Are you considering visiting the UK in November? Here’s a full guide!
The temperature drops, the red and orange leaves fall to the ground leaving trees bare, and the days shorten… but nonetheless, I’d still highly recommend a trip to Britain in November!
Well, there are barely any other tourists (at least at the start of the month, before the festive season begins) which means it’s more peaceful and less expensive, there are plenty of local events (we take Guy Fawkes Night very seriously…) and most of our attractions are all-weather (we’re used to rain!).
In fact, if you visit Wales, Scotland or England in November, you’ll see there’s no bad time to visit – the country’s suitable for all seasons!
I grew up in London, and I now live in Devon in South West England (I’ve also lived in Bath and Bristol).
So I’ve spent many a November in the UK – I often travel around the country in this month, because it’s so much cheaper than the peak travel season – and I’ve put together all of my favourite things to do in the country in the season in this blog post!
What’s the UK in November like?
November in the UK transitions from autumn to winter, with a tangible shift in the air as the last vestiges of autumnal vibrancy give way to cooler weather and crisper days.
While there’s a nip in the air, with temperatures typically ranging between 4-11°C (39-52°F), the month is not as bitter as you might expect!
The entire country seems to embrace a hushed anticipation of the festive season to come.
Streets start to twinkle with the warm glow of Christmas lights, and the air fills with the scent of bonfires and fireworks early in the month due to Guy Fawkes Night, a unique British celebration.
The countryside, too, holds onto its charm with russet leaves, misty mornings, and softer sunlight.
It’s a time when nature is in flux, as animals prepare for winter, trees shed the last of their leaves, and the first hard frosts make an appearance.
Cities across the UK, from London to Edinburgh, are teeming with cultural events, festivals, and exhibitions.
It’s also a great time to visit indoor attractions like museums, which are generally less crowded – as November’s thought of as shoulder season.
Things to do in the UK in November
The best things to do in the UK in November include celebrating Bonfire Night, getting involved in other British traditions like the Lord Mayor’s show and Remembrance Day and exploring popular beauty spots without the peak season crowds.
Celebrate Bonfire Night
If you’re visiting the UK in November, don’t miss celebrating Bonfire Night, a tradition that dates back over four centuries.
Born out of political conflict, Bonfire Night commemorates the foiled Gunpowder Plot of 1605, where Guy Fawkes and his conspirators attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I.
The subsequent relief over the king’s survival sparked annual bonfire celebrations across the country on 5th November.
While it’s called “Bonfire Night”, the emphasis is actually more on fireworks these days (it’s also known as “Fireworks Night” or “Guy Fawkes Day/ Night”).
It’s a quirky celebration – while we’re essentially celebrating the King’s survival, it seems like we’re celebrating someone who blew up the Houses of Parliament!
It’s unique to the UK, and we do celebrate it in fervour; so, if you’re around on 5th November (or at the weekend before or after), don’t miss it!
The biggest celebration is Lewes Bonfire Night.
This celebration grew over the centuries – they started off by being decidedly anti-Catholic, with a tradition of burning an effigy of Pope Paul V starting in the mid-19th century.
In the 1930s and 1950s, controversies arose over ‘no popery’ banners and effigies.
Today, anti-Catholic attitudes have diminished, and efforts are made to be more inclusive – but it remains the epicenter of festivities – in fact, it’s often called the “Bonfire Capital of the World”!
But celebrations aren’t restricted to Lewes.
Parks, fields, and even backyards across the country come alive with their own Bonfire Night festivities; if you’re looking for one near to where you’re living or staying, you only need to Google “Bonfire Night in (town or city)” and you should find an event!
Communities host public events featuring grand bonfires and impressive firework displays, sometimes with fairgrounds or food trucks too.
Others celebrate privately, lighting sparklers and setting off shop-bought fireworks.
Pay respect on Remembrance Day and Remembrance Sunday
The UK’s most poignant tradition takes place in November: Remembrance Day.
Observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, it marks the end of World War I and pays respect to military personnel who lost their lives in this conflict and others since. It’s commemorated across the globe, but many of the larger parades are in the UK.
