101 autumn in London ideas to fall for

Fireworks explode in oranges and reds over Tower Bridge on Bonfire Night.
Fireworks over Tower Bridge on Bonfire Night. Credit: Sung Kuk KIm. Image courtesy of iStock.
Autumn colours, fun festivals, blockbuster exhibitions… this season serves up plenty of treats.
From unique events such as Bonfire Night or Halloween, to the latest theatre shows or exhibitions, these 101 autumn activities have your September, October and November sorted.

Must-see London autumn events

  1. Head down to London’s famous river for a whole month of exciting exhibitions, walks, concerts and more, as part of the Totally Thames festival. 1-30 Sep
  2. Rub shoulders with designers, as the London Fashion Week brings top creatives, shows and lovers of trendy threads to the city. 18-22 Sep
  3. Catch the last of Underbelly Festival’s shows – including an immersive Jules Verne-inspired adventure – as it closes for another season. Apr-Sep TBC
  4. Paddle, canoe or row with thousands of others, as Regatta London fills the Thames. Sep TBC
  5. Celebrate Black History Month across London with various activities and events. 1-31 Oct
  6. Tuck into turkey and pumpkin pie and soak up Canadian and American culture at restaurants and pubs in the capital for Thanksgiving. On and around 12 Oct and 26 Nov
  7. Mark the festival of lights with Diwali events. There’s usually a free Diwali festival in Trafalgar Square, or enjoy Bollywood dance workshops and crafts, and make sure to visit the ornate BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden. Nov TBC
  8. Remember, remember the fifth of November… If you’d somehow forgotten, here’s a reminder: London Bonfire Night fireworks displays mix pyrotechnics, seasonal food and family fun. On and around 5 Nov

Find more world-class London events in autumn months.

Top theatre in London for autumn 2020

  1. As the nights draw in, it’s the perfect time of the year to see one of London’s top musicals – travel to the land of Oz with Wicked, be moved by Les Misérables or follow a missionary all the way to Uganda in hilarious The Book of Mormon.
  2. Bask in the romance of one of the most romantic plays of all time, Pretty Woman. 13 Feb-2 Jan 2021
  3. Embark on an epic journey of endurance and hope as you follow the Life of Pi in award-winning story of survival. 28 Jun-4 Oct
  4. Sing along to Frozen the Musical at the newly refurbished Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Date TBC
  5. Laugh your head off at a comedy show. Choose from stand-up, improv, and more! Various dates

See more London theatre shows.

Museum and art exhibitions in London this autumn

  1. Gaze at works from Woburn Abbey (the home of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford) as they go on display at the Queen’s House during the Woburn Treasures exhibition. 13 Feb-17 Jan 2021
  2. Learn about handbags, rucksacks and more at the Bags: Inside Out exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum; from design to craftsmanship and to most unique exhibits ever made. 25 Apr-31 Jan 2021
  3. See the works of Zanele Muholi at Tate Modern, as they challenge hetero-patriarchal ideologies with a focus on black members of the LGBTQ+ community. 29 Apr-18 Oct.
  4. Explore the origins, adaptations and reinventions of the cult classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland through the Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum. 27 Jun-20 Jan 2021
  5. Explore Jean Dubuffet's radical works focusing on post-war avant-garde at the Barbican Art Gallery. 30 Sep-17 Jan 2021
  6. Delve into the turbulent relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, as through original manuscripts of royal speeches, pleas of freedom and more at the Elizabeth and Mary exhibition at British Library. 23 Oct-Feb 2021
  7. Immerse yourself in Bruce Nauman's neon art installations, poetic sculptures and pieces revolving around sound and moving image, in the first major exhibition of his work in London in more than 20 years. 6 Oct-17 Jan 2021
  8. Explore themes of isolation and belonging through Shilpa Gupta's installation at The Curve – her first solo show in London. Dates TBC
  9. Head to the National Maritime Museum to see out-of-this-world space photography at the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year Exhibition. Dates TBC
  10. Dive into the world of designer fashion as Prada: Front and Back makes The Design Museum its home from September. Dates TBC
  11. See The Raphael Cartoons – which are considered to be some of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance – in a new light as Victoria and Albert Museum celebrates 500 years since Raphael's death.

Find more exhibitions in London.

Places to explore in autumn

  1. Make the most of a quieter time of year with a visit to London’s top attractions – pick up a London Pass for discounts, special entry and queue jumping.
  2. Shuffle your way through fallen autumn leaves in London’s best parks and gardens, which are swathed in oranges and yellows at this time of year. Or, go on London autumn walks with guided tours.
  3. Curl up in front of a roaring fire with a warming drink at one of London’s cosy pubs – perfect for darker nights after the clocks change in the UK on 25 October.
  4. London’s neighbourhoods look beautiful at this time of the year with autumn colours. Head out and explore outside Zone 1.
  5. It’s Black Friday on 27 November, so rush out to the city’s top shopping destinations and department stores for plenty of bargains and autumn fashion deals.
  6. Then, chill between shopping sprees, with a movie at The Cinema at Selfridges.
  7. Step in the footsteps of monarchy, as you explore the royal residency on a Windsor Castle day trip.

