What to do and where to stay in London in October
Looking for things to do for Halloween in London? Look no further.
"Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring."
― TRUMAN CAPOTE, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S
Autumn (or fall) is hardly a season if the leaves don't change. Those lucky enough to live in California may get greenery all year ‘round, but London in October is a place of vast beauty beyond measure. The Royal Parks turn yellow, orange, and red; bold squirrels run around picking up acorns, and there's a chill in the air from the Regent's Canal to Hampstead.
Don't let the thought of rain dissuade you from visiting London in October. It's London. It rains a lot throughout the year, whatever the month. It's just that in Autumn, the days where the sun comes out turn buildings across the city into gold.
WHAT'S ON IN LONDON IN OCTOBER: AN OVERVIEW
Summer days are long since over and the Autumn Equinox passed quickly. Fortunately, there is an array of celebrations across the City of London in October. Cultural festivals, twice-a-year events, and even festivals for foodies are happening citywide.
Let's take a quick look at what's in store.
LONDON PARKS IN AUTUMN
London parks are green oases in a sometimes grey and dreary desert landscape. Anyone who thinks that there's no nature in London is sorely mistaken. It's time that they should visit any one of the astounding spaces spread out across the city.
There are multiple parks in every borough and each of them supplies a unique menu of things to see and things to do. Some of the most beautiful parks in London when October rolls around are those whose path and waterways wind up coated in foliage.
- Victoria Park: Get an expertly-made coffee from the Pavilion and then sit outside to watch the West Boating Lake collect falling leaves or wander by the reconstructed Chinese Pavilion.
- Kensington Gardens: Visitors can take the Albert Memorial Walk at any time of year, but the monument itself is particularly beautiful at this time of year.
- Greenwich Park: Home to the oldest deer park in London, The Wilderness, and London's only planetarium at the Royal Observatory.
- Kew Gardens: The Royal Botanical Garden welcomes Autumn with stunning rotating exhibitions and an annual festival
- Richmond Park: Known for its deer and epic size, one of our favourite things to do in Richmond Park in October is to grab tea at The Pembroke Lodge and go deer-spotting.
THE MIDNIGHT GARDEN is a cosy, chic, and classy digs on the periphery of Queen's Park, perfect for single travellers and couples.
To celebrate living in the most culturally diverse city on the planet, Trafalgar Square hosts cultural festivals that visitors can get involved with for free.
Diwali is the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain Festival of Lights. This festival symbolises joy, love, and forgiveness. It represents the triumph over evil with the spirit of togetherness. Diwali on Trafalgar comes with show-stopping performances, traditional craft workshops, and the most delicious Indian food you've ever had. (Including Dishoom…)
Africa on the Square celebrates the wide variety of African culture in the city and beyond. This fabulous festival has entertainment, live and traditional music performances, and the best in food and fashion from all across the African continent.
LONDON RESTAURANT FESTIVAL
Every October, London celebrates its eclectic foodie scene with the London Restaurant Festival. For the entire month, restaurants across London offer deals, new great-value menus, taster evenings, and dozens of other gastronomic activities. If there's a restaurant in the capital that you've been meaning to try out, October is the time to do it.
DRURY LANE GARDEN is a family home with a twist - it has two eating areas, one outside and one in. You know, because sometimes there's sun in London. For all other times, Covent Garden is a short walk from the property.
MUSEUMS AT NIGHT
Do museums really come to life at night? It's time to find out. These entertaining, informative evenings aren't just for kids. The three-day Museums at Night event happens twice a year, in May and October, but it's October that wins out by displaying London's culture and history in an even spookier light.
FRIEZE LONDON AND MASTERS
Regent's Park turns artistic in October when two of the most important art fairs around descend Frieze London offers the best in contemporary and modern art whilst Frieze Masters serves up its specialty: The Classics. You can buy, sell, or just view some wonderful art from galleries all over the world in the dead centre of Regent's Park.
CUCKOOZ is at the forefront of the urban jungle collective; offering a space for digital nomads and remote creatives to set up base in a fun and excitingly decorated pad.
LONDON COCKTAIL WEEK
During London Cocktail Week bars north, south, east, and west help celebrate the growing cocktail culture in the capital. This is the biggest cocktail event you'll find pretty much anywhere, involving over 300 bars and a week-long cocktail-village right in the middle of it. I'd say that's a good time to book a week in London, wouldn't you?
Get your hands on your London Cocktail Week digital pass here. For just £10 you'll get £6 festival cocktails and first access to pop-ups and parties.
A large, traditional-yet-excellent family home, DISTANCE TRAVELLED is a townhome that sleeps 8 and is full of vintage art and wares.
HALLOWEEN IN LONDON
It's the most wonderful time of the year - and the spookiest! London knows how to have a good time, and to ride the tube on Halloween weekend is like being in a John Carpenter film. There's a lot to do around Halloween in London for all age groups, from the littles to the, well, us adults. Because why should the little'uns have all the fun?
London is one of the most haunted cities in the world - if you believe in that stuff, at least - and many haunted locations throw special Halloween-themed nights throughout October. As well as haunted London, there are bone-chilling attractions, family-friendly events, and delectably horrifying tours.
THE BEST HALLOWEEN PARTIES IN LONDON
At Halloween, wandering around the streets of Soho can shock or surprise you. Baron Samedi might pull up in his open-top vehicle to pick up a lucky couple from one of the bars, or Sexy Magnum PI will cross your path on the tube. You can never tell and we love it.
Some of our personal favourite Halloween parties are as follows but both are booked up way in advance.
- La Danse Macabre is London's most exquisite and magnificent Halloween ball. Held yearly by resident Mare Street weirdo extraordinaire Viktor Wynd and The Last Tuesday Society, La danse macabre is a costume-mandatory explosion of haute filth and debauchery. And it is phenomenal. Get your tickets here.
- London synth-pop and 80's nightclub Electric Dreams' annual Dust to Dust Halloween Party is a phenom. It brings together the like-minded Flock of Seagulls who believe the eighties will never truly be dead.
EVEN MORE HALLOWEEN IN LONDON
Halloween really is for all ages, and if your kids can't go to the above parties, they might enjoy something like this:
- Tour guides are busier than ever during Halloween. Dozens of tours are in operation over the Halloween period. There are Ghost Bus Tours and ghost hunts, Jack the Ripper walks and Tales of the Plague - visiting the locations of some of London's old plague pits.
- A few of the London Cemeteries have Halloween-oriented guides and walks. Our favourite of these is the oldest of the "Magnificent Seven": Kensal Green Cemetery. Take a guided tour - if you dare.
- Experience an old-fashioned spiritualist seance (and gin) at The Last Tuesday Society.
- The Halloween Dog Walk takes place every October in Hampstead - dress your dog up in their best Halloween garb and help raise some money for All Dogs Matter.
You can even STAY in one of our dog-friendly apartments especially for it.
Keats's legacy is locked down forever in BRIGHT STAR; this stunning Hampstead Heath home oozes character from every wall.
- South of the river, The Rivoli Ballroom's Halloween pop-up cinema nights are a riot to attend.
- Why not catch a show at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane? The grey man might be there to keep you company. It is the most haunted of London's theatres, after all.