1. Switching on the Christmas Lights - 2nd November
The turning on of the Christmas lights in the capital is something many Londoners visit every year but it’s also a tradition that those on holiday love too.
2.The Lord Mayor’s Show - 12th November
Taking place annually, in the City of London, go and watch this epic three-mile procession, which never disappoints. The Lord Mayors Show dates back to the time of King John and, as tradition has it, the Mayor of London had to travel from St. Paul's to Westminster, to swear an oath of allegiance to the monarch. The event has been recreated many a time, with great style and pomp, and as well as the highlight of the Golden State Coach, this year’s event will include 133 floats (50 of which are decorated), military bands, drummers, mounted knights, 250 horses and - wait for it - a large inflatable pig! .
3. Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night - various dates
“Remember, remember, the Fifth of November”. Gunpowder, treason and plot are, once again, on the menu all over the capital, when millions of people will head out (in woolly jumpers, gloves and scarves) to watch firework displays.
From Wimbledon to Chiswick and Battersea to Alexandra Palace, the night skies will be lit up and bonfires will rage, as effigies of Guy Fawkes - who almost succeeded in blowing up Parliament 400 years or so ago - is remembered,
4. Armistice Day Commemoration - November 13th
Remembrance Sunday in the UK honours the extraordinary and heroic achievements and sacrifices that men and women made in past wars. The main observance is held on the second Sunday of November - this year on the 13th - and at 11am it is tradition for the nation to fall silent for two minutes.
There will be a national service of remembrance and an enormous military parade, at which senior members of the Royal Family will be present, and wreaths will be laid at the Cenotaph, on Whitehall, to remember the fallen. Solemn and moving, go early to get a good spot.
5. Lucien Freud at the National Gallery - ongoing
Running until January 2023, this landmark exhibition at the imposing National Gallery marks one hundred years since the birth of the modern artist Lucien Freud. Seen often as subversive and shocking, Freud focused on representation of the human body and modern man. The results were unforgettable!
‘New Perspectives’ brings together many of his most important works in seven decades, including ‘Girl with Roses’, ‘Becoming Freud’, ‘Power’ and ‘The Studio’. And, because the Gallery is located on Trafalgar Square, there are so many beautiful places to stroll afterwards, including Soho, Covent Garden, St. James Park and along the River Thames.
6. ‘Mary’ at the Hampstead Theatre
If you’re even faintly curious about the British monarchy and its long and chequered history, and especially if you’ve ever wanted to know more about the canny Mary Queen of Scots, then get yourself down to the Hampstead Theatre for their production of ‘Mary’.
Written by Rona Munroe and directed by Roxana Silbert, the year is 1567 and it’s a time of great political turmoil. James Melville, one of the most loyal servants of Mary Queen of Scots, has witnessed some shocking crimes and he is now forced to decide who is innocent, who is guilty, and who is too dangerous to be accused!
Nothing stays the same, and change always comes, but in this case at what price? Book a ticket and find out for yourself.
7. London Jazz Festival - 11th to 20th November
Held in venues all across the capital, the London Jazz Festival is back with another knockout programme of events on offer! One of the major international jazz events across the world, there are all kinds of performances to choose from and you’re bound to find something to your taste, whether it's in a concert hall or a jam-packed club.
From Gabrille DuComble: Parisian Jazz and Tango to Binker Golding, and from the sonic sounds of the Ishmael Ensemble to the Joti Quintet, what started off as a small event in Camden and has now blossomed into something tremendous is just the click of a button away.
Finally, if you’re looking for a place to rest your weary head, get in touch with us here at La Gaffe - our hotel near Hampstead Heath offers comfortable and competitively priced guest accommodation.