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Family friendly London events and activities for October 2021 

October is here and this month is a good one to celebrate all things London, Halloween and the changing of the seasons. The Natural History Museum ice rink is opening this month for the last time ever, there are lots of community festivals, free exhibitions, Halloween activities, theatre throughout London, themed afternoon teas and plenty of mind-blowing art installations. Check out our top picks below and follow us on Instagram to experience more family friendly London.

Black History Month

Celebrate Black history and culture throughout October at Canary Wharf. There’s a month-long exhibition in the Crossrail Roof Gardens as well as literature curated by Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo and dance performances on the 13th of October from Joseph Toonga’s Just Us Dance Theatre.
When: 1 – 31st October 2021
Where: Canary Wharf
How much: free more info here.

Fun Palaces

This free annual event celebrates community, culture, arts and science over three days in October. Lots of institutions are getting involved and you can experience and celebrate local artists and creatives with a variety of family friendly fun including storytelling, live performances, arts and lots more. My personal favourites include Stratford East Fun Palace, Half Moon’s Fun Palace on the theme of water, National Maritime Museum Festival of Imagination, Weapons of Mass Creation Fun Palace and Arts Depot Fun Palace
When: 1st, 2nd & 3rd October 2021
Where: throughout the UK. Check the website for all the info and your nearest fun palace.
How much: free

Family Allotment Club

You can expect to grow and harvest food, do some planting, take care of seedlings that you can also grow at home, have fun exploring bugs and get stuck into craft activities. There will be something new to do every week! Whilst there, you can also check out the Trouble in Outer Heaven exhibition
When: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th October 2021
Where:
Southwark Park Galleries
How much:
free more info and booking here.

Anansi the Spider: Respun

Anansi is returning to the Unicorn Theatre for Black History Month this October in digital form. Inspired by the 2019 five-star hit show, Anansi the Spider, these re-worked classics from West African and Caribbean culture are a hit with all theatre loving children.
When: 1 – 31 October 2021
Where: Unicorn Theatre (online)
How much: TBC more info via the website here.

Barbican Family Film Club

A series of animated films where you and your little Londoners can see the story of the everlasting friendship between Maki, a 10-year-old boy, and Zarafa, an orphaned giraffe in Zarafa or travel to South America in Mia and the Migou to discover the wonders of nature. A variety of family friendly film screenings throughout October including the latest Dreamworks animation Spirit Untamed. Whilst there, visit the Barbican Conservatory or check out the latest exhibition.
When: 2nd, 9th, 16th October 2021
Where: Barbican
How much: £3.50 per person book via individual links above.

The Multi Story Orchestra

The Multi-Story Orchestra presents a wild and wonderful work from Julius Eastman, opening their new Family Series with a musical journey for ages seven and over.
When: 3rd October from 10:30am
Where: Queen Elizabeth Hall
How much: £8 more info and bookings here.

Yesterday, Together, Tomorrow Collage Workshop

The latest exhibition at San Mei Gallery in Brixton celebrates people coming together in various contexts: protests, parties, celebrations, queues, games, jamms. If you’re willing to share personal records of gatherings in Brixton the gallery will scan or print the images and then hang them on the exhibition walls. The collage workshop is for young people aged five and above to have a go at creating their own personal artwork for the exhibition.
When: 9 October 11am til 1pm
Where: San Mei Gallery
How much: Tickets cost £3 per person. More info and booking here.

Superblue London

A new, site-specific installation by artist duo A.A. Murakami—the artists behind Studio Swine—is coming to Burlington Gardens. It is ispired by their seminal artwork New Spring and you and your little Londoners can experience something very special in Silent Fall, a grove of tree-like automata releasing ephemeral scented bubbles that can be handled – yes HANDLED.
When: 12 October 2021 – 9 Jan 2022
Where: 6 Burlington Gardens
How much: Adults from £9 check website for all the low down on prices and bookings here.

LUX

Featuring 13 large-scale installations, LUX brings together 12 of the world’s most celebrated media artists and collectives, creatives working with the latest audio-visual technologies to expand the boundaries of interactive, immersive art, blurring the lines between the physical and virtual worlds.
When: 13 October – 18 December 2021
Where: 180 The Strand
How much: TBC Check the website here.

Royal Docks Originals Festival

Throughout October you can expect a variety of family friendly programming from this creative carnival that aims to showcase some of the incredible new cultural activities being developed in this vibrant part of east London. Interact with a rainbow through the multi-sensory experience from designers Bombas & Parr which brings us a rainbow we can interact with or immerse yourselves in a storytelling experience filled with live performance, local people and their stories,music, beatboxing, dance, water-wonder, and filmic spectacle.
When: 14 – 31 October 2021
Where: Royal Docks
How much: Varies (some free but some ticketed events) check their website for all the details. 

