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82 wonderful things happening in London this October

regents park © Mendhak

[Regents Park © Mendhak] 

It’s less trick and more treat this October, as alongside some sensational Halloween happenings, London is also offering up some top notch art, comedy, live music, and film. This autumn you can perfect your pastry at the Cake & Bake Show, don your deerstalker and explore a Sherlock Holmes exhibition, get down on the dance floor with Joy Orbison, or sample sensational new cuisine at one of the many new restaurants opening in the capital. So here we have it – London’s top treats for the next 31 days…


Oct 1-19: Merge Festival Bankside will be taken over with free events all themed around the idea of ‘Art and Science’. Highlights include a life-size house made of wax bricks (which will melt by the end of the festival) and a Bompas & Parr-designed helmet that will stimulate the part of the brain most susceptible to supernatural experiences.

Oct 1-16: Balfron Season A chance to see Ernö Goldfinger’s iconic Brutalist East End tower block. The National Trust is opening up Goldfinger’s old flat after giving it a 1960s revamp, plus there are open studios, talks, debates, tours and a ‘Tasting at the Tower’ pop-up supper club (Oct 3-4).

Oct 2-5: Elefest Celebrate the past, present and future of Elephant & Castle with the return of this three-day festival of music, film, discussion and grub taking place at various local venues.

Oct 3-Jan 27 2015: Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination at the British Library The UK’s most comprehensive show of Gothic literature will explore the enduring influence the genre has had on literature, film, fashion, music and art, 250 years after Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto crept out of the shadows.

Oct 3-4: Best of Britannia Now in its third year, Best of Britannia will be transforming the Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell into Britain’s largest pop-up department store. The USP? Every product available to buy has been made in Britain.

Oct 3-5: Cake & Bake Show at Earl’s Court The Cake & Bake Show is back for another year and the 2014 edition is serving up some seriously delicious treats. Top name culinary creatives including Rachel Khoo, Lisa Faulkner and Phil Vickery are taking to the stage with live demonstrations and helpful baking tips across the weekend.

Oct 4: Into the Forest Greenwich mega-club Studio 338 is launching Into The Forest, in partnership with Kopparberg. Expect a sizzling programme of DJs and producers to soundtrack the party (including special sessions from Sankeys and Berlin club Watergate), while S338 is transformed into a trippy, foresty environment.

Sun Oct 5: Wool Ride As part of Prince Charles’ Campaign for Wool, which aims to raise awareness of the environmental benefits of the fluffy fibre, cyclists of all abilities are invited to wrap up warm and ride a 13.4 mile route past some of London’s loveliest landmarks. Following the bike ride, participants will be welcomed back to Potters Fields for the Woollen Cycle Workshop.

Oct 8-12: The Knitting & Stitching Show This textiles event is a must for anyone with a crafty bone in their body. The vast show boasts nearly 400 exhibitors, a gallery showcasing well-known textile artists from the UK and a tea room if you require a break from the fabric frenzy.

Oct 10-Nov 2: Fright Nights at Thorpe Park  Head out of town to catch these Halloween events at the theme park, which include late-night openings offering the chance to experience the rides after dark and a series of live-action ‘Horror Mazes’ including ‘Studio 13’, new for 2014.

Oct 12: Midcentury East in Haggerston A showcase event for 50 vintage furniture dealers, featuring classics of British, American and Scandinavian twentieth-century design – even the building is a sight to see: it’s held in Haggerston School, which was designed by Brutalist architect Ernö Goldfinger in the mid-’60s.

Oct 12: Royal Parks Half Marathon Fancy joining 20,000 charity-conscious joggers on a 13.1-mile run through the autumnal leaves of Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens? The public ballot has now closed, but corporate and charity places are still up for grabs, and you’ll get a warm, fuzzy feeling for supporting a great cause as well as the chance to run one of London’s most picturesque routes.

Oct 17-Apr 12: Sherlock Holmes at the Museum of London Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous Londoners ever (quite the feat for a fictional character). This exhibition at the Museum of London seeks to find out who Holmes is, and why Arthur Conan Doyle’s late-Victorian detective endures to this day.

