Things To Do This Week In London: 23-29 October 2023

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Things to do this week is sponsored by The Postal Museum.

All week

Leigh-Anne Pinnock, looking at the camera with her hands clasped together
Leigh-Anne Pinnock takes part in the Black British Book Festival, part of London Literature Festival. Image: Alex Oghale

HALF TERM: With most London schools shut for half term this week, there are plenty of family-friendly events, activities, exhibitions and theatre shows in London — take a look at our guide to half term in the capital and get planning. 21-29 October

FAMILY FILM WEEK: One option for keeping kids entertained whatever the weather is Barbican Cinema's Family Film Week. It's a week of children’s films from around the world, special guest introductions, free workshops and events, including special previews of Oink, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget and a relaxed screening event of Spider-man Across the Spider Verse. Some events have already sold out, so be quick. 21-29 October

HALLOWEEN EVENTS: Spooky season is well and truly upon us, and although Halloween itself isn't until next week, there are plenty of parties and events — for both adults and kids — taking place this week. Our guide to Halloween in London has all you need to know.

MONTH OF THE DEAD: Halloween events not quite chilling enough for you? Check out the Month of the Dead schedule — the annual festival takes a deep-dive into the topic of death with talks, walks and other events. Highlights this week include a guided tour of Abney Park Cemetery, a silent horror film screening with musical accompaniment, and a Halloween ball inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. Until 1 November

A multicoloured giraffe sculpture outside the Superdry store
Last chance to visit the Croydon Stands Tall giraffe trail.

WILDLIFE WELLBEING TRAIL: A new, 5km Wildlife & Wellbeing trail has been unveiled near the river in Barking. It has artwork along the route — including two audio artworks — to give visitors an insight into the water voles, bats, snakes and bird species which live in the area. Find out more and download a map. FREE.

LONDON LITERATURE FESTIVAL: Continuing at Southbank Centre all week is London Literature Festival, with guests such as Jacqueline Wilson, Ed Gamble, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Ian Rankin and Oti Mabuse, among many others. There are events for both adults and children — browse the full programme. Until 29 October

CROYDON STANDS TALL: If you've been to Croydon recently, you might have spotted a few colourful giraffes. In fact, there are 30 of the creatures — plus 30 mini ones — to hunt out on the Croydon Stands Tall art trail, but they're leaving town at the end of this week. FREE, until 27 October

BRICK DINOS: Similarly, it's your last chance to see dinosaurs created from Lego bricks at Horniman Museum. Brick Dinos features replicas of creatures from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, alongside specimens from the Horniman's stores. Bound to be busy over half term, so worth booking ahead. Until 29 October

ICE RINK: With more than two months to go until Christmas, the first of London's seasonal ice rinks is now open — just in time for some half term skating action. Ice Rink Canary Wharf is located at the foot of east London's skyscrapers, below hundreds of fairy lights. Oh, and it has a roof, meaning rain won't stop play. Alternatively, try one of London's year-round ice rinks. 21 October-February 2024

DRINK OF THE WEEK: The World's 50 Best Bars List has just been released for 2023 — and London has five entries in there. Find out what they are here, and maybe treat yourself to a cocktail at one.

PLAY OF THE WEEK: Joseph Fiennes is magnetic in the role of Gareth Southgate in Dear England, James Graham's play about patriotism, pressure and penalties. Just transferred from the National Theatre for extra time at the Prince Edward in Soho, it's a hilarious yet heartfelt dive into what it means to represent your country — addressing issues of mental health and racism. As for Will Close's Harry Kane? Back of the net. ★★★★★ Until 13 Jan 2023

Monday 23 October

Dick and Angel Strawbridge sitting on a sofa with their two children and dog
Dick and Angel Strawbridge make an appearance at Barbican.

