The Best Things To Do In London This Autumn

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The Best Things To Do In London This Autumn

Between the joys of summer's outdoor cinemas and bars, and the excitement of Christmas, there's a little thing called autumn. We've pulled together some of the best events happening in London in September, October and November 2018 to keep you going as the nights get darker and the days get colder.

Cultural events

LONDON DESIGN BIENNALE: The theme of this year's Design Biennale is 'Emotional states'. Teams of designers and innovators from 40 countries will gather at Somerset House to show how design influences our emotions, through installations and exhibitions. 4-23 September

LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL: Various locations across London will be hosting parts of London Design Festival. Look out for an extra lion in Trafalgar Square, an 'onion farm' at the V&A and a reason to look up on Regent Street. 15-23 September

Tour the Taj as part of London Design Festival

UNDERBELLY: The summer festival of theatre, circus, comedy and more rumbles on next to the Thames through September. Until 30 September

ART FAIRS: London's awash with art fairs in autumn, the big daddy of which is Frieze. The sculpture park has already been up and running for a couple of months, but come October, the marquees will be back in Regent's Park. The focus is on contemporary and living artists at this fair. Meanwhile, Moniker Art Fair takes over Shoreditch's Old Truman Brewery, focusing on urban contemporary art, and The Other Art Fair is a chance to buy directly from the artist. All take place 4-7 October

BFI FILM FEST: The BFI London Film Festival is a big event in the cinephile calendar, bringing some of the best new films in the world to the capital. The full programme for 2018 has yet to be released, but we do know that you can see some of Britain's earliest films at the IMax, and the festival will close with the world premiere of Stan & Ollie, a new film about Laurel & Hardy, 10-21 October

MUSEUMS AT NIGHT: The Museum of Brands, The Wiener Library and London Transport Museum are just some of the London venues keeping their doors open after hours for lates, talks, workshops and more for Museums at Night. Keep an eye on this page for the full London programme. 25-27 October

Look out for costumes on the tube as Comic Con returns

COMIC CON: Look out for all manner of outfits on the tube come October. MCM Comic Con is back at ExCel. Gaming, cosplay, TV and film fans are all catered for with talks, meet and greets, special guests and more. 26-28 October

LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL: From jazz masters to cutting-edge musicians, the whole jazz spectrum will be on show at this festival celebrating the music genre. Performances include a celebration of the Windrush Generation, and an homage to Latin Jazz. 16-25 November

THANKSGIVING: The American holiday falls on 22 November this year, and whether you're an American ex-pat or just a dedicated Yankophile, plenty of London restaurants are doing special Thanksgiving menus. 22 November

Family events

Streatham Common Kite Day takes place a bit later than usual this year

TOTALLY THAMES: This month-long celebration of London's river is back. Highlights include concerts in the Tower Bridge Bascule Chamber, boat trips, a river swim, and much more. Plenty of events are free, and lots are family-friendly. 1-30 September

KITE DAY: A little later than usual this year due to a previously waterlogged field, hundreds of kites will take to the skies for Streatham Common Kite Day. Stand back and watch the acrobatic kite displays, or bring your own kite and take part. 2 September

FIREWORKS NIGHT: Whizzbangs and kabooms will be going off all over London around 5 November. Find out where to get your fix of oohs and aahs with our list of firework displays in London.

ENCHANTED WOODLAND: A family-friendly light festival, consisting of a mile-long route winding around the ornamental lake at Syon Park, where the trees are illuminated in all colours. 9-25 November

WINTER WONDERLAND: Love it or hate it, the all singing, all dancing Christmas market/fun fair/beer hall/ice rink/circus show is coming back to Hyde Park for another season. It may seem a bit premature, but if you're thinking of going this year, we recommend going early in its run — the closer to Christmas you go, the busier it'll be. From 22 November

CHRISTMAS AT KEW: Christmas at Kew begins in November, when the gorgeous light trail is switched on for the festive period. Wander through the gardens after dark, following the twinkling lights, warm up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine, and let the kids have a go on the Victorian funfair. One of our favourite winter events in London every year, and well worth booking. 22 November-5 January

Sport events

ICE HOCKEY: September sees the start of the ice hockey season again, with four teams to watch here in London. Here's everything you need to know before you go to your first match.

