Enjoy everything the English capital has to offer this fall
Exciting and alluring, London in November is a hit with every age group. The UK's capital and largest city is a place of delightful contrasts, where you can be dazzled by the festive illuminations on Oxford Street one day and marvel at the atmospheric feel of historic areas like Blackheath, Shoreditch, and Greenwich the next. Walk hand in hand with your chéri along the South Bank of the River Thames, shop with friends in bustling Camden Market, or enjoy a peaceful solitary moment in the calm setting of the British Museum and browse its iconic collections. Explore historic landmarks like Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, or discover contemporary features like the Shard.
A dazzling selection of seasonal events – Parades, pageants, markets and more
Sunny mornings, crisp afternoons and dramatic sunsets are the perfect backdrop for the thrilling events that are so much a part of London in the fall. Book a stay early in the month to experience the last of the fall foliage and spectacular city views from Hampstead Heath and Alexandra Palace, or travel to London a little later in November to browse London's enchanting Christmas markets. Participate in legendary November events like the Lord Mayor's Show or Bonfire Night, or discover some of the shows and exhibitions that make London in November a magical time for the whole family.
The Lord Mayor's Show
The Lord Mayor's Show has been a highlight of London in November for over 800 years. The stunning parade celebrates the inauguration of the Mayor of London, for whom an election is held each year. The celebration, which is part parade and part carnival, was mentioned by Samuel Pepys in his famous diaries and referenced in works by Hogarth and Canaletto. The show is a spectacular mix of pomp and ceremony with a fun slant. Headed by QRB Gloriana, a flotilla sets out at 8.30 am from Westminster Pier on the River Thames and glides under Tower Bridge for the Mayoral Salute at 9.30 am. After 2 minutes of silence at Mansion House at 11 am, the procession gets underway. See the Lord Mayor in his gilded coach accompanied by military bands, marchers, dancers, and musicians before watching the firework display on the River Thames at 5.15 pm.
The Magic of Bonfire Night in London
Creating a list of things to do in London this November? Why not add in a spectacular firework display? Held on or around November 5th each year, Bonfire Night marks the anniversary of the end of Guy Fawkes' infamous 1605 plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament, and radiant firework shows take place all across the capital. Check out the award-winning pyrotechnics at Battersea, where a fabulous 22-minute musical display lights up the Wandsworth skies. Lambeth Fireworks in Brockwell Park is a huge event with a funfair, stalls, and music. Don't feel like standing outside? Reserve a table at Lido Café in the park and watch the entire show from its poolside terrace.
For spectacular displays in an Oktoberfest atmosphere, add Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival to your itinerary. Dazzling fireworks illuminate the Great Hall and offer a breathtaking view of glittering London. The smell of cordite fills the air and a spectacular parade of burning floats adds a crackling soundtrack. For a prime spot, get there in the afternoon - tickets include entrance to the Oktoberfest Bier Festival in the Great Hall, where you can try craft beer and German sausage with an oompah band playing in the background. Suitably fortified, you'll be ready for an evening of fireworks, bonfires, and fun complete with live bands and DJs.
London's Holiday Markets, From Clapham to the River Thames
Christmas markets spring up all over London in November. They offer a chance to stock up on festive gifts in some of the city's atmospheric settings. Beginning towards the end of the month, Winterville at Clapham Common is a great winter-themed event that avoids putting too much emphasis on Christmas: after all, it's still November in London! Comedy nights, live music, cabarets, an ice-rink, delicious food by Street Feast, and a Christmas market - what more could you ask for? Traditionalists will love the Southbank Winter Festival with its distinctly holiday feel. Spend the day exploring stalls, pop-ups and street entertainment before a concert at the Royal Festival Hall or Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland transforms Hyde Park into a sparkling oasis in the heart of the city. The ice rink is one of its most popular features and you'll find over 200 wooden chalets full of goodies. Choose decorations and traditional gifts from the German Christmas Market or look for pretty accessories and jewelry, hand-made toys, and unusual crafts in the Angels and Fairies markets. The scent of gingerbread, candy apples, and roasting chestnuts fills the crisp fall air, and you can sample mulled wine, cider, or gourmet treats such as artisan sausages and pies before taking a spin around the ice rink or enjoying the magical sight of London from the top of the Giant Observation Wheel.
