45+ Fantastic Things To Do In London This Month: November 2023

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Last Updated 24 November 2023

45+ Fantastic Things To Do In London This Month: November 2023

Things to do this month is sponsored by Florattica.

Purple and blue illuminated fountains dancing in front of the Palm house at Kew Gardens
Christmas at Kew launches this month. © Raymond Gubbay Ltd, Richard Haughton

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: London's Christmas lights are switched on this month — it begins with Oxford Street on 2 November. Then Regent Street, Covent Garden, Carnaby, Bond Street and other festive illuminations follow over the coming weeks. Here's when exactly each of London's Christmas light displays are switched on. FREE, from 2 November

POPULAR POTTERY: The V&A in South Kensington's new free display in the Ceramics Galleries shines a spotlight on the collection of pottery which belonged to 19th-century philanthropist Henry Willett. The eccentric array is on temporary loan from the Brighton Museum. FREE, from 2 November

TEDDINGTON BEER FESTIVAL: If you've just about recovered from London's Oktoberfest celebrations, head to the Landmark Arts Centre for Teddington Beer Festival. Sample more than 60 real ales and 15 ciders, with live music thrown in. 2-4 November

LUXURY TRAVEL FAIR: If you're lucky enough to be planning a getaway in the next few months, you might find the inspiration you're looking for at the Luxury Travel Fair at London Olympia. Hear from celebrity travellers and expert speakers including journalist Clive Myrie and CN Traveller editor Sarah Allard. You can also chat to reps from travel and expedition companies. 2-5 November

KOREAN FILM FESTIVAL: Cinemas across the capital host more than 25 screenings as part of the London Korean Film Festival, which includes critically acclaimed films, new talent and Korean box office hits. There are special strands focusing on women's voices, indie talent, and disability in Korean cinema. 2-16 November

Promo poster for Ghosts, of a head engulfed in smoke.
Ghosts is on at Shakespeare's Globe

BURMA TO MYANMAR: The country of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is the subject of the British Museum's new exhibition. It looks back at 1,500 years of the isolated country's history — from civil war to military dictatorship — and the extraordinary artistic output that's emerged as a result. 2 November-11 February

STORIES OF LONDON: Southwark Cathedral hosts a day of talks about London, featuring experts including transport commentator Christian Wolmar, writer Tom Chivers, and London taxi driver Dave Cannell. Topics range from the tube, to rivers to St Paul's and beyond. 4 November

VAGINA MUSEUM: After closing its Bethnal Green site earlier this year, the Vagina Museum reopens at a new home on nearby Poyser Street. The new venue will have three galleries exploring female gynaecological anatomy, plus an events space, gift shop and cafe. 4 November

WRITE IDEA FESTIVAL: The WriteIdea reading festival is a weekend of 25+ free events covering topics including mudlarking, the rental housing system, combustible cladding, London history, the British Empire and much more. Special guests include poet Amy Key, journalist and campaigner Vicky Spratt, comedian Robin Ince, actor Obioma Ugoala, and chef Olia Hercules. Takes place at Bethnal Green Library. FREE, 4-5 November

FIREWORKS NIGHT: Remember, remember, the fifth of November — it's fireworks night (or Bonfire Night) — the anniversary of the foiled Gunpowder Plot. Take a look at the firework displays going on at parks and sports grounds around London this year, and get booking those tickets. Around 5 November

VETERAN CAR RUN: The Veteran Car Run sees more than 100 pre-1905 vehicles setting off from London to Brighton. You'll have to be up early to cheer them on — they begin leaving Hyde Park around 7am, heading through Lambeth towards Croydon, and on to the coast. 5 November

People racing karts around an indoor track
A 'video game brought to life' opens in Mitcham.

WRAP UP LONDON: Annual charity coat collection WrapUp London will return to London stations, so dig out your old winter coat from the back of your wardrobe. The organisation redistributes the coats they collect to those who need them most, to help keep them warm from the winter weather. From 7 November

PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL: Organised by the team behind the Pitchfork website, Pitchfork Music Festival returns to London, with shows at more than 15 venues across seven nights. Slauson Malone 1, Joanna Sternberg and Fucked Up perform headline shows, with Dawn Richard, Black Belt Eagle Scout, RVG, Squirrel Flower, Kelly Moran, Aime Simone, Annahstasia and Hotline TNT among the others on the bill. 7-13 November

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Free-flowing bubbly and festive fun at London's floral-inspired rooftop oasis

Rooftop revelry, gorgeous blooms as far as the eye can see… nope, we haven’t turned the clock back to summer – you can find it year-round at Florattica! This beautiful cocktail bar can be found on the 11th floor of Canopy by Hilton London City, and boasts panoramic views of the Square Mile, in addition to what’s got to be one of the capital’s most Instagrammable interiors. And this month is the perfect time to visit.