Bloomsbury Festival 

Bloomsbury Festival is a creative explosion of arts, culture and science.  For ten days in October, the streets, parks, museums, galleries, laboratories and public and private buildings of this vibrant cultural quarter play host up to 130 events which attract a significant audience from across London and beyond. Some of our highlights include Chila Burnham neon installations throughout the event, Family Day at October Gallery on the 16th of October and the Lights, Banners, Tigers event on the 15th of October when you can discover kinetic tigers, marvel at neon sculptures, enjoy a procession of Bengali silk banners, become immersed in a live video projection from street artist Mohammed Ali, and be enthralled by a spectacular fire and light marble run installation by the Bureau of Silly Ideas. 
When: 15 – 24 October 2021
Where: throughout Bloomsbury
How much: Mostly free – check out the events listing on the website bloomsburyfestival.org.uk/2021-events/

Make Studio: Transform

Families Resources and Activities, Tate Modern, 10.4.15

This Autumn, UNIQLO Tate Play invites you to drop in and dream big with MAKE studio – Transform. Get creative and bring your ideas to life through clay – just like Auguste Rodin. Create your own clay bouquet inspired by the giant still life plant display. Whether you take your piece home, or leave it on display to inspire others, is completely up to you.
When: Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout October
Where: Clore Hub, Tate Modern
How much: free more info here.

Gruffalo’s Child

The latest family friendly event from Kew gardens where you can expect to meet familiar beloved characters from author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s book, including Fox, Owl, Snake, the Gruffalo, the Gruffalo’s Child and of course, the Big Bad Mouse whilst you enjoy the changing landscape in the gardens.
When: 16 – 31st October 2021
Where: Kew Gardens
How much: £17.50 for adults and £5 for children Various concessions available. More info and booking here

Howl’O’Ween

Expect spell-binding witches dance shows, Barbaric Bandits and the usual Chessington adventure fun with a spooky twist. With lots of tricks and plenty of treats, watch your step as you explore Chessington this October half term, because you’ll likely encounter all kinds of delightfully ghastly creatures around every corner.
When: 16 – 31st October 2021
Where: Chessington World of Adventures
How much: from £37 more info and booking here.

Halloween Festival

Dress up in your scary outfit and head on down to this Essex farm for spooktacular fun in the devilishly decorated grounds where you can enjoy funfair rides, pumpkin picking patch, scary dances, adventure play, bouncy pillows, spooky 3D cinema and loads more.
When: 16 & 17 & 23rd – 31st October
Where: Marsh Farm
How much: £19.99 for adults and £5.99 for kids from 6 months to 2 years. More info and booking here.

Halloween Spooktacular

This is Big Beat Playground’s favourite time of the year, and they cannot wait for everyone to come together and celebrate, this time in Fancy Dress! Get ready for a fun-filled party with plenty of action for all to enjoy. 3 DJs playing the best CLUB CLASSICS, stage dancers, lights, confetti, parachute dance, balloons and free glow sticks. Smile, dance, create, relax and socialise, all within a family-friendly environment!
When: 16 October 2021
Where: Arts Depot
How much: £8.50 for adults and £6.50 for kids. More info and booking here.

Meet Bing and Flop

A day out at ZSL London Zoo is always a success and for Halloween there is a special Bing event where families can follow the self-led interactive trail and enjoy an interactive storytime session, led by a ZSL Zookeeper, to learn about the animals. Children will also get their very own pair of Bing ears to take home! Storytimes are free but must be booked on the day when you arrive at the Zoo.
When: 20 – 31 October 2021
Where: ZSL London Zoo
How much: £30 per adult and £19.50 for a child. More info and bookings here.

Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules

Your favourite Beano characters are coming to Somerset House for a major new exhibition this autumn. Step into the pages of the comic and take a trip into Beanotown to explore how this beloved icon of British comics has fired up successive generations to break the rules, while discovering artists who push boundaries in their own original and wonderful ways.
When: 21 October 2021 – 6 March 2022
Where: Somerset House
How much: £16 or £12.50 for concessions with under 6s going free. More info and booking here

Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum

Get your skates on for a twirl (or a trip) for the last time in front of the magnificent Victorian building that is the Natural history Museum. There are plans to turn the space into a new year-round wildlife garden. Penguins are provided for children and last-minute booking accepted.
When: opens on 22 October until 16 January 2022
Where: Natural History Museum
How much: from £8 book via Ticketmaster.

Peppa Pig Halloween Bus Tour

Take in the iconic views of London with Peppa Pig and her alliterative friends whilst you munch on Bridgit’s Bakery special themed afternoon tea delights. The bus will take you past some of the most famous London landmarks including Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, Nelson’s Column, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and more. There will be singing, playing and lots more fun to be had. And there is a best dressed competition so get those spooky outfits dusted.
When: 22 -24 October and 28 – 31 October
Where: pick-up outside Somerset House
How much: £45 adults and £35 for kids more info and booking via b-bakery.com

Halloween Baking Classes

To celebrate Halloween, Gail’s will be running spooky baking classes for children in selected bakeries.
When: 22 October – 25 October 2021 4pm
Where: Various Gail’s Bakery branches
How much: More info here.

