October seemed to whizz by and before we know it, it will be Christmas in London! Before then, however, have the month of November with a calendar that is jam-packed with fun things to do.
November is the month for bonfire night and there are a number of celebrations taking place across the city. Christmas markets, Christmas lights and the odd ice rink or two open as well, getting you ready for the holiday season.
The EFG London Jazz Festival returns this month and there’s the Winter Arts & Antiques Fair at Olympia too. Don’t miss the final weeks of Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear at the V&A (until 6 November); A Garland for The Queen at Southbank Centre (Until 9 November); and Frieze Sculpture Park in Regent’s Park (Until 13 November).
Buckingham Palace is closed to visitors now until July 2023 but you can see the Royal residence from the outside when you watch the Changing of the Guards. Tours of the Houses of Parliament are only taking place on 12 November this month (and are nearly sold out). The next date available are on Saturday 3 December, make sure to book in advance!
Don’t forget to take a look at our list of things taking place in October, with many of the exhibitions and events listed ongoing.
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- 26 fun things to do during the October half term in London (2022)
Things to do in London in November
Here’s our pick of the best places to go in the British capital this month.
Ice Rinks in London
Time to get your skates on as London’s winter ice rinks open across the city. Book tickets for Battersea Power Station, Queen’s House Greenwich, Canary Wharf and our favourite skating rink Somerset House now. Take a look at more places to practice your Torvill and Dean routines here.
London’s Christmas Lights
London knows a thing or two about putting on a good Christmas display, starting this month! London’s Christmas lights will be switched on this month starting with Oxford Street (2 November) followed by Regent Street, Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and Bond Street. See more details on what Christmas lights displays are taking place here.
London’s Christmas Shows
Get ready for the festive season with tickets to a Christmas show. Some of the best theatre performances open this month including Elf the Musical and A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic. Take a look at our favourite Christmas shows in London here.
London’s Christmas Light Trails
The festive light trails get switched on this month including those at Kew Gardens, Lightopia at Crystal Palace and Illuminature at the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes. Take a look at our other recommended light trails here.
London’s Christmas Markets
London’s Christmas Markets spring into action this month as well. One of our favourites is the South Bank Centre Winter Market that takes place alongside the River Thames. Take a look at some of the other markets taking place this holiday season here.
Hogwarts in the Snow
Fans of the Harry Potter films should get their wands at the ready for Hogwarts at Christmas. The annual Hogwarts in the Snow opens its doors on November 12 and welcomes guests until January 15.
The Great Hall will be transformed with the ice silvers of the iconic Yule Ball scene. The Gryffindor common room will be dressed for the season and snow will cover the Forbidden Forest as well as the cobbled stone and magical shop fronts of Dragon Alley.
Dates: 12 November 2022 – 15 January 2023. Tickets are available now.
Where: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR
For more Harry Potter magic, take a look at this walking tour through central London.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
London’s biggest festive funfair is back for another year of funfair rides, ice skating, a Christmas market and far too many indulgent food and drink stalls. There’s also the chance to meet Santa and see London from up high in the giant Ferris wheel.
When: 18 November 2022 – 2 January 2023
Where: Hyde Park; nearest tubes Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge
Christmas at the Postal Museum
The Mail Rail is getting a festive makeover, starting from 2 November. The subterranean ride which takes visitors back in time to the heyday of the postal railway will be decorated for the holidays.
Also on display are letters to Santa, which inlaces official cards from Father Christmas sent to children between 1963 and 2010. The first commercial Christmas card will also be on display in the museums permanent exhibitions space.
When: Opens 2 November
Where: Postal Museum, 15-20 Phoenix Pl, London WC1X 0DA
Luxury Travel Fair
Get inspiration for your next trip (from your armchair or otherwise) at the Luxury Travel Fair that’s taking place this month at Olympia. They’ve got a cracking line-up of speakers timetabled including adventurer Charlie Walker and Aleem Raheem, co-founder of Earth Trip. You can also chat to representatives from travel and expedition companies.
When: 3 – 6 November
Where: Olympia; nearest tube Kensington (Olympia)
Sadly most of London’s free Bonfire Nights are taking place this year (that includes Victoria Park and Blackheath as well Crystal Palace Park, Southwark Park and Ravenscourt Park).
