Oktoberfest isn’t, as commonly thought, reserved for people lucky enough to make it to Munich for the world’s largest Volksfest (or folk festival, for those of us whose school-level German may or may not be a little rusty). Being a good adopter of all things celebratory our capital city has made Oktoberfest London a thing, proudly announcing that it’s the largest copycat location in the whole of the UK. While we’re unsure what kind of level of competition there is for that title, we’re certainly glad this growing German tradition has been welcomed with open arms on our shores.
About much more than just beer, although of course a few steins are at the heart of any German celebration, this more-than-month-long party brings traditional food, drink and entertainment to London for a few weeks of gut times.
If you’re looking for Oktoberfest London activities look no further, we’ve gathered together all the places you can you don your Lederhosen free of judgement, while enjoying the dulcet tones of an Oompah band over a beer or two with your friends. There are of course the main festivals, which are spread out over the weeks across London, but smaller, independents all celebrate in their own ways which can be just as much, if not more, fun than the real deal. Below you’ll find the big dogs alongside some smaller offerings from people doing their own thing on the side.
When is Oktoberfest London on?
In 2019 there are a few different places to celebrate Oktoberfest, but the overall dates in London run from the 13 September – 16 November, although there will probably be events going on around the capital before and after that.
Confusingly, traditionally Oktoberfest doesn’t actually start in October. This year party in Munich starts on Saturday the 21 September – 6 October for instance. We’ve done some fine detective work and it turns our Oktoberfest did begin in October, but now has its roots firmly planted in September so revellers can make full and fine use of September’s warmer weather. It now often starts in September because it has a fixed end date, rather than the same kick off date each year. Oktoberfest now finishes on the first Sunday of October, which leaves a couple of weeks prior to that for celebrations – hence the month straddling.
What is Oktoberfest London?
Oktoberfest began life in Germany in 1810, before making its way to us. It started as a wedding celebration when Bavarian crown prince Ludwig married princess Therese from Saxony-Hildburghausen on the 12th of October. Five days later, on the 17th of October, they arranged a festival for the people (to spread their regal celebratory joy) which included all sorts of festivities including horse races. Each year following that fateful date the tradition was upheld, with an agricultural show and a celebration of beer added to the mix somewhere along the way, making the event roughly what we know it as today.
Oktoberfest London tickets
Lots of the main Oktoberfest London events are ticketed, so be prepared to pay around £10 on average for entry to any organised party. Some smaller bars and pubs may be running promotions around the times of the festivities for free though, so keep your eyes peeled, and there is a completely free festival in Elephant and Castle for any south London dwellers. More details below.
Where is Oktoberfest London on?
There are a few official seeming celebrations when it comes to Oktoberfest in London, with locations including places like Millwall, Olympia, The Docklands and Moorgate all putting on a show across the few weeks in October and November. Below we’ve got more details on each party, to make choosing one (or the many) you’d like to attend that little bit easier. These are mostly ticketed, but a few are free for impromptu partying.
Ivory Vaults Oktoberfest
Why: If the costumes of Oktoberfest are part of its appeal for you, then look no further than The Medieval Banquet Oktoberfest hosted at Ivory Vaults. This party which harks back to the good (really, really) old days sees entertainment by King Henry VIII himself as well as performances by aerialists, contortionists, jugglers and more. Packages here include all the entertainment as well as a four-course meal with wine and lager, plus a disco.
Where: Ivory House, St Katherine Docks, EW1 1BP
When: 1 – 23 October
How much: Ticket prices range from £30-£200, with £50 being a standard adult ticket price.
Why: Bierschenke are hosting traditional German parties throughout October at their two London venues – Tower Hill and London Wall. The team here have decked their halls with special decorations to the set the scene and the staff will of course be donning dirndls and lederhosen. Throughout the evening you’ll be treated to live music from an oompah band, while there will be sharing platterings of wurst going around. As you might expect there will also be plenty of beer, and the best part is the party is free.
Where: London Wall buildings, 4, Blomfield Street, EC2M 5NT and The Arches, 9 Crutched Friars, EC3N 2AU
When: 18 September – 2 November
How much: Free.
Oktoberfest Pub Fulham
Why: This unassuming pub in Fulham is in actual fact home to the largest selection of German beers in the UK, with a line-up of more than 60 different types. If that isn’t enough to tempt you down, you might like to know that they actually celebrate this Bavarian tradition all year round, so are well versed in the frivolities of such an affair. With a live band and a Bavarian Olympics (your guess is as good as ours) there’s sure to be plenty to keep you entertained throughout their special Oktoberfest evenings in September and October. If you’re the lucky organiser of an event you might like to know the Oktoberfest Pub offer hen and stag packages as well as other groupings for special occasions. These kinds of deals typically include drinks and meals for your gang, and you can even add a 50-litre keg to your table for self-pouring pint-drinking should that seem like a sensible thing to you. It's definitely not.
Where: 678-680 Fulham Road, SW6 5SA
When: 13 September – 26 October
How much: £9 gets you standing entry and a pint, while £15 sees you get a seat and a stein as well as a pretzel. Count us in for the latter.
Oktoberfest South London
Why: 'Brixton’s biggest Oktoberfest' might not be an overly impressive tagline, but the party here is sure to give you everything you could want from such an evening. With the very finest suppliers hailing straight from Germany itself, there will be wursts shipped in from the Black Forest, authentic beers and waiters and waitresses in traditional dress. There is also due to be a live brass band, a DJ and even comedians performing between sets to keep the good times going.
Where: Electric Brixton, Town Hall Parade, SW2 1RJ
When: 28 September
How much: Tickets cost £13 for general admission up to £299 for a table of eight people with two steins per person included.
The Official Camden Oktoberfest
Why: If you’re a North London dweller then the party is coming to you too, with this all-singing, all-dancing affair. A range of German beers will be on offer for punters to enjoy, alongside food from London’s own Herman ze German and a 10-piece brass and drum band who are signed up to play a mix of covers, classics and oompah beats. At this fast-paced energetic party you can expect challenges and competitions alongside the usual drinking and dancing, so make sure to bring your game face.
Where: Electric Ballroom, 184 Camden High Street, NW1 8QP
When: 28 September – 19 October
How much: Tickets cost from £15 for entry only but you can treat yourself to a beer table for eight people for £250 (which includes two drinks each) or a VIP balcony booth for £400, which also seats eight people, with drinks for everyone.
Oktoberfest Millwall Park
Why: Sure, Millwall might not be the first place you’d think of as a Munich replacement, but with two separate celebrations here in October it acts as a cultural hub for all things German. The organisers will even let you hire Lederhosen and Dirndl at the event for £29 a pop, if you embarrassingly turn up without your costume sorted. The event is hosted in a huge circus tent and there is always live music, with singing and dancing at (or on) your benches and tables encouraged from the team on the ground. There are also special family days at this iteration of Oktoberfest London, with slightly more subdued activates planned, and soft drinks available for the kids.
Where: Millwall Park, Manchester Rd, Isle of Dogs, E14 3NQ
When: 3 – 6 October and 10 – 13 October
How much: Entry on Thursdays and Sundays is free, with tickets from £15 for general entry on Friday and Saturdays, which guarantees you a seat at one of the long communal tables. From there packages go upwards to a maximum of £65, which gets you a seat in the VIP area, priority entrance, beer, wine, a shot of Jaegermeister and a Bavarian snack plate, plus a Schnitzel and traditional potato salad. The organisers book seats from the front to the back of the tent, so the earlier you book, the better your seats, in theory.
Craft Oktoberfest London
Why: This event is hosted by Kraft Brewery, the taproom at Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant and Castle. Housed within the larger market space, this free party is shaping up to be quite the affair with the organisers having upped the capacity to match the demand of last year. They promise ‘no dark circus tents, no plastic ‘steins’, no cheap fancy dress city boys, no expensive tickets, no VIP areas and most importantly only great independent beer.’ This is one for the true beer fans, with small breweries all coming together to bring a lineup of delicious drinks to South London’s party crowd. There will, of course, be bratwurst, pretzels and a band.
Where: Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, SE1 6DR
When: 4 – 6 October
How much: Free, but you are encouraged to register for the event in any case so that the team can judge capacity pre-opening.
Why: London’s well-heeled West-end crowd aren’t ones to miss out on the opportunity to party, and this year’s Chelsea event is proof that there is no class divide when it comes to a good knees up. The organisers are promising German decorations, food and drink, as well as the pretty surrounds of the historical Chelsea town hall. For a full refined affair, this is the Oktoberfest for you.
Where: Chelsea Old Town Hall, King's Road, SW3 5EE
When: 4 – 5 October
How much: As far as we can tell this isn’t a ticketed event, but it might be worth checking with the organisers before turning up unannounced.
Why: Missing out on a Bratwurst because of dietary requirements is some kind of fresh hell, so thankfully veggies and vegans have been catered for this year. Introduced for the first time last year, this vegan-friendly celebration swaps the usual dishes served at Oktoberfest for delicious meat-free alternatives. There will be vegan bratwurst with all the expected trimmings plus vegan dirty burgers and German potato pancakes. In the main hall itself there will be live music, comedy and plenty of beer for all, so that everyone, veggie or not, is guaranteed a good time.
Where: Camden Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH
When: 12 – 19 October
How much: £10-15 for entry only, which doesn’t include any food or drinks.
Why: Sunshine isn’t unheard of in October in London, so if and when that illusive sunshine fellow decides to show his face make sure you’re prepped and ready for this outdoor Oktoberfest celebration. Entry before 6pm is free and there are all the usual frivolities to make the most of – think DJS, German beer, street food, beer hall seating and of course those views of the capital city from the rooftop of Netil House.
Where: Netil360, 1 Westgate Street, E8 3RL
When: 5 October
How much: Entry is free before 6pm, with a £5 charge after that for anyone rocking up late.
Doktoberfest Canada Water
Why: New for this year, Doktoberfest is opening in Canada Water, which is happily situated on the Jubilee line for easy access. In terms of theme the team here have gone all out – there is talk of live bands, dancers, games and circus acts, as well as bars serving all kinds of drinks (so that non-beer drinkers can also enjoy the festivities), and food outlets dishing up traditional fare. If you’re the kind of person who gets a kick out of a costume it’s good news, there are prizes for the best dressed punters, and special themed evenings – including a night centred around the colour pink and a Halloween evening.
Where: Dock X, Surrey Quays Road, SE16 2XU
When: 10 October – 16 November
How much: Tickets cost between £10-70, plus a booking fee and tax. For £10 you get general, standing admission and from there prices go all the way up to £70 which gets you a VIP experience which includes a fast-tracked queue jump, reserved seating close to the stage and dance floor, table service and one food and drink voucher.
Why: This one is strictly for city slickers, with it being marketed as a hospitality event (ie, probably don’t turn up merry with a band of your mates). If a little team building is what you’re in the market for though, this is perfect. Because of the higher spend from the clientele here you can expect a fun-filled day packed with entertainment, from table service delivered with flair to circus performers taking centre stage. If you’re a traditionalist you can rest easy in the knowledge that there will of course be plenty of German food and beer as well as Oompah bands.
Where: Old Billingsgate Market, Lower Thames Street, EC3
When: 17 – 18 October
How much: Tables of ten cost £1788 (or £178.80 per person) and include unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks as well as platters of German food.
Oktoberfest Olympia London Halloween Special
Why: Why attend a regular Oktoberfest when you can go to a Halloween special? This spooky spectacular will be themed around the day of the dead and feature creepy decorations as well as some special surprises. All your usual Oktoberfest treats will still be firmly in situ though, so you can expect plenty of beer, lots of bratwurst and of course live entertainment to bring the party to life. Tickets to this event guarantee your seat up to two hours after opening, so make sure you’re not too late or you’ll lose your spot (although, if you’re planning on spending your night on the dance floor that might not be an issue).
Where: Olympia London, West Kensignton, W14 8UX
When: 24 – 26 October
How much: Some tickets are available for free for regular admission, with prices going up to £65 for a bit of a fancy affair, which gives you VIP access as well as a whole host of extras – like beer, wine and food.
Why: If a tent packed with people merrily swigging beer to the backing of an Oompah band sounds like your idea of a good time, you’re in for a treat. This central London location will play host to Oktoberfest London this year in a huge tent, with the bars in situ serving up steins and sausages with gay abandon, as well as there being DJs and live bands on hand to help the party get off to a good start. People attending this particular soiree really seem to thrive on costume competition, so make sure to bring you’re a-game. If you forget there are traditional dress items available to hire on site.
Where: City Central at HAC, EC1Y 4TW
When: 15 – 16 November
How much: Standing tickets start at £10, with a seat costing you a fiver more with a £15 price tag. If you’re feeling fancy you can work your way up through all kinds of ticket levels to the top, a £65 entry fee that will get you entry to the VIP area, as well as food and drinks on arrival.
Big fan of beer? Check out our round up of the best pubs with rooms, which happily manage to make a holiday out of your liking for a pint or two.