Don’t hibernate indoors, October in London means autumn is here and full of fun things to do. Get outdoors and see London’s trees change colour on a city walk and follow it up with a tasty Sunday lunch at one of London’s cosiest pubs with a fire. If you’re up for a fright, there’s Halloween to look forward to, which means Halloween parties and fancy dress. Or, scare yourself silly with our guide to spooky London. October in London is also the time of the London Film Festival, London Literary Festival, London Restaurant Festival, London Cocktail Week, Frieze London, Africa on the Square and the city’s Diwali celebrations. While for sports fanatics the month holds the Six Day London and NFL London Games. October is packed with new openings, so get a load of our guide best events, things to do and cultural happenings throughout October 2020.
RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar
Our October event highlights 2020
One of Nicholas Hytner’s first big successes at the National Theatre was directing an epic stage adaptation of Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’. And now: hooray! Seventeen years later he’s moved on to the (still incomplete) follow up trilogy ‘The Book of Dust’ at his new gaff the Bridge.
London is not the kind of city that turns down a party. So, we're giving Oktoberfest one big, warm wilkommen with plenty of big frothing Steins of beer, platters of Wurst, fetching leiderhosen getups and oompah bands playing the trumpet like they don't give a schnitzel.
When the days are a-darkenin’, we’ve started walking face-first into spider webs again and the shops are expecting an imminent order of pumpkin-related merchandise, it can only mean one thing: Halloween, Thursday October 31 2019, is almost upon us. Dust off your witch’s hat, rinse those vampire fangs and start honing your prosthetic-application skills, as this year London’s got one hell of a party line up. If you’re not big on the Halloween scene, make sure you at least squeeze in a good firework display, or find some other way to enjoy this magnificent season in London. We’ll be updating this page with events for Halloween 2019 as soon as they’re announced.
Get in the mood for Halloween
Everyone’s favourite performance artist, Marina Abramovć, will return to London with a major exhibition at the Royal Academy spanning her iconic career. More than 50 works are going to be on display, including some brand new ones, including the one everyone’s talking about, ‘Imponderabilia’.
Every hit romcom is destined to become a musical and the inevitable has now happened. Bryan Adams (yes, that Bryan Adams) and Jim Vallance’s take on Julia Roberts’s breakthrough hit received mixed reviews when it premiered on Broadway last year, but it lasted for a respectable enough year.
While Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire gets a spruce-up, the art collection of the Duke and Duchess of Bedfordshire relocates to The Queen's House in Greenwich. Visitors to the free exhibition will be able to see artworks by Van Dyck, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Poussin, Canaletto and more.
There'll be plenty to feast your eyes on in this ambitious retrospective of the radical French artist's painting.
The Bridge will be transformed into a 1930s dancehall for Marianne Elliott and Steven Hoggett’s new stage adaptation of Horace McCoy’s 1935 classic novel that follows a Great Depression-era dance competition.
This major exhibition at Tate Modern will be showing just how radical Rodin was. In a sort-of ‘behind the scenes’ approach, the show draws attention to the artist’s use of clay and plaster in producing his best-known marble and bronze creations.
Beverley Knight is back in the West End and she's found an unlikely vehicle for her talents; a new musical about all-male singing group The Drifters. 'The Drifters Girl' centres on the woman behind the band, Faye Treadwell, who was the first African-American female manager and who helped propel the group to stardom over three decades.
Director Dominic Cooke and stellar actress Imelda Staunton reuniting for this classic musical. It's got music and lyrics by Jerry Herman (‘La Cage aux Folles’) including the wonderful title number, plus 'Put on Your Sunday Clothes' and 'Before the Parade Passes By'.
J.M.W. Turner is now one of the most famous and well-established painters to have ever come out of Britain. Which can make it hard to appreciate just what a radical he was during his lifetime. Turner was fascinated by the new inventions of the Industrial Revolution, as captured in the glorious ‘Rail, Steam and Speed’. And - guess what? - you can see it irl in this show!
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