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101 autumn in London ideas to fall for

Autumn colours, fun festivals, blockbuster exhibitions… this season serves up plenty of treats.

From annual events such as Bonfire Night or Halloween, to the latest theatre shows or exhibitions, these 101 things to do in autumn have your September, October and November sorted.

For more fun ideas, check out our Let's Do London guide. Make sure to share your adventures on social media using the #LetsDoLondon hashtag!

Let's Do London: fun things to do this autumn

  1. Hit up your feed during the London Design Festival (18-26 Sep), as pedestrian crossings are transformed into mind-blowing temporary artworks in Bring London Together. From 20 Sep
  2. View the Illuminated River in a new light as artist Leo Villareal's light show dazzles the Thames for one night only. 23 Sep
  3. Join an exciting lineup of workshops, talks and screenings celebrating storytelling as part of the Evening Standard Stories Festival in association with Netflix. 24-26 Sep
  4. Make the most of Limited Edition London as top fashion brands bring exclusive events, activities and fashion items to the capital. 17 Sep-30 Nov
  5. See world-renowned photographer Rankin's works broadcast across central London, celebrating the people behind some of the West End's most-loved shows. From Oct
  6. Celebrate Black History Month across London with a lineup of activities and events for all the family. 1-31 Oct
  7. Discover the best new films with more than 10 days of cinema screenings for the BFI London Film Festival6-17 Oct
  8. Be wowed by the world of 21st-century choreography during the Dance Umbrella festival. 8-24 Oct
  9. Admire the very best of African and African-inspired design from rising talent on the catwalk during Africa Fashion Week9 Oct
  10. Gaze at incredible artworks from world-class artists amid the stunning backdrop of Regent's Park at Frieze London13-17 Oct
  11. Enjoy the Southbank Centre's programme of autumn events, which includes talks, performances, exhibitions and workshops.

What are the top London autumn events?

  1. Head down to London’s famous river for a whole month of exciting exhibitions, walks, talks and more, as part of the Totally Thames festival. 1-30 Sep
  2. Discover the hottest designers as the London Fashion Week brings top creatives, shows and lovers of trendy threads to the city. 17-21 Sep
  3. 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 11 Oct and 25 Nov
  4. 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
  5. Immerse yourself in the spectacular seasonal colours and culture of Japan, with a stroll along the Momijigari trail, part of the Japan Festival at Kew Gardens. 2-31 Oct 

  6. Coffee lovers unite! Get your coffee fix at the London Coffee Festival, with tastings, gourmet food and live music at the Truman Brewery. 23-26 Sep 

  7. Experience London in bloom at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, featuring world-class floral exhibits and unique themed gardens. 21-26 Sep 

  8. Get into the spirit as London Cocktail Week returns to the city for a special month-long edition this autumn. 1-31 Oct
  9. Celebrate all things motoring at the Regent Street Motor Show, with iconic cars from the past, present and future taking centre stage in Regent Street. 6 Nov
  10. Watch The Lord Mayor's Show and celebrate as the much-loved historic parade returns, mixing pageantry with a party atmosphere in the heart of London. 13 Nov 
  11. Experience Belgravia in Bloom as the elegant district transforms into a floral fairground, adorned with beautiful flower displays and spectacular installations. 20-26 Sep

Find more world-class London events in autumn months.

What's on in London theatre during autumn 2021?

  1. Get ready for an evening filled with glitz and glamour during a scandalous party you won't forget with The Great Gatsby. From 16 Sep
  2. Celebrate girl power as the wives of Henry VIII take to the stage to tell their side of the story during Six The Musical at the Vaudeville Theatre. From 29 Sep
  3. Get your fill of Mischief Theatre's hilarious shows with the return of The Play That Goes Wrong (from 1 Sep) and Magic Goes Wrong (from 21 Oct) to the West End. 
  4. Don't miss Everybody's Talking about Jamie, the award-winning musical is in the West End for a few more weeks before a short break. Until 26 Sep

See more London theatre shows or laugh your head off at a comedy show.

What are the best museum and art exhibitions in London this autumn?

