Every month in London brings a new slew of events and October is no different. There’s a diverse range of things to do, both at a cost for participation and free to attend, that can keep you busy in the capital through the middle of autumn.
The BFI London Film Festival
One of the biggest events around London in October, and indeed one of the biggest film events on the world film calendar, is the London Film Festival, hosted by the BFI. Running from the 9th to the 20th October, the festival sees a whole host of new films including the next big box office hits and a range of independent titles receive showcase screenings across the city.
Across the 12 days of the festival, cinema goers will have the opportunity to choose from over 230 fiction and documentary feature films with a number of those receiving their world or European premiere in the city. In addition to the feature-length films on offer, there are also over 100 life action and animated short films as well as a packed programme of talks from directors, producers and actors linked with the films that are playing.
The festival screenings include shows at the famous Odeon Leicester Square, but also take in some of the independent cinemas around the city including the Ritzy in Brixton and the Hackney Picturehouse.
London Restaurant Festival
For those who would rather get more personally involved with the subject of their festivals, restaurants around London are inviting gastronauts and bon viveurs to enjoy a cornucopia of new flavours across the city. Some of the most sought-after restaurants in the city will be offering festival prix fixe menus from the 3rd to the 21st October, giving plenty of opportunities to sample the delights of fine dining at a reasonable price.
One of the highlights of the festival is the Gourmet Odyssey, where adventurous diners are invited to board an old-fashioned London Routemaster bus and visit some of the city’s most exciting restaurants.
The London Restaurant Festival’s website has more information on how to get involved, including a list of participating restaurants and tickets for organised events.
Festival of Lights
21st October is an important date in the Hindu, Sikh and Jain calendars and sees devotees and the general public take to the streets to celebrate Diwali. The festival represents the triumph of good over evil in the faiths where it holds significance and is celebrated on the night of the new moon, when the nights are at their darkest, with lamps, lights and often fireworks.
In London, Trafalgar Square acts as the centre of celebrations and sees thousands of people gather to enjoy the festive lights, traditional music and dancing and delicious food stalls as well as a range of activities for children. Join the party from sunset and enjoy a great, free night out.
There are plenty of spooky places around London to go at any time of the year, but none more so than on the 31st October. Halloween is celebrated in a number of different ways all over the city, with some venues taking great pride in providing scares for their visitors.
The London Dungeon is offering a late session, starting at 11pm, with an even creepier than usual trip through London’s more gruesome history. With an earlier start but an even more gruesome end, the Old Operating Theatre Museum at London Bridge has a special presentation from Professor Ian Conrich at 6pm with a discussion of the role of surgery in horror films. From The Human Centipede to Frankenstein, Professor Conrich will talk visitors through the role that surgery has to play in some of our most horrifying tales.
There are plenty of things to keep you busy around the city in October. Between festivals and festive celebrations, there’s something for everyone all through the month.