Celebrate Friends Near and Far this Autumn

September 30, 2022

There are probably enough pictures of Queen Elizabeth the Second to fill every wall of Buckingham Palace. The cameras haven’t stopped clicking since she became Queen 70 years ago. Her image flooded the world’s media on the announcement of her death, and there have been endless tributes and opinion pieces. We’d like to return the compliment with a snapshot of Her Majesty’s outlook on that world, in her own words:


“I and all my family have always felt that one of our most important duties is to express… the goodwill of our country to our friends abroad, near and far.”


“The most important contact between nations is usually contact between its peoples.”


Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II (1926–2022)


This Autumn, as if to echo those words, London has a range of events and activities that give pride of place to its own diverse communities and “our friends abroad.” 


From Africa Fashion Week to a celebration of Mexico in Kew Gardens. From the Diwali festival of Lights to the V&A’s ‘Allyu! The Korean Wave’ exhibition. And in contrast, possibly the most British of all tales, The Wind in the Willows Wiltons, adapted for the stage at Wilton’s Music Hall. 


London also happens to boast a remarkable range of cuisines from across the world. All of which means that this Autumn is a rewarding time for that London hotel booking. Please check all venues before attending. Most will be open. Some, in particular the royal palaces, may be closed for a period of mourning following the death of The Queen. 


Africa Fashion


Until 16 April 2023

The vitality and global impact of the African fashion scene, from iconic 20th century statements to contemporary creatives. Photographs, textiles, music and visual arts as dynamic and varied as the continent itself. Stunning.


Africa Fashion Week

Freemasons Hall

60 Great Queen Street WC2 

8 October 2022

The largest annual African fashion event in Europe. Back in town for Black History Month. Catwalks, Masterclass and hybrid events, networking and designer collections on show. Exhibition marketplace and Caribbean cuisine. Wear your best and catch the camera’s eye. 


In the Black Fantastic 

Hayward Gallery

Southbank Centre SE1 

14 to 18 September

Afrofuturism: exhibition of Black artists who use sci–fi to imagine a future without inequality and racism. 


Black History Month 2022 in London

1 to 31 October

A citywide celebration of Black Communities during October. “Dig deep, look closer, think bigger.” Part of the lecture series includes ‘A Black King in Georgian London: British Art and post-revolutionary Haiti’. For details click here


Chinatown Stories


Gerrard Street W1

25 Sept, 30 Oct and 27 Nov

Community led walking tours with trained volunteer History Champions. Visitors are able to discover fascinating stories and characters behind this iconic district. Incorporating ESEA Heritage month – daily activities, workshops and creative sessions. Free. Includes refreshments, lunch and materials. This September is the first ever East and South East Asian heritage month. For background on how it came about, click here.  

Chinatown stories information:



24 to 26 October

Diwali is always celebrated between mid-October and mid-November. It’s a very welcome Festival of Lights, a colourful celebration that symbolises the victory of light and goodness. Expect firecrackers, lamps, flower garlands and candles floating in bowls of water as well as the sharing of sweets and food. It also represents a time when the individual’s inner light shines and ignorance is pushed aside by insight. Below are a few events. The central locations of Blue Orchid Hotels London make London travel more convenient than ever. 


Diwali Disco


Wembley Park

1 October 6pm - 11pm

All day entertainment followed by Diwali Disco


Diwali on Trafalgar Square (DOTS)

9 October 12pm to 8pm

Trafalgar Square

A Mayor of London event, partnering the Diwali in London Committee. Lights, camera, action… see also ‘On The Streets’ below. 


Diwali Workshops

29 October 12pm–1pm and 2pm–3pm

Marble Hill, 

Richmond Road Twickenham TW1 

Nutkhut, the people behind the world’s first sustainable sari (presented by Blue Orchid Hotels) bring Diwali to Marble Hill, in association with English Heritage. Workshops and training opportunities. Make your own Diwali lanterns. Lantern parades to the Thames. 


Hallyu! The Korean Wave


South Kensington

The first exhibition of its kind. The Korean Wave traces the influence of South Korea’s highly influential popular culture on creative industries across the world. Cinema, drama, music, fandom and fashion. Think Squid Game, Parasite, K–Pop. 


Marina Abramović 

Royal Academy


23 September to 10 December 

Abramović is one of the most important performance artists in the world and a pioneer of the genre. Here, she presents the first ever UK exhibition spanning her entire oeuvre – including live re-performances of iconic works within the galleries. One of the most memorable from the past has to be The Artist is present (2010), New York. To see moments from this work, including the reunion that went viral, click here.


Mexico Festival

Kew Gardens

Various dates in October

The culture and arts of Mexico. Food and performance in the Temperate House at Kew. Includes a Day of the Dead focus. 


Milton Avery: American Colourist 

Royal Academy

Until 16th October

Harmonious colour, simplified forms. One of North America’s greatest 20th century artists. First comprehensive exhibition of his work in Europe. 


My Neighbour Totoro

London Barbican

8 October to 21 January

One of the many gifts to the arts to emerge from Japan is the work of Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Now London has the World Premiere of a new stage adaptation of My Neighbour Totoro, from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Based on the award-winning anime cult classic, it has the blessing of Miyazaki himself. 


PAD London Art + Design 2022

45 Berkeley Square Mayfair

10 to 16 October

Premier art and antique fair. 20th century art, design, photography and collectibles. Annual show with 70 international galleries represented from Europe, Asia and North America. Sister exhibitions in PAD Paris and PAD Monaco. “Authentic and eclectic.” 


Park Nights 2022 Standing on The Corner 

Serpentine Pavilion 

13 October 

Standing on The Corner performance. An earth-based Art Ensemble inspired by and consisting of all people of Africa diaspora


Slavery and the Bank Exhibition 

Bank of England

Until 28th April 2023 

Explores the history of transatlantic slavery through its connections with the Bank of England and the wider City of London. 300 years, 12 million African people. 


The World Reimagined

Until 31 October 

Art trails consisting of artist-designed sculptural globes until the end of October. Created to bring to life the reality and impact of the Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved Africans. The capital’s globes are to be found in the City of London and in Westminster and Camden. Map here.


Yayoi Kusami’s Infinity Rooms

Tate Modern


Until June 2023 

Due to public demand this highly popular show continues into next year. The fantastic creations of Kusami continue to impress. 


The 66th BFI London Film Festival

Southbank Centre

5 to 16 October 

More than 300 international films in total, including documentaries and shorts. This year, 164 feature films from around the world. The Royal Festival Hall returns as the red carpet gala venues, with BFI Southbank to host the festival’s prestigious competition titles, LFF series programme, Screen Talks and ‘LFF For Free’ events.


London Literature Festival 

Southbank Centre

20 to 30 October

International authors, poets and speakers give talks, hold workshops, read their words. Malorie Blackman, Graham Norton and Nick Cave. Karl Ove Knausgård and Nobel prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah. 


The Wind in the Willows Wilton’s

Wilton’s Music Hall

Grace’s Alley E1 

24 November to 31 December 

An adaptation of a uniquely British book, The Wind in the Willows, in a grand old British music hall. Adapted for the stage by British children’s writer Piers Torday, whose book The Dark Wild won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (2014). The story is now set in modern–day London and there’s a message about the natural world here, but it never overwhelms the magic of the original. Songs, puppets and Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad. Wilton’s is near Tower Hill Tube or Fenchurch St. Station. 

Ages 5+

Follow the link to the website booking page and use the discount code: BLUE15




London Marathon

2 October

The world runs through the streets of the capital. Starts in Greenwich, ends on The Mall. The halfway point is Tower Bridge. Which happens to be right by the Tower Suites Hotel by Blue Orchid. The Mall is also close to its Wellington and Rochester hotels. 



