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19 Things To Do In London This Autumn That Are Cultured As Fuck

The essential September to November pop ups.

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1. ABQ

Facebook: abqlondon

London's Breaking Bad-themed bar opened in London last year to huge success, and is now back for autumn. A lot of themed or immersive bars can feel a bit naff, but these guys nail it. The attention to detail is insane; it's located in an RV and you use molecular mixology techniques to create two cocktails. Think dry ice and drinks that change colour.

One last thing – if you want to go, book NOW. Last year they had 42,000 applications for tickets... let's just say what they're cooking is in high demand. Oh, and be sure to turn up five minutes in advance. They're very strict on latecomers.

Price: £30 a head

Dates: every Weds to Sun until November

Book here

2. London Restaurant Festival

Facebook: London

Brace yourself. Both winter and festival season are coming. And by festival, I don't mean mud-encrusted raves in a field, I mean lovely, sophisticated, thoroughly autumnal cultural festivals. This one is a whole month of foodie events at 350 restaurants across the city. There's special events, and special festival menus so have a browse and be sure to take advantage.

Dates: 1st to 31st Oct

Browse menus here

3. Backyard Cinema

Facebook: backyardcinemas

If it's sunny, head over for the last few showings of Rooftop Film Club (they wrap up their season at the end of this month). We're in the UK though, so we know any sunshine is going to be short lived. Luckily, Backyard Cinema are the perfect guys to take over where Rooftop Cinema left off. It's basically rooftop cinema, minus the rooftop, and with a bit more creative flair added in to make up for it.

This season's theme is all things jungle. They've built an actual jungle and are screening films centered around that theme (The Jungle Book, Apocalypto, The Lion King...etc).

Price: £16.50

Dates: 17th Sept to 6th Nov

Book here

4. Open House London

Open House London is basically when they open up all the really swanky London buildings for people to have a nosey around. The organisation behind the initiative have all these great reasons why they do it, like promoting public awareness of the city's architecture, but I'm mainly just excited to swan around Burlington House pretending to be a Regency princess.

Price: FREE

Dates: 17th and 18th September


5. Juma at The Cuckoo N1

Juma is a supper club that serves the most AMAZING-sounding Iraqi dishes. They're currently in residency at the Cuckoo N1 and I will be going ASAP for some of those sweet blossom water-infused cream knafa and cardamom and date cookies and saffron chicken and tumeric lamb croquettes and OH GOD ALL OF IT JUST GIVE ME ALL OF IT.

Price: Dishes range from £4.50 to £14

Dates: throughout September

Book now

6. Dinner at The Twits

Addie Chinn

The Twits Dinner by Les Enfants Terribles is an immersive dining experience in honour of Roald Dahl's 100th birthday. It's not cheap at £80 a ticket, but it's also probably the most wow-factor-y experience going in London at the minute. The set and costumes will make your eyes boggle. Plus, it's Roald Dahl.

Price: from £81.50

Dates: 4th Sept to 30th Oct

Book here

7. The Hanging Gardens of Kyoto at Aqua Kyoto

This is a transitional rooftop bar. A rooftop garden bar for people that want to feel autumnal but are also not quite ready to fully let go of summer just yet. Here you can capture the last few rays of sunshine (and pray for an Indian summer) with a Japanese garden-themed cocktail menu and similarly enchanting decor.

Price: cocktails from £12.50

Dates: 22 Sept to 21 Oct

Book now

8. Sipsmith Summer Terrace at Craft London

Instagram: @petite

This is not a transitional rooftop bar. This is a bar for people desperately clinging onto the idea that we are still in summer and that autumn is not here yet. Which is no bad thing because the pop up menu currently on here is bloody stunning. Sipsmith have a put together a menu of seasonal foraged ingredient drinks; think green pea oil, marjoram, raspberry infusion and buckwheat tincture. And there are deck chairs outside. Gotta love a deck chair.

Price: cocktails from £9

Dates: on until 20th September


9. Conflict Cafe

Instagram: @ilariabianchi83

September is when I start making more of an effort to be a better person. In summer I post pictures of my holiday on social media until I feel a bit ashamed of myself (but not ashamed enough to stop). In autumn I try to be more like Oprah. Conflict Cafe is very good for this, because 1. it's run by the charity International Alert, and raises money to go towards peace-building activities 2. it introduces guests to food from conflict zones, helping to raise awareness of them and 3. the food is delicious, which makes participating in points 1 and 2 ridiculously easy.

There's upcoming evenings showcasing food from Sri Lanka and Lebanon and if you want to eat good food but also feel good about yourself as a human being you should go.

Price: £35 a head

Dates: 22nd Sept to 2nd Oct

Book now

10. London Cocktail Week

Instagram: @sweetandchillidrinks

If you like booze, and in particular fancy cocktails, you need a London Cocktail Week wristband. You have to pay for the band but you easily make the money back – over 250 truly excellent bars in London put on special LCW cocktails for the week which cost way less than what they usually charge, AND there's a pop up cocktail village you can get into. With the wristband you get access to £5 cocktails from £10-a-cocktail bars and when does that ever happen in London? Only during London Cocktail Week.