SCIENCE SUPERHEROES: A science-packed show aimed at 7-11 year-olds will reveal how scientists fought back against the Covid pandemic. World-renowned scientist Prof Tom Solomon heads the show, which takes place in the rather special Royal College of Physicians museum next to Regent's Park. 3-4pm

ITALIAN WINE TASTING: Beat a hasty retreat from work and make your way to the Great Northern Hotel at King's Cross for a wine tasting experience. The focus is on Italian wines, with each tipple representing a different region of the country. Expert producers to introduce you to the wines, alongside paired nibbles. 5.30pm-7pm

DICKENSLAND: The Charles Dickens Museum in Bloomsbury offers a free virtual talk by author Lee Jackson, about his newest book, Dickensland: The Curious History of Dickens's London. Get the lowdown on how tourists have sought out the landmarks, streets and alleys of Dickens's novels for more than 150 years. FREE, 6.30pm

ES EDITOR: The London Society's Leanne Tritton is tonight in conversation with Dylan Jones, editor-in-chief of the Evening Standard and former long-serving editor of GQ. He will discuss "his love of London and the role of the media in shaping London - both physically and reputationally". 6.30pm

COUNTRY LIFE: Country Life magazine is 125 years old, an achievement being marked with an appearance by Country Life editors John Goodall, Kate Green and Giles Kime at the V&A. They discuss some of the most important houses and gardens in Britain to show how country life and life in country houses has changed — illustrated with pictures from the magazine. Watch in person or online. 7pm

THE CHATEAU: Dick and Angel Strawbridge, of Channel 4 show Escape To The Chateau, make an appearance at Barbican to launch their new book The Chateau: Forever Home. It picks up after the TV show, depicting the final stages to creating their dream home in their chateau. You can watch the event in person, or livestreamed online. 7.30pm

MONDAYS IN LONDON: Looking for something else to do, today or any other week? Take a look at our guide to things to do in London on a Monday — we've gathered together live music venues, comedy and cabaret clubs which keep going on what is usually the quietest day of the week, along with guided walks and tours scheduled on a Monday, and a few special offers too.

Tuesday 24 October

An aerial shot of a pretty garden suburb
Go on a walking tour around Hampstead Garden Suburb. Image: iStock/Thomas De Wever

JUNIOR BOOK FESTIVAL: The Week Junior Book Festival is a one-day event at the Royal Institution, designed to inspire children to be imaginative through performances and workshops. Michael Rosen and Michael Morpurgo are among the special guests. 11.30am-4.30pm

HAMPSTEAD GARDEN SUBURB: Join Footprints of London guide Marilyn Greene for a walking tour around Hampstead Garden Suburb. It's a chance to learn about Henrietta Barnett, the wife of the vicar of St Jude’s Whitechapel, who purchased the land in 1896 and planned a Garden Suburb for all classes to live side by side. 2.30pm-4.45pm

BRAIN INTERFACES: Fancy having your brain linked directly to a computer? Simple interfaces have been possible for years, but what does the future hold? Join Prof Victoria Baines for this Gresham College lecture in Holborn. FREE, 6pm

REVOLUTIONARY BLACK WOMEN: Research professor Olivette Otele is in conversation with writer and historian Renée Landell at Museum of London Docklands, for an event highlighting the role of Black women in resistance, abolition and anti-colonial movements across the globe. Otele is an expert in legacies and memory of slavery, while Landell specialises in Anglophone Caribbean neo-slave narratives. 6.30pm

HYBRID INTELLIGENCE: Just as we're all getting our heads around Artificial Intelligence (AI), along comes Hybrid Intelligence (HI). Professor of Interactive Intelligence Catholijn Jonker is at the Royal Institution to offer an introduction to HI, a combination of human intelligence and AI which aims to keep AI under meaningful human control. 7pm-8.30pm

BLACK TO THE FUTURE: An Afro-Futurist celebration of outstanding Black artists across literature, music and film, Black to the Future launches tonight, with a screening of Saul Williams' Afro-futurist sci-fi punk musical Neptune Frost, at the Garden Cinema in Holborn. See what else is happening at the festival, which runs until February. 8pm-10.40pm

Sponsor message

New exhibition explores the history of Britain's postal uniforms

You've probably never given much thought to the uniform your postie wears, but there's a whole history behind the clothes worn by post delivery people today — and it's the subject of a new, hands-on exhibition at The Postal Museum.

Dressed To Deliver spans from smartly dressed Victorians to modern posties' all-weather active wear, looking at the battles that have been fought along the way, including the first women in the role to wear trousers, and adaptations made to reflect the cultural diversity of today's workforce. Hear from postal workers past and present about what their uniforms mean to them, and share your own views on perceptions of workplace uniforms.

It's a family-friendly and highly interactive exhibition, with plenty of hands-on fun to keep younger visitors entertained, including a chance to dress up in some fantastic uniforms.