Find more of the best autumn spots in London.

Unmissable autumn experiences

  1. Take part in a tea tasting, enjoy live music and laugh at top-notch comedy as part of after-hours Cutty Sark Lates. Ongoing
  2. Find out how to make foodie delicacies at cooking workshops and craft masterclasses at Petersham Nurseries. Ongoing
  3. Doctor Who fans, align! Doctor Who Time Fracture: An Immersive Adventure comes to London this autumn. Dates TBC
  4. Fulfil your childhood dream and learn about astronomy. Book your space for this autumn's Astronomy Course at Royal Observatory. Ongoing
  5. Hang out among the Gunpowder plotters in the newest layered reality experience, #RememberRemember – an immersive show packed with cutting edge technology, theatre and physical sensations. Date TBC
  6. Let David Attenborough's narration paired with full orchestra ensemble take you on an amazing journey through Our Planet Live In Concert at The O2. 18 Oct
  7. Get together with your mates and get a hole in one like never before at Puttshack.

Free autumn events in London

  1. Go behind the doors of buildings usually closed to the public during Open House London. 19-20 Sep
  2. Explore 20km (12 miles) of traffic-free streets for one day only at the Reimagine, a car-free day full of themed events and activities across the city. Sep TBC
  3. Coo over cars of all shapes and sizes at the Regent Street Motor Show. 31 Oct
  4. Line the City of London’s streets for oodles of pomp and pageantry, as the Lord Mayor’s Show ushers in the new Lord Mayor of London. Nov TBC
  5. Wear a poppy and take time to recognise those who gave their lives in two world wars and more recently, on Remembrance Day. 8-11 Nov

Find more free events in London.

Spooky Halloween London experiences

  1. Master the Dark Arts, as the Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is given a Halloween makeover with floating pumpkins and duals with Death Eaters. 25 Sep-8 Nov
  2. Visit some of London’s scariest attractions this Halloween, from tales of torture at the Tower of London, to bone-chilling experiences at the London Dungeon, ghosts at Hampton Court Palace or eerie taxidermy at the Grant Museum of Zoology.
  3. Follow in the footsteps of a cold-blooded killer on a Jack the Ripper Ghost Tour.
  4. Learn about the spooky history of London as you take in some of the city’s key sights with The Ghost Bus Tours.

Find more scary activities and Halloween events in London.

Autumn food and drink ideas

  1. Go potty for plant-based food at best vegan restaurants in London as November celebrates World Vegan Month.
  2. Learn how to make international dishes, go on a restaurant-hopping tour and enjoy special menus during the London Restaurant Festival. 1-31 Oct
  3. Don your lederhosen for Oktoberfest celebrations at various locations in London. Oct TBC
  4. Get into the spirit, as London Cocktail Week returns to Brick Lane with pop-up bars, cocktail-making experiences and DJ sets. 5-11 Oct
  5. Celebrate National Curry Week (7 October) at a top south Asian eatery, including Michelin-starred AmayaTrishna and Veeraswamy.
  6. Have a serious fill at London's restaurants in celebration of World Food Day; from quirky eateries to luxury diners. 16 Oct
  7. Enjoy vegan beers and Bratwurst at Fest Camden’s VegtoberfestOct TBC
  8. Autumn is the traditional harvest time, so tuck into hearty food such as Sunday roasts, fish and chips or afternoon tea (you’ll need that extra fuel for winter…).

Find more food and drink inspiration.

Autumn activities for culture vultures

  1. Venture to Brent, The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture for 2020, for a jam-packed events programme spanning film, music and art this autumn. Until 31 Dec
  2. Join masterclasses or create bespoke items to take home at shops throughout Seven Dials during the Art Month festival, which usually take place in September. Sep TBC
  3. Use the Mid-autumn Festival (1 Oct) as the perfect excuse to have your fill of Asian delicacies in Chinatown – try Golden Gate Cake Shop for mooncakes, the traditional treat at this time of year.
  4. Get cosy in front of an independent film at the Raindance Film Festival, across London’s West End. Dates TBC
  5. Get your culture fix into the night, with a series of “lates” events at museums and galleries across London, as part of the Emerge Festival. Sep TBC
  6. Trafalgar Square turns Tokyo in late September, for the free Japan Matsuri festival of Japanese culture. Sep TBC
  7. Celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish new year, at workshops and activities across the city. 18-20 Sep
  8. Discover the best new films with more than 10 days of screenings, events and talks at BFI London Film Festival. Oct TBC
  9. World-class art, music and talks combine at Frieze London in Regent’s Park. 8-11 Oct
  10. Be mesmerised by contemporary dance during the Dance Umbrella festival across London – also keep an eye out for special workshops and talks. Oct TBC
  11. Gaze at the marvellous interior of St Paul's Cathedral before joining interesting talks and activities usually themed around City of London's history. Ongoing

Search for London events by day.

