Fall,  Seasonal,  Things to Do

The 12 Best Things to Do in London in October (2024)

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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.

London in October Hero

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 list of the best things to do in London in October; the list is primarily focused on specific events and activities, but I’ve also included some general ideas if you’re not visiting when one of these is happening. 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 2024.

​Black History Month (All Month)

London in October - graffiti of black women on garage door

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. 

One of the best ways – that’s not time- or date-sensitive – to learn about Black history in London is by taking a walking tour. Black History Walks offers 11 different guided tours around the capital on a regular basis, which both cover and uncover the 3,500 years of London’s Black history.

For another option, the Museum of the Docklands is currently home to the London, Sugar & Slavery exhibit which covers Black history and colonialism from 1600 through the present day.

The Dark Arts at Hogwarts (All Month)

Harry Potter fans, where are you? Let’s go to Hogwarts together! Okay, maybe not, but the next best thing is the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which is an easy day trip from London.

Every autumn, the WB Studio Tour transforms with its annual ‘Dark Arts‘ series of exhibits; in 2024, it runs from September 13th to November 10th, including the entire month of October! The Great Hall becomes a spooky Halloween dining room, you can follow the Dark Mark around to learn more about the magic of bringing the Dark Arts to the silver screen, and Death Eaters prowl the halls and Diagon Alley to give you the creeps. If you’re a Slytherin like me with a dark edge, this is an especially great time to visit.

I’ve got a separate guide about how to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour if this one is a must-do HP experience during your London visit!

London Cocktail Week (October 3-13)

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. 

Japan Matsuri Festival (October 6)

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 – including the Japan Matsuri Festival each October.

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.

The BFI London Film Festival (October 9-20)

There’s no better time in the city for cinephiles than October. The BFI 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. 

The Other Art Fair (October 10-13)

Exploring East London mid-month? Head to The Other Art Fair at The Truman Brewery on Brick Lane!

As the name suggests, The Other Art Fair is focused on art we can all appreciate without needing name recognition. Featuring over 100 pieces by independent artists across a variety of mediums, the goal here is to make art feel accessible – and affordable. This is a great event if you’re an art collector without a big budget and are looking for a unique London Souvenir.

(It’s worth noting there are Other Art Fairs in cities across the globe, including Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Sydney – in case you’re visiting any of those cities too!)

Royal Parks Half Marathon (October 13)

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. Each year, over 16,000 participants 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 17)

Germany isn’t part of your Europe travel plans? 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.

London Literature Festival (October 23 to November 4)

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 17th year; 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.

Diwali on Trafalgar Square (October 27)

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. 

Black British Book Festival (October 27-28)

While I’ve already covered some ideas to mark Black History Month in London, the Black British Book Festival is worth calling out on its own as it has set dates and celebrates an aspect of Black culture that I’ve covered for non-Black culture even in this guide – in the London Literature Festival already mentioned.

This event highlights Black authors from across Europe, not just London, and is in its 3rd year; housed at the Southbank Centre, it’s easy to reach and the two-day schedule features talks, interviews, and readings. It’s part of a larger effort this year to take 20 Black authors on a book tour across the U.K. – this is one of the biggest venues on the agenda, making it more accessible for visitors too.

Halloween (Late October)

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. I have a whole guide to Halloween in London coming soon, but for now, here are some ideas:

  • Book a tour at the London Dungeon or London Bridge Experience and hear the capital’s most horrifying stories.
  • You can book a Tower Twilight Tour at the Tower of London. 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. 
  • Take a Jack the Ripper walking tour to learn about that dark chapter of London history; better yet, book two: a spooky one and one focused on Jack’s victims and the history of women in Victorian London.
  • Book a tour or explore the entrances to one of the city’s ghost stations. While these spots have a spookier name than vibe, they’re still a look back through London’s long and meandering history.

Check back in September as I’ll add the link to my guide for specific London Halloween activities and events this year.

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.

  1. Catch a musical at one of London’s West End theaters. 
  2. Get in touch with your Royal side and witness the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. 
  3. Attend a gallery or museum exhibition.
  4. Take in riverside views of London on a River Thames cruise
  5. Enjoy a breezy walk and autumn colors in one of London’s parks.
  6. Admire London’s skyline from one of the city’s vantage points.
  7. Indulge in an Afternoon Tea at one of London’s iconic hotels. 
  8. Enjoy a pint in a century-old pub. (You can also stay at some cool pubs too!)
  9. 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!

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Valerie fell in love with London on her first trip to the city way back in 2011. Since then, she spent a year living in London and visits as often as she can (you can find her recent trip recaps here!). She launched LOMM in 2021 to help other travelers fall in love with her favorite city on earth.

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