In early November, Florattica’s iconic ceiling of flowers – one of the largest floral installations in the UK — is getting a festive makeover, with fairy lights and glittering ornaments nestled in amongst the blooms. With St Paul’s Cathedral twinkling in the background and a killer new cocktail list (we’ll have the sherbet, violet liqueur, and champagne-laced Avalon, please), it’ll make for the dreamiest of date nights.

Florattica has also just launched its winter brunch menu – a three-course £40 feast featuring delights like chicken gyoza with teriyaki sauce, smoked salmon eggs royale, maple syrup-drizzled Belgian waffles served with berries and Chantilly cream. If you like, you can add free-flowing prosecco for £45 or champagne for £75 – hey, it is the party season after all. Speaking of which, if you haven’t got your NYE plans sorted yet, Florattica’s elevated offering includes live music, a four-course tasting menu, and an excellent vantage point for firework displays!

Florattica at Canopy by Hilton London City. Find it at 11-15 Minories – just opposite Aldgate station!

TREASON: Shortly after Bonfire Night, Alexandra Palace presents Treason, a musical about the events of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, with folk and pop songs accompanying the narrative. Anyone taking bets on Katy Perry's Firework being on the soundtrack? 8-18 November

WOMEN IN REVOLT: A major survey of work by over 100 women artists working in the UK from 1970 to 1990 opens at Tate Britain. Women in Revolt! explores and reflects on issues and events such as the British Women's Liberation movement, maternal and domestic experiences, Greenham Common and the peace movement, and the visibility of Black and South Asian Women artists, through painting, drawing, sculpture, film and performance. 8 November-7 April

LONDON PHOTO SHOW: The Bargehouse Gallery at Oxo Tower hosts the London Photo Show, an open group exhibition giving photographers from all over the world a chance to show their work to the public. A wide range of photographic styles are on show, and it's a chance to buy work direct from the creators. 9-12 November

UK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL: Various cinemas around London and beyond hosts screenings as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival from 9-19 November, with online screenings taking place the following week. The festival spans genres including drama, comedy and documentary. 9-27 November

A LATIN AMERICAN TASTING MENU: Fitzrovia restaurant YOPO hosts a chef residency with Carlo Valentino Garcia from Playa Dubai, with a 10-course Peruvian-influenced tasting menu including oyster ceviche, turbot with grilled avocado and tres leches cake. 9-30 November

Armed Forces marching across Bank Junction in the Lord Mayor's Show
Pomp in the City for the Lord Mayor's Show. Image: iStock/lovemax

EFG LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL: Get down with the trumpets as the EFG London Jazz Festival returns. It takes place at venues including Barbican and Royal Festival Hall, and the programme features singer-songwriter Emeli Sande, award-winning vocalist Judi Jackson, and super group London Brew paying homage to Miles Davis' album Bitches Brew. 10-19 November

GHOSTS: The 10th anniversary season at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse opens with Ghosts, a play by Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen which caused scandal when it premiered nearly 150 years ago. It's the first time Ibsen's work has been staged at this venue. 10 November-28 January

COMBAT KARTS: 'Like a video game brought to life' is the description of Combat Karts, a new game launching in Mitcham. Take to the real-life immersive track and go head-to-head with other players, using the latest technology on a screen in the kart itself to feel like you're in a video game. From 10 November

LORD MAYOR'S SHOW: If you're a sucker for pomp and pageantry, don't miss the Lord Mayor's Show. The event marks the outgoing Lord Mayor being replaced by the new one (this year that's Michael Mainelli), and takes the form of a procession through the City of London. FREE, 11 November

REMEMBRANCE: There are always special events in London around 11 November, to mark Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day. This year's details will be announced in due course.

A woman in traditional red and gold sari-style outfit, dancing
The Everest Inn in Blackheath is one of the venues hosting Diwali celebrations.

