32 Excellent Things To Do In London This Month: October 2019

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 10 months ago

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32 Excellent Things To Do In London This Month: October 2019
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ICE RINKS: The Natural History Museum ice rink has announced that it will reopen in October — most likely in time for October Half Term. Canary Wharf ice rink usually isn't far behind — keep an eye on our ice skating guide for further updates.

AFRICA ON THE SQUARE: A celebration of African culture in London, Africa on the Square usually takes place on the last Saturday in October in Trafalgar Square. Keep an eye on the City Hall website for details on this year's event — past year's have included music, dancing, food and crafts. Date TBC.

Camden Oktoberfest is part of London's Octoberfest celebrations

LONDON OKTOBERFEST: Who needs Munich, when London's awash with Oktoberfest parties and events of its own? Get stuck into the lager/sausage/lederhosen action at various venues throughout the month, including a vegan offering. All month

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: All month, honour the often unheralded accomplishments of Black Britons in all fields throughout history with Black History Month. It's a national event, but things happening in London include musical performances, guided tours, exhibitions, debates, comedy shows, workshops and more. 1-31 October

LONDON RESTAURANT FESTIVAL: Foodies will be chuffed that London Restaurant Festival runs for the entirety of October. Over 250 restaurants across the capital run special menus, and there are over 60 special events including restaurant-hoping tours, tastings and masterclasses. 1-31 October

Tuck into delicious dishes at London Restaurant Festival

ROSE MCGOWAN: Hear from actor and activist Rose McGowan as she performs her new show, Planet 9. It's a blend of memoir, music, storytelling, projections and performance, encouraging the audience to see Earth from a new perspective and learn how to create a liberated, fairer society. 1 October (sponsor)

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. 2-13 October

Rose McGowan performs her show Planet 9

FRIEZE ART FAIR: The big daddy of London art fairs, Frieze London, takes over vast swathes of Regent's Park, allowing 160 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 23 sculptures, including work by the likes of Tracey Emin. 3-6 October

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, and include Londonist's own Matt Brown, who talks about London's forgotten tragedies. It's always a popular festival, and some events have already sold out, so get booking if you see anything you fancy. 3 October-1 November

SKYFALL IN CONCERT: Be at the world premiere of Skyfall in Concert, a screening of 2012 Bond film Skyfall, accompanied by a full live orchestra. The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra does the honours at the Royal Albert Hall, while Daniel Craig frolics through Istanbul, Macau and London on screen. 4-5 October

London Cocktail Week celebrates its 10th birthday

LONDON COCKTAIL WEEK: Whether you're a cocktail expert, or something of an amateur, get yourself a London Cocktail Week festival pass to try tipples all over the capital. Over 300 bars have signed up this year — just flash your pass to get a special drink from their Cocktail Week menu for just £6. There's also a Cocktail Village in Brick Lane with pop-up bars, masterclasses, and other special events. 4-13 October

NFL LONDON: Eight NFL  teams fly over from America to play the London Games — a series of regular season matches which are played here in the UK. Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinatti Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars play at Wembley Stadium and the new Spurs stadium. Tickets to watch the games live have sold out, but expect to see plenty of screening parties and NFL-themed events going on. Probably best to book yourself a spot in one of London's best sports bars. 6 October-3 November

Raise a glass to London Cocktail Week

GAUGUIN PORTRAITS: The Sainsbury Wing at The National Gallery hosts the first-ever exhibition dedicated to the portraits of Paul Gauguin. The show features about 50 works and follows the trajectory of the French artist's career, including his later years which he spent in French Polynesia. 7 October-26 January 2020

SECRET RIVERS: Kate Sumnall, curator of Museum of London Docklands' Secret Rivers exhibition, hosts the last in a series of talks about London's waterways. She chats to London Wildlife Trust's Director Mathew Frith about the challenges faced by wildlife in the Thames and surrounding waterways — and some success stories too. 8 October

Discover Dogs at ExCel

HIDDEN LONDON: London Transport Museum's new exhibition, Hidden London, has got us rather excited. It delves into the hidden and forgotten spaces on the London Underground, including an underground aircraft factory on the Central line, and Churchill's secret shelter in a bomb-proof tube station. It launches with a Friday night late with workshops, activities and curator-led tours. From 11 October

DISCOVER DOGS: Head to ExCel in the middle of October, and you'll leave with a tail to tell. Discover Dogs claims to be London's biggest dog event, with pooches representing hundreds of breeds (and their owners) to meet. There are also shops and stalls selling doggy merchandise, and displays and competitions to watch.  12-13 October

