What's on in London in October?
- Have fun with the kids at top attractions this October-half-term.
- Join in the fun with Halloween celebrations across the city
- Don't miss the Dark Arts at Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter.
British schools break up for a October half-term this month, so look out for special family activities at many London attractions. While Halloween ensures the month ends with a spooky feel with plenty of scary events and activities – see below for ideas.
London becomes a little colder in October as autumn splashes the city’s parks and gardens with a riot of autumnal colours, changing the vivid greens to warm coppers, golds and russet reds. Take a trip to Kew Gardens, Richmond Park, or other major parks to bask in the beautiful display of colours.
Unmissable events in October
- Make memories in London during October half-term: Find fun events and family-friendly activities at popular London attractions. 21-29 Oct
- Take the family to see Zippos Circus: See extraordinary artists perform mind-blowing circus acts, from impressive aerial tricks to taking on the Globe of Death. 1-2 Oct
- Immerse yourself in the natural world at the BBC Earth Experience: Embark on an incredible journey across seven continents with legendary David Attenborough guiding you through the experience.
- Take the whole family to see Disney100: The Exhibition at ExCel London: Mark the 100th anniversary of beloved Disney through immersive installations and themed galleries filled with the world's favourite characters.
- Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the K-Music Festival with a live concert at the Barbican Centre Hall at Jung Jae-il with the London Symphony Orchestra: See the works of the Music Director of Squid Games and Parasite performed by a live orchestra. 1 Oct
- Don't miss Musical Con 2023: Enjoy a programme of unique performances, show spotlights, show previews, cast reunions, Q&A interviews and more at this musical enthusiasts haven. 21-22 Oct
- Attend a workshop at the Chelsea Physic Garden: Join a Garden History Talk and Walk, learn about African and Caribbean Folklore, or make your own scent at a Natural Perfumery Workshop. Select dates in Oct
- Secure your spot at the Strand International Festival of Song: See international opera stars launch London's newest classic song series. 5, 26 Oct
- Meet some of the UK's top magicians at Close-Up at the Magic Circle: Expect an evening of close-up acts in the impressive Magic Circle HQ where you'll uncover artefacts and memorabilia. Select dates in Oct
- Come together with your fellow crafts fans at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace: Discover more than 200 workshops, shop hundreds of big brands and small businesses, visit the textile galleries and much more. 5-8 Oct
- See top drag artists at the Rupaul's Drag Race Werq the World Tour 2023: Meet icons of the drag world such as Aquaria, Ginger Minj and Jaida Essense Hall. 8 Oct
- Discover impressive works by talented female artists at the Women in Art Fair: Taking over three spaces at the Mall Galleries, see a variety of installations and exhibits by leading and up-and-coming artists. 11-14 Oct
- Get on your dancing shoes for Soul City: House and Disco All Night Long: Every Saturday this lively venue connects the dots between sould, disco, house and more. 7, 14, 21 Oct
- Celebrate black culture and history at Black History Month: Enjoy free events, exhibitions, music and more throughout October.
- Immersive yourself in the cultural diversity of London at Diwali, the festival of lights: Experience exciting performances and cultural activities in Trafalgar Square. 29 Oct
- Don't miss the popular NFL London Games 2023: Get ready for an action-packed two weeks of American football in the capital. 1-15 Oct
- Take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon: Run for great causes in the leafy surrounds of London's beautiful parks. 8 Oct
- Attend the Southbank Centre's London Literature Festival: See prestigious authors, rising literary stars and inspiring speakers. 18-29 Oct
- Tempt your taste buds during the month-long London Restaurant Festival: Experience London's top restaurants, meet celebrity chefs and enjoy special one-off menus and food-themed events. 30 Sep-31 Oct
- Toast the return of London Cocktail Week: Sip on classic and new mixes at the world's largest cocktail festival, with events, discounts and tastings across the city. 12-22 Oct
- Or raise your stein at a London Oktoberfest: Celebrate Bavarian-style with live music, authentic German food and of course, beer at a number of venues across the city. Select dates in Oct
Top October activities in London
- See many of London's top attractions in one go with a sightseeing pass: The London Pass and the Go City London Explorer Pass allow you to visit multiple spots and save money.
- Discover the Dark Arts at Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter: Go behind the scenes of the iconic Harry Potter films - but watch out for the Death Eaters...
- See the city sparkle on a London by night open top bus tour: Admire London landmarks and the picturesque Illuminated River.
- Or take to the Thames on a river cruise: Whether you explore on a one day roamer or whizz along the river on a speedboat tour.
- Enjoy thrilling rides and immersive entertainment at a London Theme Park: Join the fright nights at Thorpe Park or have a day of family fun at Legoland Windsor.
- Take on the UK's fastest Indoor Go-Karting track: Go against your friends in the Capital Karts' Grand Prix and see if you can make it to the top of the podium.
- Go on an aerial adventure at Gripped London: Enjoy sky-high views on the high rope courses, speed through the trees on the zip lines and bounce your way through the treetop nets.
- Or reach new heights at the Cutty Sark Rig Climb Experience: Make your way up the ship's ratlines where you'll climb the rigging to enjoy iconic views of London from the top platform.
- Catch a hilarious performance at the Top Secret Comedy Club: From veteran comedians to up and coming artists, enjoy a night of laughs at this popular comedy club in London.
- Get your fill on a foodie walking tour of London: Sample top British cuisine in Borough Market Food Tour or explore iconic street food from London's East End.
- Join the Cassidy Gang as you take on the Alcotraz Immersive Prison Cocktail Experience: Can you smuggle your booze past the warden to enjoy bespoke cocktails with your new inmates?
- Hone your skills and learn from the very best at a masterclass: From immersive cocktail making at Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen* to a sushi and sake Masterclass at Buddha-Bar*.
