After yet another epic summer, autumn is quickly coming on in London. And while most people consider that a signal to stay home and plan their trip for next year, savvy travelers know that this is a great season to visit. Lower airfare and fewer crowds make up for the chance of more traditional London weather – but all of London’s best attractions are still happy to welcome visitors.
If you’re planning a trip to London in October, you’ve made a wise choice. As you’ll soon learn, there are plenty of things to do, and the weather is still more than good enough to make for an enjoyable trip; in the event it does rain, there are plenty of delightful things to do indoors.
October was one of my favorite months when living in London (it’s one of my favorite months of the year) – and I’ve been back to visit London during October a few times, so I have plenty of experience visiting during this month.
Below you’ll find a guide to visiting London in October, including tips on daylight hours, weather, what to pack, and what to do. As the spooky season is fast approaching, October is the perfect time to plan a trip to London and this is a great year to do it.
This post was originally published in July 2022, and is updated annually – most recently in July 2023.
October Sunrise & Sunset Times in London
If you’re planning on visiting London in October, it’s pretty useful to know how long the days are during that month. It will help you organize your itinerary and see how many activities you can fit in, especially as days are getting dramatically shorter as the month goes on.
Here’s a quick chart of the sunrise and sunset hours in October:
As an aside, watching a sunset or sunrise is something you should definitely throw into your itinerary. I’ve compiled two guides with the city’s best spots to experience them:
- The 13 Best Places to See Sunrise in London (& Sunrise Times)
- The 16 Best Places to See Sunset in London (& Sunset Times)
London October Weather & Temperature
During October, the city has entered the fall season, meaning the chilly and overcast days have replaced the warm and sunny days. It typically rains for an average of 10 days during October, so London’s weather tends to be pretty damp throughout the month.
The average London temperature in October hovers around 60°F (16 °C) in the afternoon and falls to approximately 50 °F (10°C) at night.
It’s worth mentioning that the temperature will vary from the first half of the month to the second one. If you’re visiting during the first half of the month, you may experience temperatures as high as 65 °F, whereas you get 55 °F (13°C) toward the end of the month.
What to Pack for London in October
When planning what clothes to wear in London in October, consider outfits you can layer. London’s weather in the fall tends to be chilly and volatile.
Below, I’ll rough out a list so you can get an idea of what to pack for London in October. Remember that the number of garments will depend on how long you stay in London.
- Let’s start with an essential item: an umbrella. You can go without an umbrella at other times of the year, but in October, it is a must for any traveler.
- Rain boots are another essential item. London is a walking-friendly city; you don’t want your feet to get wet accidentally stepping on a puddle.
- Pack two sets of long-sleeved T-shirts.
- Bring three sweaters and a hoodie.
- Bring two pairs of jeans and a pair of trousers.
- Pack one nice outfit. You may attend a play or book a good restaurant where formal clothes are expected.
- Also, bring a nice trench coat to combine with your fancy outfit.
Don’t forget to check my London packing list to ensure you don’t forget anything else.
9 Great Events in London in October 2023
As a bustling city, London has rich activities for those who visit in October. See below to see what events are taking place in London in October.
Japan Matsuri Festival (October 1)
I don’t have to tell you that London is known for being one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. And many events and celebrations are proof of that diversity. As the Japan Matsuri Festival.
Hosted at Trafalgar Square, the Japan Matsuri Festival is a celebration of Japanese culture. There are dance performances, you can see the famous shishi-odori (deer dancing), magic shows, martial arts demonstrations, and stalls selling the best dishes Japanese cuisine has given the world.
Black History Month (All Month)
Join Londoners in celebrating and embracing Black communities, culture, and history. During October, every city nook offers different events to explore Black people’s contribution to society throughout history.
The Museum of London will host the London, Sugar, and Slavery exhibition. Black History Walks will offer 15 guided tours around the capital to uncover the 3,500 years of London’s Black history. You can also stop by some of London’s Black-owned businesses, like Saint Aymes café, Dark Sugars, and Get Juiced! Bar.
Royal Parks Half Marathon (October 8)
First held in 2008, the Royal Parks Half Marathon is not only one of the city’s largest marathons but also the only one that travels through central London and four of the Royal Parks. It has over 16,000 participants who sign up to raise money for a charity or for the royal parks. The scenic 13.1-mile race starts and finishes in Hyde Park and passes by some of the capital’s world-famous landmarks on closed roads.