Although Remembrance Day holds great significance, many of the formal parades and remembrance services take place on Remembrance Sunday, the Sunday closest to the 11th of November.
One of the most solemn events happens at The Cenotaph, Whitehall, in London.
The National Service of Remembrance held here on Remembrance Sunday is a sight of deep respect and poignant reflection.
Following the two-minute silence at 11 am, a procession of veterans and military personnel lay down poppy wreaths at the base of The Cenotaph.
The silence, the salute, and the procession all serve as a tribute to fallen comrades.
Across the UK, other towns and cities (and even some villages) hold their own services on Remembrance Sunday.
They echo the national sentiment, hosting memorial services, parades, and wreath-laying ceremonies at local war memorials.
People of all ages gather to honor and remember, reflecting on the past and its ties to the present.
It’s a solemn day, but is worth attending if you’re in the UK this part of November.
Attend the Lord Mayor’s Show
This event celebrates the inauguration of the new Lord Mayor of the City of London, a role central to the city’s financial district and ancient governmental system.
The highlight of the Lord Mayor’s Show is undoubtedly the grand procession.
The three-mile-long parade weaves its way through the heart of the city, featuring an array of floats, marching bands, military detachments, and carriages.
Amidst the colorful chaos, the star of the show is the Lord Mayor, travelling in the strikingly ornate State Coach, a piece of history itself dating back to 1757.
The procession starts from Mansion House, the Lord Mayor’s official residence, proceeds to the Royal Courts of Justice for the new Mayor to swear allegiance, and then returns along Victoria Embankment.
Along the route, you’ll witness centuries of tradition wrapped up in a few hours of vibrant displays and performances.
The day is filled with numerous events, such as guided tours, a river pageant, and a grand finale of spectacular fireworks over the Thames.
Experience Winter Wonderland in London
As November reaches its midpoint, the festive spirit starts to take hold in London with the opening of the much-anticipated Winter Wonderland (which is one of the very best things to do in London in winter!).
Set within Hyde Park, this event marks the unofficial start of the holiday season and offers an array of seasonal attractions.
The air is scented with mulled wine and roasting chestnuts, and the sound of cheerful holiday tunes echo through the park.
Sights abound with a giant Ferris wheel, ice skaters gliding on the largest open-air ice rink in the UK, and a myriad of stalls offering crafts, gifts, and seasonal food.
Key attractions also include the Magical Ice Kingdom with impressive ice sculptures and various rides for all ages.
Personally, I’m not wild about going on any of these rides anymore, since the slingshot ride broke in 2022 (read more about it here!), but just walking around them adds to the festive atmosphere.
I usually make a beeline for the ice bar and the revolving bar!
One of the benefits of visiting Winter Wonderland in November is the noticeably lighter crowd.
While the event becomes a hive of activity as Christmas approaches, the early weeks offer a more relaxed experience.
This allows you to savor the attractions at a leisurely pace, without the pressure of long queues or packed venues.
You won’t need to buy your ticket too far in advance, either – but I do recommend purchasing ahead of time to ensure you can enter in the slot you want.
See the Christmas light switch on
As November progresses, towns and cities across the UK start to shimmer with the glow of Christmas lights.
From the heart of London to small towns across the country, the illumination ceremonies marking the switch-on of these festive lights have become an integral part of the holiday tradition in the UK.
They usually happen in the second or third week of November.
In London, the city’s most iconic shopping districts, including Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Covent Garden, transform.
The switch-on events usually feature live performances, celebrity appearances, and an eager countdown culminating in the grand moment when thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the streets.
Beyond the capital, numerous cities and towns across the UK hold their own enchanting light switch-on events.
From Edinburgh’s Light Night to the illuminations in Manchester’s Albert Square, these ceremonies mark the beginning of the festive season locally, each with its unique charm and character.
Often, these events feature local choirs, bands, food stalls, and family activities.
It’s festive events like these that make UK cities among the best winter city breaks!
Explore the UK’s Best Christmas Markets
With the arrival of the final weeks of November, the festive season begins to unfurl across the UK in the form of lively Christmas markets.
From Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market to the quaint stalls in Bath, it’s well worth scheduling in some time at these festive markets – especially if you can’t wait for the Christmas season to begin!
As you wander through Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market, one of the largest German markets outside Germany and Austria, you’ll be greeted by the warm aroma of pretzels, bratwursts, and mulled wine, with each stall showcasing traditional German crafts, ornaments, and handmade toys.
It’s like a slice of Germany in the UK!
Manchester Christmas Market is also worth a visit.
Stretching across several city squares, this market stands out with its variety of European and local produce.
Feast on Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella, or Dutch pancakes, then browse stalls for unique arts, crafts, and gifts.
In Bristol, the Christmas Market features a Winter Wonderland complete with a Santa’s Enchanted Ice Castle and an Apres Ski Bar.
Meanwhile, the collection of wooden chalet-style stalls showcases a wide range of local and international goods, from artisan cheese and homemade jams to unique crafts and decorations.
Bath Christmas Market, a collection of stalls in front of Bath Abbey, boasts over 150 chalets selling locally produced crafts and food items.
Lincoln Christmas Market, one of the oldest in the UK, is set in the medieval square between the stunning Gothic cathedral and the castle.
Take part in a Movember charity event
Movember is a month-long charity event aimed at raising awareness and funds for men’s health issues.
While the campaign is international, it has a strong presence in the UK, and throughout the month, you can participate in numerous events to help the charity.
The most iconic part of Movember is the moustache-growing challenge, where participants, known as ‘Mo Bros’, start the month clean-shaven and then grow and groom their moustaches throughout November.
If you see anyone with an elaborate moustache towards the end of the month, that may be why!
There are numerous Movember running events held throughout the UK.
These are informal 5k or 10k runs where participants, often sporting moustaches or moustache-themed costumes, come together to run for a good cause.
Some of the most popular Movember Runs take place in large city parks such as Heaton Park in Manchester or Sefton Park in Liverpool.
For the more fitness-oriented, there’s the ‘Move for Movember’ initiative, where participants pledge to run or walk 60 kilometres over the month, symbolising the 60 men we lose to suicide each hour.
This challenge can be undertaken anywhere and at any pace!
Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a major Hindu festival celebrated with great enthusiasm across the UK, particularly in cities with significant Hindu populations, such as London, Leicester, Birmingham, and Manchester.
While rooted in Hinduism, anyone of any religion is welcome to celebrate Diwali.
Leicester’s Diwali celebrations are among the largest outside of India, transforming the city’s Golden Mile into a luminous spectacle.
The festivities commence with a dazzling lights switch-on event, where thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the city streets.
The following days are filled with cultural performances, music, and dance events, culminating in a grand fireworks display on Diwali day.
Immerse yourself in a wide range of activities, including Bollywood dance workshops, live music performances, and yoga sessions.
Stalls offer an array of authentic Indian food and traditional arts and crafts, providing an insight into the rich culture behind the festival.
Head to Scotland for St Andrew’s Day
Head to Scotland at the end of November to celebrate St Andrew’s Day!
It takes place on November 30th and honours Scotland’s patron saint.
Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, stages a multitude of events.
The Castle and the National Museum often host traditional music performances and ceilidh dances.
The Scottish Storytelling Centre arranges a fascinating programme of storytelling sessions, focusing on tales of St Andrew and the history of Scotland.
A week-long festival is organised in the picturesque town of St Andrews, from which the saint derives his name, culminating on St Andrew’s Day.
Here, you can partake in a range of activities, from Scottish country dancing workshops to guided tours exploring the town’s historic sites associated with the saint.
It’s unlikely you’ll see snow, but it’s gloriously merry nonetheless!
Glasgow, another vibrant city, offers a blend of traditional and contemporary St Andrew’s Day celebrations.
The renowned Riverside Museum often curates special exhibitions showcasing Scotland’s history and culture.
The city’s bustling music scene comes alive, with concerts and gigs featuring traditional Scottish folk to modern indie rock.
The lovely town of Oban, known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles,’ hosts an exciting winter festival coinciding with St Andrew’s Day.