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER: Natural History Museum's excellent Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition usually opens in mid-October, showcasing stunning photos of the natural world from many different countries. Keep an eye on the website for this year's opening date. 18 October 2019-31 May 2020

Cher is back on tour

CHER: Music icon Cher brings her Here We Go Again tour to the O2 for two nights. Expect to hear some of her classic tunes, as well as some ABBA tracks, taken from her recent ABBA tribute album, fresh off her stint on the set of Mamma Mia 2. 20-21 October

SIX DAY LONDON: The fifth edition of track cycling event Phynova Six Day London comes to the Lee Valley Velopark. Elite riders from all over the world compete against each other in various disciplines and distances, and there's plenty to keep spectators occupied, with a DJ spinning tunes in the centre of the track. 22-27 October

Zizi Strallen and Charlie Stemp star in Mary Poppins — The Musical

MARY POPPINS: It's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious news for theatre fans as Mary Poppins returns to the West End. The musical about the fictional, umbrella-wielding nanny to the Banks family opens at the Prince Edward Theatre — previously home to Aladdin — and stars musical theatre actress Zizi Strallen as Poppins, and Charlie Stemp as her chimney sweep sidekick Bert. 23 October 2019-March 2020

DOCKS AFTER DARK: Just in time for Halloween, Museum of London Docklands relaunches its Docks After Dark tours. Follow a tour guide for a lamp-lit tour of the museum in the evening, and hear chilling stories of the East End's history as you go. 24 October

John Legend performs at BluesFest

JOHN LEGEND AND BLUESFEST: Music event BluesFest takes over The O2 for three days of live music, including American singer-songwriter John Legend's only live show in the UK in 2019. 25-27 October

BLADE RUNNER LIVE: Watch 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner on a large HD screen at the Royal Albert Hall. The Avex Ensemble performs the synthesizer-led score live in sync with the screening. 25 October

See St Paul's illuminated at dusk. Image: Historic England/Double Take Projections

WHERE LIGHT FALLS: See the outside of St Paul's Cathedral illuminated at night, in tribute to the people who risked their lives to keep it safe during the Blitz. Where Light Falls is a joint project between Historic England, The Poetry Society and light show company Double Take Projections, and it takes place for three nights only. 25-27 October

VEGFEST: One of the largest vegan lifestyle shows in Europe, Vegfest springs up at Olympia for two days of food, drink, cosmetics and fashion. About 325 stalls sell cruelty-free products and offer samples and tasters of their goods, and chefs from all over the world host demo sessions. There's also comedy, documentary screenings, yoga and other activities. 26-27 October

Get stuck into a vegan lifestyle at Vegfest

HALF TERM: Looking for things to do with the kids in the school holidays? Take a look at our guide to half term in London, and find ways to keep the whole family entertained, whatever their age and whatever your budget. 26 October-3 November

FREUD: For the first time, more than 50 of Lucian Freud's self portraits go on display in one exhibition. Head to the Royal Academy to get your fill of paintings, prints and drawings spanning seven decades, beginning in 1939, and trace the evolution of his style and skill. 27 October-26 January 2020

The first RugbyX comes to London

RUGBY X: New international tournament RugbyX is rugby in its simplest form, with a smaller pitch, fewer players and simplified rules. Unusually, it takes place inside The O2, and we're promised fast, intense matches with male and female teams competing... and DJs entertaining the crowds. Unnecessary, some might say.  29 October

RONNIE SCOTT'S: Soho jazz club Ronnie Scott's continues its 60th anniversary celebrations with a gala night at the Royal Albert Hall. Sit at cabaret-style tables in the centre of the room as top-notch jazz musicians from all over the world take to the stage to pay tribute to the legendary venue. The event raises money for Ronnie Scott's Charitable Foundation, which supports aspiring young musicians. 30 October

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

BBC Music Introducing Live offers advice to budding musicians

BBC MUSIC INTRODUCING LIVE: Aimed at anyone trying to break into the music industry, or in the early stage of their career, BBC Music Introducing Live takes over Tobacco Dock for three days. The packed programmes includes live music and performances, talks, workshops and masterclasses from musicians, DJs and presenters already working for the Beeb. 31 October-2 November

FIREWORKS NIGHT: Bonfire Night isn't until 5 November, but plenty of places mark the occasion early with firework display and bonfire events. Keep an eye on our guide to Fireworks Night events in London, which we'll update as more details come in.

Last Updated 11 October 2019