The London Bierfest (October 19-20)
Germany isn’t part of your Europe trip? Don’t worry; you can stop by The London Bierfest. Hosted by Eva Von Schnippisch, who brings traditional German acts to London. Oompah bands and dancers, sensational aerial acts, and roaming fire artists will be seen. Of course, you’ll also taste delicious German beer. ABK Beer, a 700-year-old hand-crafted Bavarian beer, is the festival’s official supplier.
There are also some other great festivals to celebrate Oktoberfest in London happening all month long.
The London Film Festival (October 4-15)
There’s no better time in the city for cinephiles than October. The London Film Festival presents a selection of the best in world cinema. It shows over 200 movies, from exceptional British films to a wide array of international films, in various languages, genres, and filmmaking styles.
Thanks to their submission process, visitors will also get to discover many fresh filmmaking voices. The events are held at different venues around the city, including the Southbank Center’s Royal Festival Hall.
London Cocktail Week (October 12-22)
Sure, you’ll enjoy numerous pubs and beers on your visit to London. But those visiting in October can also explore the city’s thriving cocktail scene. London Cocktail Week is the city’s annual celebration of mixology and cocktail culture.
With over 300 bars participating in the event, visitors can sample the capital’s best drinks at London’s top bars. Get their LCW pass and have unlimited access to the festival’s £8 Signature Cocktails. The wristband is also valid for the full length of the festival, and big groups can use it.
Diwali on Trafalgar Square (TBD)
London is home to the most diverse communities and ethnicities who have brought their practices and values to nurture the city’s multicultural essence. Diwali is the festival of lights. Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains celebrate Diwali every October in Trafalgar Square.
It lasts five days and symbolizes joy, love, reflection, resolution, forgiveness, light, and knowledge. It also represents the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. The lineup includes music and dance performances, plus family-friendly craft activities. You can also enjoy community stalls and delicious food from India and other Asian countries.
London Literature Festival (October 18-29)
Few things elicit more pleasure than reading a book by the fireplace when the chilly temperatures of October start to appear. Since you’ll be in London, you won’t be devoting much time to snuggling with a book. Instead, you can attend the London Literature Festival.
The London Literature Festival is celebrating its 15th edition. It brings international authors, poets, and Nobel-prize winners for their talks. The festival also hosts readings and workshops to hone the craft of the written word. You can buy tickets for individual events or grab a multi-buy ticket.
Halloween (October 22 – 31)
Halloween isn’t as popular in the UK as it is in the U.S.; nonetheless, numerous London venues host spooky events bringing out the city’s scariest and freakiest side. Book a tour at the London Dungeon and hear the capital’s most horrifying stories. You can also book the Tower Twilight Tour. Led by Yeoman Warders, the tour delves into some gruesome stories that made the Tower of London one of the world’s most infamous prisons.
9 Other Things to Do in London in October
Do you still have some free time in your London itinerary? Here’s a list of nine other things to do in London in October.
- Catch a musical at one of London’s West End theaters.
- Get in touch with your Royal side and witness the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
- Attend a gallery or museum exhibition. The Tate Modern is hosting Thamesmead Codex. Artists Bob and Roberta Smith interviewed people who live in Thamesmead, which was one of many modernist large-scale housing projects constructed in 1968 to alleviate London’s housing shortage. Smith talked to a number of local residents, from some of its very first occupants to young people growing up during the Covid-19 pandemic. He then turned their conversations into the 24 painted placards you can see at the Tate Modern.
- Take in riverside views of London on a River Thames cruise.
- Enjoy a breezy walk and autumn colors in one of London’s parks.
- Admire London’s skyline from one of the city’s vantage points.
- Indulge in an Afternoon Tea at one of London’s iconic hotels.
- Enjoy a pint in a century-old pub. (You can also stay at some cool pubs too!)
- Visit one of London’s old graveyards and cemeteries to celebrate Halloween with a touch of history.
Seriously though, October is a fun time to visit London and there’s plenty to do. Have any other questions about planning your trip to London in October? Let me know in the comments!