Children’s Up-cycling Halloween Costume Workshop

Get creative at this costume-making afternoon with the wonderful ‘Little Hands Design’ where you will be upcycling old garments and recycled fabric to create your very own spooky outfit in time for Halloween. Who’s ready to be the best-dressed ghost on the block?
When: 23 October 2021 10am – 4pm
Where: Mother at The Mosaic, NW3 2HP
How much: free more info and booking here. 

Welcome Wishes

Through craft, singing and storytelling, be transported to the world of Swallow’s Kiss, an uplifting tale helping young readers understand the lives of refugee children
When: Saturday 23 October 2pm
Where: Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall
How much: free more info here.

Halloween Wizards Afternoon Tea

A bewitching afternoon tea experience where you use working magic wands to brew interactive teas and taste fantastical treats. It’s a feast for all the senses!
When: Saturday October 23 – Sunday 31st October
Where: The Wizard Exploratorium, Soho
How much: £25 for Little Ghouls aged 11 and under and £40 for those aged 11 and above. More info and bookings here.

Stick Man

The 2008 children’s book written by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is brought to life in this jolly performance on stage. Expect laugh out loud moments, loads of audience participation, live music and puppetry alongside a visit from Santa.
When: 23 October – January 2022
Where: Leicester Square Theatre
How much: from £16 more info and booking via stickmanlive.com

Discover Day: Hair Raising Halloween

Dress up in your scary attire and head down to the discovery centre in Hyde Park for an outdoor session celebrating the best of creepy and spooky nature. Expect to create a spooky potion, take part in wicked science experiments, masquerade behind a mask and listen to an interactive spooky story. 
When: 26 October 11am til 3pm
Where: Hyde Park
How much: free more info here.

Halloween Spooky Tours

This theatrical tour will delve into the spooky history of the Chelsea Physic Gardens with this special family Halloween tour with Wild Immersive Theatre Co. You will help the Professor, and discover the secrets of the Garden. All the family will explore the Garden, learn about some of the medical and poisonous plants and pick up some wizarding skills along the way.
When: 26th October – 31st October 2021
Where: Chelsea Physic Garden
How much: £20 more info and booking here

Black History Month Storytelling

Immerse yourself and your little Londoners in a fun and engaging retelling of what it was like for Black personnel to leave their home country and join the Royal Air Force during the Second World War
When: 28 & 29 October 2021
Where: RAF Museum
How much: free more info here.

Family Fridays: Expressive Art

Join artist Crystal Fishetti for this free workshop exploring abstract art with a therapeutic twist. Learn about Crystal’s art practice which involves large-scale abstract paintings on bed sheets, inspired by art therapy, and explore how you can get creative as a family whilst expressing your emotional worlds. The workshop will take inspiration from the current Helen Frankenthaler: Radical Beauty exhibition at the gallery and will focus on new art-making ideas, materials and possibilities.
When: Friday 29th October 10am -12pm or 2pm – 4pm
Where: Dulwich Picture Gallery
How much: free more info and booking here.

Kids Cooking Workshops: Halloween Party

Get the kids cooking with Planet Organic in Westbourne Grove. Join the heathy fun with chef Flo, the founder of Kids En Cuisine and the author of “Cook with Flo”. Every month, you can learn how to cook a new recipe with super fresh ingredients collected the day of the workshops in Planet Organic stores.
When: 30 October 2021 3pm – 4pm
Where: Planet Organic, Westbourne Grove
How much: £32.93 more info and bookings here.

Halloween Family Fun Day

Celebrate Halloween in Hackney in this adventure playground. Expect face-painting, games and activities, arts and crafts, kids disco, costume competition, steel band, halloween tuck shop, a treasure hunt and loads more.
When: 31st October 2021 12 til 5pm
Where: Evergreen Adventure Playground
How much: £5 in advance or £8 on the door. More info and bookings here.

There’s a Ghost in this House

Bestselling author Oliver James will introduce his latest book in this latest event where you can hear the story behind his artistic process and his use of mixed-media illustrations in creating this unique and disarmingly witty take on a traditional ghost story, which can be read all year round – not just on Halloween.
When: Sun 31 October 2021 1pm
Where:
Southbank Centre (Queen Elizabeth Hall)
How much:
Adults £12 and Children £9 more info and booking here

Diwali: Festival of Light

Celebrate the festival of light at the National Maritime Museum, with performances, workshops and a parade that will bring joy to the whole family. 
When: 31st October 2021 11 – 5pm
Where: National Maritime Museum
How much: free

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