The leaves are falling and the weather’s turning, so it’s time to look at the best autumn things to do in London. The city’s a bit damp and grey all year round, so a change in seasons can easily go unnoticed. But sometimes you get those dreamy autumn days where the weather is crisp but mild and the sun is out. It’s days like that when London looks its most beautiful, so you gotta get out and do some exploring. On the flip side, chances of rain are high during the last part of the year, so if you need somewhere to hide away, duck into a brand-new restaurant, a headline exhibition or catch a flick at the city’s biggest film festival. Whatever the weather – or your mood – you’ll find the best autumn things to do in London below.

Open House Festival

1. See Inside Remarkable Buildings at Open House Festival 2023

If you like nosing around other people’s pads then you won’t wanna miss Open House Festival. For two weeks in September hundreds of buildings in the capital, many of which are usually closed to the public, swing open their doors and let you have a look inside.

Wed 6th – Sun 17th September 2023
Various locations in London

Portraits of Dogs at the Wallace Collection

2. Visit This Dog-Centric Exhibition

Dogs have been mused upon since ancient times and now they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve with a dedicated exhibition at the Wallace Collection. Portraits of Dogs will bring 50 artworks together to explore how dog portraiture developed as a genre, specifically from the 18th century onwards. Expect paintings, sculptures, drawings and taxidermy all depicting various four-legged friends. Leave your cat at home.

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN
Until Sun 15th October 2023

Poon's Wontoneria in Carousel

3. Eat at Poon’s Wontoneria Before it Pops Down

Following the Poon’s supper club at Carousel for Chinese New Year, Amy Poon is popping up at No. 23, its incubator space next door, with Poon’s Wontoneria. At lunchtimes, the Wontoneria will be serving up a range of Poon’s signature handmade wontons in chilli vinegar dressing, including pork & bamboo shoot; chicken thigh, woodear mushroom, water chestnut & ginger; and jackfruit, tofu, cabbage, carrot, woodear mushroom & water chestnut, with a wonton noodle bowl on as a daily lunch special. You’ll also be able to pick up some of those cult Poon’s sauces, like the WO Sauce, Chilli Vinegar Dressing and Extraordinary Chilli Oil. The Wontoneria is also running a dinner service, featuring the wontons (of course) plus dishes like wok-fried wind-dried pork sausage; piggy ear terrine with garlic vinegar; youtaio (Chinese churros) with Poon’s WO Sauce; pickled carrot, cucumber, radish & rice wine vinegar; and Ode to Fuschia, chilled silken tofu, avocado & century egg. You’ll be able to pair those with Pooña Coladas, yuzu chilli crystal margs and sparkling Darjeeling whisky highballs.

Until October 2023
23 Charlotte Street, London W1T 1RW

The River Thames

4. Explore This Year’s Totally Thames Festival

Totally Thames Festival is in its 27th year in 2023 and it’s celebrating with a new look which’ll see a festival hub take over a different riverside location every weekend with a range of events and activities. Throughout the whole of September, the city will be filled with unique festivities, from art exhibitions and ‘climate cabaret’ to boat trips and river races. Here’s just a taste of what’ll be going down along the banks of the River Thames at Totally Thames 2023.

Fri 1st September – Sun 1st October 2023
Various locations in London

V&A Museum

5. Take in the Sights at London Design Festival

London Design Festival is back for 2023 and it’s going to be a big celebration of all things design, with special projects based around themes like self-awareness and discovery, urban city life, and womanhood.

Sat 16th – Sun 24th September 2023
Various locations in London

The Big London Flea

6. Hunt for Treasure at the Big London Flea

The Big London Flea is back in town for its autumn edition. Taking over EartH in Dalston this September, the market will feature over 60 vintage traders, with furniture, records, homeware, lighting, prints, maps, clothing, artworks, one-of-a-kind finds and more all on sale. It’s just £1.50 entry, with on-site cafes and a sound system to keep you going in between all that bargain hunting.

Sun 24th September 2023, 11am – 5pm
13 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 8BH

Shelter Boutique

7. Give Your Clothes New Life at One of These Shelter Workshops

Shelter has teamed up with a line-up of top fashion influencers for this year’s campaign, including Dani Dawkins, Penny Salman and Susanna Mensah, who’ll be hosting a series of events and workshops where Londoners can learn how to make the most of their clothes. Shoppers will also get to hear the creators’ best charity shop tips and tricks as well as how to upcycle, mend or alter their clothes to make them last even longer.

Various dates in September 2023
Various locations

Rumble in the Jungle

8. Relive This Legendary Moment in Boxing History

From Ali’s pre-match trash talking to a step-by-step play out of the fight, in which underdog Ali fought for the world heavyweight title that had been stripped from him ten years prior for refusing the Vietnam draft, Rumble in the Jungle Rematch will give you the chance to see one of the greatest sporting events of the 20th century in a whole new way. Boxing fans, you won’t wanna miss this.

Thurs 7th September – Sun 29th October 2023
Dock X, Retail Park, Unit 1 Canada Water, Surrey Quays Rd, London SE16 2XU


9. Eat at Kolae

Kolae, opening this October, will be based out of foodie hub Borough Market and the focus will be on grilled dishes and kolae (also known as GolaeGalae and Gaw Lae), a cooking technique found in the south of Thailand where ingredients are soaked in a curry-like coconut marinade before hitting the grill. A highlight from the menu – and one of the new spot’s signatures – will be the half kolae chicken marinated in a lemongrass, turmeric and black pepper sauce. There’ll also be seasonal fish, seafood and vegetarian dishes cooked using a similar technique; Thai pounded salads; and larger grilled dishes served alongside nam phrik relishes.

From October 2023
Borough Market, London SE1 9AL

London Film Festival 2023

10. Catch Major New Releases at London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival is back this October with a killer year of new releases from some of cinema’s biggest names. There’s so much to see that we’re seriously considering taking time off work and camping outside cinemas to catch as many as possible.

Wed 4th – Sun 15th October 2023
Various locations in London