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The October Agenda

After an Indian summer in which we all took much delight, October has timidly arrived on the scene with not quite as much fanfare… However, as the leaves begin to turn and South Bank’s leafy boulevard turns into a riot of colour, we cannot deny the nip in the air nor the shortening of the days – tis’ a bittersweet thing as we wave away to the summer, but the turning of the season announces a plethora of brand new and exciting events and happenings in South Bank which are sure to put a smile on your face.


Halloween Haunts

October means but one thing to many of us – Halloween! A time for witches, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts… Kids go crazy for it and adults use it as a fun excuse to get silly. South Bank is of course getting in on the action, with SEA LIFE London Aquarium giving you the chance to behold some of the scariest creatures in the ocean with their new Spooky Seas exhibit. Check out the Lionfish and the lethal Moray eel, marvel at the alien-looking Longhorn Cowfish from the safety of behind the glass – this little critter secretes deadly, toxic mucus into the water so better not get too close…

Haunted House Of Vans is back on the 29th of October with the ultimate immersive horror experience! Not for the faint-hearted, the house doors open at 9pm to scenes of massacre, terrifying torture, gory performances and grimy bass sounds of horror remixes courtesy of Metalheadz & Exit Records presenting Headz & Brains. Needless to say, the age restriction is 18+.

For those who really want to test their nerves – we recommend The London Dungeon’s latest attraction - The Witch Hunter. Set in the sixteenth century, you’ll be tasked of joining the witch hunt with Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins. But will Hopkins sniff out the right victim – and more importantly, will you survive the hunt?

October Family Days Out

DreamWorks’ latest film Trolls is due to hit our screens in a big way this October – with Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick leading the star-studded cast. Make your kids day by visiting Poppy and Branch and stepping into the vibrant world of Trolls Village exclusively at Shrek’s Adventure! London.

For a chilled out family outing head to the Florence Nightingale Museum, located just next to St Thomas’ Hospital on Westminster Bridge. The museum tells the fascinating story of Florence Nightingale whilst offering a whole host of activities for kids during half-term. Their major exhibition, Take Me to Neverland: Peter Pan from Play to Book and Beyond offers an insight into early editions and classic illustrations of the story using the collection from Great Ormond Street Hospital and includes accompanying activities such as Peter Pan puppet theatre and the opportunity to create a picture book and Peter Pan board game.

For the ultimate of cinema experiences, head to BFI IMAX (Europe’s LARGEST screen) for some seat shuddering, all consuming entertainment. October’s pick of the flicks lends itself perfectly to the big screen at IMAX too – see Doctor Strange starring none other than Benedict Cumberbatch who plays the world’s best neurosurgeon who, after losing his ability to operate, seeks advice from a mystical being and is led into a supernatural world.
If superheroes aren’t your thing, opt for Inferno - a mystery/ thriller directed by Ron Howard, starring Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones in what is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Expect intrigue, action and a whole bunch of hair-raising moments.

Cultural Kicks

Film buffs rejoice! October announces the start of some proper good flicks, and the long-anticipated London Film Festival, an opportunity to see the very finest of films at the BFI Southbank. Highlights include Free Fire – an all-guns-blazing bullet opera, starring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy and Armie Hammer and A United Kingdom which opens the Festival. This impassioned drama depicts an interracial romance that changed the world, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in the lead role. Don’t miss La La Land either – with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone – both tipped for Oscars following stellar performances in this old-school Hollywood flick from director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash).

This film season is really too special not to mention. BFI Southbank’s Black Star season will present the UK’s biggest ever celebration of black screen actors with season highlights including Boys N the Hood and In the Heat of the Night. So. Many. Good. Films.

After years of performing Samuel Beckett's play Not I, Lisa Dwan is back in another gruelling role, performing in No's Knife at the Old Vic theatre, adapted from Beckett's Texts for Nothing. Offering a searing personal and political vision of his most original work, Dwan interprets the role with piercing insight, rage, wit and humour, revealing an extraordinary journey into the heart of Beckett and unlocking his contemporary relevance to gender, identity and the human condition. Showing until 15 October.

David Hare's new play at the National Theatre is a psychological thriller, hotly tipped to be a sell-out performance. The Red Barn is set in Connecticut in 1969 and stars Mark Strong (A View from the Bridge), Hope Davis (God of Carnage) and Elizabeth Debicki (The Night Manager). As two couples struggle home through the snow following a party, not everyone arrives safely... Runs until January 17.

Bookworms listen up! Southbank Centre’s tenth Literature Festival kicks off from Wednesday 5 October until the 16th. This year’s theme is Living in Future Times and will focus on the question of whether we are now living in an era predicted by science fiction. There will be over 10 days of events, with exciting events such as a talk by Margaret Atwood, author of the Handmaid’s Tale and a reading of HG Wells' The Time Machine reading, marking 150 years since his birth. Fans of Louis Theroux, listen up too! The loveable bumbling documentarian will be talking at Royal Festival Hall after a screening of his feature length documentary, My Scientology Movie.


Go behind the scenes of some of the most iconic war films which have captured the imagination of cinema-going audiences for generations at IWM London’s latest exhibition, Real to Reel. Showing footage of war films alongside costumes, props, scripts, sketches and designs as well as original archival material and artefacts from IWM's Collections – this is an exhibition which brings the reality of war very much to life.

Oxo Tower Wharf has a wide selection of free exhibitions throughout the year – making it the perfect place to drop in whilst wandering in South Bank. We are particularly drawn to Any Girl, which tells the story of 10 girls living in poverty, the struggles they face and the joys they share. Hosted by Compassion UK, Any Girl highlights stories and images from a testament to the resilience, strength and courage of girls living in the vulnerability of poverty.

Foodie favourites

It’s hard to imagine that the UK was once the laughing stock of the culinary world – bangers and mash? Pie and gravy? Sacre Bleu! But oh how the tables have turned. London is now at the forefront of a gastronomic revolution, with some of the world’s best chef’s operating in our fair capital. London Restaurant Festival celebrates this fact and all that the city has to offer in the way of expertly made dishes. And of course, OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar & Brasserie will be taking part in this citywide celebration of eating out - choose to dine in the Restaurant or the Brasserie – or why not book twice and try the menus in both. It is a celebration after all…

Sit down to an afternoon tea with a botanical twist at Mondrian London’s award-winning cocktail bar, Dandelyan. Wyld Tea offers a 1970s-inspired food menu and specially paired botanical cocktails from famed bartender Ryan ‘Mr. Lyan’ Chetiyawardana. Enjoy delicate elderflower compressed cucumber & burnt herb cream sandwiches and blackcurrant and verbena Battenberg cake as well as exclusive cocktails such as Fluff & Fold Royale with Lime, Fresh Basil, Cacao Liqueur and Orange Bitters and Prosecco.


Happy October, all!