Tune-tastic things to do in autumn

  1. Hold your country’s flag aloft, as the BBC Proms in the Park signals the end of the two-month-long BBC Proms with performances in Hyde Park – read our top tips for attending. 12 Sep
  2. Hear your favourite film scores, from Star Wars to Harry Potter, live during Royal Albert Hall’s Films in Concert viewings. 25 Sep-28 Oct
  3. Take your pick from music, dance, theatre and outdoor events in beautiful surrounds – from the Old Royal Naval College to the Queen’s House – with Greenwich Performs. Oct TBC
  4. Discover something new with Indian classical music concerts, or join a special yoga class during the Darbar Festival at the Barbican Centre. Oct TBC
  5. Mingle with top music talent at BBC Music Introducing Live, which brings workshops and discussions to Tobacco Dock. Oct TBC
  6. See music superstar Elton John as he takes to the stage at The O2. 2 Nov-2 Dec
  7. Get your jazz hands ready as the EFG London Jazz Festival returns with a series of concerts. 13-22 Nov

Find more music in London.

Make memories with the kids

  1. Spend a whole week in London with the kids during October half-term, with activities and new adventures across London. 24 Oct-1 Nov
  2. Guns N’ Roses sang about November rain for a reason… So turn to these rainy day activities if there’s a downpour.
  3. Watch the kids master at their own projects as they learn coding, animation, computer programming and electronics at Coder Dojo at Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre. First Sunday of each month
  4. Plan an action-packed family day out in London with top attractions for kids, family restaurants and kids shows.
  5. Take the kids on an adventure! Embark on a journey through maritime history at the Character Encounters at National Maritime Museum. Every Saturday

Discover more family activities, including exiting experiences for teenagers.

Cool things for the 'gram

  1. Seek out secret London spots with Hidden London tours (ongoing) of some of the city’s disused Underground stations. Find out more about disused stations with the London Transport Museum's Hidden London: the Exhibition. Until Jan 2021
  2. Hit up your feed with mind-blowing immersive artworks, as part of the London Design Festival. 12-20 Sep
  3. Snap away at thousands of sequins and pearl buttons, as you experience the traditional Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival in Guildhall Yard. Sep TBC
  4. Watch on as a flock of sheep are “driven” across London Bridge (yes, really) at The Worshipful Company of Woolmen’s Charity Sheep Drive and Livery Fair. Sep TBC
  5. Take the perfect selfie in front of the Infinity Chamber in Covent Garden, which is made up of thousands of colourful LED lights.
  6. Be mesmerised by golden-painted streets of autumnal London atop an open-top bus tour.

Find more Insta-famous places, including cafes, restaurants and selfie hotspots.

Sporting spectacles

  1. American football fever returns to London, as Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Stadium host the annual NFL London Games. Dates TBC
  2. Test your fitness in the Royal Parks Half Marathon, taking in Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. 11 Oct
  3. See the world’s best track cyclists over six thrilling evenings of action, as Six Day London returns to Lee Valley VeloPark. 20-25 Oct
  4. Watch the climax of the men’s tennis season, as the world’s top-ranked players go head-to-head at the Nitto ATP Finals. 15-22 Nov

Find more sport in London.

The countdown to Christmas in London

  1. Get your skating fix early as London’s winter ice rinks pop-up across the capital. Top rinks include the Natural History Museum, Somerset House, Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace. Nov-Jan TBC
  2. Soak up the start of the festive season with Christmas in Leicester Square, including a market and shows under the spiegeltent. Nov-Jan TBC
  3. Wizarding wonders are given a festive twist this winter as Hogwarts in the Snow brings plenty of fun activities and features. Nov-Jan TBC
  4. Be wowed by Christmas at Kew's stunning light displays and immersive art. Nov-Jan TBC
  5. Skate, shop, feast and enjoy rides at Winter Wonderland, which returns to Hyde Park with heaps of family fun. Nov-Jan TBC
  6. Enjoy Winter at the Southbank Centre, with its famous winter market, bars and wintry experiences. Nov-Jan TBC
  7. London Bridge’s riverside is turned into a seasonal wonderland with market stalls, food and drink as part of Christmas by the River. Nov-Jan TBC
  8. Don’t miss the unique spectacle of the Greenwich Market Lantern Parade, which winds its way around the market. Nov TBC
  9. Book ahead to see one of London’s magical Christmas shows, from ballet and festive classics, to slapstick pantomimes.
  10. Start your Christmas shopping spree under sparkling Christmas lights, as they switch on in November. Bond Street, Carnaby, Covent Garden, Jermyn Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Seven Dials, South Molton Street all have stunning displays.
  11. Follow Red Riding Hood on her thrilling fairytale in this enchanting classic at Stratford East. 21 Nov- 9 Jan 2021

Plan ahead with more Christmas in London ideas.

New attractions and new restaurants in London

  1. Keep an eye out for a new sky-scraper – Spire London – which'll be one the tallest residential towers in Western Europe.
  2. Treat yourself to luxe dining at M Canary Wharf, which will be home to a wine store, tasting room, cocktail bar and garden, a member’s lounge and a private dining room.

If you're visiting another time of the year, find inspiration for each month. Or, if you'll be in London sooner, check out our top picks of things to do this weekend and activities for today.

Keep an eye out for special deals and offers for your visit; and make sure to download the Visit London app for inspiration on the go.