Oct 17-19: Bibliothèque’s Bibliothèque To celebrate ten years of collecting and producing work for an enviable list of international clients, design studio Bibliothèque will be hosting an interactive installation and pop-up bookshop at The Hoxton Arch.

Oct 17-19: The Chocolate Show at Olympia There are some dubious dedications in the calendar these days; we never realised that we actually needed a national ‘be nice to nettles week’, to be honest. But chocolate week is one we can really get behind, and this three-day consumer show devoted to the sweet treat of dreams will round it off very nicely.

Oct 18-Jan 25: V&A Display – Russian Avant-Garde Theatre: War, Revolution and Design, 1913–1933  This exhibition of more than 150 radical designs from the period includes work from some of the Russian avant-garde’s most celebrated figures. It includes work by Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko and Vladimir Tatlin, among others, whose widely varied set and costume designs went on to influence wider artistic practices.

Oct 18-Nov 2: Deadly and Disgusting Plants and Fungi at Kew Young visitors can follow clues and puzzles on a trail through the gardens to help save London from the evil Smedly Deadly and his poisonous plants, meeting some interesting characters along the way.

Oct 22-Sep 6: War Story: Afghanistan 2014 at the Imperial War Museum The latest War Story display focusses on the withdrawal of British combat forces from Afghanistan in 2014 after 13 years of involvement, and the implications faced by both sides. The moving display presents the voices of people who have experienced the conflict first hand and uses material acquired by the museum’s innovative War Story project to do so.

Oct 23-26: Affordable Art Fair This fair sees thousands of artists selling their work at affordable prices. Paintings, prints, sculptures and photography will all be on sale with prices ranging from £100 to £5,000.

Oct 24-Aug 30 2015: Wildlife Photographer of the Year Celebrating its fiftieth year, the renowned competition exhibition returns to the Natural History Museum with images of the most extraordinary species on the planet captured by professional and amateur photographers.

Oct 29-Apr 26: Women, Fashion Power at the Design Museum This exhibition looks at the wardrobes of 25 exceptional women, who’ve made their names in politics, culture, business and fashion, with each of them contributing an outfit.

Oct 30-Nov 2: The Telegraph Ski and Snowboard Show at Earls Court 2 Take to the slopes without even leaving the city at this consumer show featuring a long weekend of classes and demonstrations for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities.

Oct 31: HALLOWEEN! ‘Tis the day to dress up, dance, eat, trick, treat etc. However you want to spend All Hallows’ Eve, we’re sure London won’t disappoint.

London Cocktail WeekLondon Cocktail Week


Opens Oct 2: The Sun Tavern From the people behind the Discount Suit Company, this revamped Bethnal Green pub will feature coffee from the nearby Square Mile roastery and bar snacks all day.

Opens Oct 3: Turtle Bay Coming to Ealing Broadway, the first London branch of a Caribbean chain with branches in Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham (to name a few). Largely Jamaican menu with a long cocktail list heavy on rum drinks (duh!). 

Oct 6: London Cocktail Week For one week, 200 bars will throw open their doors to offer £4 cocktails to wristband wearers. There are also plenty of pop-ups, parties and tastings happening across the capital.

Oct 11-12: The Rumfest Back for its eighth year, any fans of the sweet spirit need to get down to the Ibis Hotel in Earls Court for tastings, masterclasses, seminars and cocktail making sessions, with experts on hand to recommend the perfect bottle.

Opens Oct 14 Spring Skye Gyngell, formerly of Petersham Nurseries, is opening her first solo venture in the new wing of Somerset House. Expect her usual emphasis on seasonality and good ingredients.

Oct 18: Beer and Street Food in Shoreditch Street food specialists Urban Food Fest are teaming up with Let There Be Beer to create the UK’s largest beer and street food pairing event. Six dishes matched with brews selected by ‘beer sommelier’ Jayne Peyton will be available to taste during the opening hours 5pm-midnight.

