Top Things to Do in London in November
Enjoy the beginning of the festive season in London with our guide.
We know it’s all about April in Paris but rest assured when it comes to the British capital, November in London is when the magic happens. Autumn and early winter are beautiful times to visit the city. There aren’t too many tourists lining up at the sites and though the weather is cool, it’s not the freezing, grey, miserable London of January and February. Fall leaves crunch under your toes and the holiday spirit can be felt all over town. Plum Guide's luxurious and vetted homes are the perfect base from which to explore, and thanks to our list of great things to do in London in November, you and yours are sure to enjoy every moment.
Soak up some culture
With the temperature dropping outside, one of the best things to do in London in November is to take the opportunity to visit the many local museums and cultural institutions.
Discover two million years of human history and culture at The British Museum with highlights including the Rosetta Stone, samurai armour from the Edo period and a Sutton Hoo ship burial helmet which is one of only four intact helmets from Anglo-Saxon England. If this sounds boring to you - and it’s ok, we’re sure you’re not the only one - how about heading to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Known as the V&A, this is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. Alongside thrilling fashion and art exhibitions, their permanent collection boasts some impressive highlights like the earliest known photograph of London (snapped circa 1839) and over 3000 jewels dating from ancient times to the modern era.
If art is more your jam, head to the Tate Britain, Tate Modern, National Gallery or National Portrait Gallery, to name but a few of the possibilities.
Shop ‘til you drop
Another great way to keep warm is to exercise your credit card at one of the city’s many excellent department stores. After all, if shopping isn’t on your list of things to do in London in November, were you really in London at all?
If you’ve chosen to lay your head in chic Knightsbridge at the end of the day, count yourself hashtag blessed because Harrods is your local. One of the largest and most renowned department stores in Europe, Harrods occupies a five-acre site made up of 330 departments which cover 1.1 million square feet. It is like Disneyland but for rich adults so you’re welcome. If you’re not in a shopping mood, try the foodhall for international delicacies that are as tasty as they are beautifully presented.
Design fiends will note that Harrods boasts impressive and unique architecture including Egyptian inspired elements, terracotta tiles, Art Nouveau windows and a baroque-style dome. This Knightsbridge flat is moments away from Harrods and offers the perfect cosy place to stay for solo travellers or couples.
Also in Knightsbridge and great for a little retail therapy is luxury British department store Harvey Nichols, known colloquially as Harvey Nicks. Nearby Selfridges is located in Mayfair and definitely worth the short commute. Want to stay here and be within walking distance? We've got the perfect Mayfair pad for you.
Remember, remember the fifth of November. For those who aren’t clear about the origins of that phrase, let us give you a little British history lesson. On 5 November 1605, a member of the Gunpowder Plot named Guy Fawkes was arrested while guarding explosives placed beneath the House of Lords. To celebrate the failure of the plot on King James I, citizens lit bonfires across London. Now Guy Fawkes Night – also known as Bonfire Night and Fireworks Night – is an annual commemoration. Trust us, you won’t want to miss the fireworks.
Get in the Christmas spirit
British people love a reason to celebrate – because let’s be honest the weather here doesn’t quite spark joy – so come mid-October the Christmas spirit starts to brighten up London. Unless you’re a super grinch, you won’t want to miss it. (If you are a super grinch, stay away from London in December).
Start by taking to the ice at one of London’s festive seasonal ice rinks. Although Somerset House is arguably the most popular, we highly recommend the rink at the Natural History Museum, especially if you have the little monsters angels in tow. Check out the fascinating exhibits on view inside before skating for an hour beneath the fairy lights to holiday tunes. You’ll have worked up an appetite so heed our advice and make the five minute walk to Polish restaurant Daquise for pierogi and iced honey vodka.
The Christmas lights at Kew Gardens are another magical way to ring in the holiday season and a must when it comes to things to do in London in November. Explore these royal botanical gardens by night and be enchanted by the light installations flickering all around you. There is a tunnel of bells, trees wrapped in light, an illuminated rose garden and a treetop waterfall.
And for the excitable muggles in the family, don’t miss the annual Hogwarts in the Snow, which takes over the Warner Bros Studio Tour each holiday season.
Enjoy a warming Sunday Roast
When the temperature drops there are few places more cosy than a British pub, where traditional ‘Sunday roasts’ are served weekly on the day of rest. Take your pick of chicken, lamb, beef or nut roast and feast on all the scrumptious trimmings, which include cauliflower cheese, roast potatoes, carrots, gravy and Yorkshire Puddings. Wash it all down with a pint and you’ll be ready for a nap at your comfy crash pad.