What to do and where to stay in London in November
London may be getting darker and colder in the winter month of November, but that doesn’t stop this bustling city from being jam packed with loads of amazing events and things to do.
So you’re planning to stay in London in November?
Well you’ll be spoilt for choice with what’s on offer during this winter month. From festive feasts to firework displays and music festivals, London comes alive during this time of year as it builds up to Christmas, so we’re here to help you narrow down what events and areas are must sees whilst your in town.
“Remember remember the 5th of November”
Yep, one of the best nights of the year happens to fall on November 5th, as London marks the historic moment Guy Fawkes tried to set alight the Houses of Parliament with his gunpowder based plot.
Now in celebration of the fact that the plot was intercepted and prevented, hugh bonfires and firework displays occur all over London parks around the 3rd - 5th November. Think funfairs, fireworks, hot toddies and sparklers all enjoyed by Londoners across the city.
It’s the perfect activity for families as kids really enjoy the activities and most displays are free to attend - only the bigger shows may set you back a small fee of £5 - £10 maximum. Some of the best shows can be seen at Southwark Park, Brockwell Park, Hyde Park, Victoria Park, Blackheath & Alexander Palace, so take your pick and enjoy watching the city come alive at night.
The Lord Mayor's Show
Heading into the month by just a few more days and we’ll hit November 10th. If you happen to be in London on this date, you’re in for a treat as you’re just in time for the The Lord Mayor’s show. But what is it we hear you say - well it’s a parade that started back in 1215 when King John granted a charter allowing the citizens of London to elect their own Mayor. Since then, the newly elected Lord Mayor travels (in a gilded horse drawn cart / coach) from City of London to Westminster to pledge allegiance to the Crown.
In modern times, the parade is more of a bit of fun and an excuse to celebrate rather than show of loyalty like it originally was. Amazingly, over a million people turn up to this show of colours to enjoy watching it float down London’s city streets. For a top tip, stay until the evening and you may just catch a glimpse of the fireworks that light up the River Thames.
London Jazz Festival
If you happen to be in London towards the middle and later part of November, you’ll be lucky enough to be in town for the London Jazz Festival which takes place from 16th-25th November. During this time, cultural hotspots like Barbican, The Royal Festival Hall and Kings Place all run a series of concerts and events based around the music genre. So if La La Land wet your appetite for some jazzy beats, book a ticket to one of the many events being hosted around the city. From small unknown jazz bands to globally renowned artists, it will literally ring like music to your ears.
We highly recommend checking out what renowned jazz bar Ronnie Scotts has on offer if you want to continue your jazz themed activities into the evening. It’s here you’ll find some of the worlds best musicians performing in an intimate space that once hosted jazz greats like Miles Davis. Top off the evening with one of their highly praised espresso martinis that’ll have you craving for another long after you’ve left - we’ll tell you now that the secret ingredient is Frangelico.
Turning on the Christmas Lights
If you’d prefer to indulge in some retail therapy instead, head to central London’s Oxford Street and you might just find you stumble across the Christmas lights being turned on. Usually this happens around the middle of November and it fills onlookers with festive cheer. Lighting up areas stretching from Oxford Street to Covent Garden and Regent Street, it’s an event that’ll be sure to get you in the festive spirit. Why not make a day of it too and continue with some Christmas based activities. London’s got plenty of them from ice skating to festive markets, to pantomime shows and drinking hot toddies. A day like this and you’re likely to get even the Scrooge in the family enjoying themself.
For those looking for some general things to do around the November period, chances are you’ll need to consider that the weather is going to be on the cold side. In light of this, think about what warming activities you could do to embrace this. In our opinion, nothing beats a cosy pub lunch (especially a roast on Sundays) to warm you up. The area of Greenwich might be one to try as it’s home to a wealth of cosy pubs with fantastic value Sunday roasts with epic portions. One of our top recommended pubs here is Richard I.
Situated near to Greenwich park (an expansive green park area that boasts one of the best views of London’s skyline) you can take a brisk walk here prior to visiting the pub which makes it the perfect spot to work up an appetite before you pig out on an oversized yorkshire pudding, gravy and stuffing.