in King's Cross in October 2016. Phyllida 'The Iron Lady' Lloyd's all-female 'Caesar' has a twinkle in its eye, its tongue in its cheek, and a cast scarcely less storied than the Roman statesmen it depicts. So in the meantime, read our review from the 2012 run here.

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King's Cross Theatre , King's Cross Thursday October 27 2016 - Monday December 12 2016

Halloween in London

If you're going to celebrate Halloween (Saturday October 31 2015) this year, we suggest you go all out. Head down to your local costume shop and prepare to scare at one of the capital's best Halloween parties. Plan your fancy dress in advance, however – a pink bunny suit just won't cut it at this time of year.

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By: Phoebe Trimingham


We never were a city to turn down a party, so Oktoberfest London is getting a big, warm wilkommen in 2015. Read our pick of where to find the biggest steins of beer, the most delicious platters of sausage, the loveliest leiderhosen and the oompah bands with the most oomph.

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By: Ashleigh Arnott