As we say farewell to the last days of summer, let’s take a moment to look ahead to autumn, because, as always, the capital remains one of the globe’s foremost cultural hotspots. In fact, it’s worth noting that this is a particularly great time for London’s thriving art, festival and food scenes. As the seasons change, it’s almost as if a renewed sense of purpose takes hold, and that means being able to seek out a range of ways to engage, express and enjoy yourself.
So, with such an amazing number of events to choose from, we thought we’d compile our own list to highlight a few of the best. With something to suit every taste, our hope is that you’ll find a gathering that, for you, is totally unmissable. After all, just because the nights are drawing in, that doesn’t mean you should limit your exposure to all this most dynamic of cities has to offer.
1) The London Film Festival
Unlike most other high-end film festivals, this one has tickets available to everyone. Over eleven days and nights, you’ll have the chance to attend brand new screenings and unique industry events, celebrating the absolute best in the UK and international cinema. What’s truly great, however, is the communal experience, seeing big films for the first time with legions of dedicated cinephiles. It’s an immersive, thrilling experience that just gets better with each passing year.
2) London Restaurant Festival
In October, the hugely popular London Restaurant Festival returns to showcase the very best in food and drink. Featuring specially curated menus, restaurant hopping tours and five-star tasting events, this really is everything any committed foodie could ask for. In short, it’s a city-wide celebration of London’s world-famous restaurant culture, and when the wine, the company and, of course, the local cuisine is this good, why deny yourself?
3) EFG London Jazz Festival
A city-wide celebration of all things jazz-related, this amazing gala takes place across a range of classic venues like the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall and the Cadogan Hall. World-renowned acts include Abdullah Ibrahim, composer and saxophonist Binker Golding and Malian singer-songwriter and guitarist Fatouma Diawara. An annual expiration of musical excellence, it’s a series of nights guaranteed to both soothe and excite the senses.
4) British Museum Hieroglyphics Exhibition
This awe-inspiring exhibition is the centre point of the British Museum this autumn, giving visitors an exclusive insight into the mysteries of ancient Egypt. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone meant a breakthrough in being able to read Hieroglyphics, and this incredible exhibition walks you through the revelations made since that historical moment. With amazing artefacts on loan from around the world, this is living history at its most accessible and compelling.
5) Patriots at The Almeida
If it’s sophisticated, cutting-edge theatre you’re after, then you could do a lot worse than grabbing yourself a ticket to Patriots, soon to be making its debut at the Almeida in Islington. Starring Tom Hollander and written by the legendary Peter Morgan, this highly anticipated play about the fall of the Soviet Union is tipped to become one of London's biggest draws. Word of warning, though: this one is going to sell out fast, so be sure to book your seat just as soon as you can.
6) The Totally Thames Festival
In September, The Totally Thames Festival is back, bringing a diverse range of arts and culture to the banks of the river. Running across a forty-two-mile stretch, this unique annual event works in collaboration with artists, local communities and businesses to put on pop-up performances, boating events, art installations and workshops designed to spark the imagination of everyone involved. It’s a thrilling, community-led endeavour that’s building a lasting legacy we can all be proud of.
In summary, we’d like to think this list gives some indication of the extraordinary events that can be found in London throughout late summer and autumn. Proof, if it were needed, that the capital never fails to stimulate, entertain or celebrate, whilst retaining its place as one of the greatest cities in the world.