Dressed To Deliver opens at The Postal Museum on Wednesday 18 October. It's included in your museum entry ticket.

Wednesday 25 October

A dish of pasta
Celebrate World Pasta Day at Norma.

SPOOKY HOUSE TOUR: The Charles Dickens Museum offers family-friendly Ghost Busters! tours of the building which Dickens himself once called home. Learn about the Victorian supernatural beliefs which inspired the ghosts in his work, and try your hand at some spooky games. Age 8+. 10.30am-1pm (repeated tomorrow)

CANAL WILDLIFE: King's Cross's Canal Museum hosts a 'Wildlife Wednesday' today, where families can enjoy a ride on the canal boat 'Angel', with kids given a wildlife spotters bag to inspire them to look closely for wildlife along the way. 10am-4.30pm

WORLD PASTA DAY: It's the most wonderful time of the foodie year — World Pasta Day. Fitzrovia restaurant Norma is celebrating with a special Pasta Day menu, including a spaghetti red prawn amatriciana, and pappardelle with slow cooked beef cheek, pecorino and autumn truffle — just the warm comfort you need at this time of year. From 12pm

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: If your lunchtime appetite lies more with culture than carbs, head to the Queen's House in Greenwich for a free lunchtime concert, performed by musicians from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Today, musicians from the harp department perform alongside singers. FREE, 1pm-2pm

SUTTON HOO: Guildhall Library offers a free online talk about what the relics of Sutton Hoo — from a ship burial discovered in Suffolk in 1939 — and other artefacts at the British Museum, can tell us about the Anglo Saxon period. If the event piques your interest in all things Sutton Hoo, 2021 film The Dig is absolutely worth a watch. FREE, 2pm-3pm

SOLAR SYSTEM: The Sky at Night's Prof Chris Lintott has another free Gresham College lecture this evening. This week, he'll take you on a sight-seeing tour of the most unusual landscapes in the solar system, from volcanic moons to ice-covered oceans. As with most Gresham talks, you can attend in person or watch online. FREE, 6pm

DVORAK STRING QUARTET: Kings Place kicks off its new series of Rush Hour concerts with a performance by its new Resident Quartet, the Piatti, performing Antonin Dvořák’s late works, with musical preludes. 6.45pm

Thursday 26 October

The Piatti Quartet posing with their instruments in front of a brick wall
Catch the Piatti Quartet at Kings Place on Wednesday

LONDON OKTOBERFEST: Lederhosen at the ready – London Oktoberfest is schuhplattler-ing its way to the Square Mile for six days of Bavaria-inspired festivities (three this week, three next). Head to Finsbury Square for live oompah music, German delicacies like bratwurst and schnitzel, and authentic Bavarian beer. Thursday’s and Friday’s events are traditional, while Saturday’s have a spooky Halloween twist. Tickets from £5 — book ahead. Until 4 November. (sponsor)

THE CULT OF BEAUTY: Find out how notions of beauty have varied across time and through different cultures, at free Wellcome Collection exhibition The Cult of Beauty. Historical objects, artworks, films and new commissions are among the 200 objects on show. FREE, 26 October-28 April

WINDRUSH STORIES: The V&A marks Black Joy Day with a celebration of Windrush stories. Learn about the accomplishments of three pioneering and enterprising women: musician and entertainer Winifred Atwell, headteacher and author Dr Beryl Gilroy, and activist and journalist Claudia Jones. There are also curatorial tours of the museum's Windrush displays by Thomas J Price. 10.30am-4pm

STREISAND: Gresham College devotes an evening to the career of Barbara Streisand, whose "bold vision and uncompromising control of her entire artistic output have made [her] highly successful – and sometimes sparked controversy". Prof Dominic Broomfield-McHugh reveals all. FREE, 6pm

EDMONTON WITCHCRAFT: The Untold Edmonton free programme of talks continues with Witchcraft in Edmonton. Head to Fore Street Library to hear about Elizabeth Sawyer, a 17th-century woman from Edmonton who was convicted of witchcraft and rumoured to have contact with the devil. FREE, 6.3opm-7.30pm

GHOSTS IN THE DOCK: Covent Garden's Bow Street Police Museum stays open late for an evening talk about cases when unlawful events have been attributed to mythical creatures and monsters of folklore. As criminal barrister Naomi Ryan explains, in such cases, witches, ghosts, aliens and the like must be subject to the same legal scrutiny as in any other case. 7pm

