49 Great Things to Do in London: October 2020

It’s full steam ahead for London Restaurant Festival and London Cocktail Week – all within Covid-secure government guidelines, of course – as well as the return of two great immersive theatre events, live comedy indoors and more

Lead image: Camden Oktoberfest (photo:

1 London Restaurant Festival, various locations
1-31 October
OpenTable has once again partnered with London Restaurant Festival to launch exclusive Festival Menus across the capital, which should just fill the big shoes that Eat Out to Help Out has left behind. The Festival Menus will showcase a number of bespoke menu offers with six themes to help you find just what you fancy. There’s London Legends, which will take you top some of London’s long-standing establishments; Outside and Cosy, for those who prefer to keep things alfresco as Covid-19 insists on hanging around (heaters and blankets aplenty); Talk of the Town, which showcases the hottest openings and rising stars; Neighbourhood Gems, for those who like to keep it local; Flights and Pairings, which will upgrade food experiences with drinks pairings; and London with a View, which, frankly, speaks for itself.
To scope out all the Festival Menus, see

2 London Cocktail Week, various locations
1-31 October 
October truly is the month of indulgence in London, with both London Restaurant Festival and London Cocktail Week in full swing. London Cocktail Week, the biggest city-wide celebration of cocktails in the world, is expanding across the entire month this year as it strives to help London’s cocktail industry get back on its feet. Taking place in London’s best bars – alongside a new at-home element – the festival offers cocktail lovers access to an unrivalled collection of top bars with the renowned self-guided Cocktail Tours, as well as a timetable of masterclasses and immersive experiences – all socially-distanced and fully compliant with the latest governmental guidelines. A £15 festival wristband is valid for the entire month of October and unlocks access to The Cocktail Tours, offering £6 Signature Serves in bars hand-picked by the organisers, including the likes of The Artesian at The Langham, 69 Colebrooke Row, Lyaness at Sea Containers London, Sketch and Blue Bar at the Berkeley.

3 Kensington + Chelsea Art Week, various locations
1-11 October
This year’s Kensington + Chelsea Art Week will bring the Royal Borough to life with incredible public art and more than 200 events both online and offline. Highlights include the façade of the Coronet Theatre wrapped in embroidered poetry, empty retail spaces transformed with installations and colourful murals from local artists inspired by Black Lives Matter, Covid-19 and the hard work of the NHS. This year’s expanded Public Art Trail features work by artists Liz West, Lois O’Hara, Barnaby Barford, Toy Studio, Alex Chinneck, Chris Ruffoni, Found Fiction and Amy Jackson, all responding to the Curatorial Call: Transformation. Highlights of the Public Art Trail include ToyStudio’s geometric sculpture and light installation In Bloom on Sloane Square; British Sculptor Alex Chinneck’s Alaphabetti Spaghetti on Bramley Road / Lockton Street; Through III, a six-metre long triangular prism corridor of light and colour by Liz West on the Duke of York Square; and award-winning multidisciplinary artist Yinka Llori’s design interventions for the St Stephen’s Centre at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Plus, from 2–11 October, The Chelsea Theatre’s facade at World’s End Square will be illuminated by coloured lights in the evenings.

4 Mayfair Sculpture Trail, various locations
1-31 October 2020
The inaugural Mayfair Sculpture Trail takes place this month as part of the seventh edition of Mayfair Art Weekend (2-4 October). Renowned galleries in Mayfair will present outstanding artworks in iconic locations, from Bond Street, Cork Street and Burlington Arcade and to the tree-lined grandeur of Grosvenor Square. Sculptures in the public realm, both permanent and temporary, are always free to explore in one of the world’s most prestigious and vibrant art neighbourhoods. Year-round, you’ll find Bruce Mclean’s Handbag Heads at One Hanover Street and the Allies by Lawrence Holofcener on New Bond Street. Look up and you’ll discover Antony Gormley’s Cinch perched on the north façade of Burlington Arcade, or Henry Moore’s Time-Life Screen above Hermès – what was Time Life Building – also on New Bond Street. But this October, you’ll be able to explore new outdoor installations as part of a series of self-guided trails (pick up a printed programme or download the SMARTIFY app for an audio guide.

5 The Great Gatsby, Mayfair
1 Oct-31 Jan 2021
The Great Gatsby – London’s longest running immersive theatrical production – returns this month, re-imagined and re-set to meet Covid-19 secure guidelines. Jay Gatsby invites you to his mansion for one of his infamous parties – the hottest invite in town with flowing champagne, bootleg liquor and pure Roaring Twenties hedonism. Don your masquerade, dress to the nines and immerse yourself in this heart-racing adaption of F Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal tale of jazz-age self-indulgence. Directed by Alexander Wright. Tickets from £39.95pp.
56 Davies Street, Mayfair W1K 5HR;

6 The Murdér Express, Bethnal Green
2 Oct-31 Jan 2021

The Murdér Express, an immersive theatre and dining experience based in east London, reopens on 2 October to transport passengers back in time to the grandeur of the (pre-Covid) 19th century. Set onboard a glamorous train carriage, reminiscent of the Orient Express, The Murdér Express transports guests back in time to the grandeur of the 19th century. Travelling by train for pleasure is in its infancy, and you’ll join other excited passengers ‘travelling’ from London to the fictional town of Murdér in France. But first, we eat! Seated in the elegant dining car, passengers will dine on a menu designed by BBC One MasterChef 2017 finalist, Louisa Ellis, and as the train ‘departs’, the story unfolds around you. Of course, ‘The Murdér Express has new Covid-secure measures in place, including temperature checks, PPE for staff, sanitiser stations throughout the venue, Perspex screens, reduced capacity and an amended seating plan for social distancing. Tickets from £65 plus a £3.90 booking fee per ticket.
Pedley Street ‘Station’, Arch 63, Pedley Street, Bethnal Green E1 5BW;