ROYAL PARKS HALF: Now in its 10th year, the Royal Parks Half Marathon takes runners on a route through four of the eight Royal Parks (Hyde Park, Green Park, St James's Park, Kensington Gardens), and other closed roads around central London. Get yourself a place via a charity, or turn up on the day to support the runners. 14 October 2018

NFL IN LONDON: NFL is visiting London from America again this autumn, with three matches played at Wembley over consecutive weeks. For the first time, this year the teams will be playing their regular season games here in the UK, rather than extra games. 14-28 October

SIX DAY SERIES: Cycling meets party time in the Six Day, a track cycling event at the Lee Valley VeloPark, where the lights get turned down and the music gets turned up as the cyclists take to the track. 23-28 October

ICE SKATING: London's Christmas ice rinks start opening from October — first up is the Natural History Museum, which opens in time for half term. Here's our complete guide to where you can take to the ice this autumn and winter.

London events

The Regent Street Motor Show rolls into town

DOGGETT'S COAT AND BADGE: This annual event has been going on for 300 years. Up to six rowers will race, using sculling boats, between London Bridge and Albert Bridge, a route which takes approximately half an hour. Why not head down to the water to cheer them on. 4 September

HARVEST FESTIVAL: Marching bands, Morris dancers and maypole dancing are just some of the entertainers at the Pearly Kings and Queens' Harvest Festival in Guildhall Yard. 16 September

OPEN HOUSE: We love Open House London — every year, it's a chance to go inside buildings, up skyscrapers and down tunnels that are usually off limits to the public. For the really popular ones, you'll need to book as soon as tickets go on sale, for others, it's just a case of turning up on the day and hoping there's not a queue. 22-23 September

SHEEP DRIVE: Alan Titchmarsh. Herding Sheep. Over London Bridge. What more can we say? More details here. 30 September

REGENT STREET MOTOR SHOW: Whether you're a massive petrolhead, are looking for a few new snaps for Instagram, or just enjoy the novelty of a traffic-free Regent Street, head down there to see vehicles dating back through 125 years of motoring. 3 November

LORD MAYOR'S SHOW: If you thought the royal wedding was a load of pomp and pageantry, wait until you see the Lord Mayor's Show. The event marks the outgoing Lord Mayor being replaced by the new Lord Mayor, and takes the form of a river pageant, followed by a procession, and later, fireworks on the river. 10 November

REMEMBRANCE: There are always special events in London around 11 November, to mark Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day. This year's details will be announced here in due course.

Food and drink

We'll drink to London Cocktail Week

BRUNCH FESTIVAL: It was only a matter of time... London's first brunch festival is here. Tuck into all the brunch you could ever need, including waffles, scotch eggs, sausages, plus masterclasses including matcha-making and cooking with peanut butter. 1-2 September

LONDONIST BEER: We've brewed our own Londonist beer, and we want you to share it with us. Come to the launch party at FourPure Brewery, meet some of the Londonist team, win yourself some Londonist merch and of course, try the beer. Your ticket includes four cans of our beer to take home with you — bargain! More details and tickets here.

Make way for London's first brunch festival

LONDON COCKTAIL WEEK: So powerful is the draw of London Cocktail Week that one member of Team Londonist has been known to book the entire week of work, to free herself up for maximum indulgence. The action centres around the Cocktail Village on Brick Lane, but your festival pass will also get your £6 cocktails in 300 bars around the city. 1-7 October 2018

VEGFEST: Claiming to be the UK's biggest vegan festival, VegFest brings 280 exhibitors and 150 speakers to Olympia, aimed at those living (or considering) a vegan lifestyle. 27-28 October

LONDON RESTAURANT FESTIVAL: At time of writing, the programme is still being finalised, but we're promised 60 events at this year's London Restaurant Festival, including tastings, tours and chef events. 1-31 October

Last Updated 12 October 2018