Visit October in London and you’ll find plenty of activities for all the family. Squeeze in a long weekend or make the most of a mid-term break and grab a brief holiday in London. Halloween festivities coincide with the half-term holiday in the UK so there are heaps of family-friendly activities to choose from. Plus temperatures are generally still mild and London’s parks are ablaze with colour and carpeted with crunchy leaves!

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Looking for a family-friendly activity that won’t cost the earth? In fact, watching the Changing of the Guard won’t cost you anything! During the autumn and winter, the ceremony normally takes place at 11am at Buckingham Palace on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Want to avoid the crowds?  Make tracks for Wellington Barracks or hover on the steps of the Victoria Memorial just in front of the Palace.

Changing of the Guard
Changing of the Guard at Wellington Barracks

See London from the Thames

Live life in the fast line with a trip on a Thames RIB. Hop on your super sonic speedboat at a selection of pick up points and embark on an exhilarating rollercoaster experience along the Thames.

Thames Rib boats
Take an adrenaline-packed ride on a Thames RIB

Halloween at the Tower of London

As if the Tower of London wasn’t creepy enough, there’s an extra layer of ghostly trails and family-friendly events guaranteed to thrill at Halloween (22-31 October 2022). Listen out for eerie whispers as you explore the Tower grounds. And be sure to keep your eyes peeled in the Bloody Tower for wandering ghosts.

Tickets to the Tower of London give you access to all sections of the Tower, including The Crown Jewels and a chance to meet the Ravens, the iconic guardians of the Tower. Further information and tickets from the Tower of London.

Tower of London
Step back in time in the Tower of London

Halloween at Hampton Court Palace

There are more spooky goings on at Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII’s palace. Creep through the corridors on a family-friendly adventure, listening out for supernatural sounds and voices as you go. Be prepared for the unexpected as portraits come to life and wailing ghosts glide through courtyards.

Further information and tickets from Hampton Court Palace (22-30 October).

Find your sea legs on HMS Belfast

For anyone who’s ever wondered what life is like at sea, a visit to HMS Belfast is a fun way to find out. Explore the rooms, duck through hatches, climb up and down ladders between nine decks and help plot courses for new missions.

HMS Belfast, London
Find out about life on a war ship on HMS Belfast

Step into the world of Harry Potter

Start with Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross Station, then hop over to Leadenhall Market in the City. The Victorian market area was the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. You’ll find plenty of other Harry Potter landmarks – including Westminster Tube Station, the Millennium Bridge and the Reptile House at London Zoo – but a tour of the Warner Bros Studios will immerse you completely in Harry’s Wizarding World. Spot the wandering Death Eaters and enjoy other Halloween highlights at the Studios including the 100 floating pumpkins in the Great Hall.

Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market in the City

Family friendly activities in Greenwich

Greenwich is packed with activities for families, including standing on the historic Prime Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory or simply getting one of the best views of London from Greenwich Park.

View from Greenwich Park
View of Canary Wharf from Greenwich Park

One of the top things to do for families in Greenwich is discovering what life was like on the historic Cutty Sark. Young English learners can practise their English chatting to the captain, the cook and other characters. The Cutty Sark has been in Greenwich since 1954 but the chance to climb the rigging is a relatively new attraction. Follow in the steps of hundreds of sailors up from the Main Deck on a Rig Climb to the ‘ratlines’ – the rope ladders. For anyone with a great head for heights, a Rig Climb Plus will take you as far as the Lower Topsail. Ticket prices include entry to the ship.

Dippy the dinosaur at the Natural History Museum

It was a sad day when Dippy, resident Diplodocus at the Natural History Museum, went off on tour in 2017. The good news is that he’s back in town, staying at the Museum until 2 January 2023. Book your free tickets through the Natural History Museum and pop by to say hello before he heads off again.

Bracing walks and Sunday lunch

There’s no better time for a walk in London’s parks than October. Marvel at the autumn colours and enjoy some serious leaf crunching and conker gathering. You’ll be spoilt for choice in London for wide open spaces. Top spots include Richmond Park with its 600-strong resident deer, Greenwich Park and Kew Gardens.

Autumn colours
Autumn colours at Kenwood

In north London, Kenwood House and Hampstead Heath is the favourite spot for locals before a traditional Sunday lunch in The Wells Tavern.

Halloween fun in Covent Garden

Visit Covent Garden in October and you’ll find the Market Building piled high with over two hundred pumpkins, squashes and gourds, and restaurant menus featuring spooky special dishes.