7 We Found Love in the 80s, a virtual premier
2 October 
Acclaimed British artist Dawinder Bansal (Asian Women & Cars: Road to Independence, Jambo Cinema, and Making of a South Asian Wedding) and producer Martyn Ware (Human League, Heaven 17) have paired up to create We Found Love In The 80s, a film celebrating couples who met in that decade, and exploring how they overcame obstacles to be together. The short film, presented virtually, is part of Leytonstone Loves Film, a festival running from 16 September to 4 October, produced by the Barbican in partnership with local residents and organisations and commissioned by the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Register for the free online premier screening via eventbrite. 7.30pm-8.30pm.

8 Virtual Whisky Show
2-9 October
The biggest whisky show ever to beam into living rooms worldwide runs from 2-9 October. The week-long festival will give attendees the chance to meet, greet, taste and explore the wonderful world of whisky, with the online platform allowing for more than 200 talks from 70 guests – the biggest line-up ever seen at a whisky show. Plus, more than 70 tasting packs are available to buy here so that you can get hands on. Entering the online exhibitor hall, you’ll be able to choose the stand you want to visit and engage directly with the team behind the brand, taking part in exclusive tastings and talks while submitting questions via the virtual chat function or requesting to join the stand for a conversation. You can also head for virtual seminar rooms or the main stage to see some of the whisky world’s most important figures giving talks, tastings and distillery tours. The show opens at 4pm on 2 Oct and runs from 11.30am-9pm. Tickets £20 including a £10 discount on tasting sets.

9 We Were Having a Perfectly Nice Time at Clapham Omnibus
2-24 October
We Were Having a Perfectly Nice Time at Clapham Omnibus is a dark comedy about loo roll, lost love at the bus station and knowing when to end a conversation – especially a sad one. Some people are inherently unlikeable. Some people have just read The Bell Jar and insist on telling everyone. Some people click their fingers at waiters… these two flatmates hate those people. In fact, they hate a lot of things, perhaps even each other. But they were having a perfectly nice time until she went and spoiled it all. Presented by Conflicted Theatre in association with Grace Dickson Productions. Tickets £6. Staged on Friday & Saturday evenings. Clapham Omnibus has new Covid-secure measures in place. Click here for more.
Northside, Clapham Common SW4 0QW; 

10 London Craft Week
30 Sept-10 Oct
London Craft Week celebrates outstanding British and international creativity. This year, the festival brings together more than 250 makers, designers, brands and galleries from around the world in a mix of real-life and online events. Highlights include a Koji Workshop and Sake Tasting on 7 October at Pantechnicon on Motcomb Street, where you’ll learn how to use Koji to make doburoku (home brewed sake), amazake (a sweet rice drink), miso and more, as well as sampling dishes with sake pairings; a Moyses Stevens Flower Crown Masterclass on The Coaling Jetty at Battersea Power Station on 3 October; and a series of events at Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross throughout the week, including Experience Design, Technique and Materiality at Tom Dixon’s Coal Office, where you can discover the brand’s latest launches and early designs.

11 Grown & Thrown at DIY Art Shop, Hackney
3-4 October
Grown & Thrown – where you can mix and match ceramics with plants – is a must for greenery lovers. Choose from a range of commissioned ceramic pots and planters by the likes of @colourbox_studio, @laura_bird_, @hannahbould and @ikukoikik, and match them with a selection of cacti, succulents and house plants to create your perfect plant and pot pairing. Exclusive pots and planters will be produced by ceramic artists that exhibit at the Independent Ceramics Markets, as well as ceramic artists from further afield. There will also be a collaborative range of one-off pots. Open 11am-5pm.
129 Shacklewell Lane, Hackney E8 2EB. See

12 1,000 Tiny Fun Palaces, nationwide
3-4 October
Fun Palaces, the annual event that turns libraries and venues across the country into free celebrations of arts, science, craft, tech, heritage, sports and, most importantly, fun, is going micro this year. In response to Covid-19, the nationwide event is encouraging people to create extra-small, hyper-local Fun Palaces. A shared creation made by three neighbours along a wall, a seed swap in your street, a drumming lesson from a balcony window, a neighbourhood co-writing a story in chalk on the pavement, or six people enjoying a socially-distanced yoga class in a car park… It’s all about sharing skills and making local connections. You could even hold a Digital Fun Palace – broadcast a knitting tutorial on Facebook live, write a shared poem on Twitter, or hold a dance-off via video conference. For guidance on how to create a Tiny Fun Palace, click here.

