London in November: 9 top reasons to visit (2023 guide)

Tower Bridge spanning over the River Thames.

London in November: rainy and cold weather may make an appearance, but there are tonnes of reasons why capital’s worth visiting during this month. 

Whether you want to celebrate a quintessentially British festival, Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th, enjoy quiet tourist attractions and cosy British pubs and perhaps even stay in town for the start of festive celebrations, London in November has a wealth of allures. 

One very strong reason to visit London in the off-season is that our capital certainly doesn’t slip into a seasonal slumber – all major attractions are suitable for cold, rainy weather and stay open all year – but as November’s the off-season, they’re a lot quieter! 

That said, delve straight into local culture in November by enjoying Bonfire Night (it’s a local favourite!) and marking Remembrance Sunday. 

By the end of the month, London becomes a little busier, as the first Christmas tourists venture to town to see the lights switch on and the city’s festive markets

I grew up in London and still go back to visit my family there a lot, so I’ve spent many a November in the city (in fact I always go back every November for World Travel Market). 

So here are all my top reasons to visit London in November. 

Reasons to visit London in November

From attractions out of the tourist season to unique celebrations like Bonfire Night to cosy pubs with roaring fires, there are so many reasons to visit London in the off-season! This month is way out of peak season, but there are plenty of allures. 

1. Quieter tourist attractions

Quieter tourist attractions in London in November. Claire standing in front of part of Buckingham Palace.

November’s when the summer crowds have dispersed and the city transitions into the quieter winter months. Check out my full London winter guide by clicking here.

For example, the iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony in front of Buckingham Palace is one of the best things to do whatever the season. 

In the summer, it’s an exercise in jostling for space and craning your neck to catch a glimpse!

Come November, it’s a vastly different experience.

Enjoy the luxury of space and unobstructed views of this centuries-old tradition. 

And it’s the same story for attractions across the city.

The British Museum, home to millions of works from over two million years of history, is a haven of culture and history; lose yourself in intricate Egyptian hieroglyphs or marvel at the Rosetta Stone!

The London Eye, another favourite among tourists, offers panoramic views of the city from a dizzying height – and in November, the sun sets earlier, so you can enjoy the spectacle and then head out to drinks and dinner. 

In November, the typically long queues are noticeably shorter.

Even travelling across the city improves during this off-peak period; Tubes are quieter (just avoid the rush hour) and taxis are easier to book. 

 2. The transition from Autumn to Winter

November in London is a transitional spectacle.

The last whispers of autumn mix with the early murmurs of winter. 

Walk through the golden and crimson leaves fallen from trees in London’s various parks: Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and Kew Gardens.

The bare, skeletal beauty of trees in late autumn makes for a striking contrast against the crispy red, yellow and orange leaves. 

Toward the end of the month, cold temperatures arrive and festive markets throw open their doors, as the winter season arrives. 

3. Celebrate Guy Fawkes Night

Fireworks in London in November.

Also known as Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night takes place on 5th November and commemorates the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

It’s only celebrated in the UK, and we really do go mad for it, with bonfires, fireworks and funfairs springing up all over the country!

Some of the best fireworks displays in London include: 

  1. Victoria Park: Located in East London, Victoria Park hosts a grand fireworks display and a lively bonfire, attracting thousands of spectators. The beautiful setting adds to the magic of the evening.
  2. Battersea Park: Situated on the south bank of the River Thames, Battersea Park hosts an impressive firework extravaganza. The colourful display against the backdrop of the river creates a stunning visual spectacle.
  3. Alexandra Palace: Perched atop a hill in North London, Alexandra Palace offers panoramic views of the city skyline. The annual fireworks show here is accompanied by a funfair, live music, and delicious food stalls.
  4. Blackheath: Located in southeast London, Blackheath hosts one of the largest free displays in the city. The vast open space provides ample room for spectators to gather and enjoy the fireworks.

The air fills with the aroma of bonfires and the sounds of oohs and aahs as fireworks explode overhead.

4. The Lord Mayor’s Show

The Lord Mayor’s Show is a tradition that dates back over 800 years.

It’s a grand, colourful parade that marks the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor of the City of London, distinct from the Mayor of London.

Taking place on the second Saturday of November (often but not always the day before Remembrance Sunday), the show commences with a river pageant, harking back to a time when the newly elected Mayor would journey by boat on the River Thames to Westminster to pledge allegiance to the monarch.

Following the river pageant, the newly elected Lord Mayor leads a three-mile-long procession through the heart of the city.

With over 6000 participants, including marching bands, military detachments, vintage cars, representatives of the city’s ancient guilds, and even gilded carriages.

Amidst all this, the Lord Mayor travels in the iconic State Coach, a magnificent piece of 18th-century craftsmanship.

Beyond the pageantry, The Lord Mayor’s Show offers a rare opportunity to witness a tradition that has been part of London’s fabric since the Middle Ages.

If your travel plans align, it should definitely be on your itinerary! 