Opens Oct 20: Señor Ceviche This popular Peruvian pop-up opens in its first (we can probably expect more) permanent venue in Soho. Tapas-style plates of ceviche, Peruvian street food and BBQ, plus pisco cocktails and Peruvian beers.

Opens Oct 21: Snaps & Rye A new Danish-style restaurant is coming to Notting Hill. Just 35 covers, and selling traditional Danish smørrebrød on homemade rye bread, meatballs, cured salmon, etc. There’s also a shop attached with food, hardware and books.

Oct 26: Brixton Flavours This all-day food and drink festival will feature such local restaurants as Brindisa, Casa Morita and Etta’s Seafood. Tickets cost £15 for 15 tokens to be spent at any of the 20 or so participating venues.

Opens Oct 27 Wild Game Company The first restaurant from a company that thus far has operated out of street markets and pop-ups. The chef is the much-lauded Andy Waugh.

Opens late Oct: Café Pistou An all-day French restaurant: coffee and brunch by day, restaurant and bar by night. Chef Simon Conboy has previously been executive chef at The Ivy.

Opens late Oct: Fields Café An all-day café in Clapham Common by the same team as M1lk in Balham.

Opens late Oct: Delancey & Co This is a self-styled New York-style salt beef and smoked salmon ‘bar’ opening in Goodge Street. It takes its inspiration from Manhattan deli-superstars Katz’s and Russ & Daughters (very hard acts to follow).

London Film Festival


Oct 7-26: London Fields Free Film Festival  A Ryan Gosling all-dayer is being held as part of the first ever London Fields Free Film Festival. Yes, you read that right. ‘Drive’ and ‘Lars & The Real Girl’ will definitely be screened with the third movie chosen by the audience.

Oct 8-19: London Film Festival The biggest, brightest and best event in the capital’s filmgoing calendar, the London Film Festival lands in cinemas across the city on October 8 2014. Screening everything from swanky, star-studded red carpet premieres of major Hollywood movies to the very best in world cinema, the festival centres around Leicester Square but also branches out to local movie houses all over London.

Oct 3: Gone Girl Transformed into the kind of wickedly confident Hollywood thriller you pray to see once in a decade, Gillian Flynn’s absorbing missing-wife novel emerges – via a faithful script by the author herself – as the stealthiest comedy since ‘American Psycho’.

Oct 10: Maze Runner Adapted from the first novel in a series by James Dashner, ‘Maze Runner’ takes a ‘Lord of the Flies’ setting of boys fending for themselves in the great outdoors and chucks in some ‘Lost’-style sci-fi.

Oct 24: Fury ‘Training Day’ scribe turned filmmaker David Ayer directs megastar Brad Pitt, alongside some other people who aren’t Brad Pitt, but wish they were (one of whom is Shia Labeouf).

Oct: 31: Mr Turner Sad and joyful, ‘Mr Turner’ offers a wonderfully rich tapestry of experience and digs deeply into a complicated, contradictory life.

Here’s more films you should see this month

Trust with Joy Orbison


Oct 3: Trust with Joy Orbison A new party that operates with an open-minded, forward-thinking attitude to electronic music of all shapes and sizes, but leaning heavily towards the underground side of things. UK bass royalty Joy Orbison is up first so get ready to revel in a heady, sweaty mix of low frequency freak-outs, dubstep-influenced house, techno and various other dark dancefloor delights.

Oct 4: Tonga Mike Skinner, aka the guy from The Streets, has teamed up with Manchester-based collective Murkage for a new club night at The Victoria pub in Dalston.

Oct 5: DMC World DJ Championships The world’s finest turntablists will cut, scratch and freestyle their way through six-minute slots to be crowned world champion.

Oct 6: Spiritland This new venture is a unique space for listening to and appreciating music of all genres. Free to the public, it will run seven days a week for three months.

Oct 23: DJ Harvey at Fabric A rare gem of a UK appearance by DJ Harvey, the man who helped pioneer the disco edit and known as an all-round legendary DJ over several decades.