13 Camden Oktoberfest at The Electric Ballroom
3-24 October
Camden Oktoberfest is going for a socially distanced version of events this year. Taking place across the first four Saturdays in October, Camden Oktoberfest will pair the usual merry traditions with a modern twist featuring live brass bands and DJs. The fully decked out Bavarian beer hall will set the scene for tonnes of authentic German bratwurst, grilled Black Forest sausage, Currywurst, pretzel alternatives Brotzel, plus giant sloshing steins of German beer. You’ll find only the finest Bavarian brews, supplied by Spaten, Löwenbräu & Becks, and legendary Bratwurst sausage street food trader Herman Ze German is the exclusive food partner. Headline act No Limit Street Band, an eight piece brass band made up of some of London’s leading street musicians, will lay down a mix of pop, rock, hip hop, R&B, funk and soul covers, and dancers, competitions and unique challenges will keep the energy levels high until the Club De Fromage DJs switch things up later on. Covid-secure measures include a 50% reduced capacity, Plexiglas shielded bars, an ushered one-way system throughout and apps for additional table service. Tickets from £20 (minimum four tickets, maximum six).
184 Camden High Street NW1 8QP;

14 Ian Cumberland: Presence in Absence  
Until 5 October 
Presence in Absence is a new a solo exhibition by Irish artist Ian Cumberland at JD Malat Gallery in Mayfair. Best known for his hyperrealist portraits of isolated subjects in detailed interiors, Cumberland explores themes of mass media culture, surveillance, the notion of the human ‘self’ and how we are manipulated to believe in lifestyles and material goods. Presence in Absence consists of installations that utilise portraits as part of a multi-part tableau, establishing a dialogue between objects. Cumberland’s works involve an assemblage of theatrical objects, adding abnormal touches and unsettling atmospheres within mundane interiors, giving rise to an acute degree of realism. The subjects are caught in moments of escape from their psychological containment, similar to one experienced by people during the pandemic. Open Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm.
30 Davies Street, Mayfair W1K 4NB;

15 Queen & Culture Exhibition by Endless at The Crypt Gallery, King’s Cross
5-11 October
London-based contemporary artist, Endless, is holding a seamless physical and digital art exhibition this month. Queen & Culture Exhibition has been arranged to showcase a collection of over 31 lockdown-inspired artworks offering bold musings of key current events and societal shifts that have taken place since March. Among the works on display will be new interpretations of Endless’ most iconic pieces, including Lizzy Vuitton. In light of unpredictable lockdown circumstances, the artist worked has with his management team, Cris Contini Contemporary, to offer a seamless, cross-channel exhibition. Spectators can arrange to see Endless’ artwork physically at The Crypt Gallery in King’s Cross, or you can also arrange to view it virtually, via a digital gallery tour. Both options promise to be a high-quality and immersive experience whereby you can take in the artwork and meet the artist.
The Crypt Gallery, King’s Cross Saint Pancras Church, 165 Euston Road NW1 2BA;

16 Frieze Sculpture, Regent’s Park
5-18 October
Frieze London and Frieze Masters introduce a new hybrid format of online and offline activity this year, with The Institute of Melodic Healing (IMH), an ‘institute of sound and performance’ located at 9 Cork Street, Mayfair (and broadcast online from 6-11 Oct), Frieze Viewing Room, a virtual gallery space presenting major works by established and emerging artists, and Frieze Sculpture. Frieze Sculpture is an outdoor exhibition of 12 ambitious works by leading international artists across the English Gardens at Regents Park. ‘Rarely have our public spaces been quite so important for our mental and physical wellbeing,’ says Clare Lilley, Frieze Sculpture curator and Director of Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, ‘and this exhibition shines a light on sculpture in the open air, creating a place of inspiration and enjoyment.’ The 2020 line-up includes David Altmejd, Eric Fischl, Patrick Goddard, Lubaina Himid, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk and Rebecca Warren. This year’s selection of works touch on a range of timely themes, including civil rights, ecology, and the role of the artist as disruptor. Free and open to all.

17 Deezer’s 80s Drive-In at Troubadour Meridian Water, Enfield
7 October
Global music streaming service Deezer is hosting a one-off drive-in experience packed with 80s music, food and fancy dress for one day only! The special #DeezerDriveIn is part of National Album Day (NAD), and this year’s focus is on the 80s. Pull up and enjoy four incredible live recorded performances from 80s legends on a massive top-of-the-range LED screen. The line-up for the night is as follows: Madonna, The Virgin Tour (1988), Prince, Sign o’ the Times (1987), Stevie Nicks, Live at Red Rocks (1987), David Bowie, Glass Spider Tour (1988). Retro fancy dress is strongly encouraged, and a special menu even matches 80s food prices! Doors from 6.15pm, music from 7pm. Tickets are on sale now for £15 per car. Carless access is allowed for up to five people per bay – take a chair and an FM radio. All profits from the event will go to Help Musicians to support musicians in times of financial hardship.
Troubadour Meridian Water, Harbet Road N18 3QQ;

18 Kovet.Art makes Photo London Debut
7-18 October
As Photo London launches its inaugural digital edition this month, Photo London Digital (7-18 October), new visual art platform Kovet.Art will be showcasing works from its inaugural Kovet.Art exhibition, Delineating Dreams. Curated exclusively for Photo London, Kovet.Art will show defining works by Tom Faber, Loreal Prystaj, Candice Jewell and Giovanna Petrocchi. The selection is grounded in dream-like explorations of the subconscious, presenting works which subtly manipulate the space between abstraction and figuration. Each artist questions concepts of the body and the natural landscape, using transformative and multi-disciplinary ways of working to subvert what is known and familiar, inviting us to dream of possible new futures. During Photo London Digital, Kovet.Art will host two talks: Championing Emerging Artists on 6 October at 6pm with Kovet.Art Chief Art Officer Camilla Grimaldi and director of the Anish Kapoor Foundation, Mario Cadognato; and a free online discussion between Kovet.Art resident artist Loreal Prystaj and Sotheby’s Head of Photography Brandei Estes on 13 Oct at 5pm.
For tickets and more information see Kovet.Art

