Obviously, London is still far from any sense of normality. But events have started returning, so we bring you our guide to things to do in the capital in October — with the caveat that the situation is ever-changing, so keep an eye on venues for the latest information and regulations.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH: October is Black History Month, and it's more important than ever given international events over the last few months. Events taking place in London (and online) can be found here and include comedy specials, literary events, and a cultural craft fair. Museum of London Docklands is among the cultural institutions running its own Black History Month programme. 1-31 October
LONDON RESTAURANT FESTIVAL: Good news for foodies — London Restaurant Festival 2020 is going ahead, though with a strong focus on social distancing. Some restaurants are still hosting events, with a maximum of six people per booking, to comply with guidelines. There's also a pivot towards at-home experiences this year, including online masterclasses, and feasts delivered to your door. 1-31 October
LONDON COCKTAIL WEEK: You'll be needing something to wash down all that food from the London Restaurant Festival, so we're pleased that London Cocktail Week is back, and it's lasting a whole month this time. There's no Cocktail Village due to Covid-19 restrictions, but your wristband gets you £6 cocktails at a whole host of bars across the capital for the whole month, with masterclasses, pop-ups and bar takeovers happening too. 1-31 October
FRIEZE ART FAIR: Frieze Art Fair, which normally takes over a significant part of Regent's Park in October, is going virtual instead this year, with an online Viewing Room (9-16 October). However, Frieze Sculpture Park, a free trail of sculptures dotted around Regent's Park, is due to go ahead, so why not spend an autumn afternoon wandering among outdoor works by internationally acclaimed artists including Lubaina Himid, Richard Long, Sarah Lucas and Rebecca Warren. 5-18 October
BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL: BFI's annual cinematic extravaganza bursts beyond its London roots this year, by offering tie-in screenings at regional cinemas around the UK, as well as virtual premieres and free online events. That said, the BFI London Film Festival programme is looking as hearty as ever, with short and feature film screenings across a range of genres, talks, and events for those working in the industry. Full programme TBC. 7-18 October
IGLOO BUBBLES: Rooftop bar Skylight returns for its winter season, offering a solution to both the cold and social distancing in the form of igloo bubbles. 18 igloos will pop up on the roof, bookable for use by you and up to five friends as you tuck into cocktails, sharing platters and street food, and enjoy views over east London. As we get closer to (dare we mention it?) Christmas, the rooftop transforms into a 'magical igloo forest'. 8 October-31 January
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER: We're chuffed that one of our favourite annual exhibitions, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, has found its way back to Natural History Museum, despite everything that's going on. Few details about the 56th version of the show have been revealed yet, but we expect numbers to be restricted and booking to be required. 16 October-June 2021
DAWN FRENCH: Comedian, actor and author Dawn French makes an online appearance, in one of the events which Southbank Centre has pivoted to virtual. Hear her discuss her new novel, Because of You, which explores the relationship between mothers and daughters. 19 October
MONTH OF THE DEAD: Now in its seventh year, London Month of the Dead offers up 22 events this year, all focused on matters of death and the afterlife. Some events are online, while others can take place safely in person — and several have sold out already, so be quick. Tours, talks and candlelit concerts are all on the programme. Throughout October.
ICE RINK: We've heard a rumour that Natural History Museum's festive ice rink is due to open sometime in October. No further details yet but keep an eye on the website.
AUTUMN WALKS: See London's trees turning red and feel the leaves crunching under your feet on one of these gorgeous autumn walks around the capital.
PUMPKIN PICKING: What's October without a glowing orange gourd or two? Take a look at our guide to pumpkin picking at patches and farms in and around London — note, all require advance booking this year.