Let Your Cares Slip Away on the South Bank
There's nothing quite like a Finnish sauna to help you unwind after a busy day of sightseeing in London this November. Part of the Southbank Winter Festival, the sauna at the Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden offers great views of the river and the city skyline complete with showers and changing rooms. Get tips from resident sauna experts before retiring to the Rooftop Bar with a complimentary blanket for a warming post-sauna beverage. Alternatively, treat yourself to stay at the Novotel London Canary Wharf, where you'll have access to a fully-equipped thalassotherapy center - it's the perfect pampering treat for a relaxing autumn day in London.
Children Will Love the Historic ZSL London Zoo
Taking the kids on vacation to London this November? Choose hotels which combine a central location with access to the city's parks, such as the Haverstock Hotel. While you're still just minutes from the bustle of the West End, you're also a short walk from Hampstead Heath and within easy reach of London Zoo. This world-famous zoo in Regent's Park opened in 1839. It's the world's oldest scientific zoo and its endangered species program is legendary. Wander through the original Victorian reptile house, or explore new exhibits like Land of the Lions, which was opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2016. Other highlights include the Gorilla Kingdom and Rainforest Life. Make sure you don't miss Penguin Beach, home to 70 Humboldt penguins and one of the zoo's most famous residents, Ricky the Rockhopper.
London is the ideal choice for shopaholics
Even if you are only on a short trip, you can still cram in some prime retail therapy. The cooler air and sparkling lights make a one-hour shopping trip a festive occasion, and you'll have just enough time to explore the west end of Oxford Street. Start by Marble Arch tube station, where the massive Primark store is a must for bargain lovers. Head east towards Oxford Circus and some of the capital's best department stores, including Selfridges, John Lewis, Debenhams, and House of Fraser, before finishing your shopping trip at Top Shop - the iconic brand has its landmark store at Oxford Circus.
From Glittering Malls to Quirky Markets
November is a great time to spend a day at one of London's fabulous Westfields shopping malls. Visit Westfields Shepherds Bush if you're staying in a central or west London hotel like the Ibis London Shepherds Bush-Hammersmith, or go to Stratford Westfields if you've chosen an east London hotel such as the Ibis Stratford. These glamorous malls are among the largest in Europe and you'll find everything from clothing and electronics to food and gifts.
If you've got all week, take some time to explore Camden Lock Market. It's one of the capital's biggest tourist attractions and its canalside setting makes it a great choice for visitors who want to see something extraordinary when they're looking for things to do in London in November. Camden Lock Market is the perfect place for unique and memorable gifts. Remember, Christmas is just around the corner! The giant bronze statues at the entrance guard dozens of stalls and quirky one-of-a-kind shops selling everything from stage make-up, handmade lace, and knitwear to leather jackets and tasty hydrogen ice cream.
Brand Names and One-of-a-kind Stores
If you're visiting London in November, the festive Oxford Street lights will already be on and they'll get you in just the right mood to pop around the corner to Bond Street and New Bond Street for that perfect party outfit. Did you know that the Mayfair street was once home to Admiral Horatio Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton? Today, you'll find some of the world's most famous designers and luxury jewelers including Asprey, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Chanel, and Tiffany & Co. The street is a handy conduit between Piccadilly and Oxford Street and you can take buses towards Kensington High Street and Knightsbridge from either end. Stroll down Knightsbridge to Harrods and walk up to Sloane Street for Harvey Nichols and dozens of designer names.
The Delights of Islington
Experience November in London at its best in Islington. Running from Highbury Corner tube station to the Angel, the district is an eclectic mix of markets, entertainment venues, upscale restaurants, and trendy stores. Bargain hunters will love Chapel Market, while Camden Passage is a must for anyone with an interest in the past. After browsing the vintage boutiques and antique markets, wander along Upper Street for artisan crafts and designer clothing. End your outing at the legendary Screen on the Green. The cinema was immortalized in the 1976 song of the same name by The Clash and referenced by Adam Ant's prolific hit "Fall In."
