As the celebrated English poet Samuel Johnson once said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” Bursting with energy and innovation, London is constantly evolving to boast an ever-changing array of activities that suit visitors and locals alike. Here’s a selection of the 10 hottest happenings in the Big Smoke this fall.
1. Evans & Peel Pharmacy
A new Prohibition-style speakeasy bar has just opened in Chiswick disguised as a 1920s pharmacy. To enter, guests ring a doorbell where a pharmacist takes them through a process of identifying various secret passwords. Inside, antique surgical equipment serves as decoration and secret drawers abound for guests to explore. The drinks menu features classic cocktails and specialty pharmacy-inspired concoctions like the “Potassium Up”: cachaça infused with dried banana and house-made rhubarb syrup, a splash of Aperol and Izarra 54.
2. Nobu Hotel Shoreditch
This boutique hotel in the creative hub of Shoreditch is the latest enterprise from the team behind the global chain of Nobu restaurants, owned by Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and American actor Robert De Niro. It’s the first U.K. outpost and embodies the “East meets West” design theme running through all their establishments—spacious rooms and minimalist features, as well as a rooftop bar, terraced courtyard, spa facilities, and a Nobu restaurant onsite headed by executive chef Greg Seregi.
3. Totally Thames Festival
This monthlong festival celebrates the iconic River Thames, which flows through central London and is an important part of everyday city life. Throughout September, a series of (mostly free) curated concerts, poetry nights, exhibitions, talks, and guided walks will take place at venues along the riverbank. Highlights include Shakespeare’s As You Like It acted by an all-female cycling theater troupe and Handel’s Water Music performed in the acoustically mesmerizing Bascule Chamber under Tower Bridge.
4. Myths Retold at the British Museum
The atmospheric setting of the British Museum is a fitting backdrop for this new series of shows by The Crick Crack Club, the United Kingdom’s premier performance storytelling group. Monthly from September until December, its “Epic Sundays” season of dramatized storytelling afternoons will bring famous plays from Indian, Irish, and Greek mythology to life amid the ancient relics of the historic museum.
5. “Artful Autumn” at Kew Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew celebrates the changing of seasons with a new festival reflecting on the transient beauty of autumn and our ties to the natural world. A series of 16 artworks connected to the fall theme will be situated in Kew’s stunning gardens from October 7 to 29. The pièce de résistance? A giant hanging installation of 375,000 flowers by British artist Rebecca Louise Law.
6. Dalí/Duchamp Exhibition
On October 7, the Royal Academy of Arts opens this original exhibition mapping the common ground between Marcel Duchamp, the father of conceptual art, and the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. The exhibition features some of Dalí’s most famous paintings and Duchamp’s most groundbreaking sculptures in tandem with lesser-known works, including personal correspondence between these two pioneering artists.
In Italian, pastaio means “someone who makes pasta by hand,” and handmade pasta is exactly what Stevie Parle’s sixth restaurant will specialize in. Opening this October in the heart of Soho, Parle aims to bring a laid-back, neighborhood feel to the central London eatery. Picture steaming plates of freshly made pasta alongside smaller antipasti such as anchovy-stuffed pepperoncini, fried mozzarella sandwiches, and cured meats.
Undoubtedly the West End’s most anticipated opening of 2017, the award-winning musical moves to London’s Victoria Palace Theatre in November. The hip-hop musical sensation that earned 11 Tony Awards tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the United States. Its first round of tickets sold out almost immediately, but a second round is expected to be released in the fall.
9. EFG London Jazz Festival
Now in its 25th year, the EFG London Jazz Festival brings rhythm, swing, and soul to venues across the capital from November 10 to 19. This year’s highlights include Abdullah Ibrahim reuniting with Hugh Masekela to revisit the spirit of their 1959 adventures with the Jazz Epistles, plus Portuguese singer Carminho singing Antônio Carlos Jobim’s back catalogue in honor of his 90th birthday.
This new venture from Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan is set to become London’s smallest restaurant, seating just eight covers per service for a very intimate dining experience. Diners will be presented with a single set menu reflecting Rogan’s local, seasonal, farm-to-plate food philosophy. All accompanying wines will be selected by the chefs working that night.