DIWALI: Diwali — a festival of light celebrated by people from several different countries and religions, including Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and Jains — falls on 12 November this year. Although the free festival took place in London at the end of October, plenty of venues including museums, Indian and Nepalese restaurants hold their own Diwali celebrations, on or around 12 November

WINTER LIGHT: A series of outdoor artworks by 10 different artists, colourfully illuminated at night, form the free Winter Light trail at Southbank Centre. Jakob Kvist's Dichroic Sphere makes a return, along with a Cosmic Bloom projected onto the Royal Festival Hall by Leo Villareal. FREE, 13 November-7 January

WISHMAS: The team behind Secret Cinema launches a new immersive storytelling experience, Wishmas. It's a family-friendly event taking place beneath Waterloo station, exploring where our wishes go — with a grand finale with Father Christmas himself. 14 November-7 January

IRISH FILM FESTIVAL: Feature films, documentaries, animations and shorts are all on the programme for this year's Irish Film Festival London, screened at Vue West End, Vue Piccadilly and the London Irish Centre. 15-19 November

ELF THE MUSICAL: Santa! I know him! If you can identify that quote, you need to get yourself to the Dominion Theatre to see Elf! The Musical. For those not familiar (what!?), it's the story of Buddy, who was mistakenly raised as one of Santa's elves, despite being significantly taller than his colleagues. This one will be as popular with adults as kids. 15 November-6 January

Promo image for Elf the Musical
Buddy and co are back at the Dominion.

CHRISTMAS AT KEW: We know we shouldn't have favourites, but we have a real soft spot for Christmas at Kew, the spectacular light and illuminations festival that takes over the gardens each winter. Over a million lights and thousands of laser beams go into the event, which also features a fire garden, light tunnel and illuminated trees. 15 November-7 January

EVER AFTER GARDEN: Once again, Mayfair's Grosvenor Square glows with the light of more than 25,000 illuminated roses as the Ever After Garden returns. Anyone can visit, and though there's no admission fee, the installation raises money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, so do consider donating if you can. Alternatively, dedicate a rose to a loved one (minimum suggested donation £10). 16 November-19 December

LAVERGNE FAMILY: The National Gallery opens a new free display, Discover Liotard and the Lavergne Family. It features The Lavergne Family Breakfast, one of Liotard’s largest and most ambitious works in pastel, alongside his oil version of the same work. FREE, 16 November-3 March

CHRISTMAS WINE FEST: Thinking about your festive tipple already? The Big Christmas Wine Fest has vino experts Oz Clarke, Tim Atkin MW and Olly Smith on hand to help you pick the perfect wine to pair with your turkey. Over 600 wines from all around the world are available for tasting, and ready to buy when you find one that floats your boat. 17-18 November

CROWN AND CORONATION: The Tower of London is illuminated with regal projections for Crown and Coronation, a light show continuing the coronation celebrations. See images and video clips of monarchs, coronation ceremonies and the Crown Jewels projected onto the White Tower after dark. 17-25 November

Thousands of glowing white flowers illuminated at night
The Ever After Garden returns to Grosvenor Square

THE MONGOL KHAN: Mongolia’s leading theatre company comes to the UK for the first time, with over 70 performers in The Mongol Khan at London Coliseum. The show combines dance, puppetry and an original score to explore Mongolian culture and history, and celebrate 60 years of Anglo-Mongolian relations. 17 November-2 December

HYDE PARK WINTER WONDERLAND: London's giant festive funfair returns to Hyde Park, with all the usual attractions; ice rink, giant wheel, funfair rides, ice kingdom, circus, Christmas market and food and drink stalls. Note that like last year, you'll need to book your entry slot in advance, and prices vary depending on peak and off-peak timings. 17 November-1 January

LIGHT FANTASTIC: Choo choo! All aboard the Epping Ongar Railway for Lights Express, a special ride on a train that's illuminated with countless fairy lights. Once on board, watch the world whizz by the window, with other illuminations to be enjoyed from within the train. 17 November 7 January

STRANGER THINGS: A new Stranger Things show is coming to London, set several decades later than the Netflix show, but in the same town of Hawkins, Indiana. We won't give too much away, but it's got to be worth a look if you're eagerly awaiting series five. 17 November-August 2024

Rides in Hyde Park Winter Wonderland colourfully illuminated at night, photographed from above
Photo: Joshua Atkins/Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

SANTA STAIR CLIMB: Fancy seeing the views from the top of One Canada Square, the pyramid-topped skyscraper in Canary Wharf? You can — you'll just need to climb all the steps to get there. The Santa Stair Climb is a charity event with volunteers walking up all 48 floors to raise money for London food poverty charity The Felix Project. You can sign up as an individual or as part of a team. 19 November