JURASSIC PARK IN CONCERT: Believe it or not, the first Jurassic Park film is 30 years old (which makes us feel like dinosaurs), an anniversary that's being celebrated at a special concert at the Royal Albert Hall. The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra performs John Williams’ iconic film score live as the film is shown on screen. 7.30pm (repeated tomorrow)

Friday 27 October

A family dressed as various characters including Harry Potter and Mario, standing in front of an MCM Comic Con sign
Take the whole family along to MCM Comic Con.

BLACK BRITISH BOOK FESTIVAL: The Black British Book Festival takes place outside Birmingham for the first time, celebrating Black British authors across all genres as part of London Literature Festival (details in 'All week', above). Events include the launch of Leigh-Anne Pinnock's memoir, as well as workshops and masterclasses to help people break into the publishing industry. 27-28 October 2023

MCM COMIC CON: Halloween isn't the only reason to dig out your fancy dress costume over the next few days. MCM Comic Con returns to ExCeL for three days of celebrity guests, panel discussions, cosplay, tabletop and video games and more. 27-29 October

FANTASY: REALMS OF IMAGINATION: Imagined lands, languages and creatures are the subject of the British Library's new exhibition, Fantasy: Realms of Imagination, which looks at how fantasy creators bring their worlds to life, from fairy tales and folklore to the fantastical worlds of Studio Ghibli. 27 October-February 2024

SEASONAL SENSES: Young people (aged 16-24) are invited to take part in Chelsea Physic Garden's 'Our Seasonal Senses' day. Tour the gardens in all their autumnal beauty, take part in a botanical balm making workshop, craft your own tea bags using medicinal herbs and plants, and watch/fire questions at Chelsea Physic Garden’s Youth Panel feat. Daze Aghaji, Lili K. Bright and Maymana Arefin. 11am-3.30pm (sponsor)

SOANE LATE: Sir John Soane's Museum stays open late for an evening following in the footsteps of the young John Soane as he travelled through Europe on his Grand Tour. Wander the corridors illuminated by candlelight, take part in an architectural drawing workshop, and enjoy a drink at the pop-up Roman taverna. From 6pm

HENDRIX/HANDEL LATE: The house museum once occupied by G.F. Handel and Jimi Hendrix has the first of many Friday lates tonight, with live music performed both in the classical composer's erstwhile music room, and the rock legend's former bedroom. Pretty neat. 6pm-8pm

TATE LATE: A THIRD late happening tonight is Tate Modern's — for a celebration of El Anatsui, the latest large-scale artwork to fill the gallery's Turbine Hall. The evening's programme includes live DJ sets, drawing workshops, film screenings, 10-minute talks about selected items within Tate's collection, and more. FREE, 6pm-10pm

CHARTERHOUSE BY CANDLELIGHT: Take a guided tour of the Charterhouse by candlelight, including the medieval Norfolk Cloister, the collection of 17th-century portraits, and the historic courtyards and buildings. There's a bar on site, so you can get a drink before or after the tour. 6.45pm

TOTALLY TINA: Tina Turner tribute act Totally Tina pitches up at Edmonton's Millfield Theatre for a recreation of a live Tina Turner concert. Sing and dance along to hits including Simply The Best and Proud Mary, with plenty of sequins, feathers and diamonds thrown in. 7.30pm

Saturday 28 October

A garden filled with all manner of paraphernalie including dolls' heads and mugs.
There's an open day at the House of Dreams. Photo: Londonist

HOUSE OF DREAMS: Ever heard of the House of Dreams? Tucked away in a normal residential London street, it's absolutely covered in mosaics, mannequins and other paraphernalia, both inside and out. It has to be seen to be believed, and you can do just that on an open day today. Definitely one of the quirkiest places you can visit in London. 9.15am-5.15pm

CRAFTY FOX: Popular makers' market Crafty Fox makes an appearance at the Museum of London Docklands, showcasing the wares of over 30 artisans, with everything from ceramics to jewellery to prints on sale. There are demos too, plus the chance to explore the museum's new exhibition, all about fashion (there's an entry fee for this). 10am-4pm