It comprises ten days of music, parades, traditional Highland games, and a haggis festival!
If you’re in Scotland for the celebrations, be sure to stick around and see some of the country’s highlights too.
While November’s the off-season in Scotland, the scenery’s particularly dramatic and there’s plenty of nature and culture year-round – whether you’re on a North Coast 500 7 day itinerary or spending a few days in Edinburgh!
Museum-hop in the capital
London houses a multitude of world-class museums and galleries, perfect for delving into on a cool November day.
The British Museum has a labyrinth of exhibits that present a journey through human history, spanning different cultures and epochs.
You’ll find the Rosetta Stone sitting not too far from Egyptian mummies, each artefact with its own compelling story.
The Victoria and Albert Museum showcases a blend of art and design.
The extensive collection encompasses a staggering 5000 years, from ancient textiles to cutting-edge fashion.
Science buffs will love the Natural History Museum.
With its dinosaur skeletons towering overhead and countless exhibits on the Earth’s biodiversity, it’s a local favourite – I remember visiting a couple of times on school trips!
London isn’t limited to traditional museums.
The Tower of London, a historic castle, holds the stunning Crown Jewels and it’s somewhat of a living museum, with a rich history as a prison, zoo and the royal mint.
Art admirers can take to Tate Modern for a taste of modern and contemporary pieces or explore the colourful district of Shoreditch, which acts as an open-air art gallery.
Most of London’s museums offer free entry (not the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey or St Paul’s Cathedral), with some hosting ticketed exhibitions and events during November.
Visit one of the UK’s spa towns
Find respite in one of the UK’s spa towns in November!
Here, heritage and modern wellness facilities blend together to create a relaxing atmosphere.
First on the list is Bath, famous for its Roman (they built the first bathhouse here!) and Georgian heritage.
The centrepiece of the city’s modern spa scene is the Thermae Bath Spa, which is the UK’s only naturally heated thermal spa.
The spa’s rooftop pool, heated to a cosy 33.5 degrees Celsius year-round, offers stunning views of Bath’s historic skyline, making for an indulgent soak even on colder days.
Harrogate is a northern spa town known for its healing mineral waters since Victorian times.
Today, the Harrogate Turkish Baths & Health Spa carries on the town’s wellness legacy.
Inside this beautifully restored Victorian building, you can unwind in the steam rooms or immerse yourself in the invigorating plunge pool.
The wellness centre also offers a range of modern spa treatments.
Buxton is renowned for its thermal springs that were discovered by the Romans.
The town’s spa tradition is kept alive at the Devonshire Spa, a part of the University of Derby.
This award-winning facility provides a selection of treatments incorporating natural mineral waters and boasts a sauna, steam room, and hydrotherapy pool.
Have a quiet beach break
As the last vestiges of autumn recede, a certain quietude takes hold of the UK’s coastal towns and beaches, making November a perfect time for a tranquil beach break.
Cornwall, located in the farthest reaches of southwestern England, brims with rugged beauty.
While the summer months see tourists flocking to its sun-soaked beaches and charming coastal villages, come November, the crowds diminish significantly.
Here, you can walk along vast beaches, like Fistral or Gwithian nearly undisturbed, taking in the sights of waves crashing against the shoreline – November’s a great time for storm-watching.
If you’re looking for a beachy winter day trip from London, check out Brighton or Dover.
Brighton’s pebble beach, iconic pier and charming lanes are far less crowded in November, but the town still offers a refreshing change of pace.
Dover, best known for its imposing white cliffs, is another excellent option.
Overlooking the English Channel, a walk along these towering cliffs is bracing in the wilder November weather – just don’t head out if the conditions are too dramatic!
Explore the UK’s national parks
As autumn takes hold, the landscape of the UK’s national parks transforms. What’s more, the tranquillity of November means you’re likely to find fewer other visitors!
In the Lake District, one of the UK’s most famous National Parks, the landscape completely shifts.
Rolling hills and quiet lakes are interspersed with swathes of autumnal forests and the rustle of fallen leaves underfoot provides a calming soundtrack.