SNOWMAN ART TRAIL: 12 decorated recreations of The Snowman appear in the area around Fleet Street, for the capital's latest free sculpture trail. The 1.6m-tall, individually painted sculptures are inspired by the 12 Days Of Christmas, and designed by various artists. The models are a tribute to both the animated festive film, and the original picture book by Raymond Briggs. FREE, 20 November-January

MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO: The stage adaptation of Studio Ghibli's My Neighbour Totoro returns to Barbican, having sold out at the venue previously. At time of writing, best availability for tickets is December onwards. From 21 November

EAT & DRINK FESTIVAL: Head to Olympia London for the Eat & Drink Festival Christmas special. Pick up tips on preparing your festive feasts, with special demos from celebrity chefs; discover beers, wines and spirits to pair with your meal; and go home armed with goodies from the artisan food market. 22-26 November

THANKSGIVING: Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday in November with plenty of London restaurants serving up traditional feasts for American expats, and anyone else who fancies getting in on the action. Here's our pick of where to celebrate Thanksgiving in London this year. 23 November

Two people running up a staircase, wearing green vests and green Santa hats
Limber up for the Santa Stair Climb.

WIMBLEDON LIGHT TRAIL: Cannizaro Park in Wimbledon hosts a festive light trail, which takes 45 minutes-an hour to wander through. There are food and drink stalls along the way, along with fire pits for toasting marshmallows, as well as a Santa's grotto on selected dates. 23 November-17 December

PETER PAN GOES WRONG: The fantastic Mischief Comedy team are back with their annual festive show, Peter Pan Goes Wrong, at the Lyric Theatre. It's a comedic retelling of J.M. Barrie's famous tale, where everything that can go wrong, does. 23 November-14 January

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: There are many productions of A Christmas Carol in London in the coming weeks, including this one at Alexandra Palace, adapted by Mark Gatiss, with Keith Allen as Scrooge and Peter Forbes as Marley. 24 November-7 January

BOY GEORGE: Singer-songwriter Boy George is at Southbank Centre to discuss his new book, Karma: The Autobiography, which tracks his music career from the 1970s to the present day. 29 November

THE ENFIELD HAUNTING: Catherine Tate and David Threlfall star in the world premiere of new play The Enfield Haunting at Ambassadors Theatre. It's based on a true story of a family who claimed to experience supernatural activity in their home in Enfield in 1977. 30 November-2 March

AUTUMN WALKS: London's parks and open spaces look fantastic as the leaves change. We've picked some of our favourite places to walk in autumn, to catch the trees in their orange, red and gold finery — you might catch the tail end of it if you're quick!

My Neighbour Totoro on stage
My Neighbour Totoro is back at Barbican.

ICE RINKS: London's winter ice rinks open at venues across the capital, including Somerset House, Battersea Power Station and Queen's House Greenwich this month — with one already open from mid-October. Here's our guide to ice skating in London this Christmas.

CHRISTMAS MARKETS: London's festive fairs and Christmas markets start opening in November, including the Country Living Christmas Fair, the Ideal Home Show at Christmas, and Southbank Centre's Winter Market. Here's our complete round-up of Christmas markets and fairs in London this year.

LAST CHANCE: A few things are closing in November too. It's your last chance to see:

Last chance to try out Saw: Escape Experience, if you're brave enough.
  • SAW ESCAPE EXPERIENCE: Time's running out to scare yourself stupid at Saw: Escape Experience. Based on the film franchise, it takes you inside the mind of The Jigsaw Killer where you face "moral dilemmas, tests of courage and sacrifice". Until 4 November
  • BRITISH INDIAN ARMY: The contribution of the Indian Army across the globe during the first world war is celebrated in British Indian Army: Soldiers of the First World War, a free temporary display at the National Army Museum in Chelsea. Find out about the 1.4 million men who served in the largest all-volunteer force the world had ever seen. FREE, until 5 November
  • INDO + CARIBBEAN: Museum of London Docklands marked the 75th Windrush anniversary with a free display about the underrepresented history of Indian indenture in the British Caribbean. FREE, until 19 November
  • POLAR SILK ROAD: The Natural History Museum's free exhibition The Polar Silk Road features photographs by Gregor Sailer, depicting how the melting of the Arctic sea ice is creating a new global trade route, and the human impact this is having on the otherwise pristine local environment. FREE, until 24 November