Oct 30: Red Bull Culture Clash Held inside a vast gladiatorial arena (okay, Earls Court), crews will battle it out for musical supremacy, playing monstrous sets to win over the crowd to their chosen genre.

Oct 31: Jacques Greene, Koreless & Special Guests Following a sold out show at St John at Hackney back in April, Jacques Greene and Koreless return to London for a rare late-night party in the round. Halloween fancy dress encouraged!

Oct 31: Regression Sessions Halloween Special The full-fat fun club night that shuns pretentiousness and embraces silliness goes all spooky and stuff for Halloween. To mark this ghoulish occasion, the RS crew are moving from usual haunt Electrowerkz to the mammoth Studio 338 in Greenwich.

Check out all the other mega fun Halloween parties happening here.

the jim jones revue


Oct 4: The Jim Jones Revue The slicked-back, blues-riffing, garage-rock greasers play their last show ever. It goes on until 2am, providing extra time for drowning your sorrows with whisky. Godspeed, gentlemen – Time Out salutes you.

Oct 11-26: Oxjam The charity festival returns, with local takeovers filling venues from Chiswick and Kingston to Dalston and New Cross with live music. Check out our line-up page to find an event near you this month.

Oct 26-31: Bluesfest Bluesfest returns to the Royal Albert Hall with a great line-up of blues, soul, jazz, rhythm and blues and gospel music. Headliners include Van Morrison and Elvis Costello, and there’s a packed schedule of daytime events for the whole family too.

Oct 31: Kiss FM Haunted House Party Spooky times in Hammersmith, as pop-loving radio station Kiss FM crams a load of contemporary chart-raiders into the Apollo. Beat-mashing MC/vocalist Example tops the bill.

For more great live music this month, check out our top ten London gigs and the best jazz events in town.

John Kearns


Until Oct 18: Tonsure wig-wearing absurdist comic John Kearns – the triumphant winner of 2014’s Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award – brings his gong-bagging show ‘Shtick’ to Soho for a London victory lap. He’s the most talked-about name in live comedy right now. Go find out why.

Oct 1: ‘QI’ host, ‘Blackadder’ star and all-round national treasure Stephen Fry promotes his latest memoir with a live show at the Southbank Centre. The gig’s all sold out, but it’s being broadcast live to cinemas across the country.

Oct 1-4: Cosy Hull-born comic Lucy Beaumont brings her Foster’s Best Newcomer-nominated debut solo show ‘We Can Twerk It Out’ to London, fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe.

Oct 3-4: ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’ star and resident misanthropic perfectionist Jon Richardson promises he’s ‘happy’ and ‘more laid-back’ in his latest show, ‘Nidiot’, at the Hammersmith Apollo.

Oct 11, 12, 14, 16 and 18: Sensitive, introspective stand-up and former ‘Buzzcocks’ host Simon Amstell kicks off his fourth world tour, ‘To Be Free’, with a five-night stint at the Leicester Square Theatre.

Oct 12: US comedy giant Kevin Hart fills arenas across the globe. He’s bringing some of his comedy pals to Wembley Arena to host ‘Kevin Hart & Friends – Hartbeat Weekend’.

Oct 18, 19 and 21-25: Cheeky Lancastrian Lee Mack is back on the road for the first time in four years, bringing ‘Hit the Road Mack’ to the Hammersmith Apollo for a whopping eight gigs.

Here Lies Love


Oct-Jan 2015: Here Lies Love David Byrne and Fatboy Slim’s pulse-racing disco musical about Studio 54-loving dictator’s wife and shoe collector Imelda Marcos.

Until Sat Dec 20: Electra Ian Rickson directs Kristin Scott-Thomas.

Oct 10-Nov 29: Our Town Revered New York production of Thornton Wilder’s classic gets restaged in London’s hippest theatre.

Oct 3-Nov 29: Henry IV The Donmar follows up its acclaimed all-female ‘Julius Caesar’ with a ‘Henry IV’, starring the great Harriet Walter.

From Oct 4: The Scottsboro Boys West End transfer for the great Kander and Ebb’s final musical after a brilliant Young Vic run last year.

