Totally Thames Reflections
Photograph: Totally Thames

Unmissable events in London this autumn 2022

Chilling out at home won’t be an option this autumn when London’s plays, exhibitions and concerts are this good


The leaves might be turning orange but hibernating is not an option. Classically, autumn is the time when London’s cultural scene comes alive: new theatre shows head to the stage, galleries are filled with fresh exhibitions, and large-scale events take over the town. And this year London is serving up a buffet of delicious unmissable events and things to do this autumn. 

After blockbuster exhibitions? Check out the British Museum’s ‘Heiroglyphs’ or the V&A’s ‘Hallyu! The Korean Wave’. Want to see stunning art? Frieze, the National Gallery’s Lucian Freud: ‘New Perspectives’ and Chinese artist LuYang have your back. Looking for powerful new theatre? Grab tickets to the RSC’s stage adaption of Studio Ghibli’s ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ or a major new revival of Arthur Millar’s ‘The Crucible’ at the National. Rather dance to big beats? Hit up Dialled In festival or Waterworks

Or, catch one of the many city-wide events celebrating all the odd nooks and crannies of our glorious city. Like Totally Thames, which will be celebrating our beautiful, dirty old river with night-time flotillas, boat races and exhibitions. Or Open House, unlocking private and secret buildings all over town for us to have a gander around. 

Yes, autumn is here and there is a bountiful harvest of brilliant stuff to get up to. Better start filling up your diary. 

Want more? Find out what else is happening in September, October, and November 2022.

The best things to do in London this autumn 2022

  • Film
Get your cinephile fix at London Film Festival
Get your cinephile fix at London Film Festival

This year’s BFI London Film Festival will kick off with as close to a sure bet as you can get: the world premiere of the movie version of ‘Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical’. From there, the UK’s primo film festival will continue its post-pandemic revival in fine style with 11 days and nights of galas, screenings, events, shindigs and film-related happenings around London and other cities around the UK. It’s the most democratic of the world’s big film festivals, with tickets readily available to the public and simultaneous screenings taking its galas out to movie-lovers nationwide. 


  • Theatre & Performance

Famous for portraying one controversial real-life figure in ‘The Crown’ – Diana Spencer – Corrin is on the stage this Autumn playing a fictional character, albeit one so famous they’re practically as iconic as Diana.

Corrin will be leading a brand new West End adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’, her exuberant comic novel about an immortal, gender-switching androgyne. Born male in the reign of Elizabeth I, Orlando lives on for 300 years having a bloody good time, occasionally inexplicably changing sex.

This new version will be directed by the great Michael Grandage, from an adaptation by Neil Bartlett. It doesn’t have a venue yet, but we’re promised one will be announced soon.

  • Theatre & Performance

There hasn't been a fully new large-scale theatre built from scratch in the West End since the Gillian Lynne Theatre opened its doors in 1973. We’ve known for a while that Nimax – one of the major West End theatre owners – was building a new venue as part of the redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road. Now, @sohoplace, a hypermodern 602-seat theatre that will, uniquely for the West End, be configured in the round will open this autumn, with the first production due to be announced soon.


  • Art

Sure, the Tate’s great, the Hayward is wonderful and the National Gallery is a delight. But not all art in London is big and overwhelming, lots of it smaller, more experimental, more intimate. That’s where the city’s smaller, commercial galleries come in. Want giants of nineteenth century art? Feminist icons? Experimental youngsters? Weird conceptualism, twisty abstraction? You can find all of it in the galleries, and all of it is free. So here are the smaller shows we’re most excited about this autumn, and if you can’t wait, here are the ten best shows you can see right now. 

London at its autumnal best...

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