In Brief

Top ten things to do in October across the UK and in London

From hidden jazz clubs to indoor drive-in cinemas DesignMyNight picks out the month’s highlights

Adapting for change has been part and parcel of 2020 - especially in the UK’s restaurant, event and bar scene. 

October is no different and there’s a new roster of unique and socially-distant events to experience. 

Cinestock will launch the world’s first indoor drive-in cinema and London Cocktail Week - for the first time in its history - will be extended for the entire month. 

These are just two examples of the month’s best activities included in DesignMyNight’s top ten picks. 

The Murdér Express - London

Get ready for another season of fine dining and theatrical performances. The Murdér Express is back this month and it will see you boarding a fictional train at Pedley Street Station in Bethnal Green. After checking in and grabbing a drink at the Seven Sins bar, you will be in charge of figuring out whodunnit while enjoying a four-course menu from 2017 MasterChef finalist, Louisa Ellis. 

From £60-£67.50; Pedley Street Station, Arch 63, Pedley Street, London, E1 

London Cocktail Week - London

The world-famous festival has been extended for the entire month. A £15 festival pass will secure ticket holders £6 cocktails at hundreds of bars across the capital. Many of the world’s best bars - think Swift, Callooh Callay, Artesian and Nightjar - will be participating and some venues will be hosting a variety of exclusive spirit tastings and interactive masterclasses.  

From £12.50-£15; various bars across London 

Gin House Burlesque - London

Relive the hedonism of the 1920s and purchase a ticket to one of the most exclusive events in the capital. Gin House Burlesque is taking over a private members’ club in East London, placing the spotlight on a talented team of vintage showgirls for a star-studded performance combining burlesque and daring circus acts. When you’re not being wowed by the performers, take the time to wander through the members’ club; it has several unique and dramatic spaces to explore, including a lioness taxidermy room.

From £40; The King's Head Members’ Club, 257, Kingsland Road, London, E2 8AS

Cinestock - West Sussex 

Cinestock has been running cinematic events for the past eight years and this month it will launch the world’s first indoor drive-in cinema. As well as showing a range of movies, food and drink will also be available. Accessible via QR code, a fully stocked bar is there for those who can drink and a selection of food-fired pizzas and burgers can be made to order.

From £5-£25; The South of England Showground, Selsfield Rd, Haywards Heath, RH17 6TH

Sipsmith Online Masterclass - UK-wide

Sipsmith is the first copper-pot distillery to open within London since 1820. The team have created a number of unique flavours over the years, a firm favourite being Lemon Drizzle, and this year they’ve gone a step further to bring online masterclasses to the masses. This month you can tune into an interactive virtual experience and learn all there is to know about Sipsmith’s Chilli and Lime blend, before making two of their unique cocktails with a cocktail kit that’s sent out in the post before the event.

£35; online

Jimmy’s Winter Lodge - London

Saying goodbye to his open air BBQ Club, Jimmy Garcia has transformed his event space by the Southbank into a cosy waterside hideaway for the colder months, with one huge winter cabin and a string of dome-shaped igloos. Designed to be shared, the menu features a selection of starters - including French onion mountain soup - followed by a traditional fondue and a 70% hot chocolate for dessert. Bookable for tables of between four to six people, it’s an incredible experience for you and your support bubble.

From £180-£270; Jimmy’s Lodge, 78, Waterloo Bridge, London, SE1 9PX  

Waterloo Hidden Jazz Club - London

One of the most popular Airbnb experiences worldwide (which is 100% artist run) has made its return to London. The Hidden Jazz Club has reopened after its lockdown hibernation, bringing its eclectic sounds to a disguised railway-arch-turned-vintage-theatre in Waterloo. Regular contributors are none other than MOBO award winner Denys Baptiste and Vimala Rowe, who is recognised as one of the best vocalists of her generation. Witness global acts and upcoming musicians in the two-hour shows.

From £18; The Vaults Theatre, The Vaults Theatre, Launcelot Street, Waterloo, SE1 7AD

Searcys at The Gherkin - London 

London is home to many iconic skyscrapers and one to take note of this month is The Gherkin. Perched at the top of the bullet-shaped building on levels 39 and 40 you’ll find Searcys. This sky-high bar and restaurant specialises in Champagne and for the first time in its history, its HELIX restaurant has added a sparkling afternoon tea to the menu. Travel up the ear-popping elevator and crane your neck around to take in the city’s panorama - all while you fill up on crust-free sandwiches, buttermilk scones and traditional sweet treats. 

Searcys at the Gherkin, The Gherkin, 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8EP

Axe Throwing Tournament - Brighton

Brighton is home to a blood-pumping axe throwing experience and for the month of October it’s selling six tickets for the price of five. Adrenaline junkies will feel right at home when they visit TRIBE’s cages at The North Laine Pub and Brewery. With 60 minutes on the clock to aim and target the bullseye, guests will get help from an instructor for the duration of the experience. They will provide you with some useful tips on technique, and some trick shots if your aim is good enough to up your skill set. 

From £20; 27 Gloucester Place, Brighton, BN1 4AA

The BBQ Fest - Birmingham 

Some of Birmingham’s household BBQ names are joining forces to put on a socially-distanced festival from 10-11 October. The BBQ Fest will showcase stands from names such as Little Urban BBQ, Smoke and Bones and Street Souvlaki, and alongside these cult names will be a number of bars serving beer, prosecco, cider and soft drinks with a mini market hall to wander around during your stay. Split into different sessions, it’s one of the most exciting socially-distant events in Birmingham’s autumnal calendar.

From £6-£12; 10-11 October; 180-182, Fazeley Street, Birmingham, B5 5SE 

For more info on the best things to do in London and across the UK, see or follow us on Instagram and Facebook 

Autumn adventures

Need more inspiration for things to do this autumn? See our guide here… 


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