19 Streatham Festival, various locations 
9-18 October
Streatham Festival will feature online events for the first time this year, as well as a range of physical ones, celebrating all aspects of the arts. The local MP for Streatham, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, will be officially opening the festival on the evening of Friday 9 Oct at the Romantic Cello by Candlelight in St Thomas’ Church on Telford Avenue, and the new Streatham Literature Festival will feature workshops and readings by writers, publishers, and illustrators, as well as a downloadable literature walking tour of Streatham. Other highlights include Loud Black Girls, a panel discussion between Abiola Oni and Temi Mwale, two writers from the Loud Black Girls anthology of Black British writing, as part of the Streatham Sunday Special on Sunday 11 Oct, StreatArt20, showcasing local artists, and London Concertante’s candlelit Secret Garden Concerts and Halloween-themed strings workshop for children.

20 Brothers BBQ’s Bless Up Bottomless Brunch at & Bush Theatre
10 October
Brothers BBQ and the Bush Theatre announce their first-ever brunch event, the Bless Up Bottomless Brunch, which is all about coming together and celebrating a love of good food and good music. The socially distanced event certainly won’t be short of funky tunes, brought to you by your host and soundtrack providers, Mixmaster DJ & K Pryme. Enjoy UKG, Funky House & Old School Vibes Hip Hop, R&B & Reggae/Dancehall classics while tucking into exciting street food options like the famous Brothers BBQ Sweet Love Burger, Boneless BBQ Jerk Chicken and their incredible waffle creation with Nutella or Biscoff Spread topped with Oreos and white chocolate – plus bottomless cocktails or prosecco. 2pm-8pm. Tickets £35pp.
7 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush W12 8LJ;

21 static Silent Disco Boat Party on Tamesis Dock, Albert Embankment
10 October
static, the high-end boutique cycling studio in Nine Elms, near Battersea, is hosting a unique boat party ride aboard the Tamesis Dock floating pub this weekend. The two hour boat party will feature an outdoor silent disco spin class session with Lauren and Chucky onboard the floating venue, which is moored near MI6 on Albert Embankment, followed by pizza and prosecco afterwards (soft drinks or a bottomless upgrade will be available on the day). Bikes will be socially distanced and all equipment is fully sanitised between all rides. From 10am. Tickets are £45. Take weather-appropriate clothing should the weather take a turn… Click here to book.
Tamesis Dock, Albert Embankment SE1 7TY;

22 Greenwich Dance’s Ragtime to Grime – Bring It Home Tour, Royal Borough of Greenwich 
10-24 October
Greenwich Dance has commissioned social and street dance company Grounded Movement to bring live dance theatre to individual homes throughout the Royal Borough of Greenwich in celebration of Black History Month. The Ragtime to Grime – Bring It Home Tour is a powerful street dance and rap performance telling the story of troubled young people who feel mentally adrift and disenfranchised from history. Just 10-minutes long, the specially choreographed performance by Temujin Gill, featuring dancers Daniella May Selwood and Adrian Falconer, alongside rapper Sunanda Biswas, will take place at the end of a path or in a communal outdoor space in a physically distanced format. There will be 30 individual shows, each in a different location each day, from Abbey Wood to Eltham, Greenwich and Woolwich, and available to book for your own household. That means a total of just 30 tickets are available, priced on a pay-what-you-can basis. The original music is by Nick Ramm and features original lyrics by the late Nigerian-born hip hop artist Ty (aka Ben Chijioke), who died earlier this year after contracting Covid-19.
For the full list of locations, timings and to book, see

23 Architecture for Dogs at Japan House London, High Street Kensington
Until 10 October
Japan House London will be the first destination in Europe to host the internationally acclaimed Architecture for Dogs exhibition. Featuring a collection of 16 architectural designs for different dog breeds including the Beagle, Bichon Frise and Poodle, the exhibition offers a fun and insightful exploration into how it is possible for dogs and their human companions to be at their happiest through interaction with specially designed architectural pieces. The exhibition offers smaller dogs the opportunity to interact with a number of the designs, such as Architecture For Long-Bodied Short-Legged Dogs, designed by world-renowned architectural practice Atelier Bow-Wow. Other exhibits include A new home for Snoopy and a candy floss cocoon inspired by the distinct fur of the Bichon Frise.
101-111 Kensington High Street W8 5SA; 

24 Do Robots Dream of Electric Bees? Annka Kultys Gallery, Hackney
Until 10 October
Annka Kultys Gallery is making history as the first commercial art gallery to represent a humanoid robot artist, Ai-Da Robot, in Do Robots Dream of Electric Bees? Ai-Da is the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist, who made the headlines last year for making over £1m in sales before her inaugural exhibition at Oxford University opened. The upcoming exhibition, a play on the novel by Philip K. Dick, presents new works by Ai-Da including oil paintings, drawings and sculptures, as well as one video work. The exhibition deals with themes from global warming, the extinction of species to the uses and abuses of future technologies. Aided by computer vision, Ai-Da can draw, and is a performance artist. Since her creation last year, Ai-Da has shown at the Barbican, Tate Modern, Ars Electronica and Abu Dhabi Art. Open Thurs-Sat, 12pm-6pm.
Unit 3, 1st Floor, 472 Hackney Road E2 9EQ;