EPIC MARX TOUR: If you're studying Karl Marx, or have a strong interest in his life, works or the society he lived in, then here's an epic and unmissable tour for you. In a SIX HOUR exploration, Zig Zag Tours will wander around the parts of central London inhabited by Marx, before heading up to Kentish Town and Highgate. Taking Marx to the Max! 12.30pm-6.30pm

WEST END DRAG BRUNCH: The Otherist by Drake & Morgan hosts a Halloween special of its regular West End Drag Brunch. Expect death drops, dancing, and an all-star line-up of the fiercest performers as you tuck into a two-course brunch and drink — or book a show-only ticket. 1pm-4pm

BOXTOBERFEST: Croydon's Boxpark hosts Boxtoberfest today — its take on Munich's Oktoberfest, which in this case, features steins of Staropramen (not German, we know), games, and music from The Amazing Bavarian Beer Stompers — plus of course, Barrioke. 2pm-6pm

ICE HOCKEY: It's a north London derby on the ice as ice hockey team the Haringey Huskies face off against the Lee Valley Lions at Ally Pally. Not familiar with the sport, or need a refresher? Have a read of our guide to ice hockey before you go. Doors 5.30pm

SILVER SCREEN SCI-FI: The latest Silver Screen Science Fiction night at the Royal Observatory features Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse. Watch the film inside the Peter Harrison Planetarium, then listen as an astronomer gives a short talk about the science behind the fiction. 6pm-9pm

RUGBY WORLD CUP: After seven weeks of tournament, it's Rugby World Cup Final Day. Plenty of places around London are showing the action in France on the big-screen — you'll need to book in advance for these places to watch in the capital. Kick-off 7pm

Sunday 29 October

A drag queen in blue sequin dress
Be dazzled by a West End Drag Brunch on Saturday.

WHITEWEBBS: As it's the last Sunday of the month, Whitewebbs Museum of Transport in Enfield opens to the public. Never been before? Read about our visit for an idea of what to expect. This time there's the additional benefit of the Gathering of Geezers, a meet-up of Street Rods, with a soundtrack of a rock 'n' roll DJ. 10am-4pm

ART SUNDAYS: Take the family along to Dulwich Picture Gallery for Art Sundays, free creative sessions aimed at 7-12 year olds. This time, experiment with colour and make artworks inspired by the current Rubens & Women exhibition. FREE, 1pm-3.45pm

DIWALI: Although Diwali falls on 12 November this year, London's official celebrations in Trafalgar Square take place this afternoon, with live music, dancing and more. Find other Diwali celebrations in London in the coming days. FREE, 1pm-7pm

AMAZING GRACE: The Toulouse Lautrec Jazz Club in Kennington hosts The Amazing Grace Show, described as "a musical, cultural, spiritual and educational journey through the horrific enslavement of African slaves", and how this led to the birth of gospel music. 1.30pm-4pm

HALLOWEEN:It's not Halloween without... Halloween. The 1978 John Carpenter slasher horror film celebrates its 45th anniversary this spooky season, and you can catch it at the Prince Charles Cinema today — if you dare. Find other scary film screenings going on around London this Halloween. 3.20pm

MINDFUL CRAFTS: Colour expert and Londonist contributor Momtaz Begum-Hossain runs a mindful crafting event for adults in Royal Docks. Unleash your inner artist and enjoy the therapeutic powers of crafting. Projects could include anything from painting and collage to mindful sewing and embroidery. All materials are provided and no previous art/craft experience is necessary. Age 16+. 4pm-6pm

CEMETERY TOUR: If there's any weekend to walk around a cemetery, this is it. Cemetery Club is hosting a series of guided tours around Tower Hamlets, where many of the city's great cockneys are buried. Learn about the various animal importers, pub landlords and actor-managers who lived (and died) in the area. There are two tours today, plus others on 28, 30 and 31 October. 6.30pm and 8.30pm

Good cause of the week

Here's a half-term Good Cause for families. Come along to the ultimate board game day at Draughts Waterloo on 26 October to raise money for the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. It's just £7 per person and for a great cause, with every penny paid for tickets going to support children living with and recovering from cancer. The event, hosted by board game distributor Asmodee, is aimed at children aged 5-15. Games include Dobble; Dobble Connect; Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza; Bananagrams; Bunny Hops!; Pass the Bomb; and Toodles.