The Best Events in London this autumn
By Kelly Henderson (follow Kelly on Twitter @kellythekiwi)
With the days getting colder and the nights getting longer, there is a real temptation to hibernate once it hits autumn. But these events are sure to get you out of the house and making the most of being in London.
#1 Make your mouth water at the RHS London Harvest Festival Show
Whether you’re green-thumbed or you just want to sample some of the best produce around, head down to the RHS London Harvest Festival Show. You will be able to get gardening and growing advice from the RHS team, see a demonstration by Two Thirsty Gardeners on how to make your own cider and sample/buy produce from some of the UK’s best nurseries, growers and producers.
When: Tuesday 6th – Wednesday 7th October
Where: RHS Lindley Hall, SW1P 2QW
Cost: £5 in advance, £8 on the door
#2 Celebrate Diwali on Trafalgar Sqaure
The Hindu, Sikh and Jain festival of lights is celebrated every year on Trafalgar Square. Among the events there will be a huge open ceremony, a parade, dance workshops and performance of contemporary Asian music. Don’t eat before you go – there will be plenty of delicious South East Asian vegetarian food for you to try! For more information have a look at the Diwali in London website.
When: Sunday 11th October
Where: Trafalgar Square
#3 Be dazzled by the Serpentine Pavilion
Every year a different artist is commissioned to create the temporary Pavilion on the lawn of the Serpentine in the Kensington Gardens. This year the Spanish duo SelgasCano have designed a multi-coloured structure resembling a chrysalis. Visitors can enter through a number of points and there is a secret corridor between the inner and outer layers. The space is used for a number of different events and there’s a café inside for the public to go and visit.
When: Until the 17th October
Where: Kensington Gardens
#4 Be entertained at the Merge Festival
Merge Festival is held annually to celebrate the culture and heritage of Bankside. Most of the events are free or really cheap and there is a huge selection on offer. Some of this year’s events include Food Demonstration Gone Wrong (theatre), The Chamber of Wishes (an immersive, interactive installation) and live music on The Riverside Stage.
When: Until the 18th October
Cost: Varies depending on the event
#5 Party like you’re in the USA… on Regent Street
To celebrate the return of the NFL to Wembley, Regent Street is hosting an American Football themed block party. There will be a performance by the Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleaders, an American football lab so you can check your skills and stations dedicated to each of the teams playing in London.
When: Saturday 24th October
Where: Regent Street
#6 Support your team at a Rugby World Cup fan zone
The Rugby World Cup has kicked off and tickets to the games are expensive! But that doesn’t mean you can’t support your team. There are 3 free official Fan Zones in London; these are located in Richmond, Olympic Park and Trafalgar Square. Check the website for information and information but expect to be able to watch the match on the big screen, enjoy live music performances and eat delicious street food.
When: Until 31st October
Where: Olympic Park, Richmond, Trafalgar Square
#7 Show off your artistic side by participating in The Big Draw
The world’s largest drawing festival takes place during October and this year’s them is Every Drawing Tells a Story. The Big Draw is a collection of events taking place all round London. Events include Seeing Closer (learning how to use a microscope to produce microscopic drawings), Drawing London Through a Lens (drawing buildings through homemade photographic devices) and Mr Heatherley’s Holiday (drawing live models in a Victorian artist’s studio).
When: 1st – 31st October
Where: Various locations around London
Cost: Varies but there are many free events
#8 Celebrate the tradition that is the Lord Mayor’s Show and Fireworks
In 1215 King John decided that every year the Lord Mayor of London must leave the City of London, travel down the river to Westminster and swear loyalty to the Crown. Fast-forward 800 years and the Lord Mayor’s Show is now a huge spectacle. Running from Bank and Aldwych from 11:00am, the procession has a huge range of floats and over 7,000 performers including dancers, horses, acrobats and musicians. From 3pm City of London guides will be giving free walking tours of the City of London before the whole day finishes with an amazing fireworks display at 5:15pm. Whilst you can book grandstand seats in advance, you don’t have to pay anything to take part in the celebrations.
When: Saturday 14th November
Where: Various locations around London
#9 Gaze at the 100,000 white balloons in Covent Garden
Created by Charles Pétillon, this installation represents the beating heart of the Covent Garden area. Heartbeat consists of 100,000 giant white balloons floating above the South Hall of the Market Building. There is also a pop-up gallery in the Piazza showcasing photographs of some of Pétillon’s other work in his Invasion series.
When: Until the 27th September
Where: Covent Garden
#10 Count sheep as they cross London Bridge
For hundreds of years those that have been granted the Freedom of the City of London have been allowed to drive their sheep across London Bridge… and this tradition still stands. Go and watch this unique ceremony – there will be a holding pen so you can take photographs and a prize for the best dressed participant.
When: Saturday 27th September; 10am – 5pm
Where: London Bridge
You may also want to check out the top 20 free things to do in London.