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London events in October

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

By Time Out London Things To Do, Alexandra Sims and Angela Hui |
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Richmond Park
Photograph: Charlie Pinder

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 2020.

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our October event highlights 2020

Photograph: The Architects Underground
Things to do, Talks and lectures

The Architects Underground

icon-location-pin RIBA, Fitzrovia
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The Architects Underground is calling itself a ‘live weekly magazine’. Instead of putting its ideas to paper or uploading them online, it will take the form of a new weekly event. The night is aimed at anyone with a love for architecture and design. Expect a mix of performers, artists or guest speakers who’ll take the stage.  

Things to do, Classes and workshops

Drag Diva Fit

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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Drag Diva Fit starts like any other regular fitness class: people in Lycra do stretches against the mirrors but think: aerobics with a RuPaul twist.

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Theatre, Experimental

‘[Blank]’

icon-location-pin Donmar Warehouse, Seven Dials
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Rising star Alice Birch’s mesmerising experimental play about female pain. It’s astonishing writing, uncompromisingly assembled. 

Time Out says
Jenn Nkiru 'REBIRTH IS NECESSARY' (2017) © the artist
Art

Transformer: ‘The Rebirth of Wonder’

icon-location-pin 180 The Strand, Strand
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Group show curated by a bunch of amazing artists including the likes of Jefferson Hack, Doug Aitken, Sophia Al-Maria, Victoria Sin and more. It’s a show that considers how we can make the world that little bit better.

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© Tim Walker
Museums

Tim Walker: ‘Wonderful Things’

icon-location-pin V&A, South Kensington
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Images of fashion, sex and all sorts. This is fashion photography at its glitziest, sexiest best.

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Lázaro Abreu Padrón, 1969, OSPAAAL, The Mike Stanfield Collection. Image courtesy of the House of Illustration
Museums

Designed in Cuba: ‘Cold War Graphics’

icon-location-pin House of Illustration, King’s Cross
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Thirty years of astonishing graphic propaganda from Cuba. See Che Guevara transformed into a waterfall. It’s quite something. 

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Theatre, Drama

‘Ian McKellen On Stage’

icon-location-pin Harold Pinter Theatre, Leicester Square
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Sir Ian’s autobiographical solo show. Go because you want to spend a larky evening with a LIVING LEGEND. This is no retirement party – rather, a celebration of Ian McKellen making it to 80 with his health, memory, acting prowess and joy thoroughly intact.

Time Out says
The Watsons. Menier Chocolate Factory
© Manuel Harlan
Theatre, Drama

‘The Watsons’

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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Laura Wade’s subversive staging of a Jane Austen novel. It’s a very funny, very clever takedown of period dramas. 

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News, Nightlife

Lesbiennale - Party

Move over Venice Biennale... Lesbiennale, London’s first lesbian festival billed as a ‘multi-event celebration of dyke culture’ is happening on Oct 8-10. Devised by Boiler Room’s 4:3 and curated by Nadine Ahmad and Naeem Davis, it’ll take place at various venues. 

© Tate photography (Matt Greenwood)
Art, Contemporary art

Kara Walker: ‘Fons Americanus’

icon-location-pin Tate Modern, Bankside
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See American artist Kara Walker’s massive working fountain, modelled on the Victoria Memorial (the one in front of Buckingham Palace) that takes over the whole rear space of the Turbine Hall.

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Things to do, Festivals

Oktoberfest in London

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.

Things to do, Ice skating

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

icon-location-pin Natural History Museum, South Kensington
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Skate it all about on arguably London’s most enchanting ice rink, thanks to the beautiful backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse’s buildings. 

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Halloween costumes in London: Chucky
All images shot in The London Bridge Experience & Tombs, photo Rob Greig
Things to do

Halloween in London

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. 

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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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