25 The Luna Cinema, Wimbledon Park & Dulwich Park
29 Sept-11 Oct

Following visits to the likes of Hampton Court Palace and the Old Royal Naval College, the Luna Cinema heads for Wimbledon Park from 29 September-4 October before ending its season with a run at Dulwich Park from 7-11 October. The open-air cinema experience now involves a number of pitches, pre-laid out for groups of two-to-four with chairs set up ready for you. In Wimbledon, you can enjoy Pretty Woman on 1 October, Joker on 2 October, Dirty Dancing on 3 October, and Back to the Future on 4 October. In Dulwich, its Joker on 7 October, Jojo Rabbit on 8 October, Rocketman on 9 October, The Greatest Showman on 10 October, and Pretty Woman on 11 October. A seated pitch for two is generally £35 although prices may vary according to the venue and the day.

26 Cycle for Health at Lee Valley White Water Centre
11 October
Organised by Epping Forest District Council Community, Cycle for Health is a scenic bike ride through Lee Valley Regional Park and Epping Forest. This programme of weekly rides gives you, family and friends the opportunity to learn more about the park and discover new open spaces if you’re growing tired of your favourite walking and cycle routes. Rides last approximately two hours and will cover distances between 10km and 15km. 9am to 11pm. Ride only £4.50, hire and ride £9 (Hired bikes must be booked 48 hours prior to the session). Book in advance to secure your space.
Waltham Cross EN9 1AB;

27 Drive In Film Club at Alexandra Palace
12-31 October
Drive In Film Club returns to Ally Pally with a new October featuring bold new blockbusters, Halloween classics and a sprinkling of special events. The socially distanced drive-in event, delivered by the team behind Rooftop Film Club, has everything you need for a great movie night out, including a giant 40-foot LED screen, in-car audio via local FM stereo, concessions like hot dogs, popcorn, chocolate and drinks (ordered online and dropped off outside your car door), and, of course, loos that are cleaned regularly. Screenings kick off on 12 October with A Rainy Day in New York and Grease, with showings of Psycho on 26 Oct, The Shining on 27 Oct, Gremlins on 28 Oct, Ghostbusters on 29 Oct, The Addams Family on 30 Oct and, on Halloween itself, Casper, Hocus Pocus and Relic. Plus, for those missing trips to London’s theatres, on Thursday 15 Oct you can catch a 5.30pm showing of the National Theatre’s award-winning hit Fleabag, followed by a screening of Escape from Pretoria, alongside a live Q&A with director Francis Annan. Tickets from £27.50 per car plus booking fee.
Alexandra Palace Way N22 7AY;

28 The Prince Charles Cinema Reopens, West End
From 13 October
Following the shock news that Cineworld is to temporarily close all its cinemas due to the delayed release dates of blockbusters like Bond film No Time To Die, The Prince Charles Cinema – the only independent big screen in central London – has defied the odds to announce its reopening date. The cinema, which shows arthouse and classic films alongside recent Hollywood releases, is planning to open its doors from Tuesday 13 October, during the BFI London Film Festival. Screening on 13 October will be Mogul Mowgli, directed by Bassam Tariq and starring Riz Ahmed, as well as Shirley, directed by Josephine Decker and starring Elisabeth Moss, both showing as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2020. Also booking now for November screenings are Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s brand new time-bending thriller, accompanied by his 2014 sci-fi epic, Interstellar.
7 Leicester Place, West End WC2H 7BY;

29 Live at Ally Pally, Alexandra Palace
15 Oct-22 Nov
Live, indoor events return to Alexandra Palace this month with Live at Ally Pally, a season of music, comedy and entertainment. Featuring some of the most exciting acts in comedy and music, Live at Ally Pally will mark the re-opening of The West Hall, which has remained closed to the public since March. Al Murray and his alter ego The Pub Landlord will headline the opening show on Thursday 15 October, with subsequent nights featuring the likes of Phil Wang, Adam Hills, Dara O’Briain, Rich Hall, Russell Kane, Nathan Caton, Suzi Ruffell, Rosie Jones and Angela Barnes. The series will also feature live sets from influential DJ Sasha (30 October), The Comet Is Coming, who will bring their unique fusion of jazz, Afrofuturism, electronica and psychedelia to Alexandra Palace on 22 November, Sh!t-faced Shakespeare’s unique take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream (25 October), and one of the UK’s best alternative club nights, Rebel Bingo (31 October). The audience will be seated at socially distanced tables and table service will be provided for food and drinks from a variety of pop-up street food vendors and bars.
Alexandra Palace Way N22 7AY;

30 Dante’s In Furlough at The Vaults, Waterloo
15 Oct-30 Dec
The devil is getting hitched, and given the Covid chaos, there’s no better time to accept an invitation to the underworld… The bottom line of this socially distanced interactive show – inspired by Shel Silverstien’s epic poem, Billy Markham and the Devil, written for PlayBoy in 1977 – is betray or be betrayed. Travel down into the many circles of Hell and navigate your way to the wedding of the millennium. But to prove yourself worthy of a seat at Devil’s table, you’ll need to lie, sin and cheat your way there. Should your morals interfere, your punishment will be to return to the altogether more disappointing plains of Earth and miss out on all the hedonism down below. Covid-secure measures include a limit of six attendees at a time, with ample space to stand two-metres away from those not in your bubble. Face coverings are mandatory. Tickets from £20 (previews), drinks tokens £6. Open Thurs-Sat 5.30pm-8.30pm and Sun 4.30pm-7.30pm.
The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo SE1 7NN;

