15 Delightful Day Trips From London: November 2023

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15 Delightful Day Trips From London: November 2023
The exterior of Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral hosts a music festival. Photo: Londonist

Exciting things to do close to the capital in November 2023, all easily accessible in a day trip. Browse our Beyond London section for ideas for other day trips and weekends away.

FIREWORKS EVENTS: Buzzing for Bonfire Night, and willing to go beyond London to get your fireworks fix? We've picked some of the biggest Bonfire Night events in south-east England, including the famous Lewes bonfire procession, and fireworks over a fairytale castle. Until 5 November

CHRISTMAS LIGHT TRAILS: As the fireworks fade, the Christmas illuminations begin. Palaces, castles and gardens within easy travelling distance of London hold their own winter light trails, many opening this month — including one which takes place around the UK's tallest Christmas tree.

CHRISTMAS LIGHT PARADE: Hundreds of towns and cities switch on their Christmas lights this month (not forgetting the London Christmas lights too), but we particularly like the sound of the festive shindig in Canterbury, which includes an Aladdin-themed Christmas Light Parade winding its way through the city centre after dark, culminating in the festive lights being switched on. 10 November (Kent)

Crowds of people carrying blazing crosses down Lewes High Street.
Bonfire night in Lewes. Image: iStock/Kurt Pacaud

BRIGHTON FILM FESTIVAL: Films from around the world are shown at the Brighton Film Festival, which takes place at several venues around the seaside city. Feature and short films on a variety of topics are shown, along with preview screenings, director Q&A sessions and more. Read our guide to things to do in Brighton before you set off. 10-19 November (East Sussex)

WINE AND CHEESE FESTIVAL: Starting to plan your Christmas menu (or just really into cheese and wine)? The Hitchin Wine and Food Festival hosts a wine and cheese event. Try before you buy on a selection of wines and champagnes chosen by local vintners, paired with cheeses from a specially curated cheeseboard. 11 November (Hertfordshire)

ANTIQUES AND VINTAGE FAIR: If you're into collectables and the like, get yourself to the Detling Showground for the Antiques and Vintage Fair. Up to 400 stalls are present selling all manner of goods from garden items to silverware and jewellery to vintage clothes and plenty more. 11-12 November (Kent)

Try your hand at stargazing in Sussex. Image: Simon Delalante via Unsplash

STARGAZING EVENINGS: If there's one advantage to these darker nights, it's that stargazing suddenly becomes a whole lot easier. You could try stargazing in London, but you'll have more success at a purpose-built observatory out in the Sussex countryside. The Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux offers four stargazing evenings this side of Christmas, inviting you to use an array of telescopes to get a look at the stars, and hear various talks on the topics. 11 November-9 December (East Sussex)

NEON LIGHTS: Not content with brightening up various parts of London, artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman MBE takes her neon magic south, with a new commission outside the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. The Shining Lights of Service can be seen on the building's facade, exploring its role as a hospital for wounded Indian soldiers during the first world war. FREE, 11 November-28 January (East Sussex)

GROUNDDOG DAY: The rather lovely Waterperry Gardens features eight acres of beautiful landscapes. Naturally, the horticultural team are proud of it, and don't usually allow dogs in, but for one day only, Fido, Rover and the whole canine gang are invited in for Grounddog Day. They need to stay on a lead, and you must clear up after them. 10% of garden entries for the day go to the Oxford Animal Sanctuary. 12 November (Oxfordshire)

SIMPLY SMART: The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu made our list of the best things to do in Hampshire, and its petrolhead standing takes a bit of a swerve this month when it hosts a gathering of... Smart cars. Simply Smart invites all owners of the weeny wheels to park up in the museum grounds. 12 November (Hampshire)

JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL: Over four days, Rochester Cathedral hosts musical great for its Jazz and Blues Festival. Sadly, Ronnie Scott's Big Band has already sold out, but you can still bag tickets to see Billy Childish and the Chatham Singers, the James Taylor Quartet, and the Nigel Price Organ Trio. Peruse our guide to the town for other things to see and do, and places to eat and drink while you're in Rochester. 15-18 November (Kent)

THE BRICK PEOPLE: Here's a treat for Lego fans! Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking hosts The Brick People, a one-day event specialising in the plastic bricks. See models built by Lego experts, and take part in building and play sessions to create your own colourful masterpieces. 19 November (Surrey)

SHAUN FAREWELL WEEKEND: If you've been to Brighton recently, you might have noticed a few sculptures of Shaun the Sheep (from Wallace and Gromit) dotted around. In fact, there are 120 of them, all unique, but they're leaving town at the end of this month. There's a Farewell Weekend, with model-making and other special events, as well as a chance to follow the art trail one last time. 24-26 November (East Sussex)

SANTA DASH: If you're starting to feel festive towards the end of the month, sign up for the Boxmoor Santa Dash and run a 5km route (2.5km for kids) around Hemel Hempstead dressed as Santa. The event supports local charities Pepper Hospice Care and The Box Moor Trust. 26 November (Hertfordshire)

CRIME FICTION: Postponed from earlier this month, The Guildhall in Faversham hosts authors Holly Seddon, Laura Marshall and Lesley Kara to talk about their latest crime fiction books. 28 November (Kent)

Last Updated 03 November 2023

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