As autumn kicks in, now is the time to get snuggly and warm indoors. 

There's plenty of fun things to do in London, whether you've got the family in tow or hanging out with friends, that will keep you warm, cosy and entertained this October. 

From Halloween parties to new exhibtions and sky high viewing galleries, here are the best things to do in London this month. 

1 London Film Festival

For film buffs, lovers, nerds and those who just like a good flick or want to see something new, the BFI’s Film Festival is back for another year, bringing with it a string of talks, Q&As and of course, films. There’s stuff you can do for free, surprise films, gala events and cinematic treats to discover. Events individually ticketed.


2 London Cocktail Week

The week celebrating London’s late night boozy treasures is back, showcasing the cocktail making skills of some of the best bar teams in the capital. London Cocktail Week events include cocktail tours, rare cocktail tastings, omakase-style cocktail tastings, whiskey nights and more than 200 festival cocktails from numerous participating bars across London, available for £8 for those with wristbands.

Date: October 12-22

Tickets: Wristbands from £12.50


3 Curling Club, Southbank Centre

A sign as good as any that Christmas is coming, The Curling Club reopens on the South Bank this month. There will be curling, naturally, and also Alpine-inspired street food such as bratwurst and raclette, a bar for mulled wine, beers and warming tipples and a programme of live entertainment.

Date: October 13 – February 11, 2024

Tickets: Pay for play from £24; packages from £75

Address: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX


4 Frieze London

The art fair to end all art fairs returns to London in October featuring a stack of contemporary art from around the world. The involved galleries showcase art from emerging artists to the current major players, so even if you aren’t a collector, there’s plenty to look at and get inspired by. Frieze Masters, which connects historical art to contemporary practices, is also on and a limited number of combined tickets are available.

Date: October 11-15

Tickets: From £59.65

Address: The Regent’s Park


5 ‘Art of London Presents Take A Moment 2023’ at Piccadilly Lights and National Portrait Gallery

Hundreds of famous faces will screen across the West End’s Piccadilly Lights and pop up in the National Portrait Gallery, all with their eyes closed, to raise mental health awareness, culminating on World Mental Health Day, October 10. Famous faces include Russell Brand, Ricky Gervais, Idris Elba, Louis Theroux and Peter Andre. You can be part of the project too. Just submit a picture of yourself with your eyes closed for your chance to see it among the lights.

Date: Exhibition runs until October 15

Tickets: Free

Address: National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin's Place, WC2H 0HE


6 MCM Comic Con, ExCeL London

A pop culture fest celebrating film, TV, gaming cosplay and nerds (a complement), Comic Con has a stack of panels and events to get stuck into. This includes a Q&A with the cast of Dungeons & Dragons web series Critical Role; and talks with Kellan Lutz, Ashley Greene and Jackson Rathbone from The Twilight Saga, Bombshell and The Last Airbender. Cosplay Lip Sync Battle, a live demo by British Sumo Champion Mandeep Singh Kundi and K-Pop Dance Performances are also scheduled.

Date: October 27-29

Tickets: From £21

Address: Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Newham E16 1XL


7 Halloween

How are you going to celebrate the spookiest (and one of the most fun) days of the year? What about a night of the dead party at Madison, or combining Oktoberfest for a spooky stein or two at Finsbury Square? Not up for a party?  Jack the Ripper tours will retrace the steps of the infamous serial killer, or try a ghost walking tour of London Bridge or Royal Maritime Greenwich. Got children? Try pumpkin picking at either the Covent Garden Pumpkin Market or Crockford Bridge Farm in Surrey, or hear about the ghosts that roam the Tower of London or heat to The London Dungeon or the London Bridge Experience for older children.

8 Philip Guston at Tate Modern

The first major retrospective of Philip Guston in the UK for 20 years, this exhibition looks at the artists earl works, inspired by French surrealism and Mexican muralism to his influential abstract canvasses and cartoonish works. With more than 100 paintings and drawings, it also takes in the artist’s activism, as well as his frequently changing style.  

Date: October 5 to February 25

Tickets: From £20/£5 adult/child

Address: Bankside, SE1 9TG


9 Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto at V&A, South Kensington

This is the first UK exhibition dedicated to the French couturiere Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, charting the evolution of her iconic design and the creation of the House of Chanel. It starts with the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910 to the showing of her final collection in 1971 and features nearly 200 looks – seen together for the first time – accessories, perfumes and jewellery.

Date: Booking through to February 2024

Tickets: £24

Address: V&A Museum Cromwell Road SW7 2RL


10 Marina Abramović Institute Southbank Centre takeover

Artists involved in the Marina Abramović Institute and The Artist Is Present documentary star herself will takeover The Queen Elizabeth Hall – backstage, front of house, the Purcell Rooms, all of it, for a site-specific endurance performance art piece like no other. Like Abramović, the MAI artists work with their body to create challenging, confronting and thought-provoking works, and this takeover is a chance to see some pioneering performance art, but also have a nosey around The Queen Elizabeth Hall too.