- Beat the cold with a relaxing spa day: Treat yourself or a loved one to a spot of pampering as the cold sets in.
Halloween in London
- Plan a frighteningly good Halloween in London: Enjoy themed events, family activities, tours and more of the best things to do in London this Halloween.
- Visit one of London's most eerie museums: Explore London's horrid history at museums such as the Clink Prison Museum and the Jack the Ripper Museum.
- Take on an immersive experience: Why not test your detective skills at Sherlock: The Official Live Game or take on aliens at Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds.
- Go on a hair-raising walking tour to some of the city's most ominous neighbourhoods: Hear tales of the demon barber on a Sweeney Todd Walking Tour* or discover London's most haunted pubs*.
- Join a Family Halloween Pumpkin Carving at the Chelsea Physic Garden: Learn all about this popular orange plant as you explore the autumn garden before carving up some exciting designs. 24, 26 Oct
- Visit the UK's scariest attraction this Halloween at The London Bridge Experience: Meet creepy characters from Britain's past, from Jack the Ripper to The Keeper of Heads.
- Immerse yourself in the world of The Gunpowder Plot: Join Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators as they plot to assassinate King James I.
- Venture out of London on a Murder Mystery Lunch on Belmond British Pullman*: Delight in five-course gourmet lunch before solving the clues to a deadly romance aboard the train, interact with the suspects as you try to figure out who the culprit is.
- Indulge at an unusual afternoon tea: Cast spells to retrieve your treats at Wands and Wizard Emporium or feast on a Sci-Fi Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel*.
- Head to The Cauldron for a London Potion Making experience: Cast your spells using your magic wand where you'll brew two molecular cocktails.
Check back nearer the time for more Halloween events and activities in London.
London Theatre in October
- Be thrilled by the gothic romance of The London Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre: Enjoy spectacular sets and costumes at Andrew Lloyd Webber's award-winning musical.
- Be dazzled by the show-stopping songs and technical wizardry of Wicked the musical at the Apollo Victoria: Witness the untold story of the witches in the Wizard of Oz.
- Marvel at the magic of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre: Join the world's most famous wizard as he embarks on a new adventure.
- See the magical powers of Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre: Laugh out loud as the little girl from Roald Dahl's beloved book teaches the grown-ups a lesson.
- Discover a relationship that traverses space and time at the Time Traveller's Wife: Follow the story of Henry and Clare as they try to navigate their strange but wonderful journey through love and life together.
- Don't miss the comedy spectacular Noises Off: Celebrating its 40th anniversary with a limited run, see top British actors tell the hilarious story of what goes on behind the scenes of a theatre show.
- Travel to 1930s Berlin where a fantastic night of entertainment awaits at Cabaret: This electrifying show, with its star-studded cast and inspiring performances, is one you won't forget in a hurry.
- Rejoice sisters as disco diva Deloris returns to the West End at Sister Act The Musical: See this hilarious show based on the hit 1992 movie of the same name.
- Join Marty McFly on his venture to save his own future at Back to the Future The Musical: A seven-time Olivier Award-nominated show that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
- Don't be tricked by the eight potential suspects in Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap: Can you work out whodunnit in this classic murder-mystery?
- See the world's most beloved nanny on the West End at Mrs Doubtfire The Musical: Follow the plight of Scottish nanny and housekeeper Mrs Doubtfire.
- Head back to Hawkins before the world turned upside down at Stranger Things: The First Shadow: Fans of the hit Netflix show won't want to miss this much-anticipaed prequel.
- Attend a show at the iconic Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: See impressive performances of classics such as Much Ado About Nothing and King Henry VIII.
- Treat the kids to these top musicals: Sing along with the little ones as you watch your favourite shows on stage.
London exhibitions in October
- Immersive yourself with famous works of art at Frameless: See famous paintings by artists such as Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne brought to life at this immersive art gallery.
- Don't miss Sarah Lucas at Tate Britain: See the British artist's exploration of what makes us human including sex, class and gender over the last four decades.
- Celebrate the work of Dame Paula Rego: Crivelli's Garden at the National Gallery: See the impressive piece inspired by the 15th-century Italian artist Carlo Crivelli's Garden. Until 29 Oct
- Head to the Serpentine Gallery for the fantastical Third World: The Bottom Dimension: This thought-provoking exhibit is a multi-dimensional project born from the creative minds of a generation of talented Brazilian artists and explores the Black Brazilian experience. Until 22 Oct
- Visit the inspiring It All Starts With a Thread exhibit at the Whitechapel Gallery: An exploration into thread as a method and metaphor for connection, collaboration and conversation developed by a selection of artists from a variety of backgrounds.
- Discover new works by Sara Shamma at Bold Spirits at the Dulwich Picture Gallery: Each painting represents a power and thought-provoking interpretation of works by world-famous artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn and Peter Lely.
- Venture to the heart of London to see Michael Craig-Martin at the Royal Academy of Arts: A key figure in British conceptual art, see his largest exhibition in the UK to date with sculptures, installation, painting, drawing and print.
- Be captivated by the works of Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Hayward Gallery: See lesser-known works from this talented photographer from his 50-plus year career. Opens 11 Oct
- Add David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) at Lightroom to your exhibition list: Lightroom's vast walls and revolutionary sound system brings Hockey's work to life before your very eyes. Until 2 Oct
- Journey through 50 years of incredible art by Philip Guston at Tate Modern: A fascinating exhibition that showcases a world in turmoil through abstract art. From 5 Oct
- See The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea at Queen's House: A collection of artwork of life at sea, royally commissioned by King Charles II.
- Get interactive at Marina Abramović at the Royal Academy of Arts: Take part in the intense, physical encounters In the first major UK exhibition of the artist's work.