London in November isn't the high season for tourism but because our capital is a year-round destination, you can be sure there’s plenty to do if you're thinking of visiting. Sure, temperatures are falling and daylight is in short supply (the clocks have by now gone back) but that shouldn’t put you off, as long as you’re ready to put on your hat, gloves and scarf.
Whether you’re a theatre buff, a fan of live music, a foodie who wants to indulge, or an outdoors lover who wants to take long brisk walks in the capital’s green spaces, you can count on our city to keep you happy. Here’s what we think are a few of the best things to do in London in November 2023…
1. The Lord Mayor’s Show - 11th November
We mention this every year - and with a reason. The annual ‘Lord Mayor’s Show’ which takes place each November in the City of London is simply fabulous to watch, and is free for all to attend.
The procession, which dates back to the 13th century (think King John and the Magna Carta) is the oldest and least-rehearsed show in the world, and recreates the idea of the Mayor of London journeying from St. Pauls to Westminster, to swear an oath of allegiance to the monarch.
Prepare for military bands, all manner of floats, musketeers and, of course, the Pageant Master who, from 11am to 3pm will all be taking over the streets. As usual, the Lord Mayor’s Show will be taking place on the second Saturday of the month - the best way to get there is to take the tube (roads will be closed off, so buses are of little help) and alight at somewhere like Bank or London Bridge stations.
2. Guy Fawkes Night at Alexandra Palace - 3rd and 4th November
“Remember, remember, the fifth of November; gunpowder, treason and plot.” And who doesn’t like a good fireworks display, or an evening warming yourself by a bonfire, whilst eating roasted chestnuts or squishy marshmallows?
There are fireworks displays all over London but the one we’d recommend closest to us is at Alexandra Palace with ice skating and a funfair, not to mention the crackling fires and whooshes of the rockets and Catherine wheels. Book tickets early - it’s a popular event!
3. The House of Bernarda Alba - National Theatre from November 16th onwards
Theatre goers are in for a treat at the National Theatre, on the South Bank, where the great Harriet Walter takes centre stage in Alice Birch’s adoption of Federico Garcia Lorca’s tragedy about a dominating matriarch who insists her daughters undertake an eight year mourning ritual after her second husband’s death!
In ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’ reputation means everything, and this is a play where women take centre stage. With conversations all over the house happening simultaneously, this is a modern take on a wonderful play and Walters is exceptional as the mother who rigidly controls her daughters, forbidding them to engage in any kinds of relationships.
4. Norah Jones at the Palladium - 11th November
Since her debut album in 2002, ‘Come Away With Me’, took the world by storm, Norah Jones has been entertaining millions with her dulcet tones and for one night only, at the West End’s London Palladium this American singer, songwriter and pianist is live in concert.
Norah’s recognisable voice (smooth and sultry) and the relaxing vibe of her music means this will be quite an evening. From her greatest hits - ‘Come Away With Me’ and ‘Don’t Know Why’ to new songs, her fusion of jazz, country and pop means bagging a ticket will be quite a feat. But don’t let that stop you from trying.
5. Switching on of the Christmas Lights on Oxford Street - 2nd November
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the turning on of the festive Lights on Oxford Street - the capital’s biggest high street - is a tradition that few don’t enjoy. Each year, the West End comes to life with fabulous illuminations - Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Covent Garden will all join in the fun, but it kicks off on Oxford Street on 2nd November.
This year’s theme is ‘Sky of Stars’ and has a sustainable theme, using energy-efficient LED lights which are recyclable (so they can be used in future years). Yes, saving the planet is as important as having fun, folks. So wrap up warmly, and head down to Marble Arch or Bond Street tubes, to hear a collective gasp when the switch goes down - then perhaps head over to Soho or Chinatown for a bite…
6. Horrific Hampstead Walking Tour - 12th November
We’re probably biassed but we think our Hapstead neighbourhood is one of the most beautiful in London. However, it’s also incredibly historic, which makes it an interesting place to learn about. So why not get a bit of exercise in the process and take the ‘Horrific Hampstead Walking Tour’ with the knowledgeable guide Marilyn Greene.
As you wander the back alleys and hidden paths of this green and leafy area, you’ll learn about many dramatic and scary events that have taken place here over the years - from highway robberies and accidents to bombings and murders. And don’t be fooled - this isn’t a ‘ghost’ walk because everything you’ll learn about really happened. And after your trip down memory lane, why not enjoy a drink at one of Hampstead’s local pubs - they’re renowned for their charm, beauty and increasingly tasty menus!
Finally, if you’re looking for a place to stay whilst you’re in London, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us - our family-run, Hampstead hotel is just a stone’s throw from the tube and Hampstead Heath so you really ‘village life’ and ‘city lights’ to choose from. And the Heath is an ideal place from which to watch the fireworks over London.