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October events in London
Photograph: Steve Beech

London events in October

Your guide to the best stuff to do, see, eat and drink across London during October

Rosie Hewitson
Written by
Rosie Hewitson
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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. This year, expect the Halloween parties to be bigger and better than ever to make up for last year’s actual horror show. Frieze London also makes a triumphant return after last years write-off, and London Craft Week is back with a whole bunch of workshops, talks and demonstrations from the city’s most talented makers and menders. And for those not embarking on Sober October, there are Oktoberfest celebrations galore,  plus London Cocktail Week is stretching to an entire month. And there’s plenty more too! Check out our list of the best cultural happenings and things to throughout October 2021.

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our October event highlights 2021

  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • London

London’s watering holes have had a tough old year, which means that it’s practically a moral duty for you to head down to a couple of your favourite ones and enjoy some delicious cocktails for a mere seven quid during London Cocktail Week. And by ‘week’, we of course mean ‘month’, because it actually lasts for a whole 31 days. Guess they decided against calling it Cock-tober then.

Munich’s official Oktoberfest celebration might be cancelled again this year, but it’s not like you have to travel to Germany for a stein-sloshing good time anyway. There’s plenty of oompah blaring, Bratwurst feasting and lederhosen wearing to be had right here in London town. Just head down to one of these Bavarian beer halls and get the Erdingers in. Prost!

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  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife

The brainchild of DJ and record label head Saoirse and Clayton Wright from Little Gay Brother, this massive celebration of queer club culture features just about every LGBTQ+ DJ and clubnight in the city. Adonis and Pxssy Palace will be there. Harpies and Hungama are going. Big Dyke Energy, Chapter 10 and Queer House Party will all be doing stuff. It’s set to be one of the most exciting, progressive and inclusive parties in the UK.

RECOMMENDED: Read our love letter to London’s LGBTQ+ venues

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  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

Arch dialogue, kooky landscapes, funny clothes, Bill Murray. It’s not tough to spot a Wes Anderson trope. The US director has spawned a whole subsidiary industry of ‘stuff that looks a bit like Wes Anderson’ – hopeful snaps of cable cars, beach huts, pale-blue hotel lobbies, Argyll tank tops, that sort of thing. Now there’s a whole exhibition devoted to Wes’s new film ‘The French Dispatch’, which promises original sets, props, costumes, artwork and more. You’ll also be able to enjoy some classic French treats, courtesy of ‘Le Sans Blague Café’, serving dishes featured in the film. Magnifique! Book now at www.180thestrand.com.

RECOMMENDED: six art shows worth leaving London for.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of NopiOttolenghi’s first London restaurant proper, the team has put together a rather special collaborative menu that’ll be available from October 17 until the end of the month. It has been developed by Yotam and a bunch of Nopi alumni who helped shape the legendary restaurant. And in true Ottolenghi style it emphasises simplicity and quality, with bold flavours from the Middle East, North Africa and California. The gang will also be dropping exclusive swag to celebrate their big birthday, including tableware, signed cookbooks, anniversary hampers, champagne and pantry items. Eat your sumac-covered heart out!

RECOMMENDED: Find more Middle Eastern eats with our restaurant guide.

  • Art
  • Sculpture
  • Barbican

The Barbican’s retrospective on Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) is a lot like walking into the world’s fanciest Ikea. Why? Because the pivotal modern sculptor and designer’s experiments with material and light were groundbreaking, and totally shaped how our world looks. Noguchi created beautiful sculptures, and he did it so well that he changed global design forever. That’s an amazing, impressive feat. 

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  • Things to do

When the days are a-darkenin’, London is being over-run with giant arachnids and the supermarkets are filling up with pumpkin-plastered merch (HGV shortages-allowing!), it can only mean one thing: Halloween, Sunday October 31 2021, is almost upon us. So dust off your cape, comb out your synthetic wig and get searching for a ‘beginner friendly’ face painting tutorial on YouTube. It’s almost definitely not gonna be the scariest thing that’s happened in 2021, but that’s probably for the best...

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