Price: £10 for a wristband

Dates: 3rd to 9th October

Book here

11. Oktoberfest East

Instagram: @lulu_dream_chaser

Hearty, delicious beer served all in one spot with Bavarian food (schnitzels and warm pretzels), music and a suitably Alpine backdrop. If you love beer but aren't willing to fly out to Munich, this is the next best thing.

Price: £15 for entry only, but if you're willing to splash out on the £75 package you get bottomless beer throughout the evening, reserved seating and a three-course meal.

Dates: 28th Sept to 9th Oct

Book here

12. London Literature Festival

Instagram: @imaflamepokemon

I have a very strong aesthetic in autumn. In autumn I am cultured and sophisticated and I wear very nice black high heeled boots. London Literature Festival is very on brand for my autumn aesthetic. It celebrates all things literary, with performed readings, talks and events. Hosted at the Southbank Centre there's everything from discussions of Bowie to a talk from Caitlin Moran and IT'S ALL SO AUTUMN.

FYI, aesthetic is a word I used to use ironically but I am now 100% committed to it, and no, I feel no shame.

Price: ticket prices range from free to £10

Dates: 5th to 16th October

Book here


13. The London Shuffle Club

Fun fact: Shuffleboard was invented in the early 1500s, and was so addictive that people stopped working to play it, and they had to ban it in 1542. Anyway, now it's back at London's new Shuffleboard club. They've taken over a gigantic warehouse in east London and have included two bars alongside the courts as well as Americana-style food.

Price: tickets from £40

Dates: Open from 12th October

Book here

14. The Plot Twist

Twitter: @PlotTwistWine

A series of events hosted by a couple who make excellent Hungarian and Italian food. They started last year and after a summer break they're now back for another series of foodie pop ups. The next one will feature lots of Neapolitan food, with fried pizza, pasta and fritto misto, plus a beer tasting that spans brews from Hungary, Austria, Croatia and Italy.

Price: £10 for just the beer tasting, £15 for beer and food early bird tickets, £19.50 for regular tickets

Dates: 24th September, with more events to follow

Book here

15. Autumn Secret Theatre Project

All of Secret Theatre's shows have a tendency to sell out very quickly in advance. Previous sell-out shows have involved a site specific performance of Reservoir Dogs, the world stage premier of Edward Scissorhands in a disused factory in New York, and a Hong Kong immersive show that involved a house on an island, a jungle and a speedboat.

Their latest show is top secret; secret location, secret plot, secret everything. Based on their track record though, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's worth getting a ticket for this. Whatever they're planning, it's going to be something special.

Price: tickets from £19.99

Dates: from now until 17th October

Book here

16. Classic Car Boot Sale

Not all vintage fairs were created equal. Some are just your bog standard markets. Or, if you're the Classic Car Boot Sale, you hold your vintage fair out of actual vintage cars. It's a car boot sale and vintage market all rolled into one, and it's the best one you'll find in London. Even if you don't plan on buying any of the merch, it's still worth going – there's food wagons, musical performances and street theatre going on too!

Prices: £5 on the door or £4 advance tickets

Dates: 1st and 2nd October

Book here


17. Walkers Crisp Sandwich Club


On the one hand, this is a very marketing-heavy pop up. On the other hand, it's cheap and I love a crisp sandwich. Walkers, in celebration of their new line of sandwich-flavoured crisps, has launched a new "fully immersive speakeasy-style" crisp sandwich pop up. It's hidden behind a newsagent, and the £3.50 ticket includes one crisp sandwich and one drink, which is pretty good for London.

Price: £3.50

Dates: 22nd Sept to 1st Oct

Book here

18. National Champagne Week

Instagram: @champagne_week

A week long festival of champagne is JUST SO AUTUMN. They have parties, tastings, supper clubs and masterclasses all lined up, so have a browse now and prepare to immerse yourself in the bubbly stuff. Just a heads up, I have scanned the events thoroughly and in my esteemed opinion the Enchanted Tree Afternoon Tea Garden is the winner of the bunch.

Price: ticket prices range from £25 to over £100

Dates: 1st to 7th Oct

Book here

19. The Drop Off

View this video on YouTube

Immersive theatre is the flavour du jour in London at the minute, with some bloody strong shows being put on this season, and The Drop Off is one of the cream of the crop. The premise is simple: You're a private detective who has 90 minutes to find a man. There's covert meetings, a dress code, access to some of London's most architecturally cool buildings and, without giving too much away, a hell of a need-for-speed surprise involved at the end (whatever you're thinking, think bigger). Thrill-seekers, this is one for you.

Price: tickets from £60

Dates: on until 2nd October

Book here