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The #SummerNotSummer Exhibition is now open! 252 years ago, a group of artists made it their mission to form an annual exhibition to support artists and architects, by showcasing art of the moment to the nation. The Summer Exhibition has run uninterrupted ever since: a backdrop to famous artistic rivalries of the past and now a fixture of the summer calendar for art seekers, year after year. At a time when artists need your support more than ever, this is the perfect moment to start your own art collection (or add something new!). Buy tickets from late October to explore works from artists both established and emerging, or browse through our online Summer Explorer — see the link in our bio! Income from the Summer Exhibition supports both the exhibiting artists and the not-for-profit work of the RA. A huge thank you to the coordinators of this year's show Jane and Louise Wilson RA and their committee, which includes @isaacjulien RA, Sonia Boyce RA, @farthingstephen RA, @david_remfry_ra, @eileen_cooper_ra and Eva Jiřičná RA. Thank you also to the Summer Exhibition team, all artists who submitted their work this year and, of course, all art lovers — we hope to welcome you here soon! Installation view of the Summer Exhibition 2020 (6 October 2020 – 3 January 2021) at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. Photo: © Royal Academy of Arts / David Parry #RASummer #art #fineart #london #salon #painting #illustration #sculpture #buyart #supportartists #mayfair #

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  1. Get a glimpse of the Queen's Royal Collection of famous paintings from the world's greatest artists at Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace. Until 13 Feb
  2. See Michelangelo’s masterpieces come to life from a new perspective, in the state-of-the-art Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Exhibition. From 15 Oct

  3. Browse artworks from big names and emerging artists as the postponed Summer Exhibition opens this autumn at Royal Academy of Arts. 22 Sep-2 Jan
  4. Understand the impacts of climate change and colonialism with the thought-provoking We Are History exhibition at Somerset House. 16 Oct-6 Feb
  5. Explore the fascinating history of life on the river Thames at the London: Port City exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands. 22 Oct-8 May
  6. Discover the early experimental works of sculptor Rodin and learn how he revolutionised modern sculpture at Tate Modern. Until 21 Nov
  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. 7 Oct-21 Feb
  8. See Europe captured through the eyes of artists in the mid-18th century along with Hogarth's greatest works at Hogarth and Europe at Tate Britain. 3 Nov-20 Mar
  9. Explore spiritual identity through a Black British lens with An Ode to Afrosurrealism at the Horniman Museum and Gardens. Until 7 Nov
  10. Discover the digital art of one of Britain's most prominent artists, David Hockney: The Arrival of Spring, Normandy 2020, at Royal Academy of Arts. Until 26 Sep
  11. Go behind the scenes for some movie magic and view never-before-seen images of the wizarding world at the Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition in Covent Garden. Until 31 Dec
  12. Enjoy a city safari on the Tusk Lion Trail and discover life-sized sculptures of lions at famous London landmarks. Until 24 Sep

Find more exhibitions in London.

What are the top places to explore in autumn?

  1. 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.
  2. Or, enjoy some autumn sightseeing on a guided tour.
  3. Curl up in front of a roaring fire with a warming drink at one of London’s cosy pubs as the nights draw in. 
  4. See some of London's most famous sights from the water during a river cruise along the Thames. 
  5. London’s neighbourhoods look beautiful at this time of the year. Head out and explore autumn outside Zone 1.
  6. It’s Black Friday on 26 November, so rush out to the city’s top shopping destinations and department stores for plenty of bargains and autumn fashion deals.

Find more of the best autumn spots in London.

How can I find unmissable autumn experiences?

  1. Treat yourself or someone special to a relaxing spa day or some luxury gifts and experiences as autumn in London draws in.
  2. Find out how to make foodie delicacies at cooking workshops and craft masterclasses with the Cookery School at Little Portland Street
  3. Get a hole-in-one like never before at urban golf venues or test your sporting skills with fantastic company at these activity bars

What are the best free autumn events in London?

  1. Go behind the doors of buildings usually closed to the public during Open House London. 4-12 Sep
  2. Wear a poppy and take time to recognise those who gave their lives in two world wars and more recently, on Remembrance Day. 11-14 Nov
  3. Mark the festival of lights with virtual Diwali activities and special restaurant menus across the city. TBC

Find more free events in London.

How can I find spooky Halloween experiences in London?

  1. Follow the footsteps of the world's most famous wizard at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London– The Making of Harry Potter, as the attraction is transformed for Halloween. 24 Sep-7 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.

Where to go for autumn food and drink

  1. Go potty for plant-based food at the 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, including Camden Oktoberfest.
  4. Journey to Neverland with the magical Peter Pan Afternoon Tea at Aqua Shard, featuring sweet treats, freshly baked scones and sky-high views. 
  5. Celebrate National Curry Week (7-13 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 dinners. 16 Oct
  7. 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.

Which autumn activities can culture vultures enjoy?

