With the nights getting longer, no more bank holidays for ages and a definite nip in the air, it would be easy to mourn the end of summer – but not when you’re in the greatest city in the world! London has some impressive offerings to see you through October, whether you’re celebrating the end of a long week or making the most of a free afternoon.
If there’s one thing British weather does well, it’s autumn. Crisp, sunny Sundays; crunchy golden leaves you have to jump through; or proper rain that makes you grateful to be huddled inside. When one of those perfect dry days appears, take advantage with a wander through a gorgeous London park. Look out for deer in Richmond Park, join a bird-watching walk on Hampstead Heath, or indulge your creative side with Kew Gardens’ Artful Autumn. Or maybe you want to get in on the Halloween action early with a tour of Hyde Park’s secret pet cemetery..?
When the weather isn’t being quite so cooperative, the BFI Film Festival hits London this month. Obviously you can go and see a huge range of films, but the talks, DJ nights and events make this something not to be missed. It’s a month for festivals, with the Dance Umbrella international modern dance festival popping up in town halls, power stations and disused land across the city, while 35,000 people will descend on Trafalgar Square to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, on 15 October.
London Restaurant Festival includes tasting menus, ‘gourmet odysseys’, restaurant-hopping tours and chef-hosted events in 350 restaurants all over the city, but if that’s all a bit mainstream for your taste, head down to The Vaults under Waterloo Station for Beauty and the Feast. Follow in Belle’s footsteps as you enter the castle for a show, dinner and dessert fit for a Beast!
A London Cocktail Week digital pass will cost you a tenner and get you unlimited £6 cocktails across 300 bars – the perfect excuse to try that bar your wallet has so far refused to let you enter. For those looking to embrace their inner Ron Burgundy there are whisky tastings (and a whisky breakfast..), while masterclasses will help you mix the perfect cocktail long after the festival has packed up.
Oktoberfest needs no explanation – pull on your lederhosen and get yourself down to Canary Wharf, Greenwich or Hackney for all the beer and sausage you could ask for. Prefer drag queens to oompah bands? The UK’s first ever Pink Oktoberfest promises you the “campest, most colourful Oktoberfest ever seen”.And if all that food and drink is going to play havoc with your carefully tailored pre-Christmas nutrition plan, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered too! For a truly different concert experience, why not find out how the greatest hits of Destiny’s Child sound performed by a 16-piece orchestra? Apparently there’s confetti, inflatables and a light show too – we’re sure Queen Bey would be proud.
Leave being a grown up behind for a night and run riot in the Natural History Museum at their After School Club for Grown Ups. Learn about the universe in an inflatable planetarium, make your own dinosaur t-shirt, get your face painted and dance your heart out at a silent disco under a huge whale skeleton – it’s a night unlike anything else you’ve been to before. Or if wizardry is more your thing, join the Sorcerers of Southwark to defend the city from Dark Wizards
Our last recommendation is for the king of entertainment – an evening at the bingo. Replace legs eleven and two little ducks with quickfire medleys to show off your musical knowledge at Musical Bingo in Brixton and Shoreditch. Don’t forget your dobber!
You can follow Louise on Twitter: @iamlouisesmith