31 Boulangerie, north London
16 October
Following May’s online festival showcasing 40 drag and queer artists from across the world, Boulangerie returns to with a live show in a secret outdoor venue in north London. Boulangerie showcases queer artists of all performance styles and forms of expression, making it an unpredictable evening of revelry – expect lip-syncs, original music, dance, spoken word and more. The star-studded line-up includes London’s queen of a thousand faces, Charity Kase, sword-swallowing poet and singer Missa Blue, international burlesque and cabaret star Smashlyn Monroe, and powerhouse creative ‘drag thing’ Cyro. A number of open mic slots will also be made available. In accordance with current guidelines and safety measures, tickets are available for purchase on OutSavvy in groupings of two, four, and six by table from £10pp. You can also stream the show from home for £5. The venue address, near Tottenham Hale station on the Victoria line, will be released to ticketholders on the day of the show.

32 #NordicSpiritNights Northern Lights Pop Up, Soho
Until 17 October
The Northern Lights – aka the aurora borealis – can be tricky to spot, and with travel a little awkward at present anyway, it’s best to let them come to you… Nordic Spirit, a leading nicotine pouch brand from Sweden, is bringing the very best of the Nordics to London this October with an immersive pop-up experience called #NordicSpiritNights. Popping up in Soho from 1-17 October, the space will operate as a Nordic Sprit shop during the day, but come evening, the space will transform into #NordicSpiritNights, a Scandinavian forest and fjord-like setting offering a 360°-experience featuring the Northern Lights, live DJ sets, sunset suppers and exclusive film screenings. Running from Wednesday to Saturday evenings, you can choose from two kinds of experiences: Sunset Supper and Fjord, a Nordic-inspired dining experience under the Northern Lights with a DJ hits the decks (7-10 October); and Nordic Noir, a screening of Oscar-nominated The Square under the ‘stars’ with a selection of drinks and Scandi-inspired nibbles (14-17 October). Entry is free and open to existing adult smokers, vapers and nicotine users over the age of 18.
10 Argyll Street, Soho W1F 7TQ;

33 JOY Found Me by Amy Broch, Mayfair
Until 18 October
Artist Amy Broch has created a playful art installation in a previously empty shopfront where whimsical characters come alive and create ‘joy bombs’ – the artistic equivalent to photo bombing. JOY Bomb London – created by Broch after her husband’s ALS diagnosis – creates site-specific multi-sensory installations that transform ordinary spaces into mini-worlds of rainbow-filled delights. Many Scientists believe that a good laugh is like a break for your brain, restoring hope and reviving optimism, and learning that happiness was linked to better treatment outcomes and longevity for ALS patients spurred on Broch to create even more fun for fun’s sake. JOY Found Me is a site-specific, interactive installation for the ground floor window and first floor balcony areas of 48 Brook Street, created in collaboration with Illuminate Productions for Mayfair Arts Weekend. Available to view daily from 12pm-8pm, with interactive performances on Fridays and Saturdays from 12pm-8pm.
48 Brook Street, Mayfair W1K 5DR;

34 Silver Lining at Eros, Piccadilly
Until 19 October

Sofitel is welcoming back Londoners after this difficult year with a new major art installation in St James’s. Silver Lining, a first-time collaboration between critically acclaimed MTArt Agency’s represented artists Ania Catherine, Dejha Ti and poet, filmmaker and actress, Greta Bellamacina, is a public art installation that aims to bring to life Sofitel’s much loved ‘Joie de Vivre’ (the Joy of Life) philosophy and inspire passers-by to look for the silver lining in life as they navigate this new era. Found nestled between Haymarket and Piccadilly, Silver Lining will be a metaphorical ‘welcome back’ to the capital created by award-winning LA-based artists Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti, featuring shimmering ribbons of silver interwoven with a powerful, hope-filled verse from Bellamacina’s inspirational poem.

35 Beat the Devil with Ralph Fiennes at Bridge Theatre, Tower Bridge
21-31 October
Nick Hytner’s Tower Bridge theatre is emerging from lockdown with a collection of star-studded monologues including Beat the Devil, starring none other than Ralph Fiennes. Directed by Hytner and written by David Hare, the production depicts Hare’s experience of contracting Covid-19 early on in the pandemic. The playwright previously described the government’s response to the pandemic as worse than the handling of the Iraq war, so don’t expect this soliloquy to pull any punches. Tickets £10-£30.
One Tower Bridge SE1 2SD;

36 Trinity Laban’s Lunchtime Concerts at St Alfege Church, Greenwich
22 & 29 October
Trinity Laban is going beyond Black History Month as part of the Royal Greenwich Black History 365, with a year-long programme celebrating Black, Asian and ethnically diverse creativity in music, dance and musical theatre running into and throughout 2021. In October, Trinity Laban is presenting two lunchtime concerts with pre-concert talks and performances celebrating the music of Black composers and performers. The live concerts – free and open to all – will take place at St Alfege Church in Greenwich on Thurs 22 Oct and Thurs 29 Oct at 1.05pm, and will be made available to a wider digital audience afterwards via the Trinity Laban Youtube channel.
St Alfege Church, Greenwich Church Street SE10 9BJ;

37 Coco de Mer x Janet’s List Black History Month Pop Up, Covent Garden
Until 30 October
What better way to get behind Black History Month than supporting Black-owned independent businesses? Luxury lingerie brand Coco de Mer is joining forces with Janet’s List, a curated platform of independent brands by women of colour, for a pop-up championing independent businesses that have been founded by black women and women of colour. Popping up in Coco de Mer’s Covent Garden boutique, the curated edit will feature 12 brands from Janet’s List that have been founded by black women and women of colour, each with a purpose to make women look good, feel good and be empowered. The collaboration with Coco de Mer is the first of its kind and will be an opportunity to discover and buy from a selection of brands from Janet’s List in Coco de Mer’s beautiful Covent Garden boutique. Brands include Janet’s List, Ahima Jewellery, Ange B Designs, LB Beads, Sofia Latif, Kora Naturals, The Soap Connoisseur, Colourshot Cards, Afropuff , AK Wilde, Afrotouch and Sheer Chemistry.
23 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden WC2H 9DD;

38 RMG’s Global Greenwich: Reframing Black Histories
Throughout October
Global Greenwich: Reframing Black Histories, presented by Royal Museums Greenwich’s (RMG), has been curated to raise the profile of Black history in celebration of Black History Month. The programme of events is made up of three strands: Celebrating Black Histories, Re-telling Whitewashed Histories, and Black Futures. Highlights include the Black History Museum Online Trail focussing on John Simmons, a Black sailor who went from being enslaved on a plantation in Jamaica to fighting at the Battle of Trafalgar with Admiral Nelson (21 October and then available year-round through the website); Black Women and the Waves, an online talk and Q&A session by Black History Walks’ Tony Walker, recount stories of Black women who have done amazing things on the water from ancient voyages to the Surf Girls of Jamaica (21 October, 7pm); and Mutiny at Sea: Enslaved African Resistance on Board with historian Professor Hakim Adi (16 October, 6pm-7pm).

39 West End Musical Drive-In, Enfield
Until 31 October
Alongside London’s many drive-in cinemas, there’s the West End Musical Drive-In, a socially distanced musical theatre party from the producers of West End Musical Brunch. Taking place at The Drive In at Troubadour Meridian Water, the entirely contact-free concert experience delivers you live performances from the biggest West End superstars. The performances, featuring songs from a host of different musicals, will be projected from the stage onto a massive screen with sound provided straight to your car radio. Tickets from £65 (based on one car with two attendees). Running every Saturday until 31 October. This one sells out fast and keeps adding new dates, so keep an eye on the website!

40 Atelier Picasso at BASTIAN, Mayfair
Until 31 October 
Atelier Picasso at BASTIAN recreates Picasso’s Cannes studio as an immersive experience, offering a rarely seen glimpse into the ingenious mind of one of the greatest talents of the 20th century. Picasso moved to the South of France to escape war-torn Paris following WWII, and despite an already remarkable career, he was determined to keep experimenting. A hoarder, Picasso piled the surfaces and floors of his studio with a treasure trove of source material and original works, from furniture and sculptures to ceramics, drawings and prints, as seen in this exhibition. Atelier Picasso also features a number of photographs from André Villers, a close friend of Picasso’s who took many photos of the artist at work, as well as The Complete Set of 20 Visage plates from 1963. Open Tues-Sat, 10am-6pm. Admission free.
8 Davies Street, Mayfair W1K 3DW;

41 Andy Warhol at Tate Modern, Bankside
Until 15 November
Initially due to run from March till September, Tate Modern’s major Andy Warhol retrospective – the first Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern for almost 20 years – has been extended until November in the wake of the coronavirus closures. As well as his iconic pop images of Marilyn Monroe, Coca-Cola and Campbell’s soup cans, it includes works never seen before in the UK. Twenty-five works from his Ladies and Gentlemen series – portraits of black and Latinx drag queens and trans women – are shown for the first time in 30 years. Warhol was the son of immigrants who became an American icon. The artist embraced consumerism, celebrity and the counter culture – and changed modern art in an age of immense social, political and technological upheaval. Tickets £22.
Bankside SE1 9TG;


Atelier Picasso at BASTIAN

42 Moët & Chandon’s ‘London Calling’ Champagne Bar at Selfridges 
Until November
Moët & Chandon’s has created a London Calling champagne bar at Selfridges. Located within a space inspired by the classic red telephone booth, the bar will serve a range of Moët & Chandon wines, including its iconic Moët Impérial and Rosé Impérial, which have been known to make an appearance throughout London’s most glamourous moments. You can also opt to sit within the glass telephone box (it’s somewhat posher than your standard street corner effort, fret not), and order personalised Moët gift boxes. A curated exhibition of 10 iconic celebratory photographic moments of London life from 1908 to the 1990s are showcased on the walls of the spacesuch as Lulu celebrating her first American number one from her London flat in 1967. The pop-up will also run a series of champagne masterclasses from bars including Mr Foggs, Coupette, Heads + Tails and Disrepute between 6 October and 25 November. Find it in the Beauty Workshop on G. 
400 Oxford Street W1A 1AB;