31 October

Wander through the streets and sights of London. Some of the most haunted places in Britain include: 


The Tower of London

More than 10 ghosts said to be spotted here, including Anne Boleyn (seen staring out of her prison window from the courtyard, among other sightings). Also Guy Fawkes, and The White Lady of the White Tower. 


Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Catherine Street WC2

Illustrious theatre, and said to be one of the most ghostly. Two different clowns and the unnerving Man in Grey are on the menu. Theatre actors and performers galore have seen these figures. Also home to The Lane, for afternoon tea, dining etc.


50 Berkeley Square (the most haunted house in London)

London W1

The haunt of a recluse, one Mr Meyers, who locked himself inside the attic after he was jilted by his fiancée. A kind of male Miss Havisham he only left his rooms to wander around at night by candlelight. And thus he lived out his life. But those who have lived there as tenants have reported either seeing Mr Meyers at night, or sensed the presence of something rather unwelcome. 


Bank Underground Station

Princes Street EC3

From the late 19th century onwards there have been reports of a tall figure in black walking the tunnels. Now named The Black Nun, the figure is said to be a woman who is in mourning for her brother who used to work at the former bank. Spooky. 


The Clink Prison Museum


1 Clink Street SE1 

A former prison in Southwark dating back to 1144. Ghostly apparitions said to have been spotted, most famously a woman trying to remove the shackles from her limbs. 


The London Tombs

The Rennie Vaults

2 - 4 Tooley Street SE1 

Part of the London Bridge Experience, these parts of the tour are optional and only open to those over the age of 11. This was once a plague pit and members of staff have seen a dark shadowy figure moving around the building. And then there is Emily, a young woman often seen lurking by the tombs. Has been mistaken for an actor who stares at visitors during the tour. 


Fireworks in London

These dates are confirmed at the time of writing, but be assured, if you are in London around 5 November you only need to look up to see fireworks aplenty from London’s many gardens. Especially from the top of the Skyline London rooftop restaurant and bar overlooking Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Perfect for those Tower Hotel London deals


Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival

5 Nov

Described as the “Glastonbury of Fireworks”. Includes a Bier festival, funfair and street food and dining. Ice Disco too.


Battersea Park Fireworks

5 to 6 Nov

Famous display. Big bonfire and handy for nearby the Battersea Power Station food and drinks mecca. 


Chiswick Park Fireworks

3 Nov

Live music and food stalls, plus fire performers. Free to enter but book tickets in advance


Harrow Fireworks Byron Park

5 November 2022


Wimbledon Park Fireworks

4 to 5 Nov 

Also a sister show in nearby Morden Park. Funfair rides too.


Destination City (Street Festival)

Saturday 15 October 

City of London

A free spectacular on the City of London’s streets that will light up the space with a programme of theatre, games, and performances. Over 100 performers. Family friendly highlights include a mass treasure hunt and (intriguingly) a “maze” of adventures involving 16 doors, one of which will be at Blue Orchid Hotel’s Skyline London. There are also three carnival inspired fairs, storytelling and creative street theatre. It’s the first major event planned by the City of London Corporation under its Destination City programme, so look out for more goodies, designed to make the Square Mile a leading leisure hub for visitors, workers and residents. Locations include the Guildhall and Museum of London. 


Diwali on Trafalgar Square (DOTS)

9 October 12pm - 8pm

Trafalgar Square

Diwali comes to the heart of London (and the British establishment) for its annual bright lights, food and entertainment festival. A Mayor of London event, partnering the Diwali in London Committee. It should be quite a show. 


Southall Carnival of Lights

Uxbridge Road Southall

14 November 6pm

A secular celebration inspired by Diwali, the South Asian festival of light which signifies hope over despair. Illuminated floats, dancers and live performances take over the streets of Southall in West London for the Southall Carnival of Lights. This Diwali inspired night carnival includes a parade of paper lanterns, fire performers and illuminated umbrellas. With Emergency Exit Arts and Nutkhut, and Circus Flambe. Starts and ends in Southall Park, grand final via Park Avenue, Avenue Road and Boyd Avenue.