Save the date: Brilliant things to do in London in October 2021

Zoe Gunn

5 October 2021

From fashion to food, it's time to go out out

5 October 2021 | Zoe Gunn

H

ow’s your diary looking? A little fuller than this time last year we’re willing to bet. And, while doom-mongers may be whispering about lockdowns to come, London’s optimists are busy filling their evenings and weekends with dinners, trips to the theatre and eagerly anticipating the return of large-scale events.

This month will see some of London’s most long-awaited festivals make a welcome comeback, including the Other Art Fair, and both the London Restaurant Festival and London Craft Week. A smattering of satellite events, pop-up shows and new openings will take care of the rest of your diary. Consider this your official Save the Date.

The pop-ups: Daily Dress Edit and Michael Kors 40th Anniversary

The online Daily Dress Edit platform has long been the cool girl’s go-to for gowns, thanks to its enviable selection of designs from independent brands and its emphasis on slow fashion and sustainable production. This month, founder Isabel Spearman will be bringing her expertise into the real world with a new pop-up in Belgravia. Visitors will have the chance to book a one-to-one shopping experience with Spearman, during which they will be guided through her curation of the best new season dresses from brands including Beulah, Anna Mason and My Wardrobe HQ, alongside exclusive pieces co-designed by Spearman herself.

Fans of Michael Kors, meanwhile, should head to its vast Regent Street store to take in a new temporary exhibition celebrating the brand’s 40th anniversary. The interactive display will highlight key moments from the designer’s career through videos and an illustrated timeline, featuring mannequins modelling pieces from the archival 40th anniversary collection and incorporate QR codes allowing customers to discover the full Kors story.

The Daily Dress Edit pop-up is open now, visit belgravialdn.com; the Michael Kors 40th Anniversary exhibition is on now, visit michaelkors.co.uk

The foodie happenings: London Restaurant Festival and London Cocktail Week

Most Londoners will agree that there’s no better way to spend autumn’s dark evenings and chilly weekends than bunkered down in a great restaurant or bar. It follows, then, that October should be stacked full of foodie going-ons. Capitalising on the success of its summer edition, the London Restaurant Festival will be back this month celebrating the best chefs in town. As always, the restaurant-hopping tours will be the hottest tickets, while special tasting menus and masterclasses will be on offer from the likes of Tom Aikens, Adam Handling, Anne-Sophie Pic, Monica Galetti and Russell Norman.

If mixology is more your thing, London Cocktail Week has once again announced an extended event that promises a month of the finest shaking and stirring in the capital. The list of bars taking part is immense, with Artesian at The Langham, Cecconi’s, Flight Club and London Cocktail Club just a few of those offering up special serves. Brewdog will be creating a Lost Forest serving Zero Waste cocktails in Covent Garden, while aspiring mixologists should be sure to visit The Essence House, an immersive experience designed to help you discover your own palate and take your cocktail-making skills to the next level.

The London Restaurant Festival runs from 1-31 October, visit londonrestaurantfestival.com; London Cocktail Week runs from 1-31 October, visit londoncocktailweek.com

The art events: London Craft Week and The Other Art Fair

October has long been the busiest month of the year for London’s galleries and artists thanks to the annual arrival of the Frieze art fair, London Craft Week and their associated events. After being cancelled last year, 2021 promises to be bigger and better than ever, with London Craft Week alone promising 383 events showcasing the skill of 452 makers from 31 countries. Events will be concentrated in the Belgravia, Chelsea and Seven Dials neighbourhoods, with brands including Loewe, Salvatore Ferragamo, Daylesford, Edward Green, Bentley and Fortnum & Mason collaborating with independent craftspeople, art galleries and other creatives to host exhibitions, workshops, talks and much more.

If all that doesn’t sate your thirst for creativity, October will once again see Saatchi Art host The Other Art Fair at the Old Truman Brewery. Held in tandem with Frieze London, The Other Art Fair sets itself apart by being led by artists, rather than galleries and dealers, with the 2021 edition promising thousands of works by more than 100 emerging artists. Highlights include pieces by Noel Fielding and Tracey Emin. The fair prides itself on highlighting accessibly-priced works across a variety of styles.

London Craft Week runs from 4-10 October, visit londoncraftweek.com; The Other Art Fair runs from 14-17 October, visit theotherartfair.com

The afternoon tea: Pink October at Shangri-La The Shard

Shangri-La The Shard is serving an extra-special pink afternoon tea this October at TING restaurant, in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Tuck into tiny fuchsia pastries, freshly baked pink scones and elegant finger sandwiches, washed down with a special blush-toned tea and Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Champagne. Afternoon tea is served against a beguiling backdrop of London's twinkling skyline and a percentage of proceeds will be donated to Guy’s Cancer, the hotel’s charity partner.

Until 7 November at TING Restaurant from £62 per person, and from £72 with a glass of Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé Champagne, visit shangri-la.com

The collaboration: Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester x Dom Perignon

Think dinners don’t come much more decadent than a seven-course tasting menu at a three Michelin star restaurant inside a five-star hotel? Dom Perignon would beg to disagree. The storied champagne house has teamed up with Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester's executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet to create an exquisite tasting menu paired with some of the house’s finest vintages, resulting in a true celebration of haute French gastronomy. Highlights include lobster medallion, chicken quenelles, Périgord truffle and homemade semolina pasta served alongside Dom Perignon Vintage 2012, and Brittany pigeon with aubergine, sardine and lemon accompanied by a Rosé Vintage 2006. Chin chin!

Available from 6 October - 30 December, £550 per person, visit alainducasse-dorchester.com

The masterclass: Chanel School of Makeup

Having been closed for more than a year due to pandemic restrictions, October will see the return of the popular Chanel School of Makeup in Covent Garden. Guests will be invited to book one of three masterclasses: The Chanel Essentials (how to build a complete day-to-night look), I Woke Up Like This (quick tips on enhancing natural beauty) and I Go Out Like This (how to create the ultimate evening look for party season). Aimed at helping you sharpen your at-home beauty skills, visitors will also be privy to complimentary beauty services and one-to-one consultations – ideal if your makeup bag went untouched for months during lockdown.

From 15 October, tickets from £45 per person (redeemable against Chanel products), visit chanel.com

The restaurants: Manteca and Il Borro Tuscan Bistro

Manteca
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro

There is nothing quite so comforting as a huge bowl of homemade pasta and two new restaurants will be arriving in London this month to offer just that. First up: Manteca, the much-lauded nose-to-tail restaurant from Chris Leach and David Carter, will be opening its first permanent site in Shoreditch. Following a series of successful residencies, favourites such as brown crab cacio e pepe, pig head fritti and nduja steamed mussels will return, while the expanded space will give the team room for in-house butchery and salumi. Expect indulgent, satisfying plates served family-style.

Over in Mayfair, meanwhile, Il Borro Tuscan Bistro will become the first UK outpost of the Ferragamo family’s Il Borro Estate. Opening in the space formerly occupied by Nobu Berkeley Street, the emphasis here is on authentic, traditional Tuscan cuisine accompanied by organic wines from the vast Il Borro vineyards. Many of the ingredients, including honey, olive oil and vegetables, will also be sourced from the estate’s organic farm in Arezzo. This may just be the next best thing to a weekend in Tuscany.

Opening dates for Manteca and Il Borro Tuscan Bistro are yet to be announced, visit mantecarestaurant.co.uk and ilborrotuscanbistro.co.uk

Read more: Inside Harrods' new photography exhibition