Well - it’s official - after a wet July and temperate August, followed by a blinding hot September (where temperatures soared and Londoners and tourists alike basked in the heat, in Royal Parks, on payments outside pubs and at outdoor events all over the city, the autumn is finally here.
October’s the quintessential ‘bye bye long days’ time of the year, because on the 31st of the month, the clocks go back and the nights will draw in. So it’s really one of the last chances to enjoy a bit more light in the afternoon and go out and enjoy ourselves in our fine city.
Nevertheless, come rain or shine, there’s always plenty to do in the British capital, and whether you’re after a trip to the theatre, a hot new restaurant, one of the local food markets or an exhibition in one of the nation’s fantastic museums, you can do it!
So - what’s on in London this October? Here are five events we really think are worth checking out.
1. Apple Day, Fulham Palace - 1st October
There’s no better way to celebrate the apple harvest than to head down to Fulham Palace, in south west London, for the annual ‘Apple Day’.
It’s a great event for the entire family, and you can take part in garden tours, cider making, baking competitions, and even mixology demonstrations.
Apple Day is held within a historic walled garden, and kids will love the storytelling, kids crafts, games, face painting and crafts area. There are also music-majung sessions and plenty of food and drink vendors, and live music to enjoy.
Guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face…
2. London Month of the Dead - throughout October
For those who are obsessed with mortality, then the ‘London Month of the Dead’ event is a must. Looking at our relationship with (and understanding of) death, in the lead up to Halloween, there’s plenty on offer for those who like the occult, the gothic, the morbid and the plain creepy. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy yourself, including torchlit tours of cemeteries,performances, and walks, all hosted by historians, artists, writers, performers - basically anyone who’s interested in shadows and darkness. Prepare to be spooked! And book in advance, because (apparently) London is a city where people are very interested in death, and these events are popular.
3. Japan Matsuri - 1st October
Back by popular demand, in the great location of Trafalgar Square, is ‘Japan Matsuri’ - a celebration of all things Japanese. ‘Matsuri’ in their language means ‘holiday’ or ‘festival’ and this event, which runs from 10am to 8pm, is an opportunity to learn more about the culture, history, food and music of this nation.
At this traditional festival, which actually celebrates Japanese Gods through dances, parades, shows and processions, there will be food and drink, music, and plenty of fun.
Look out for the mikoshi, a portable shrine with a phoenix on top, which will be paraded around the Square, and enjoy demonstrations of martial arts, a ‘Cherry Tree Blossom’ performance and enjoy the earth-shattering noise of drumming sessions. What’s not to like?
4. Knitting & Stitching Show, Ally Pally - 6th to 8th October
From 5th to 8th October, anyone who loves to sew should head to north London’s Alexandra Palace (a beautiful setting, with phenomenal views of London from its top) to the Knitting and Stitching Show.
It’ll be full of exhibitors selling every kind of supply you could need for your fabric creations, including buttons, yarn, material and sewing machines. You can attend crafting workshops, visit textile galleries, learn how to cross stitch and support artisans in your purchases.
5. Hampstead Heath Conkers Competition - 8th October
Finally, in our neck of the woods, there’s no better place to head for fun than to the annual Hampstead Heath Conkers Competition which takes place at the Parliament Hill bandstand, close to the lido and amidst endless greenery, lakes, spectacular views and - of course - endless conker trees.
The Championships will include the all-important conker competition (age categories for under 8s, 8-12s, 13-17s and adults) - this all leads up to an enormous crescendo, with an exciting final! No experience is required, the Grand Conker Meister’s decision will always be final and there will be prizes for the winners in every category. Entry is free but you can make a donation!
And if you’re looking for a place to stay in London, whether you’re here for business or pleasure, our award-winning family-run B&B in Hampstead is just waiting for you. We have an array of rooms, from singles and twins to doubles and a family, and as well as a warm welcome, we offer a cold buffet breakfast every morning - complete with the best cappuccino in Hampstead (made with a smile of course).
Feel free to contact us by email or phone, or go onto our website and book a room with us directly for the best rates.
Happy Autumn everyone.