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London events in October

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

Hunter Desportes/ Flickr
Hunter Desportes/ Flickr
By Time Out London Things To Do, Alexandra Sims and Angela Hui |
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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 FestivalLondon Restaurant Festival, London Cocktail WeekFrieze 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 2019.

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our October event highlights 2019

Theatre, Drama

‘Appropriate’

icon-location-pin Donmar Warehouse, Seven Dials
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See this messed-up drama about a haunted Southern family. It's horrifying in all the right ways. 

Time Out says
Trudi Camilleri in ‘Queen of the Mist’
Photo: Stephen J Russell
Theatre, Musicals

‘Queen of the Mist’

icon-location-pin Charing Cross Theatre, Covent Garden
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Catch this offbeat musical about an indomitable adventurer. It’s a joyful slice of Americana. 

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Theatre, Drama

‘A Very Expensive Poison’

icon-location-pin Old Vic, Waterloo
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See Lucy Prebble’s metaplay about the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. It’s a surreal and brilliant drama about the madness of our times. 

Time Out says
Photo: Tate (Matt Greenwood)
Art

Mike Nelson: ‘The Asset Strippers’

icon-location-pin Tate Britain, Millbank
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See monster-sized machine parts transformed into sculptures reflecting on the landscape of a crumbling Britain. 

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Theatre, Drama

‘A Doll’s House’

icon-location-pin Lyric Hammersmith, Hammersmith
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Ibsen’s masterpiece has been rewritten as a postcolonial parable by the talented Tanika Gupta. While there are similarities with the original, there is an underlying allegory for the end of the empire throughout, with Anjana Vasan putting in a terrifically good performance as heroine Niru.

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Things to do, Cultural centres

Fun Palaces

icon-location-pin Various Venues, London
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During the first weekend of October, people all over the country are getting together in the name of art and science and setting up temporary Fun Palaces. For its fifth year, already 40 palaces have been planned to pop up across London.

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Chris Williams
Things to do, Quirky events

World Zombie Day

icon-location-pin Central London, Bloomsbury
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Celebrate Halloween early at this apocalyptic charity walk where you can run around town dressed like a zombie. Break out your best fake blood and white face paint so you can look the part along with the other hoards of Londoners who’ll take to streets lusting after brains. 

Photo by Ulrich Ghezzi
Art

James Rosenquist: ‘Visualising the Sixties’

icon-location-pin Thaddaeus Ropac, Mayfair
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He’s not that familiar on this side of the Pond, but Rosenquist’s art messes with pop art to often brilliant effect. His art ticks a lot of those boxes but he also has an aesthetic of his own.

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Peter Doig 'Lion in the Road: Sailors' (2019) © Peter Doig. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2019. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York an d London.
Art

Peter Doig: ‘Paintings’

icon-location-pin Michael Werner Gallery, Mayfair
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The modern master of misty, hazy, memory-drenched paintings is back again, but this time there’s a little bit of clarity poking through, and it’s lovely. 

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Frieze London 2018 Photo by Linda Nylind. Courtesy of Linda Nylind/Frieze
Art

Frieze London 2019

icon-location-pin Regent's Park, Regent’s Park
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The megalithic mother of all art fairs returns for another year in Regent's Park. For four days the world's best contemporary art galleries all come together under one giant marquee roof, offering visitors the chance to either line up some serious purchases or just do some serious art window shopping.

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Olivier Malingue, Frieze Masters 2018. Photo by Mark Blower. Courtesy of Frieze/Mark Blower
Art

Frieze Masters 2019

icon-location-pin Regent's Park, Regent’s Park
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Now in its eighth year, Frieze Masters features over 130 international galleries selling seriously high-end art from the ancient era to the end of the twentieth century. This is the place to tick off major names in art history, from Rembrandt to Picasso to Hepworth and beyond. 

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

London Cocktail Week

icon-location-pin Various London locations, London
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Get ready to be shaken and stirred, because London’s annual celebration of the perfectly mixed spirit is back. A £10 digital pass entitles you to £6 cocktails in many of the capital’s best bars all week across an elongated 10-day week (to celebrate the fact that it's LCW's 10th anniversary). 

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Music, Music festivals

Boiler Room Festival

icon-location-pin Various London locations, London
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The all-conquering musical streaming enterprise makes a big leap IRL with four days of sets and gigs spread across Peckham. Each day is dedicated to a different hip-hop genre: jazz, hip hop, bass and club and there’s a ‘no headliners’ ethos.

Things to do, Film events

London Film Festival

icon-location-pin Various Venues, London
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This October sees the 63rd BFI London Film Festival, undoubtedly the capital’s – the UK’s – biggest celebration of international cinema from the past year. On the programme is an astute mix of the best movies from Cannes and the other major festivals, and prestige awards contenders from the major US studios.

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Photo by Damian Griffiths.
Art

Rhys Coren: ‘Shape of Story’

icon-location-pin Seventeen, Haggerston
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Bright, colourful, laser-cut works about the joys of perambulating. Coren is a brilliant young artist, and he just keeps getting better. 

Time Out says
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