This year’s BFI London Film Festival kicks off in October with Emerald Fennell’s new thriller ‘Saltburn’ at the Royal Festival Hall. From there, the UK’s primo film festival will continue its post-pandemic revival in fine style with 11 days and nights of galas, screenings, events, shindigs and film-related happenings around London and other cities around the UK. It’s the most democratic of the world’s big film festivals, with tickets readily available to the public and simultaneous screenings taking its galas out to movielovers nationwide.
The nights are getting darker, you’re just about resisting the urge to turn on that exorbitantly expensive central heating, and everything has the sickly sweet taste of pumpkin spice... it must be October!
With every passing autumn, London’s Halloween celebrations seem to get bigger, better and spookier, with all sorts of family-friendly frights, movie screenings, pumpkin-picking fun and scary nightlife to check out over the month.
And it’s also a bumper season when it comes to London culture, with the return of the BFI London Film Festival, the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre and the Bloomsbury Festival across (you guessed it!) Bloomsbury. October is also Black History Month in the UK, with many of London’s major institutions staging special events to mark the occasion.
Art-wise, you’ve got Tate Britain’s big new exhibition about Young British Artist Sarah Lucas, and the long-awaited Marina Abramović retrospective at the RA. On the stage there’s Penelope Skinner’s new play ‘Lyonesse’, which stars Lily James and Kristen Scott Thomas and a big new adaptation of Maggie O’Farrell’s bestselling novel ‘Hamnet’.
And for those not embarking on Sober October, there are Oktoberfest celebrations galore, plus London Cocktail Week is also on the cards. And there’s plenty more too! Check out our list of the best cultural happenings and things to do throughout October 2023.
RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar