11 things to do in the UK in October 2023

Spooky season is upon us come October, and some truly terrifying happenings are set to unfold in every corner of the UK. However, if you’re not into the ghoulish vibe, there’s much more going on than the usual autumnal hauntings.

From politics to poltergeists, sports to spooks, and conkers to creeps, there’s a mass of events happening throughout the month. Let our latest blog inspire your next trip with 11 things to do across the UK in October 2023.

NFL in London

1st, 8th and 15th October

NFL LondonGiant foam fingers at the ready – you don’t need to cross the pond to experience an all-American big game. The US National Football League is hosting a series of games in North London this October and they are set to welcome thousands of fans from the UK and abroad. First up the Atlanta Falcons play the Jacksonville Jaguars in the iconic Wembley Stadium before the Jaguars go on to play a second game in Tottenham. They’ll be going head-to-head with the New York state-based Buffalo Bills. Finally, again in Tottenham, the Baltimore Ravens play the Tennessee Titans.

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Cardiff Half Marathon

1st October

Cardiff Half MarathonA flat, fast and scenic course through the Welsh capital is one of the largest and most exciting road races in the UK. Over 27,500 registered runners take part alongside world-class athletes in a trio of fiercely contested men’s, women’s and wheelchair elite races. Participants pass Cardiff Castle, the Principality Stadium and stunning Cardiff Bay on this spectacular route. It supports a large number of charities and good causes, with more than £3 million raised each year. Spectators can enjoy big screens, music and prize giveaways as well as tiered standing terraces giving a fantastic view over the finish line.

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England v Italy Friendly

17th October

Women’s FA Cup FinalGli Azzurri (the Blues) will travel to Wembley to take on the Three Lions this October as the England men’s senior football team hosts Italy for a Euro 2024 qualifying game. The Lions are unlikely to be tame as they take the chance to make up for their 1-0 defeat by Italy in the UEFA Nations League in Milan earlier this year. The qualifiers run until March 2024 and will determine the 23 teams that will compete in the Euros in June. They will join the automatically qualified host team, Germany, for the month-long tournament.

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BFI London Film Festival

4th – 15th October

The 67th BFI London Film Festival promises a selection of the best in world cinema for UK audiences. Growing in popularity each year, LFF offers a wide array of films that represent a variety of languages, genres and filmmaking styles. The festival will showcase exceptional British filmmaking alongside international work. The programme spans features, shorts, fiction, documentary, artists’ moving image, restorations, animation and films for families, alongside titles destined for awards-season glory. This will be the first festival led by new director Kristy Matheson, previous creative director of Edinburgh International Film Festival.

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Labour Party Conference

8th – 12th October

Labour Party ConferenceAs we gear up for the general election that could make or break Keir Starmer’s cabinet, the Labour Party heads to Liverpool for its annual party conference. The full timetable for proceedings is yet to be announced but expect inspiring speeches from significant figures including the leader and deputy leader. It’s a chance to see democracy in action too, as members put forward and vote on motions – deciding the party’s platform for the year. There will be lots of fringe events too, with Liverpool’s biggest venues and hotels opening their door to delegates.

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Conservative Party Conference

1st – 4th October

Conservative Party ConferenceThe Tories head to yet another northern city – this time taking over Manchester Central Convention Complex. The annual conference agenda will be released in September but is set to include a gala drinks reception and conclude with a speech from the party leader and Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. There’ll also be a keynote speech from Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Delegates will be a mix of party members, business representatives, lobbyists, activists and press and there will be fringe events happening around the city. This significant event in the political calendar will provide a good indication of what’s to come over the next 12 months for the Conservative Party.

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Super League Grand Final 2023

14th October

Old TraffordMore men running around a field with an oval ball in October, but this time in the British tradition at Manchester’s Old Trafford. Rugby league’s Super League Grand Final unfolds in the Theatre of Dreams. Fans will descend to see if the ‘fourmidable’ St Helens can make it five straight wins in a row. Led by the inspirational James Roby, Saints are favourites but in a closely fought, unpredictable season, will other contenders emerge from the play-offs between the top six sides? Leigh Leopards are making a surprising running this year, so catch a game to see how things play out.

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31st October

HalloweenWitching hour will soon be upon us and terrifying events are set to unfold across the UK. Set among the towering trees of Edinburgh Botanic Garden, a Halloween Trail will have you solving clues alongside witches and ghouls. In Salford’s 820-year-old Ordsall Hall there’s a Ghost Hunt where you’ll seek out the fabled White Lady. There’s only one place to be in Birmingham on Halloween – the Coffin Works museum which produced some of the world’s finest coffin furniture for many famous funerals. In London you can come face-to-face with roaming ghosts of legendary inmates at the Tower of London.

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Cheltenham Literature Festival

6th – 15th October

Literature FestivalOctober is Literature Festival season and there’s none bigger or better than Cheltenham. Celebrating the written and spoken word, the world-renowned festival presents the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers. The impressive 10-day programme includes a mixture of ticketed events, free family activities, events and fringe events scattered throughout the regency town. You can book up your diary from cover to cover or just sit back and soak up the culture in the Festival Village where the heart of the story unfolds.

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World Conker Championships

8th October

World Conkers ChampionshipIf you’re bonkers for conkers – and who isn’t? – then do not miss the World Conker Championships. They head to the picturesque county of Northamptonshire, in the village of Southwick this October. The event began on the village green, surrounded by horse chestnut trees, in 1965 when a group of regulars at the local pub decided to have a match. Now it attracts competitors from all over the globe. Mixed adult and junior competitions operate as round-based knockout games, until a winner is found and crowned on their throne. Anyone can compete and there’s a great range of entertainment for spectators – this is definitely one of the top things to do in October.

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Fright Nights at Thorpe Park

6th – 31st October

Fright Night Thorpe ParkThe ultimate destination for spooky season is Thorpe Park in Surrey, where only the bravest souls will enter. You will come face-to-face with the most dreaded and tormented terrors in scare mazes and scare zones – featuring live actors, special effects and frights around every corner. There will be awe-inspiring shows featuring live stage performers and special effects that will leave you petrified. And of course there will be thrilling rides in the dark – not least the world’s first horror movie-themed rollercoaster SAW, The Ride.​​

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