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79 awesome things to do in London this October

By Stephanie Hartman

Obviously there are plenty of Halloween happenings going on throughout October, but there's lots more to get your teeth into if ghosts and ghouls aren't your thing. Celebrate World Coffee Day with a free cup of caffeine, pick up some sweet new kicks at Crepe City's shopping event, get merry at Rumfest, or get a healthy dose of art at the Frieze Fairs. Check out the bumper list below to ensure you have a fun-filled month! 


Oct 1: Second Home: London Fields Kids Day The workspace celebrates the launch of its new nursery inside an inflatable structure created by DOSIS Architecture. There are workshops for kids and talks for the grown-ups.

Oct 4-6: ICA Live Bar Head to the ICA for three evenings of fun with DJ sets from the likes of Venus X, Bala Club, Mechatok and Mobilegirl. Jager will be running a bar each night.

Oct 4-Mar 1: Teenage Bedrooms Amazing curator Carey Newsom persuaded 26 teenagers to let a photographer document their bedrooms: now you're invited in to see the results at this exhibition on the museum's concourse.

Oct 6: magCulture Meets...The Gourmand Co-founder and creative director of The Gourmand, Dave Lane presents the latest issue of the award-winning food and culture journal. Beer will be flowing from 6.30pm and the talk begins at 7pm.

Oct 6-9: A Letter in Mind This fundraiser for The National Brain Appeal returns in 2016 with a whole host of artists and contributors including Grayson Perry and Anthony Gormley who have created visual responses to the title 'A Letter in Mind' using the humble white envelope as their starting point.

Oct 8-9: Crafty Fox Market The ultimate craft market for emerging designers and makers. A handpicked line-up of traders will be selling ceramics, textiles, jewellery, prints and more.

Oct 12: London Shuffleboard Club The retro sport is finally coming over here as the London Shuffle Club prepares to pop up in Shoreditch for three months.

Oct 13: Napapijri: There is Always a Journey An evening of sound and vision inside a space designed by VJ artist Heleen Blanken, complete with four grand pianos raised on platforms, each played by a world-renowned concert pianist.

Oct 14-16: The Chocolate Show We'll take any excuse to eat more chocolate, but this is truly a good one. The Chocolate Show returns for another year of demonstrations, activities and plenty of tastings. 

Oct 22-May 2: Memorial. A Tribute to Taxidermy Find out how birds and animals go from the wild into museums in this exhibition by Jazmine Miles-Long, a London taxidermist.

Oct 22: Crepe City A day dedicated to buying, selling and trading sneakers and streetwear.

Oct 27-28: Horror Films at the Rivoli Ballroom Catch Halloween and The Shining at these special screenings by Crofton Park Pictures at the Rivoli Ballroom. Booze, popcorn, ice cream and hot dogs available too.

Oct 27: Habitat's Light Club Habitat celebrates the launch of its new lighting collection with an evening of dancing, DJing and drinks.

Oct 29: 'Stranger Things'-Themed Halloween Party Join Nightcall for a Halloween party with a bang up to date theme. In a secret den decked with Christmas lights, grab a Stranger Sour cocktail and get down to synthpop.

Oct 29: The Signal-Man and other Horrifying Tales Discover Dickens's ghost stories this Halloween with readings by Dominic Gerrard of The Signal-man, The Ghost in the Bride's Chamber and Captain Murder.

Oct 29: Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens Fire Festival An Ancient Greek Halloween spectacular is in store for south London once more as fire performers, fireworks display and fire magic show take over the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens again.

Oct 30: Sunday Papers Live A personification of our weekend reading material with talks, walks, workshops and armchairs. Sunday roasts will be available, but BYO slippers.


Oct 1: Tank Party At Camden Town Brewery the beer is always locally sourced, but for one day (a year) only they're not even bothering to put it in barrels or bottles before letting us drink it.

Oct 1: World Coffee Day: Julius Meinl coffee giveaway To celebrate the day, Austrian coffee roaster Julius Meinl is giving away free coffee. All you have to do is swap a profile picture for a poem and head to either Boyds Grill & Wine Bar, Manna Dew, Forge & Co or Kipferl for a free cup of joe with a friend or partner.

Oct 1: Industry Takeover All Dayer Find out everything you need to get ahead in the music and creative industries at this day of debate and discussion with industry insiders.