Date: October 4-8

Tickets:  £60

Address: Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX


11 Bambi, London Fields

A new bar will open this month by one of the owners of Frank’s Cafe in Peckham. Bambi takes over the Bright site in Netil House, and sounds like a more grown up version of the south London institution, but not too grown up to have frozen tequila coffee cocktails on the menu.  The wine bar will have Bib Gourmand chef Henry Freestone (ex-Peckham Cellars) in the kitchen and a curation of DJs in the custom built DJ booth at the weekends.

Address: Netil House, 1 Westgate St, London E8 3RL


12 Horizon 22, City

You’ll find Horizon 22 on the 58th mezzanine level of 22 Bishopgate, and this newly opened viewing platform is not just the highest in London, but it’s the highest free viewing gallery in London. It stands 254 metres tall, it’s more than twice the height of Lift 109 and almost 100 metres taller than the Sky Garden. So, you’ll get a pretty good view of London, whatever the weather.

Address: 22 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AJ


13 Japan: Myths and Manga at V&A Young, Bethnal Green

Deep dive into Japanese culture at this comprehensive and fun exhibition. It pulls together pop culture, history and multiple artforms as it draws connections between folklore and modern day pop culture icons such as Studio Ghibli, Pokémon, origami. More than 150 objects are on display under four sections – skey sea, forest and city. Designed for young people, but interesting for everybody.

Date: October 14

Tickets: Passes cost £10 and are valid for multiple entries

Address: Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 9PA


14 Queer Nature Kew

This month-long festival celebrates the connection between queer people, nature and fungi. Part of the festival, a large-scale commission from acclaimed New York-based artist Jeffrey Gibson, a festival garden by Patrick Featherstone and a film-based installation bringing together LGBTQ+ scientists, horticulturalists, artists and writers. Also look out for after hours events such as music, cabaret, comedy and drag

Date: September 30 – October 29

Tickets: Included in entry ticket (excluding after hours events), starting from £18

Address: Kew Gardens, TW9 3AF


15  茶, चाय, Tea (Chá, Chai, Tea) Exhibition at Horniman, Forest Hill

This exhibition explores Britain’s national drink while asking guest to consider what’s really in a cup of tea. Something to consider while you brew your next pot, the exhibition looks at the drink’s popularisation and globalisation connected to imperialism and colonial violence. It will also look at how tea inspires artistic expression and cultural customs and national identities connected to the drink.

Date: From October 7

Tickets: Free

Address: 100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ


16 London Transport Museum London Calling Late, Covent Garden

One for over 18s, the LTM is putting on a late for young adults new to London to meet up, have fun and maybe have a chat to someone about careers, while dressed as your favourite Tube station. Even if you don’t want to chat careers, the night has fun stuff programmed such as the Tube Station Sashay – a catwalk of fave Tube station outfits, a scavenger hunt and friendship speed dating. There will also be drinks  and food to help you on your way.

Date: October 6

Time: 6.45pm-10pm

Tickets: From £15

Address: Covent Garden PiazzaWC2E 7BB


17 Disney 100: The Exhibition, Royal Victoria Dock

Marking the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company, this huge gala spectacle will take over the ExCel London. It features historical artefacts, moving stories, original costumes and interactive installations that capture the Disney magic across the ages.

Date: October 13

Tickets: From £16.50

Address:  Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Newham E16 1XL


18 Wimbledon Book Fest

Returning for its 16th year, Wimbledon BookFest brings together the likes of Mikaela Loach, Kate Mosse, Ben Okri and Rick Stein to talk about things literary, political, topical and cultural. A school’s programme will run alongside the main events, featuring former Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell and authors SF Said and Katherine Rundell

Date: October 12-22

Tickets: Events individually ticketed

Address: Various locations around Wimbeldon


19 Woolwich contemporary print fair, Woolwich Works

Europe’s largest art fair dedicated to collectable prints sets up shop at Woolwich Works. David Shrigley and other Jealous Gallery-represented artists, as well as Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry and Paula Rego will all have prints available, alongside rising artistic stars. In addition to showcasing and selling prints, programming includes an opportunity to go behind the scenes with gallery, artist and museum fair partners in an intimate collectors evening.

Date: October 26-29

Tickets: From £12

Address: The Fireworks Factory, 11 No 1 St, Royal Arsenal, SE18 6HD


20  Marina Abramović at Royal Academy, Piccadilly

The RA hosts this exhibition of the pioneering performance artist Marina Abramović which looks at key moments in the Serbian’s five-decade long career. She has spent her career testing the limits of her physical and mental health, pushing the body to punishing limits, and the exhibition will be a mix of photographs, objects, video and performances of some of The Artist Is Present star’s iconic works, reperformed by  the next wave of performance artists.

Date: From September 23

Tickets: From £25.50

Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD