101 autumn in London ideas to fall for

Autumn colours, fun festivals, blockbuster exhibitions… this season serves up plenty of treats.

From unique events such as Bonfire Night or Halloween, to the latest art or museum exhibitions, these autumn activities have your September, October and November sorted.

Just remember to keep safe, follow the latest guidelines on social distancing and act responsibly when exploring the city. 

Must-see London autumn events

  1. Head down to London’s famous river for a whole month of exciting exhibitions, walks, talks and more, as part of the Totally Thames festival. 1-30 Sep
  2. Discover the hottest designers as the London Fashion Week brings top creatives, shows and lovers of trendy threads to the city. 17-22 Sep
  3. Celebrate Black History Month across London with various activities and events. 1-31 Oct
  4. Mark the festival of lights with virtual Diwali activities and special restaurant menus across the city. 14 Nov
  5. Tuck into turkey and pumpkin pie and soak up Canadian and American culture at restaurants and pubs in the capital for Thanksgiving. On and around 12 Oct and 26 Nov
  6. Remember, remember the fifth of November… If you’d somehow forgotten, here’s a reminder: London Bonfire Night fireworks displays mix pyrotechnics, seasonal food and family fun. On and around 5 Nov

Find more world-class London events in autumn months.

Top theatre in London for autumn 2020

  1. Get ready for an evening filled with glitz and glamour during a scandalous party you won't forget with The Great Gatsby. From 1 Oct
  2. Celebrate girl power as the wives of Henry VIII take to the stage to tell their side of the story during Six The Musical at the Lyric Theatre. 14 Nov-31 Jan
  3. Get your fill of Mischief Theatre's hilarious shows with the return of The Play That Goes Wrong (from 19 Nov) and Magic Goes Wrong (from 17 Nov) to the West End. 
  4. Laugh along to award-winning This is Going to Hurt, as Adam Kay shares an insight into his experience as a junior doctor. 22 Oct-8 Nov
  5. Find out why Everybody's Talking about Jamie as this award-winning musical makes its return to the stage. 12 Nov-16 Jan
  6. Follow the journey of a Black working-class man as he seeks truth and confronts his relationship with Britain in the Death of England: Delroy. 21 Oct-28 Nov
  7. Take your seat and enjoy an exciting lineup of performances this autumn with Live from the Barbican. Until 13 Dec
  8. Head to the Royal Opera House to be dazzled by the sounds of live opera as it returns to the stage with 4/4 (17 Oct) and New Dark Age (24 Oct). 
  9. Lose yourself in the magic of Mozart's Requiem at the London Coliseum. 6-7 Nov 
  10. Join a socially distanced audience for a lineup of one-person plays at the Bridge Theatre. Until 31 Oct

See more London theatre shows or laugh your head off at a comedy show.

Museum and art exhibitions in London this autumn

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The #SummerNotSummer Exhibition is now open! 252 years ago, a group of artists made it their mission to form an annual exhibition to support artists and architects, by showcasing art of the moment to the nation. The Summer Exhibition has run uninterrupted ever since: a backdrop to famous artistic rivalries of the past and now a fixture of the summer calendar for art seekers, year after year. At a time when artists need your support more than ever, this is the perfect moment to start your own art collection (or add something new!). Buy tickets from late October to explore works from artists both established and emerging, or browse through our online Summer Explorer — see the link in our bio! Income from the Summer Exhibition supports both the exhibiting artists and the not-for-profit work of the RA. A huge thank you to the coordinators of this year's show Jane and Louise Wilson RA and their committee, which includes @isaacjulien RA, Sonia Boyce RA, @farthingstephen RA, @david_remfry_ra, @eileen_cooper_ra and Eva Jiřičná RA. Thank you also to the Summer Exhibition team, all artists who submitted their work this year and, of course, all art lovers — we hope to welcome you here soon! Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2020 (6 October 2020 – 3 January 2021) at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts / David Parry #RASummer #art #fineart #london #salon #painting #illustration #sculpture #buyart #supportartists #mayfair #

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  1. Gaze at works from Woburn Abbey (the home of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford) as they go on display at the Queen’s House during the Woburn Treasures exhibition. Until Easter
  2. Browse artworks from big names and emerging artists as the postponed Summer Exhibition opens this autumn at the Royal Academy of Arts. Until 3 Jan
  3. Understand the stories of people and communities displaced by conflict with Leila Alaoui: Rite of Passage at Somerset House. 11 Oct-28 Feb
  4. Get up close to a historic haul of bronze objects with Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery at the Museum of London Docklands. Until 18 April 
  5. Learn about handbags, rucksacks and more at the Bags: Inside Out exhibition at Victoria and Albert Museum; from design to craftsmanship and some of the most unique exhibits ever made. From 21 Nov
  6. Get to know the people behind one of London's most famous attractions with the Lives of a Landmark exhibition at Tower Bridge. From 16 Oct
  7. See the works of Zanele Muholi at Tate Modern, as they challenge hetero-patriarchal ideologies with a focus on black members of the LGBT+ community. 5 Nov-7 Mar
  8. Immerse yourself in Bruce Nauman's neon art installations, poetic sculptures and pieces revolving around sound and moving image, in the first major exhibition of his work in London in more than 20 years. 7 Oct-21 Feb
  9. Pay tribute to our Everyday Heroes as this open-air exhibition celebrates the contribution of key workers through more than 40 artworks across the Southbank Centre. Until 30 Nov
  10. Discover the works of one of the world's most famous pop artists with Andy Warhol at Tate Modern. Until 15 Nov
  11. Explore spiritual identity through a Black British lens with An Ode to Afrosurrealism at the Horniman Museum and Gardens. 17 Oct-1 Aug
  12. Plan a visit to Tate Britain and learn all about Turner's Modern World in this landmark exhibition. 28 Oct-7 Mar
  13. Join the Museum of London's celebration of dub reggae and its influence on the capital over the last 50 years with Dub London: Bassline of a City. Until 31 Jan
  14. Be wowed by incredible photographs capturing the natural world at Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum. 16 Oct-6 Jun

Find more exhibitions in London.

Places to explore in autumn

  1. Shuffle your way through fallen autumn leaves in London’s best parks and gardens, which are swathed in oranges and yellows at this time of year.
  2. Or, go on London autumn walks with guided tours.
  3. Curl up in front of a roaring fire with a warming drink at one of London’s cosy pubs – perfect for darker nights after the clocks change in the UK on 25 October.
  4. See some of London's most famous sights from the water during a river cruise along the Thames. 
  5. London’s neighbourhoods look beautiful at this time of the year with autumn colours. Head out and explore outside Zone 1.
  6. Explore the city on two wheels during a fun bike ride or rediscover your local area on foot
  7. It’s Black Friday on 27 November, so rush out to the city’s top shopping destinations and department stores for plenty of bargains and autumn fashion deals.
  8. Then, chill between shopping sprees, with a movie at The Cinema at Selfridges.
  9. Step in the footsteps of monarchy, as you explore the royal residency on a Windsor Castle day trip.

Find more of the best autumn spots in London.

Unmissable autumn experiences

  1. Find out how to make foodie delicacies at cooking workshops and craft masterclasses with the Cookery School at Little Portland Street
  2. Fulfil your childhood dream and learn about astronomy. Book your space for this autumn's Astronomy Course at Royal Observatory
  3. Delve into Chelsea's fascinating past with talks, tours and events during the Chelsea History Festival. 17-27 Sep
  4. Browse the stalls, pick up new plant babies and join exciting talks at the Garden Museum's House Plant Festival. 23-25 Oct
  5. Get a hole in one like never before at Puttshack.

Free autumn events in London

  1. Go behind the doors of buildings usually closed to the public during Open House London. 19-27 Sep
  2. Rediscover the city on two wheels or explore more of your area on foot on Car Free Day22 Sep
  3. Follow a sculpture trail and admire amazing artworks during events across the area over Mayfair Art Weekend, including at The May Fair Hotel, the Royal Academy of Arts and Maddox Gallery. 2-4 Oct
  4. Wear a poppy and take time to recognise those who gave their lives in two world wars and more recently, on Remembrance Day. 8-11 Nov

Find more free events in London.

Spooky Halloween London experiences

  1. Get up close to props and costumes, see the Great Hall decorated in green and learn the secrets of Hogwarts' most cunning house with A Celebration of Slytherin at the Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. Until 12 Nov
  2. Visit some of London’s scariest attractions this Halloween, from tales of torture at the Tower of London, to bone-chilling experiences at the London Dungeon, ghosts at Hampton Court Palace or eerie taxidermy at the Grant Museum of Zoology.
  3. Follow in the footsteps of a cold-blooded killer on a Jack the Ripper Ghost Tour.
  4. Learn about the spooky history of London as you take in some of the city’s key sights with The Ghost Bus Tours.

Find more scary activities and Halloween events in London.

Autumn food and drink ideas

  1. Go potty for plant-based food at best vegan restaurants in London as November celebrates World Vegan Month.
  2. Learn how to make international dishes, go on a restaurant-hopping tour and enjoy special menus during the London Restaurant Festival. 1-31 Oct
  3. Don your lederhosen for Oktoberfest celebrations at various locations in London, including Camden Oktoberfest
  4. Get into the spirit as London Cocktail Week returns to the city for a special month-long edition this autumn. 1-31 Oct
  5. Journey to Neverland with the magical Peter Pan Afternoon Tea at Aqua Shard, featuring sweet treats, freshly baked scones and sky-high views. 
  6. Celebrate National Curry Week (7-13 October) at a top south Asian eatery, including Michelin-starred AmayaTrishna and Veeraswamy.
  7. Have a serious fill at London's restaurants in celebration of World Food Day; from quirky eateries to luxury diners. 16 Oct
  8. Wrap up warm and dine outdoors at one of London's best alfresco dining spots this autumn. 
  9. Autumn is the traditional harvest time, so tuck into hearty food such as Sunday roasts, fish and chips or afternoon tea (you’ll need that extra fuel for winter…).

The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme officially ended on 31 August. However, you can still eat out for less at selected restaurants across the city, which offer similar deals and special discounts.

Find more food and drink inspiration.

Autumn activities for culture vultures

  1. Venture to The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture for 2020 for the art-packed Brent Biennial, inspired by the cultures, places and people of the area. Until 13 Dec
  2. Use the Mid-autumn Festival (1 Oct) as the perfect excuse to have your fill of Asian delicacies in Chinatown – try Golden Gate Cake Shop for mooncakes, the traditional treat at this time of year.
  3. Celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish new year, with activities across the city. 18-20 Sep
  4. See buildings across the city transformed by colourful paintings for the London Mural Festival. 1-31 Sep
  5. Discover the best new films with more than 10 days of cinema screenings for the BFI London Film Festival. 7-18 Oct
  6. Gaze at the marvellous interior of St Paul's Cathedral.
  7. Explore the London Transport Museum after dark with a free drink in hand. Top tip: try the Routemaster cocktail! 8, 15 and 22 Oct

Search for London events by day.

Tune-tastic things to do in autumn

  1. Get your jazz hands ready as the EFG London Jazz Festival returns with a series of concerts. 13-22 Nov

Find more music events in London.

Make memories with the kids

  1. Follow the leafy woodland trail and join in the Gruffalo Adventures at Kew Gardens this autumn. 17 Oct-1 Nov
  2. Spend a whole week in London with the kids during October half-term, with activities and new adventures across London. 17 Oct-1 Nov
  3. Whizz down the tallest and longest tunnel slide in the world with The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit
  4. Guns N’ Roses sang about November rain for a reason… So turn to these rainy day activities if there’s a downpour.
  5. Head to Leicester Square and meet big-screen stars with Scenes in the Square
  6. Visit the City to discover centuries-old relics at London's Roman Amphitheatre, hidden within the Guildhall Art Gallery, and London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE.
  7. Soar above the river Thames during a view-packed trip on the Emirates Air Line cable car
  8. Treat the kids to a trip on the Peppa Pig Afternoon Tea Bus Tour.  
  9. Plan an action-packed family day out in London with top attractions for kids and family restaurants.
  10. Spend a day exploring some of London's top free museums with the little ones. 
  11. Go on a fascinating tour of Shakespeare's Globe to learn all about the open-air playhouse. 
  12. Take the kids on an adventure! Embark on a journey through maritime history at the National Maritime Museum.

Discover more family activities, including exiting experiences for teenagers.

Cool things for the 'gram

  1. Seek out hidden spots with the Secrets of Central London tour. 30 Sep-31 Oct
  2. Hit up your feed with mind-blowing immersive artworks, as part of the London Design Festival. 12-20 Sep
  3. Take the perfect selfie in front of the Infinity Chamber in Covent Garden, which is made up of thousands of colourful LED lights.
  4. Be mesmerised by golden-painted streets of autumnal London atop an open-top bus tour.
  5. Journey through the enchanted forest before catching a film in Insta-worthy surroundings with Backyard Cinema's Winter Night Garden.

Find more Insta-famous places, including cafes, restaurants and selfie hotspots.

The countdown to Christmas in London

  1. Get your skating fix early as London’s winter ice rinks pop-up across the capital. Nov-Jan
  2. Soak up the start of the festive season with Christmas in Leicester Square, including a market and shows under the spiegeltent. Nov-Jan TBC
  3. Wizarding wonders are given a festive twist this winter as Hogwarts in the Snow brings plenty of fun activities and features. 14 Nov-17 Jan
  4. Be wowed by Christmas at Kew's stunning light displays and immersive art. 18 Nov-3 Jan
  5. Enjoy Winter at the Southbank Centre, with its famous winter market, bars and wintry experiences. 5 Nov-27 Dec
  6. London Bridge’s riverside is turned into a seasonal wonderland with market stalls, food and drink as part of Christmas by the River. Nov-Jan TBC
  7. Don’t miss the unique spectacle of the Greenwich Market Lantern Parade, which winds its way around the market. Nov TBC
  8. Start your Christmas shopping spree under sparkling Christmas lights, as they switch on in November. Bond Street, Carnaby, Covent Garden, Jermyn Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Seven Dials, South Molton Street all usually have stunning displays. 

Plan ahead with more Christmas in London ideas.

New attractions and new restaurants in London

  1. Keep an eye out for a new sky-scraper – Spire London – which'll be one the tallest residential towers in Western Europe.
  2. Treat yourself to luxe dining at M Canary Wharf, which is home to a wine store, tasting room, cocktail bar and garden, a member’s lounge and a private dining room.
  3. Mix cocktail-making with escape room breaking during Cahoot's Bootlegger Breakout experience. From 17 Oct
  4. Cheese fans can delight as The Cheese Barge floats into Paddington Central this autumn. 
  5. Calling all Rolling Stones fans! Head to Carnaby to pick up cool threads honouring the legendary band at RS No. 9 Carnaby.
  6. If you're feeling brave, take on The Dare Skywalk and scale 46.8m (153.5ft) above the pitch of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
  7. Pick up a beautiful bunch of blooms, a new houseplant or a potted succulent from the Insta-worthy Chiswick Flower Market. First Sunday of the month 

If you're visiting another time of the year, find inspiration for each month. Or, if you'll be in London sooner, check out our top picks of things to do this weekend and activities for today.

Keep an eye out for special deals and offers for your visit; and make sure to download the Visit London app for inspiration on the go.