Oct 3-9: London Cocktail Week A chance to sample the finest boozy concoctions and classy cocktails in London. 

Oct 5: Soho Negroni Championships Soho's first quest for the ultimate Negroni makers takes place at Quo Vadis' revamped blue bar and will see bartenders from The Manor, Polpo, the Ritz, Hix, Smoking Goat, and of course, co-hosts Quo Vadis and Pidgin.

Oct 6: Cordials and Cocktails The Urban Cordial Company will guide guests through the process using seasonal ingredients, herbs foraged from the venue's patch and tasty fruits.

Oct 7-8: Game Lauded Lyle's chef James Lowe gathers some notable contemporaries from restaurants all over the world for this pair of dinners celebrating the meat that we can hunt right here on British soil.

Oct 9: Yayā Yoga Lunch / Brunch Yaya supper club have teamed up with yoga teacher Sophia Pym for a class followed by a delicious two-course veggie lunch hosted within greenhouse studios.

Oct 10: Bubbledogs Birthday Party and Hot Dog Challenge Chefs from Lyle's, Kitty Fishers, Black Axe Mangal and Shake Shack will battle it out to create the tastiest dog, judged by a group of expert foodies.

Oct 14-16: OktoBeerFest Wild Card Brewery’s favourite beers will be flowing alongside a special small batch of raspberry wheat beer made especially for the occasion.

Oct 17: The Gravy Social Supper Club Luke Findlay (Nopi, The Square, The Hand & Flowers, Head of Development for Patty & Bun) launches his own very special supper club.

Oct 20: Flat Iron Square Opening Day A new development on the Low Line in Southwark opens with a plethora of arts, food and drink venues flinging open their doors.

Oct 22-23: The Rumfest The RumFest returns to London for its tenth birthday, showcasing over 400 blends from around the world and the best brands on the market.

And October openings…

Draft House, Old Street Another beery link in the chain.

Where the Pancakes Are A permanent home for the street-food concept in Southwark.

MNKY HSE Head here for South American food (and not a lot of vowels) in Mayfair.

The Pear Tree Café Battersea digs for former sous chefs of Petersham Nurseries and Spring Restaurant.

Little Smoke A Team Smokehouse outing focusing on smoky, rare breed meats sourced from small indie farmers.

Caravan Bankside Caravan numero tres rolls in.

Margot Swanky Italian in Covent Garden from two top maître d’s.

Butchies A permanent hatch in Camden Market for the fried chicken champs.

Tropicana Beach Club A cocktail and music venue on the site of what was Guanabara.

FILTH at the Vaults


Oct 8: Make Me Head to Make Me, where you can catch deep house, refined techno and heady disco spun by a glittering cast of electronic party people.

Oct 14: FILTH at the Vaults An exclusive underground silent disco with 50 shades of difference: three awesome channels of music plus an X-rated adult channel.

Oct 21: Oval Space Music The Oval Space Music series continues to power on with tons of stellar, bleeding-edge DJs supplying the soundtracks. Dive in and get dancing.

Oct 28: The Last Tuesday Society: A Danse Macabre If anyone was going to do Halloween well it had to be that spooky lot The Last Tuesday Society, the HQ on Mare Street is home to a museum of wondrous curiosities, from Happy meal toys to bits of bones.

Oct 29: Guilty Pleasures Halloween Ball Scooby Doo costumes, glittery skulls, cheerleader dance routines, speed eating competitions and crowd-surfing clowns alongside a serving of quality pop, disco and R&B in a bid to get every last person (dead or alive) on the dancefloor.

Oct 29: Solo Danza Halloween Party This is a hugely popular Halloween house rave with club night favourite and deep house heavyweight Robert Dietz.

Oct 31: Ministry of Sound Halloween Rave 2k16 The Ministry are threatening to pack out each and every corner with ten DJs playing such ferocious house, trap, grime, garage that the undead will be well and truly risen. 

Omeara opening Omeara (located on O’Meara Street, close to London Bridge and Borough) will be a 350 capacity gig venue, and aims to host indie club nights, talks, comedy and more.

© Elaine Constantine


Oct 4-5: Saint Etienne The seasoned pop chroniclers of London life with a romantic, slightly '60s bent return to play their 1991 debut album 'Foxbase Alpha' in its entirety.

