23 Excellent Things To Do In London This Month: October 2021

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 11 months ago

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

23 Excellent Things To Do In London This Month: October 2021
Image: Shutterstock

MONTH OF THE DEAD: London Month of the Dead is a series of events taking a look at London's perception of and relationship with its deceased residents. Activities include talks, walks, tours and taxidermy, in locations including cemeteries, chapels and mortuaries. Most intriguing is a bat skeleton mounting workshop, and the talk about five grisly 20th century crimes sounds interesting. It's always a popular festival, and many events sell out, so get booking if you see anything you fancy. 23 September-31 October 2021

FOOTPRINTS OF LONDON: Walking tour company Footprints of London has put together a programme of bookish events for its Literary Festival.  Follow in the footprints of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, Dorothy L Sayers, Virginia Woolf, and other literary greats on tours around the capital. There are even a couple of virtual tours if you can't get out and about in person. 1-31 October

LONDON RESTAURANT FESTIVAL: Foodies, rejoice! London Restaurant Festival is back, with eateries from across the capital offering special events, tasting menus, tours, and masterclasses. It's a great opportunity to try a couple of restaurants you've never been to before — you might even find a new favourite. Plus, some of the tastings and masterclasses are at-home events, so you can take part even if you can't get out and about. 1-31 October

Check out the London Cocktail Week event schedule

LONDON COCKTAIL WEEK: Raise a glass to the misnomered London Cocktail Week, the biggest cocktail festival in the world, which actually takes place across the whole month. Purchase your festival wristband for £15, which gives you access to £7 signature cocktails at 250 bars across London. There are also cocktail tours, events and pop-ups taking place across the month. 1-31 October

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: October is Black History Month, honouring the often unheralded accomplishments of Black Britons in all fields throughout history. It's a national event, with events running all year, but things happening in London this month can be found here. Highlights include a chance to support new black businesses at the Black Culture Market, a river cruise focusing on African and Caribbean history in London, and a treasure hunt which tells stories of London's hidden Black past. 1-31 October

London Craft Week's neurodiverse event is inspired by Yayoi Kusama

LONDON MARATHON: Although it usually takes place in spring, the world-famous London Marathon has been moved to October this year. The route remains the same, beginning in Blackheath and passing landmarks including the Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace. If you're spectating, bear in mind that it may be wise to avoid larger crowds and opt for a quieter spot instead this year. 3 October 2021

LONDON CRAFT WEEK: Shops, studios, pop-ups, museums and galleries are just some of the 200+ locations hosting London Craft Week events, to showcase the work of makers. Our picks include a chance to see inside the Argentine Ambassador's residence, hear from the people responsible for Princess Diana's wardrobe, learn about the art of plastic-free footwear production, and taste your way through the history of Pierre Hermé macarons. Disabled and neurodiverse Londoners may also be interested in this creative workshop based on Yayoi Kusama's famous dotty masterpieces. 4-10 October

The Argentine Ambassador's Residence is one of London Craft Week's venues

BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL: Eyes on the big screen as the BFI London Film Festival rolls into town. Expect a packed programme of short and feature length film screenings, UK and world premieres, gala evening, networking events... and a lot of popcorn. The full programme is still being finalised at time of writing, but gala screenings of new release Last Night in Soho and Wes Anderson's latest work The French Dispatch have caught our attention. 6-17 October

LONDON TRANSPORT WEEKEND: The Epping Ongar Railway celebrates its links with London Transport at a weekend of special events. See London Transport buses on display, and catch three London Transport liveried locomotives in action, plus there's a gift shop and book signings. 8-10 October

The Royal Parks Half Marathon is back

ROYAL PARKS HALF: 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. 10 October 2021

NFL IN LONDON 2021: Tottenham Hotspur's stadium hosts two NFL games as part of the NFL in London series — see the New York Jets take on the Atlanta Falcons, or the Miami Dolphins face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Full details on getting tickets available here. 10-17 October

