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London events in October

Here's your guide to the very best stuff happening across London during October

October in London signals the arrival of autumn, but don't you dare try and hibernate indoors – there's way too much going on for that. The milder weather also means you're justified in taking a long, or short, walk that ends with Sunday lunch at one of London's best pubs with a fire.

For something altogether spookier, there's Halloween to look forward to, which means parties and fancy dress galore.

You see? October isn't so bad after all. In fact it's a gem, so get stuck in to our list of the best events and happenings throughout the month.

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our October event highlights

London Literature Festival


The London Literature Festival once again fills the Southbank Centre with acclaimed authors, poets, speakers and collaborators for a fortnight of wordy events. Celebrating its eleventh year in 2017, the festival will include live readings, talks and workshops.

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Southbank Centre , South Bank Friday October 13 2017 - Sunday October 29 2017


You might not think of Salvador Dalí and Marcel Duchamp – one a flamboyant, moustachioed surrealist and Disney collaborator; the other an arch, cerebral conceptualist and chess player – as artistic bedfellows. But this new RA show will tell an entirely new story, and map the unexpected common ground these two twentieth-century greats shared.  

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Royal Academy of Arts , Mayfair Saturday October 7 2017 - Wednesday January 3 2018

Reflections: Van Eyck and the Pre-Raphaelites

Fifteenth-century Flemish artist Jan van Eyck was as much a technical pioneer as he was an artistic genius, mastering illusionistic space in his exquisitely constructed paintings. Five centuries later, his masterwork 'The Arnolfini Portrait' inspired a new wave of artists: the Pre-Raphaelites, a circle of Victorian bad boys who championed his draughtsmanship and symbolism.

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National Gallery , Trafalgar Square Wednesday October 4 2017 - Monday April 2 2018

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: Time Out London Things To Do

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Fear not, Potter fans: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ is an absolute hoot, a joyous, big-hearted, ludicrously incident-packed and magic-heavy romp that has to stand as one of the most unrelentingly entertaining things to hit the West End. Writer Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany and a world-class team have played a blinder.

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Palace Theatre , Soho Until Sunday April 29 2018

Yann Tiersen


Enormously talented Breton composer and multi-instrumentalist Tiersen is best known for his crisp piano balladry and woozy accordion waltzes, especially those written for the multi-million-selling 'Amelie' soundtrack. Live, though, he often favours rockier presentations.

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Royal Albert Hall , Knightsbridge Monday October 30 2017

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics

This exhibition will take a sweeping look at the history of opera, from its roots in Renaissance Italy to its present-day form. Conceptually arranged around seven different operatic premieres as case studies, works like Mozart's 'Le Nozze di Figaro', Handel's 'Rinaldo' and Wagner's 'Tannhäuser' will be explored in detail. One for fans and the unconverted alike. 

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V&A , Brompton Saturday September 30 2017 - Sunday February 25 2018

Basquiat: Boom for Real

The first question that everyone should be asking about the first major UK retrospective of Jean-Michel Basquiat is this: why the hell has it taken so long? The artist's career was short (he died, tragically, from a heroin overdose at 27), but shone all the brighter for it. Basquiat grew up in Brooklyn, and became a graffiti artist in his teenage years. Then, coming of age in the seismic New York art scene of the '80s, he was taken under the wing of Andy Warhol and shot to fame and fortune: a glittering superstar. His paintings are bright, wild, unique and hoovered up everything from anatomical textbooks to African art as influences. To see them assembled en masse is set to be a thrilling experience.   

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Barbican Centre , Barbican Saturday September 23 2017 - Sunday January 28 2018

Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?

The Wellcome will cast an eye over the relationship between graphic design and health in this autumn season show, which will count cautionary posters and neon pharmacy signs among its exhibits. 

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Wellcome Collection , Bloomsbury Thursday September 7 2017 - Sunday January 14 2018

Much Ado About Nothing

After his explosive gangland reimagining of 'Cymbeline', last year's 'Imogen', Matthew Dunster is reimagining well-loved comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing'. It's a play that's famous for its pair of warring lovers, Beatrice and Benedick. Dunster's amped up the tension by relocating their sparring to 1910 Mexico, a country locked in revolution. With Latin music and bold design, this should be a refreshing new take on a play that's stuffed full of quotable quips.

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Shakespeare's Globe , South Bank Friday July 14 2017 - Sunday October 15 2017

Girl From the North Country

Acclaimed Irish playwright Conor McPherson is known for his award-winning hit plays inclduing 'The Weir' and 'The Seafarer', which mix wittily observed naturalism with a touch of dark magic. So a new work from McPherson is something to get excited about. 'From the North Country' is a story of a lost family running a bleak guesthouse in Depression-era Minnesota. Their wind-swept misery will be soundtracked by classic songs from Bob Dylan. Casting tbc.

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Old Vic , Southwark Monday July 10 2017 - Saturday October 7 2017

Jasper Johns

Indisputable fact: there's no more important painter alive today than Jasper Johns. The 86-year-old artist's influence stretches so far and wide that it's practically immeasurable. He came of age in 1950s New York, in the fertile years between splashy Abstract Expressionism and ice-cool Pop, which was when he created his iconic piece 'Flag', which nodded to both movements. Iconoclastic and experimental, Johns moved the goalposts of painting.

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Royal Academy of Arts , Mayfair Friday September 29 2017 - Sunday December 10 2017


We never were a city to turn down a party, so Oktoberfest London is getting a big, warm wilkommen in 2016. 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: Time Out London Things To Do
Find out what's happening in November


Denis K
Denis K

We are looking for experienced musicians who know the London underground music

Aldis A
Aldis A

I'm travel agent in London for the duration of that time and I'd like to listen cool music events like FILTH at the Vaults , Bloomsbury Festival or so. Something like an art arcade would be interesting as well. And possibly even somebody who comes with me there :)  http://www.gethomeworkonline.com/

Katy L
Katy L

Don't forget Retrospect London is having it's vintage clothing kilo sale on 30th October at Hoxton arches! It's a hugely popular event and a chance to get designer vintage clothes for only £15 a kilo!


Here is the event - entry is only £2!