Discover the Capital's Historic Districts
Greenwich should rank high on your list of places to see in London in November. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it's rich in history and filled with character. Plus, it's just 20 minutes from Central London hotels by train, boat or the DLR (Docklands Light Railway). There are so many must-see attractions and it's ideal for family outings in London. Have your photo taken straddling the famous Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory or see the world's largest collection of naval artefacts at the National Maritime Museum. Alternatively, admire the magnificent art collection at The Queen's House before climbing aboard the Cutty Sark, the famous tea clipper is the oldest surviving ship of its kind. With the Hotel Ibis London Greenwich and Novotel London Greenwitch located close to all the district's main attractions, you can enjoy a restful, stress-free night in this historic neighborhood.
A Perfect Outing for Soccer Fans
What to know what's on in London in November for sports fans? Get tickets for a premier league game and can catch your favorite soccer team in action. The season is well underway by now, so you can see West Ham play at the London Stadium in Stratford, cheer Arsenal on at the Emirates Stadium in Highbury, or root for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Can't get tickets for any games? Don't despair, you can still take a tour of the city's most famous stadiums. The Wembley Stadium tour is highly recommended, and it's just a five-minute walk from the Novotel London Wembley.
Spend a Night Out at the Theater this November
Book tickets for a show in London this fall and enjoy a night to remember. The UK capital is world-famous for its live musicals, dramas, and comedies. After all, this is the country who brought us Shakespeare! London's West End in particular is home to some of the world's most famous theaters and productions. Did you know that Agatha Christie's iconic play The Mousetrap opened on the 25th of November 1952 and that you can catch a performance this November at St. Martin's Theatre? Lovers of musicals are well catered to in London in November with shows ranging from Disney's Lion King at the Lyceum to School of Rock at the New London Theatre or Young Frankenstein at the Garrick. Prefer something a little different? How about The Ferryman at the Gielgud Theatre? Directed by Sam Mendes, this renowned play of the year by Jez Butterworth focuses on an Irish farming family at harvest time.
November Shows in London Families Will Love
Your little princess will adore the English National Ballet's captivating production of The Nutcracker at the London Colosseum when you're in London in this fall, while boys will love Disney's Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre. Looking for something to get the children excited about Christmas? They probably don't need much help, but the whole family is certain to enjoy The Snowman when the Raymond Briggs classic returns later in the month. Other great options for visitors include Matilda the Musical and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, while budding wizards are certain to love the Harry Potter tour, complete with authentic props, breathtaking sets, and interactive exhibitions and performances.
Music and Song in the Heart of the City
Looking for the best concerts in London in November? Music fans are spoiled for choice in autumn. See American rockers Queens of the Stone Age at both the O2 and Wembley Arena or catch Peter Perret from the 90s cult band The Only Ones at the Electric Ballroom. Love classic rock? Pop over to the Eventim Apollo to see the Australian Pink Floyd, or get tickets for Ralph McTell at the London Palladium. Take a trip back to the 80s at Camden's Roundhouse, where you can dance to OMD or Happy Mondays, or choose from legendary bands like Blondie or Run the Jewels at the O2 Brixton Academy. If you're not a rock and pop fan, see the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican or take a trip down memory lane, as the London Philharmonic Orchestra presents Let's Face the Music: A Tribute to The Great Musicals at the Royal Albert Hall.
Museums, Exhibitions, and Trade Shows
There are lots of fantastic exhibitions in London this fall such as the The EY Exhibition, The Impressionists in London at Tate Britain and the superb Scythians: Warriors of Ancient Siberia at the British Museum. For a taste of contemporary art, explore the Tate Modern, whose stunning Ilya and Emilia Kabakov exhibition will wow spectators this November, while their permanent collection enchants visitors year-round.
Alternatively, visit one of the trade shows that make London in November so special. ExCel London hosts some of the best the city has to offer, such as Simply Christmas and World Travel Market London, and is ideally located in the heart of the historic Royal Docks. Take the Emirates Airline Cable Car from North Greenwich for spectacular bird's eye views or hop aboard the MBNA Thames Clipper at Westminster Pier or London Bridge for dramatic river views of the Houses of Parliament and Canary Wharf.