Frieze London takes over Regent's Park

FRIEZE ART FAIR: The big daddy of London art fairs, Frieze London, takes over vast swathes of Regent's Park, allowing galleries from all over the world to showcase work by established and emerging artists. Go in search of a new artwork, or get stuck into the curated programme of talks and events. In the meantime, make do with the Frieze Sculpture Park, a free trail of sculptures around Regent's Park. 13-17 October

THE OTHER ART FAIR: More into modern art? Forego Frieze (above) for The Other Art Fair, taking place at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. View and buy thousands of artworks by hundreds of artists, across a range of styles and (most importantly) budgets. Buy direct from the artist, cutting out additional fees, and take your new artwork home with you on the day. 14-17 October

Bloomsbury Festival is all about the light

BLOOMSBURY FESTIVAL: Shining Light is the theme of this year's Bloomsbury Festival, which combines, shows, exhibitions, walks and other events involving people and places around the Bloomsbury area. Highlights announced so far include a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh, and an opening festival featuring neon sculptures, light performers and 'fiery spectacles'. 15-24 October

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY: One of our favourite exhibitions every year, Wildlife Photographer of the Year returns to the Natural History Museum for its 57th incarnation. See photos taken of animals and the natural world by photographers all over the globe, including the overall winners (announced on 12 October). 15 October 2021-June 2022

Hear from Candace Carty-Williams at London Literature Festival

COMIC CON: Dust off your cape, and check your superhero outfit still fits — MCM Comic Con is back at ExCel London. Immerse yourself in three days of all things pop culture, including a chance to meet TV and film stars, hear from industry insiders at panel discussions, take part in games, and show off your cosplay costume. 17-24 October

LONDON LITERATURE FESTIVAL: Friendship is the theme of this year's London Literature Festival, taking place at Southbank Centre with some excellent names on the programme. Artist Grayson Perry, children's author Lauren Child, comedian Daisy May Cooper, artist Ai Weiwei, and Queenie author Candice Carty-Williams are just some of the faces making an appearance, and the festival culminates in readings y the authors shortlisted for this year's Booker Prize. 21-31 October

Illuminature at WWT Barnes is a new event for this year

ILLUMINATURE: Here at Londonist, we love a light festival so we can't wait to see new illumination trail Illuminature at WWT London in Barnes. Wander through the nature reserve after dark and interact with nature and light — installations include light tunnels, responsive lily pads and interactive shadow animals. 22 October-9 January

ICE RINK: Yep, it's getting towards that time of year, with two seasonal ice rinks opening in October. The Natural History Museum rink returns for its last ever season, situated in the courtyard outside the museum and covered in fairy lights. 22 October 2021-16 January 2022. Meanwhile out east, the Canary Wharf ice rink is back, for 18 weeks of skating beneath the skyscrapers. From 23 October

We're getting towards that time of year again

DIWALI: 4 November is the official Diwali 2021 date, but there are hopes that the Diwali in London festival will go ahead in Trafalgar Square in October, with light effects, food trucks and other celebrations. Watch this space. 23 October

TIM PEAKE: For an out of this world evening, head to Southbank Centre to hear from astronaut Tim Peake.  He talks about life in space, the reality of being an astronaut, and why humans have chosen to visit space. 30 October

Hear from astronaut Tim Peake

HALLOWEEN: Dust off your Halloween costume and get booking for London's best Halloween parties, film screenings and events in London this year. We'll be adding more events to our Halloween guide as the day gets nearer, so keep checking back for more horrific happenings. 31 October

NEON WONDERLAND: There's still time to see Covent Garden's glowing makeover, courtesy of artist Chila Burman. She's filled the South Hall of the historic market building with neon lights and signs, including peacocks, flowers and snakes. Do You See Words In Rainbows? is the official title of the installation, and it's free to visit. Until the end of October

AUTUMN IN LONDON See London's trees turning red and feel the leaves crunching under your feet on one of these gorgeous autumn walks around the capital. Find other autumn things to do with our guide to the best things to do in London this autumn.

Last Updated 11 September 2021

Continued below.