Top 5 Things To Do in October

From spooky events, to the biggest battle re-enactment of our year, there are big plans to make this autumn! Plus, find time to contemplate at our monastic sites, and discover a new blue plaque commemorating an iconic figure of recent history.

Here's our pick of the top things to do this month.

  • The Women’s Social and Political Union was founded on 10 October 1903, by Emmeline Pankhurst. Its members used tactics including civil disobedience to campaign for women’s rights, and became known as suffragettes. 

  • Harold II, England’s last Anglo-Saxon king, was killed during the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. A victory for William the Conqueror and his Norman army changed the course of English history. Today, visitors can walk around the site of this famous battle.

  • On 21 October 1854, Florence Nightingale and her nurses were sent to the Crimean War. Once there, she improved hygiene standards, bought much-needed equipment and supplies, and organised the male nursing orderlies. 

Image: children in Halloween costumes run through fog

1. Plan a frightfully good day out

Get ready for a spectacular and spooky day out at one of our Halloween events at sites across the country this autumn.

Embark on a family friendly adventure trail inspired by Cressida Cowell’s bestselling Wizards of Once series, head out after dark on a spooky woodland walk with our ghost-hunting storytellers, or gather a group of ghost hunting grown-ups for a bone-chilling journey through the past. 

Find an event near you

2. Prepare for battle!

Our Battle of Hastings re-enactment is back! This autumn, 500 re-enactors will recreate the dramatic events of the legendary battle that King Harold and Duke William fought in 1066. While you're waiting for the main event, explore the Norman and Saxon army encampments to meet the soldiers and discover their weapons, clothes food they ate and much more.

There’s a lot for kids to enjoy too, including storytelling, have-a-go-archery, and the opportunity to step into the past and become a Norman or Saxon soldier.

Information and tickets
Lady Diana Spencer leaving her Coleherne Court flat on 12 November 1980
Lady Diana Spencer leaving her Coleherne Court flat on 12 November 1980
© Mirrorpix via Getty Images

3. Visit the new blue plaque dedicated to Lady Diana Spencer

A recently unveiled blue plaque marks Flat 60, Coleherne Court, in Kensington, where Lady Diana Spencer was living just before and during her courtship with Prince Charles.

Lady Diana Spencer, later the Princess of Wales, is one of the most iconic figures in recent British history. Her troubled marriage to Prince Charles and later relationships were the subject of fevered and intrusive press coverage, but outside her personal life, she won a lasting reputation for extensive charity and humanitarian work. Her untimely death in a car crash in 1997 prompted an unprecedented outpouring of public grief.

Click below to find out more about Lady Diana's time at Coleherne Court.

More about the blue plaque

4. Be present in the past

This autumn, we’ve introduced an 'hour of contemplation' at monasteries across England, to help you immerse yourself in the past. For the final hour of opening at each place, we encourage you to silence your mobile phones, finish up conversations and enjoy England's abbeys and priories in contemplative quiet. Together with other visitors, take the opportunity to experience these monastic buildings as their earliest residents did.

To inspire your visit, we asked Stephen Fry to read some words from one of these residents. St Aelred, abbot of Rievaulx Abbey from 1147–67, captured the unique peace and tranquility of monastic life. 

Find out more

5. Plan your day out

At this time of year, the weather might be turning cooler, but there is still a lot to enjoy on a visit to one of our historic sites.

Take a refreshing walk around castle walls, stone circles and enigmatic ruins on a crisp morning, and enjoy beautiful seasonal colour in our historic gardens. A day out to a historic site is great for children too – with opportunities to explore, learn, and play outdoors.

Don't forget to check our site opening times while planning your visit for next month, as these will change from 1 November. 

Find a site to visit

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