  1. Celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year, with activities across the city. 6-8 Sep
  2. Delve into Chelsea's fascinating past with talks, tours and events during the Chelsea History Festival17-26 Sep
  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. Discover London’s vibrant cultural district at the Bloomsbury Festival, showcasing a mix of walks, events and activities that celebrate creativity. 15-24 Oct 

Search for London events by day.

Where can I find tune-tastic things to do in autumn?

  1. Grab a picnic and enjoy the soulful sounds of local bands, choirs and jazz bands at Regent’s Park Music Festival. Until 19 Sep

  2. Take your seat and enjoy an exciting lineup of performances this autumn with Live from the Barbican. 4 Oct-31 Dec
  3. Get your jazz hands ready as the EFG London Jazz Festival returns with a series of concerts. 12-21 Nov

Find more music events in London.

How to make memories with the kids this autumn

  1. Be dazzled by a spectrum of the world's brightest colours at Naturally Brilliant Colour at Kew Gardens this autumn. Until 26 Sep
  2. Spend a whole week in London with the kids during October half-term, with activities and new adventures across London. 25-29 Oct
  3. Whizz down the tallest and longest tunnel slide in the world with The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit
  4. Guns N’ Roses sang about November rain for a reason… So turn to these rainy day activities if there’s a downpour!
  5. Head to Leicester Square and meet big-screen stars with Scenes in the Square
  6. Treat the kids to a trip on the Peppa Pig Afternoon Tea Bus Tour.  
  7. Plan an action-packed family day out in London with top attractions for kids and family restaurants.
  8. Spend a day exploring some of London's top free museums with the little ones. 
  9. Take the kids on an adventure! Embark on a journey through maritime history at the National Maritime Museum.

Discover more family activities, including exciting experiences for teenagers.

What are the top autumn attractions?

  1. Take a tour of historic Windsor Castle and discover the best 10 London attractions with The London Pass, the London Explorer Pass and the Merlin London Attractions Pass.
  2. Walk in the footsteps of royalty as you explore Kensington Palace.
  3. Soar above the river Thames on London's only cable car with the Emirates Air Line cable car
  4. Visit the City to discover centuries-old relics at London's Roman Amphitheatre, hidden within the Guildhall Art Gallery, and London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE.
  5. Go on a fascinating tour of Shakespeare's Globe to learn all about the open-air playhouse.
  6. Be mesmerised by golden-painted streets of autumnal London atop an open-top bus tour.
  7. Gaze at the marvellous interior of St Paul's Cathedral.
  8. Enjoy "lates" events in London's museums and galleries, including exploring the London Transport Museum after dark.

What's on for sports fans?

  1. American football fever returns to London, as Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Stadium host the annual NFL London Games. 10-17 Oct
  2. Test your fitness in the Royal Parks Half Marathon, taking in Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens. 10 Oct
  3. See the world’s best track cyclists over six thrilling evenings of action, as Six Day London returns to Lee Valley VeloPark. 26-31 Oct

Find more sport in London.

The countdown to Christmas in London

  1. Wizarding wonders are given a festive twist this winter as Hogwarts in the Snow brings plenty of fun activities and features. 13 Nov-16 Jan
  2. Be wowed by Christmas at Kew's stunning light displays and immersive art. 17 Nov-9 Jan
  3. Don't miss the feel-good festive fun at Winter Wonderland as it returns to Hyde Park for 2021! 19 Nov-3 Jan
  4. Get your skating fix early as London’s winter ice rinks pop-up across the capital. Nov-Jan
  5. Soak up the start of the festive season with Christmas in Leicester Square, including a market and shows under the spiegeltent. Nov-Jan TBC
  6. Enjoy Winter at the Southbank Centre, with its famous winter market, bars and wintry experiences. 5 Nov-27 Dec 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. 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 usually have stunning displays. 
  10. Experience the golden age of circus and be mesmerised by acrobatics and daredevil antics at Circus 1903. 16 Dec-2 Jan
  11. Step into the Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park and stroll through the historic gardens illuminated with festive lights. 12-28 Nov
  12. Follow the winter light trail at Winterfest in Wembley Park and enjoy a multi-sensory experience of sound, light and London's tallest LED Christmas tree. 24 Nov-9 Jan

Plan ahead with more Christmas in London ideas.

What's new in London this autumn?

  1. Be transported to Japan and treat yourself to luxe rooftop dining at 8 at The Londoner, with a Shima Garden and decadent izakaya lounge within the new The Londoner hotel on Leicester Square.

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.