Fall,  Seasonal,  Things to Do

The 9 Best Things to Do in London in September (2024)

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Imagine a crisp fall day: leaves crunch under your feet, your hands are wrapped around a cuppa, and a scarf keeps the chill away. Meanwhile, a red bus trundles by and you pass one of London’s many iconic sights as you stroll toward the Tube station to start your day of sightseeing. Is there any place better than London in September?

I certainly don’t think so – it’s my favorite month in London! It’s the perfect time to stroll under the changing leaves and provides a great excuse to pull out your brolly (umbrella), wellies (rain boots), and jumpers (sweaters). While I’m not British, and I don’t call Britain home, I think Britain does autumn better than basically anywhere.

London in September Hero

If you’re planning a trip to London in September, this guide can help you make the most of your time there. In addition to all the traditional sights, you may want to add on a special event or two – or a seasonal experience that’s perfect at this time of year.

Below you’ll find 9 planned events to mark on your calendar and compare with your planned itinerary, plus 11 other ideas for how to make the most of the good weather during this delightful month.

This post was originally published in June 2022, and was updated most recently in June 2024.

Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (through September 8)

Things to do in London - Docklands

Every year, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival brings the performing arts closer to people with an extensive program of art installations, street theater, circus, dance acts, and music events. An eighteen-day festival, GDIF takes place across Royal Greenwich, Docklands, and Tower Hamlets. Visitors can see a repertoire of UK and international artists presenting the most diverse street art performances. 

While the full schedule hasn’t been announced yet (but will be available on the website above, once it is), there are some shows and experiences already available to consider, like Patois, a contemporary dance show that will use the unwritten language Patois to share a story of culture, lost languages, longing and belonging, and Touch, another dance performance set to the Daft Punk song of the same name and described as “gravity-defying.”

Needless to say, if you’re looking for cutting-edge and thought-provoking art while visiting London in September, GDIF should be on your itinerary!

BBC Proms (through September 14)

The BBC Proms is the world’s biggest and longest-running classical music festival. It’s been part of London’s cultural agenda since 1895 and has grown to become one of the top things to do in London in September. 

For eight weeks in the summer and early autumn, the BBC Proms hosts a series of concerts. The most famous concert happens on the festival’s last day – September 14th this year. Called The Last Night of the Proms, an orchestra performs popular classics and British patriotic pieces that Londoners love. 

While it may be hard to snag tickets for the last night, visitors can always find tickets for any other concerts. Most concerts take place in Royal Albert Hall, but the BBC also broadcasts them across the UK on big screens as part of Proms in the Park events.

London Mural Festival (September 5-29)

Calling itself “London’s biggest street art celebration,” it’s hard to argue that this three-week festival of the creative arts on urban surfaces is anything else. Throughout the London Mural Festival, there will be over 100 murals painted throughout the city, and the public – including you – is welcome to attend and watch them come to life.

This year’s theme is ‘connection,’ and the best way to stay connected about the schedule of murals and how to watch one being done is by signing up for the mailing list on the website linked above.

Open House London (September 14-22)

If you have a soft spot for beautiful architecture, you must attend the Open House London Festival. This two-week celebration allows visitors to discover London’s architectural hidden gems for free – and the word hidden isn’t used lightly here.

Forget about the iconic buildings; this festival opens the doors (for free) of buildings that are not usually open to the public. They’re private homes, schools, hospitals, museums, and pretty much any building or structure that have a story to tell and beauty to share. 

Visitors can also attend a wide range of special events and guided tours throughout the two weeks. 

London Design Festival (September 14-22)

Since 2003, London has celebrated contemporary and historic design together at the London Design Festival. This annual festival has gained a huge reputation over the years and has become a truly international festival celebrating London’s international status as a design capital.

In 2024, they are bringing more than 200 exhibitors from all over the world. The exhibitions, installations, workshops, and panels will take place across the city in venues like the Victoria & Albert Museum (one of the major hubs), South Bank, and King’s Cross. 

The Great River Race (September 21)

While the London Marathon takes place in April each year, traversing the city streets, there’s another marathon you can watch in September: the Great River Race is called London’s River Marathon – and truly challenges those teams who take it on.

Starting in Millwall east of the city and traveling 21.6 miles to Richmond in the west, hundreds of boats will row their way up the Thames, passing under the city’s iconic bridges, fighting the river’s flow, and hoping to secure a top time and the glory that comes with it.

While you probably won’t want to participate, you can certainly observe the race from all along the Thames this day; once the start time is confirmed for this year, you can use this handy guide to determine how long it will take to start spotting boats passing some of London’s most iconic sights and where you want to view from.

Chelsea History Festival (September 24-25)

One of the youngest London festivals, the Chelsea History Festival brings interactive opportunities to explore the UK’s fascinating history. Every year, their staff brings world-class speakers, like Philippe Sands, one of the UK’s most prominent human rights barristers, to discuss specific periods of the country’s history in a didactic way. 

It takes place at the Chelsea Physic Garden and hosts more than 70 physical and virtual events. There are book talks, immersive outdoor installations recreating historic scenarios, and child-friendly activities like pond dipping. 

Monet and London. Views of the Thames (Beginning September 27)

While you might think of water lilies and idyllic French countryside, renowned painter Claude Monet spent time in London – and used the city, especially the river, as a subject in some of his works.

This exhibit, “Monet and London. Views of the Thames,” at The Courtauld Galleries is perfect if you wonder what life was like in bygone days of London, featuring scenes of the Thames as painted during Monet’s trips between 1899 and 1901. You’ll likely recognize some of the subjects in these paintings too, including Charing Cross Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament.

Best of all, the impressionist’s eye of the city is not drab or dull – be prepared for color and light as only a master could see it.

Totally Thames (TBD).

Best Thames River Cruises - London eye

London wouldn’t have become the city it is today without the River Thames. So it makes sense to have Totally Thames, a festival devoted to celebrating the river’s existence. The month-long festival hosts numerous physical and digital events along and beneath the Thames, from mudlarking to river-inspired art installations. 

Visitors can also attend talks to learn more about London’s most famous river. There are also concerts and art exhibits. Check their webpage linked above to learn more about the activities they’ve organized for the 2024 edition. 

11 Other Things to Do in London in September

If you still have time in your itinerary, here are 11 more things that are also lovely London experiences in September.

  1. Explore London’s theater scene by taking in a West End show. This is a great option if the weather turns during your trip.
  2. Get in touch with your Royal side and witness the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. 
  3. Put on your fancy clothes and sip a cocktail at one of London’s rooftop bars
  4. Catch a play at Regent’s Park Open Air Theater. They’ll be putting on Fiddler on the Roof through September 21st
  5. Attend a gallery or museum exhibition; check my list of London attractions to see if any catch your eye.
  6. Enjoy riverside views of London on a River Thames cruise. From dinner cruises to high-speed boats, there are tons of alternatives.
  7. Dance the night away at one of London’s music festivals; Maiden Voyage is taking place later in the month.
  8. Make the most of the last days of summer by having a picnic in one of London’s parks.
  9. Admire London’s skyline from one of the city’s vantage points.
  10. Experience the British pub-gathering tradition by grabbing a pint in one of London’s historic pubs
  11. Enjoy a morning walk along London’s historic Southbank with a warm cup of coffee in hand.

This all sounds great, right? Have any other questions about visiting London in September? Let me know in the comments below.

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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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