Oct 5: Mykki Blanco See the poet, MC and drag performer in Shoreditch tonight. 

Oct 12: Akala Mobo Award-winning rapper Akala headlines with his soulful hip hop and spoken word.

Oct 18: Goat This band create ace voodoo psychedelia: chanting over bongos and widdly, Middle Eastern-influenced riffs smothered in reverb, dressing in colourful masks and providing one hell of an energetic, intense live experience.

Oct 22:  Copenhagen’s latest musical prodigy is Karen Marie Ørsted, who goes by the name of MØ and pairs shimmering synths and erratic beats with laconic vocals.

Oct 25: Glass Animals Originally from Oxford, this experimental electronic pop outfit made a splash with their debut album 'Zaba'.

Oct 27: Warpaint Get culty with the LA four-piece and their seductive, immersive brand of psychedelia.

Oct 28: Brian Wilson Golden pop hits by the head Beach Boy and eccentric musical genius.

Oct 29: Mirrors A cast of cool indie acts hit several venues in Hackney for the second year of this autumn festival. 

Oct 30: Wooden Shjips If you're into reverb-drenched, droning guitars and heavy motorik drive, you can't do much better than this.

Oct 30-31: PJ Harvey The extraordinary Polly Jean Harvey returns to the stage following her stonking new album ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’, leading her seasoned nine-piece band through songs new and old.


Oct 2: I, Daniel Blake British film hero Ken Loach turns 80 this year, but is still hard at work. His latest film is a powerful drama about the benefits system – and features a scene in a food bank that is one of the most devastating things you'll see all year.

Oct 7: The Girl on the Train The most unputdownable book since 'Gone Girl' is coming to cinemas. The action of the amnesiac thriller has moved from London to New York (not sure how we feel about that).

Oct 7: My Scientology Movie It's Louis Theroux v Scientology. Taking his usual 'turn up, be incredibly charming and see what happens approach' to doc-making, Louis delves into the Church's weirder corners.

Oct 28: Doctor Strange Benedict Cumberbatch is the latest actor to don an outrageous costume and battle evil.

Oct 5-16: London Film Festival 12 days, 15 cinemas, 245 films – London's biggest film event is here.


Oct 5-8: Frieze Art Fairs The mighty Frieze London and Frieze Masters art fairs have reigned over the London art calendar for years. This October, both fairs are set up again in Regent's Park.

Oct 5-Nov 12: Bruce Nauman: Natural Light, Blue Light Room The Mayfair space will be showing the American artist's seminal 1971 installation 'Natural Light, Blue Light Room': a series of blue lights that deliberate confuses the viewer with the daylight entering room the room.

Oct 6-Feb 5: Picasso Portraits '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.

Oct 12-Jan 15: 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.


Oct 6-11: Kissing the Shotgun Goodnight Christopher Brett Bailey follows up his mad experimental epic 'This Is How We Die'.

Oct 6-Dec 3: One Night In Miami… A fictional account of a real night in enjoyed by Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown.

Oct 6-Jan 17: The Red Barn David Hare's new play is a psychological chiller, directed by Robert Icke.

Oct 7-Nov 5: Shopping and Fucking Broadly doing what it says on the tin, the violent, sexually explicit play follows three couples, and asks what happens to human morality when capitalism supersedes everything and love just becomes a transaction.

Oct 7-Nov 26: OIL A new epic about man's complicated relationship with oil.

Oct 14-17: Letters To Windsor House Sh!t Theatre offer a painfully funny look at the the housing crisis.

Oct 14-Nov 29: A Pacifist's Guide to the War on Cancer A new musical about cancer from performance artist Bryony Kimmings.

Until Oct 15: No's Knife Lisa Dwan performs this world premiere of a Samuel Beckett monologue.

Oct 15-Nov 26: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism With a Key to the Scriptures A New York family struggle to find meaning in Tony Kushner's new drama.

Oct 19-Dec 31: Amadeus Lucian Msamati will lead this revival of Peter Shaffer's play with music.

Oct 26-Nov 26: The Nest A dramatic fable of individualism, with original music by PJ Harvey.

Until Nov 19: Travesties Tom Hollander stars in Tom Stoppard's cerebral comedy classic.



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