From Oct 4: East is East Jane Horrocks stars in the latest production in Jamie Lloyd’s Trafalgar Transformed season.

From Oct 4: The Infidel David Baddiel adapts his own film, quite topically timely.

From Oct 10: The Cherry Orchard The great director Katie Mitchell returns from ‘exile’ to direct a new Chekhov adaptation by Simon Stephens.

Until Nov 1: Seminar Roger Allam stars in the UK premiere of this big US hit.

Until Sat Nov 29: Speed-the-Plow Who knew that the rumours would turn out to be true? Hollywood starlet and all-round bad-girl Lindsay Lohan is gracing London’s West End with her first ever stage appearance.

Alice Anderson


Oct 2-31: Window Space Artist Alice Anderson takes over the Window Space this month with a specially commissioned  performance piece. Head down for First Thursdays (Oct 2) to grab one of the accompanying publications.

Opens Oct 8: Walead Beshty Known for his colourful abstract photographs that incorporate different techniques from repetitively exposing film or repeatedly photographing photographs, the British Los Angeles-based artist will cover the Curve gallery in a new series of cyanotype prints.

Opens Oct 8: Sigmar Polke: Alibis The German painter, who gave the polka dot contemporary art status, is surveyed through this retrospective of his unusually varied five-decade career.

Opens Oct 12: Marvin Gaye Chetwynd: Hermitos Children 2 Chetwynd’s new film Hermitos Children 2 is the artist’s largest commission to date and will be presented within a large-scale installation that also incorporates props and interiors.

Opens Oct 14: Richard Tuttle: The Weave of Textile Language The US artist brings his blurry coloured line aesthetic to the UK with a three-part project that culminates in this exhibition focusing on the influence of textiles on his abstractions along with a sculptural presentation in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and a publication.

Opens Oct 14: Mirrorcity Reality is a matter of perspective, which in our digital age can often be skewed. This group show of London’s most inspirational and significant artists including Lucky PDF, Laure Prouvost, Helen Marten and Susan Hiller, looks at how our increasing digital existence informs and reflects our daily experiences.

Opens Oct 14: Gerhard Richter To launch her first London gallery, New York doyenne Marian Goodman opens her David Adjaye designed space in a renovated warehouse with a show by the renowned German artist. Presenting a significant body of work from the past five years, the abstract pieces are concerned with deconstructing an image of Richter’s own painting from 1990.

Oct 14-18: ICA Off-Site Coinciding with the Frieze Art Fair, the ICA have set up shop in The Old Selfridges Hotel for this series of events and installations. The programme opens on Oct 14 with Dominican-American performer and curator Isabel Lewis’ series of ‘occasions’ which channel the priorities of an ancient Greek symposium – philosophy, alcohol and the erotic.

Opens Oct 15: Rembrandt: The Late Works An incredibly rare opportunity to see 40 of the Dutch master’s late period paintings alongside 20 drawings and some 30 prints.

Oct 16-19: Freize Art Fair 2014 Frieze is back for a twelfth year, with 152 galleries from 30 different countries gathering in Regent’s Park on October 16-19 2014 for the biggest contemporary art event of the year. 2013’s fair saw a redesign which featured more sizeable public areas, plus the return of the Frieze Sculpture Park.

Opens Oct 23: Egon Schiele: The Radical Nude Few people captured the human body with the obsessive fleshy intensity of Egon Schiele. The Viennese painter, and protégé of the great Austrian master Gustav Klimt, showed the human body in all its odd, contorted and bumpy glory.

Opens Oct 29: Der Standpunkt der Aufnahme – Point of View Published by Berlin-based archive Der Standpunkt der Aufnahme – Point of View is a collection of texts and image essays through which film-makers, artists and theoreticians reflect on where ‘the political’ comes into their work. The book will inform an evening of discussion with its editor Tobias Hering, film-maker Elke Marhöfer and film theoretician and community video practitioner Ed Webb-Ingall.

Want more? Here are some other great autumnal events you need to know about

Check out these lovely photos of Autumn.

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