5. Remembrance Sunday

Poppies around the Tower of London in November.

Remembrance Sunday falls on the closest Sunday to 11th November.

This day is dedicated to honouring the brave servicemen and women who lost their lives in World Wars I and II, as well as later conflicts.

The central event in London is held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, a war memorial erected after the First World War.

It’s a solemn ceremony where the King, members of the Royal Family, political leaders, and representatives of the Commonwealth lay wreaths of red poppies – the symbol of remembrance – at the foot of the memorial.

The ceremony also includes two minutes of silence observed across the country at 11 am, reflecting the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 when the guns of Europe fell silent.

6. Start of the Festive Season

Festive lights in London at Christmas

As November progresses, London begins to spruce itself up for the festive season.

It’s a transition that adds a certain magic to the city’s atmosphere!

One of the most anticipated signs of the festive season is the opening of London’s Christmas markets.

Places like Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, the Southbank Centre Winter Market, and the Christmas Market at Leicester Square spring to life.

These markets offer everything from holiday crafts and unique gifts to scrumptious food and mulled wine; stroll among the wooden chalets, under twinkling lights, with the aroma of roasting chestnuts and sweet treats in the air.

The city’s iconic shopping streets and districts, including Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Covent Garden, start their dazzling light displays in November.

The switching on of these lights is often accompanied by special events and celebrations, marking the official start of the holiday season in the city.

While prices hike somewhat in the Christmas season, hotels and attractions are lower in November.

7. London’s Indoor Attractions

Sky garden in London

London’s home to an array of indoor attractions, perfect for those chillier November days.

The city’s museums and galleries are world-renowned and offer a wealth of history, art, and culture.

Wander through the corridors of the British Museum, exploring artefacts from all corners of the globe, or immerse yourself in the stunning collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world’s largest museum of art and design.

Art enthusiasts can get their fill at the National Gallery, housing over 2,000 paintings spanning several centuries.

Then there are the wonders of the Natural History Museum, where you can come face to face with a life-sized blue whale or stroll among dinosaurs.

Science buffs will enjoy a trip to the Science Museum, packed with interactive exhibits and fascinating displays on everything from space exploration to human biology.

Are you a book lover? The British Library is a treasure trove of literary riches.

And let’s not forget London’s incredible food scene.

The city’s diverse range of restaurants, cafes, and food markets are open throughout November. 

While British food has a bit of a bad reputation, London’s a cosmopolitan city where you can try warming food from every corner of the globe. 

You could never be bored in London, but if you do want to escape the city, take a look at my list of winter day trips from London.

8. British Pubs in November

But if you do fancy trying some hearty British cuisine? Head to London’s pubs! 

With a cosy and welcoming atmosphere, pubs are the heart and soul of London’s social life.

They offer the perfect refuge from the cold, where locals and visitors alike can enjoy traditional food, a variety of ales and spirits, and the incomparable charm of British hospitality.

The Churchill Arms in Kensington, known for its floral exterior and Churchill memorabilia, becomes a warm, inviting space filled with the rich aromas of its Thai kitchen.

The Spaniards Inn in Hampstead, dating back to 1585, boasts roaring fires and hearty food.

In the heart of the city, The Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of London in 1666, offers a journey back in time with low ceilings, wooden panelling, and a selection of ales that have warmed Londoners for centuries.

The Mayflower in Rotherhithe, the oldest pub on the Thames, serves comfort food and a range of ales, while basking in an atmospheric river view. 

9. Theatre and performance in November

The curtain never comes down in London, and November is no exception.

The city’s famous West End, often called London’s Broadway, continues to bustle with activity, hosting everything from iconic classics to electrifying new shows.

Long-standing favourites such as “The Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre and “Les Misérables” at the Sondheim Theatre attract theatre-goers from around the globe.

The iconic Globe Theatre, a faithful reproduction of the original Elizabethan playhouse, also hosts plays throughout the season. 

Beyond the theatre district, visit The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

In addition to world-class opera, it hosts ballet and other dance performances throughout November.

The Royal Albert Hall also offers a range of performances, from classical music concerts to contemporary shows.

Fancy something more alternative and experimental? Head to London’s vibrant Fringe scene.

Venues like The King’s Head Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre champion innovative productions and emerging talent, providing a counterpoint to the more mainstream offerings of the West End.

Things to consider for visiting London in November

London bus and buildings around in November

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when planning your November visit to London:

  • Cooler weather: London in November can be chilly, so pack warm clothes, including a coat, scarves, gloves, and comfortable footwear. It’s also a good idea to include a waterproof jacket or umbrella, as November can bring showers.
  • Sunset times: Days are shorter in November, with sunset around 4:30 PM. Plan your daylight hours carefully to make the most of enjoying the outdoors!
  • Attraction timings: Some outdoor attractions may have shorter opening hours in November. Check the opening times of any places you wish to visit to avoid disappointment.
  • Layer up: Indoor venues like museums, theatres, and shops can be quite warm, so layers can help you comfortably transition from the crisp outdoor weather to cosy indoor environments.
  • Plan indoor activities: Having a few indoor activities in your itinerary is a good idea in case of a particularly cold or rainy day!