That said, there are still places where you can watch fireworks light up the night sky. Take a look at the following firework displays:
- Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival
- Barnes Bonfire Night
- Chiswick Park Fireworks Extravaganza
- Dulwich Fireworks Display
- Battersea Park Fireworks
- Beckenham Fireworks
- Wimbledon Park Fireworks
- Morden Park Fireworks
This year, a lot of the Guy Fawkes night celebrations are taking place on the weekend of November 4-6 and while some Saturday night tickets are sold out, Sunday night tickets are still available.
If you can’t make it to one of the above fireworks displays then book a ticket for the immersive Gunpowder Plot experience at the Tower of London and discover the reasons behind Guy Fawkes night!
Regent Street Motor Show
Even if you only have a passing interest in cars its worth taking a trip down to Regent Street on Saturday November 4. The road will be closed to modern-day traffic from Oxford Street to allow vintage vehicles to park up for the day. On display will be cars dating back 125 years including veteran, vintage, classic, and the very latest cars.
When: Saturday 4 November
Where: Regent Street; nearest tubes Oxford Street or Piccadilly Circus
Londoners might have a reputation for being grumpy when travelling by tube but it’s not (always) true! Don’t believe us? Take a look at this free exhibition opening this month at the Barbican Library, Londoners Underground: Private Worlds in Public Places. As the name suggests, the exhibition is compiled of photos of Londoners taking the tube. The photos were taken over a five-year period.
When: 1 – 23 November
Where: Barbican Library; nearest tubes Barbican, Moorgate, Farringdon and St. Paul’s
Wrap Up London
The annual charity coat collection WrapUp London is taking place again this year. The charity distributes the coats that they collect to those who need them most so dig out your old winter coats and donate them to a good cause. Check the website for collection points.
When: 7 – 27 November
Where: Check website for collection points
If you’re looking for an early festive light trail for younger kids then take a look at Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland. The illuminated mile-long route winds past fairy gardens and magical installations.
When: 11 – 13 November; 18 – 20 November; 25 – 27 November. There are two quiet sessions taking place on Friday 18th and 25th November.
Where: Syon House; Syon Lane Station is the closest train station
Lord Mayor’s Show
For pomp, pageantry and a fun procession, line up on 12 November for the Lord Mayor’s Show, the annual event which marks the outgoing Lord Mayor being replaced by the new Lord Mayor. The spectacle dates back to the early 13th century and features a grand ceremonial carriage as well as floats and marching bands travelling through the City of London.
When: 12 November
Where: City of London; take a look at the route here
Ever After Garden
Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square is being transformed into an illuminated garden with more than 20,000 illuminated roses installed to raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. There’s no admission fee but donations are very welcome. You can also choose to dedicate a rose to a loved one.
When: From 23 November
Where: Grosvenor Square; nearest tube Bond Street
Injecting Hope at the Science Museum
Remember those days when we were all locked down at home? The days of lockdowns and waiting for a vaccine feel a long time ago but the new exhibition at the Science Museum follows the worldwide journey to develop vaccines during the pandemic. The exhibition features artworks, interactive exhibits and personal objects.
When: 30 November 2023 – January 2024
Where: Science Museum; nearest tube South Kensington
Events and exhibitions at the Tate Modern
Explore the woven sculptures of Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz at the Tate Modern this month.
The UNIQLO Tate Play series of events continue this month with some fun painting workshops and the chance to create your own artwork by weaving colourful threads and textiles.
When: Magdalena Abakanowicz opens on November 17. UNIQLO Tate Play takes place over various dates, check website for details.
Where: Tate Modern; nearest tube London Bridge
Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum
One of my favourite exhibitions of the year opens this month at the Natural History Museum. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year opens on 14 October in a newly redesigned exhibition space that includes short videos, quotes from jury members and photographers as well as insights from Museum scientists alongside the photos.
When: Until 2 July 2023
Where: The Natural History Museum; nearest tube South Kensington
Hieroglyphs: Unlocking ancient Egypt
This new exhibition at the British Museum opened last month and is well worth a visit. The exhibition takes visitors through the language of Egyptian hieroglyphs where you’ll discover romantic poetry, shopping lists and even tax returns in this unique exhibition as well as learn how the hieroglyphs were eventually deciphered.
When: Until 19 February 2023
Where: The British Museum; nearest tubes Tottenham Court Road, Holborn, Russel square and Goodge Street
Family Activities at Tower Bridge
The next free family activity session at Tower Bridge is taking place on Saturday 18 November. Best suited to children aged 6 to 10 (but all ages welcome), these activity sessions are available throughout the day and included in the price of admission.
When: Saturday 19 November
Where: Tower Bridge; nearest tube Tower Hill station