43 GAIKA’s A New Dawn – The Era of Reclamation at House of St Barnabas, Soho
Until December
The House of St Barnabas – the Soho members’ club on a mission to break the cycle of homelessness – is examining its relationship to slavery after Director of Engagement Gillian Jackson came to realise that the House was built by slave owner Richard Beckford, one of the biggest Jamaican plantation owners of the 18th Century. To address the House’s links to slavery, they have invited British artist and musician Gaika – whose family were enslaved by Beckford – to reclaim a room in the house and create a unique new art installation, Flight Recorder, centred around an inflight black box as a metaphor for a slave ship retaining memories of the ship’s journey. Audiences can interact with the black box, touching it at various points to reveal different sounds. The GAIKA installation is the first of a series of culture and impact events called A New Dawn – The Era of Reclamation, which will also be digitally streamed. It will be open to members of the public through pre-booked tours. The exhibition will be on show at House of St Barnabas until December 2020.
1 Greek Street, Soho Square W1D 4NQ;

44 Brent Biennial, various locations
Until 13 December
The first ever Brent Biennale mark its year as London Borough of Culture – and what a year it has turned out to be! But it’s not over yet… more than 20 brand new artworks inspired by the cultures, places and people of Brent can be found in public spaces right across Brent, on buildings and billboards, in laundrettes and across 10 community and council libraries. From sculptures to sound art, large-scale murals to intimate installations, Brent Biennial features international and Brent-based artists including Rasheed Araeen, Imran Qureshi, Dawn Mellor, Jude Wacks, Jaykoe, Yasmin Nicholas and Ruth Beale, and every work has been specially commissioned by and created for then event. Download the map here.

45 I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now at Gallery 31, Somerset House
Until 10 January 2021
Somerset House Studios presents the second season of its new permanent exhibition space, Gallery 31. In light of recent world events, this exhibition theme has also been expanded online. In our current state of acceleration, change seems to have become the very basis of existence and an operational model for modern life. Bringing together digital collage, print material, sound and sculpture, I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now explores the idea of change and its transformative or violent power through dynamic layered compositions. Highlights include Vivienne Griffin’s sculptural compositions exploring the power in changing oneself, questioning whether self-obsession is superficial or a powerful tool for progress; and an interactive work by rkss & Laura Fox that explores gender as a relational process, using excavated music and objects in conjunction with AR to create an immersive digital experience. Free.
Terrace Rooms, Somerset House, Strand WC2R 1LA;

46 Titian: Love, Desire, Death at National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
Until 17 January 2021
The National Gallery was London’s first major gallery to reopen, and its lead exhibition, Titian: Love, Desire, Death, has resumed and will now be on show in the Main Floor Galleries until 17 January 2021 (tickets are £12). You can also see Nicolaes Maes: Dutch Master of the Golden Age in the Ground Floor Galleries until 20 September 2020. There are new one-way art routes, two-metre social distancing rules, additional cleaning, hand sanitiser stations at regular intervals, and visitors are encouraged to wear face coverings. Plus, visitors must book in advance, even to see the main collection, which remains free, in order to control numbers and help reduce contact.
Trafalgar Square WC2N 5DN;

47 Icons at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
Until 31 January 2021
Riverside Studios has collaborated with Cambridge’s Art Hound Gallery to launch Icons, featuring portraits of Amy Winehouse, The Sex Pistols, David Bowie and Princess Diana, among others. The exhibition celebrates some of the many pop culture legends associated with Riverside Studios throughout the venue’s diverse history. But what makes an icon? From Hollywood legends to rock and roll superstars and theatrical celebs, icons have been an inspiration for a wave of artists exploring pop culture and beyond. This selection of artwork by some of the most exciting contemporary artists on the scene – including David Studwell, Lauren Baker, Mark Illuminati and Terry Pastor – explores the symbolism of iconography and the very notion of what makes a ‘star’.
101 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith W6 9BN;

48 Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers at Design Museum, Kensington
Until 14 February 2021
The Design Museum marks its reopening on 31 July 2020 with the launch of the hugely anticipated Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers. Originally due to open on 1 April, the exhibition features the museum premiere of The Chemical Brothers’ sensory spectacle by creative studio Smith & Lyall, featuring mesmerising visuals for the Grammy Award-winning track Got to Keep On. New COVID-secure measures at the museum include reduced capacity, mandatory face masks, social distancing, enhanced cleaning and extended opening hours. Entry to the exhibition is by advance ticket only (from £16).
224-238 Kensington High Street W8 6AG;

49 Black Greenwich Pensioners at Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Until 21 February 2021
The ORNC’s Black Greenwich Pensioners exhibition explores the hidden histories of the Black Royal Navy personnel, who formed one of Britain’s earliest Black communities when they became pensioners at the Royal Hospital for Seamen (where the Old Royal Naval College stands today). Co-curated by Black British heritage consultant S. I. Martin, this vital and fascinating exhibition looks at the presence and impact of the recorded Black communities that have been resident in Greenwich for over 200 years. Telling the stories of Black seamen, some of whom were volunteers and others who were enslaved or impressed, the exhibition traces their dangerous and unpredictable lives in the 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibition examines the role Black Mariners played in British naval conflicts as well as the personal histories of prominent Greenwich pensioners such as John Thomas, who escaped slavery and was later returned to enslavement in Barbados, and John Simmonds, a Jamaican veteran of the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar whose descendants still reside in the UK. There will be related workshops and tours during the exhibition.
Mezzanine Gallery, Visitor Centre, Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk SE10 9NN;


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