Weather in November

November signifies the shift from autumn into winter in London, which means cooler temperatures and an increased likelihood of rain.

I wouldn’t call it warm, but it’s certainly not as chilly as the winter season.

Here’s a general overview of the weather in London during November:

Average High12°C (54°F)
Average Low6°C (43°F)
Days of Rainfall15 days

These are averages, and actual conditions may vary.

What to Pack for London in November

Wearing a coast and jacket in London in November.

Packing for London in November?

It’s all about staying warm, dry, and comfortable.

Weather can be unpredictable, but with a few key items in your suitcase, you’ll be ready for whatever London has in store!

Here’s a handy list:

  • Warm, Layered Clothing: Pack versatile pieces that can be layered to adjust to changing temperatures. Think sweaters, cardigans, thermal tops, and long-sleeved shirts.
  • Waterproof Outerwear: A good-quality waterproof coat or jacket is essential for those rainy November days in London.
  • Scarves, Gloves, and Hats: These accessories will keep you warm when out and about exploring the city.
  • Comfortable, Waterproof Shoes: With the possibility of rain, it’s advisable to bring waterproof shoes for sightseeing. Remember, you might be doing a lot of walking!
  • Umbrella: Even if you have a waterproof jacket, a compact umbrella can be a lifesaver during unexpected showers.
  • Daypack: A small backpack or crossbody bag can be useful for carrying essentials like your water bottle, map, guidebook, and any souvenirs you pick up along the way.
  • Warm Pyjamas: Don’t forget about the chillier nights – a set of warm pyjamas will ensure a comfortable sleep after a day of exploring.

Frequently Asked Questions about visiting London in November

Leicester Square with a plinth

Is November a good time to go to London?

November can be a great time to visit London. While the weather is cooler and there may be some rain, the city is less crowded, and you can enjoy its iconic landmarks with fewer crowds.

It’s an opportunity to experience the city’s unique charm and festive atmosphere as it transitions into the holiday season.

What is London like in November?

London in November has a distinct character.

The autumnal foliage begins to fade, and the city prepares for the upcoming winter festivities.

Expect cooler temperatures, shorter days, and the chance of rain.

It’s an ideal time for indoor attractions and culture. 

What clothes to pack for London in November?

When packing for London in November, bring layered clothing suitable for cool weather.

Pack sweaters, long-sleeved shirts, trousers, comfortable shoes, and a waterproof jacket or coat.

Don’t forget scarves, gloves, and hats to stay warm during outdoor activities.

What to wear in the UK in November?

In the UK in November, wear layered clothing to accommodate fluctuating temperatures.

Opt for sweaters, long-sleeved tops, trousers, and closed-toe shoes.

A waterproof jacket or coat is essential for potential rainfall.

And on colder days, you might need gloves, and hats.

Is November the rainy season in London?

November in London sees a moderate amount of rainfall – but we don’t really have a rainy season (it can rain all months of the year!).

Be prepared for occasional showers by carrying an umbrella or waterproof jacket.

The rain shouldn’t dampen your experience of exploring the city and its attractions!

How cold does London get in November?

In November, London experiences cooler temperatures as winter approaches. The average high temperature ranges around 12°C (54°F), while the average low temperature hovers around 6°C (43°F). It’s a good idea to pack warm clothing and outerwear to stay comfortable during your visit.

What month is best to see London?

London offers something for visitors year-round, and the best month to see it depends on personal preferences.

While summer months bring warmer weather, longer days, and outdoor events, November offers fewer crowds, autumnal landscapes and the start of the festive season.

Is November a rainy month in the UK?

November in the UK does see a fair amount of rainfall, and it’s one of the rainier months.

Rainfall varies across regions but always be prepared for showers when visiting the UK in November by carrying a compact umbrella or wearing suitable waterproof attire.

Is November autumn in London?

November is part of the autumn season in London.

The city’s parks and trees showcase beautiful autumnal colours, albeit fading as winter approaches.

November captures the essence of autumn with cooler temperatures, falling leaves, and a cosy atmosphere.

Which month is colder in London?

The colder months in London typically fall between December and February.

January tends to be the coldest month, with average temperatures ranging from 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F).

November serves as a transitional period, with temperatures gradually dropping, but it is milder compared to the winter months.

Are you ready to spend November in London? 

Historic buildings in London with a bus in front.

With winter walks along the South Bank, indoor attractions like the Tower of London and the British Museum or catching the fireworks on Guy Fawkes’ Night, this shoulder season is a quieter time to visit the British capital, but there are plenty of reasons why it’s a delight. 

Don’t let the threat of bad weather put you off – good weather’s never guaranteed in the UK anyway! 

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