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Things to do in London in October 2021

London celebrates its food and drink scene, while Halloween showcases the capital's spooky side – just some of the many October events in London.
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 GardensRichmond Park or other major parks to bask in the beautiful display of colours.

Fun family events in London

  1. Enjoy a host of events during October half-term: Take your pick from fun events and activities at London attractions. 16-31 Oct
  2. Explore London's top kids attractions: Entertain the kids and make lifelong memories.
  3. Book these iconic top 10 attractionsFor a fun-tastic family day out in the capital.
  4. Sing along with the kids at these top musicals: Enjoy your favourite shows on stage.
  5. Mark the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone film: Marvel ata wand installation in Leicester Square (13-25 Oct). Or head to Warner Bros. Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter or the Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition to learn more about the films.
  6. Skate under thousands of twinkling lights at the National History Museum Ice Rink: Don't miss it as it returns for its final festive year.
  7. See larger-than-life illuminature at London Wetland Centre: Follow the nature-inspired light trail. From 22 Oct
  8. Check out KidZania's Middlesex County Cricket Club Experience: Get active and meet sporting heroes. 19-28 Oct
  9. Pick up a paintbrush and get creative at Family Art Day: Enjoy art, drama and play, as part of The Bloomsbury Festival. 16 Oct
  10. Adventure-seekers can join forces for an immersive treasure huntSolve cryptic clues and discover London's hidden secrets.
  11. Catch pop-up performances across the city with Pop-Up London: discover theatre, comedy, circus, dance and more over half-term. 23-31 Oct

A family of three looking at an illuminated owl on the light trail after-dark

Unmissable London events in October 

  1. Enjoy fun events throughout Black History MonthCelebrate black culture and history throughout October. 1-31 Oct
  2. Don't miss the London Literature Festival at the Southbank Centre: Join talks, readings, poetry performances and more events. 21-31 Oct
  3. Check out the BFI London Film Festival: Catch films and movie-themed fun. 6-17 Oct
  4. Make the most of London Craft Week: Meet artists, engineers and designers. 4-10 Oct
  5. Celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights: Enjoy performances and cultural activities in Trafalgar Square. 23 Oct 

A man dressed in traditional clothing with flower garlands around his neck, at the Diwali festival, while other performers dance in the background.

  1. Hear from astronaut Tim Peake at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre: Discover what space travel is really like with fascinating insights. 30 Oct
  2. Test your fitness at the Virgin Money London Marathon: Sprint past London landmarks or join thousands cheering from the sidelines. 3 Oct
  3. Watch the Six Day London cycling event in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: See top cyclists speed around the famous track. 26-31 Oct
  4. Take part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon: Run for great causes in the leafy surrounds of London's beautiful parks. 10 Oct
  5. Touchdown at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as NFL London Games return: Cheer on your favourite team. 10-17 Oct

Halloween in London

  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. Seek out spooky London attractions: from immersive experiences to haunted houses.

Woman in a pie shop on Halloween

Theatre shows in London

  1. Book tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Enjoy the magical adventures of the world-famous wizard as the show returns to the West End. From 14 Oct
  2. Groove along to Get Up! Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical: Celebrate the life of Jamaica's iconic Reggae legend. From 1 Oct
  3. Laugh out loud with loveable rogues Del Boy and Rodney in Only Fools and Horses The MusicalThe much-loved tv series come to life on stage. From 1 Oct 
  4. See Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: Don't miss this classic tale of romance. Until 17 Oct
  5. Find more London theatre and book your tickets now: Don't miss the hottest shows as more West End shows reopen.

Art and museum exhibitions in London

  1. Visit the best museum exhibitions and art exhibitions in the capital: Get your cultural fix when it's cold outside.
  2. See Rankin's celebration of Theatreland broadcast across central London: Don't miss the world-renowned photographer's latest artwork. From Oct
  3. Check out Frieze art fairsDiscover world-class artworks and sculptures in the beautiful setting of Regent's Park. 13-17 Oct
  4. Visit galleries open late during Frieze's West End Night: Admire artworks from rising stars and big names14 Oct
  5. See Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits at the National Maritime Museum: Explore 500 years of history captured across five royal dynasties. Until 31 Oct
  6. Don't miss Chila Burman's “do you see words in rainbows” art installation emblazoned in Covent Garden: Discover dazzling neon sculptures. Until 31 Oct
  7. Be intrigued by The Great Picture Book of Everything at The British Museum: An illustrated encyclopedia by famous Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. 30 Sep-30 Jan

A print work Under the Wave off Kanagawa, by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai, featured in the exhibition, Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything.

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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