70 Things to do in London in October 2023

London celebrates its food and drink scene, while Halloween showcases the capital's spooky side – just some of the many October events in London.
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London panorama above golden trees.
Roam London's Richmond Park, as it is covered in autumnal colours. Credits: Jon Reid. Image courtesy of Jon Reid.

What's on in London in October?

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

A model of the Disney castle on display in a dark room, with the Disney Micky Mouse logo installation in the background

  1. Make memories in London during October half-termFind fun events and family-friendly activities at popular London attractions21-29 Oct
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Secure your spot at the Strand International Festival of Song: See international opera stars launch London's newest classic song series. 5, 26 Oct
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Celebrate black culture and history at Black History MonthEnjoy free events, exhibitions, music and more throughout October. 
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. Take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon: Run for great causes in the leafy surrounds of London's beautiful parks. 8 Oct
  18. Attend the Southbank Centre's London Literature FestivalSee prestigious authors, rising literary stars and inspiring speakers. 18-29 Oct
  19. Tempt your taste buds during the month-long London Restaurant FestivalExperience London's top restaurants, meet celebrity chefs and enjoy special one-off menus and food-themed events. 30 Sep-31 Oct
  20. Toast the return of London Cocktail WeekSip on classic and new mixes at the world's largest cocktail festival, with events, discounts and tastings across the city. 12-22 Oct
  21. 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

two young boys have fun climbing through a netted obstacle course

  1. 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.
  2. Discover the Dark Arts at Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry PotterGo behind the scenes of the iconic Harry Potter films - but watch out for the Death Eaters...
  3. See the city sparkle on a London by night open top bus tourAdmire London landmarks and the picturesque Illuminated River.
  4. Or take to the Thames on a river cruiseWhether you explore on a one day roamer or whizz along the river on a speedboat tour.
  5. Enjoy thrilling rides and immersive entertainment at a London Theme ParkJoin the fright nights at Thorpe Park or have a day of family fun at Legoland Windsor.
  6. 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.
  7. Go on an aerial adventure at Gripped LondonEnjoy sky-high views on the high rope courses, speed through the trees on the zip lines and bounce your way through the treetop nets.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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?
  12. Hone your skills and learn from the very best at a masterclassFrom immersive cocktail making at Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen* to a sushi and sake Masterclass at Buddha-Bar*.
  13. Beat the cold with a relaxing spa dayTreat yourself or a loved one to a spot of pampering as the cold sets in.

Halloween in London

An actor at the london bridge experience holds a bloodied mannekin.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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*.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. Immerse yourself in the world of The Gunpowder Plot: Join Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators as they plot to assassinate King James I.
  8. 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.
  9. Indulge at an unusual afternoon teaCast spells to retrieve your treats at Wands and Wizard Emporium or feast on a Sci-Fi Afternoon Tea at The Ampersand Hotel*.
  10. 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

The cast of phantom of the opera dancing on the stairs on stage.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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. 
  10. 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?
  11. 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.
  12. 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. 
  13. 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. 
  14. 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

Painting of Study for Crivelli’s Garden by Paula Rego.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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 
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

For more things to do in October in London, take a look at our events calendar and guide to what's on in London. Or discover plenty more seasonal events and activities with our ultimate guide to autumn in London.

WEATHER: For average seasonal temperatures and rainfall, see this London weather page.

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