In Wales, the Brecon Beacons National Park showcases an array of opportunities to enjoy nature’s beauty.
The park is home to wild hills, cascading waterfalls, and dark skies that are perfect for stargazing. There are also many pubs to retreat to after a day of exploring!
Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park boasts vast wilderness spaces where you’re more likely to encounter a red squirrel or roe deer than a fellow human.
Its wild beauty, highlighted by snow-dusted peaks and serene lochs, is a sight to behold in November’s low light.
If seeing any of these parks, remember that November weather can be unpredictable, with the potential for early snowfall in the more northern parks.
Always check the forecast and ensure you’re adequately prepared with warm clothing and necessary gear.
Plus, daylight hours are considerably shorter, so plan your outings to make the most of the natural light.
Day trip to some of the UK’s most picturesque villages
The UK’s home to a range of quaint villages with thatched-roof houses and cottages with slate roofs.
The region that’s possibly most famous for these villages is the Cotswolds.
Home to picture-postcard villages built from honey-coloured stone, meandering rivers, and rolling hills, it’s an area that exudes a quintessentially English appeal.
And in November, these elements converge with the tranquillity of the off-season.
In the summertime, you’ll be fighting tourist crowds to get the best photos of Bibury and Stow-on-the-Wold, but in the winter, these villages are much quieter (not crowd-free, but nowhere near as busy!).
Many of the Cotswolds’ villages are easily accessible from London, with guided tours running throughout the winter months.
Once there, amble through the narrow lanes of Bourton-on-the-Water, often referred to as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ due to its scenic waterways.
Or wander around the picture-perfect streets of Chipping Campden, home to beautifully preserved limestone townhouses that harken back to its days as a wealthy wool town.
If the weather’s not ideal when you’re exploring the Cotswolds, stop off in a local tearoom.
In Stow-on-the-Wold or Tetbury, you’ll find an array of cosy spots to choose from.
There are several other villages across the country to explore in November: Portmeirion in Wales, Hawkshead in the Lake District, and Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire all retain their charm throughout the year and become peaceful retreats during the winter months.
Explore UK cities outside of London
There’s much more to explore in the UK than just London!
Visit some of the country’s other cities when you’re next in the country; most of them have all-weather attractions.
Oxford, famously home to the oldest university in the English-speaking world, has collegiate buildings that are both a testament to architectural grandeur and a repository of intellectual history.
Guided tours of the university, including the iconic Radcliffe Camera and Christ Church College, are less crowded in November.
Bath, renowned for its stunning Georgian architecture and ancient Roman baths, is a city that exudes elegance.
One of the quietest times to visit is just before the Christmas market opens in late November.
As you meander through its historic streets, you’ll discover the famed Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, and the Royal Crescent, all with minimal distraction.
Bristol, meanwhile, balances history and innovation.
A former industrial powerhouse, Bristol boasts the SS Great Britain, a ground-breaking 19th-century steamship, and the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Its contemporary side is equally impressive, with one of the UK’s most vibrant food scenes and a renowned street art culture.
Further north, Liverpool, synonymous with the Beatles and a rich maritime history, beckons.
The Merseyside Maritime Museum and The Beatles Story offer intriguing insights into the city’s past, while the Albert Dock area is a hub of shopping, dining, and entertainment.
In Yorkshire, York’s rich heritage is laid bare for all to see.
The Jorvik Viking Centre takes you back a millennium to the city’s Viking past, while a walk on the well-preserved city walls offers stunning views and a sense of history.
In Scotland, Edinburgh blends ancient and modern.
Edinburgh Castle, dominating the city skyline, is a must-visit; as is the nearby Arthur’s Seat.
The city’s labyrinthine Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, being equally compelling in the brisk air of November.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, there are plenty of connections to the fabled series too!
What’s the weather like in the UK in November?
November in the UK heralds the onset of winter, with varied and unpredictable weather.
On average, the temperatures drop, the skies tend to be overcast, and there’s an increase in rainfall across the country.
The UK’s geographical diversity means weather conditions can vary considerably across different regions.
Here’s a general overview of what to expect in November across some of the popular destinations:
|Average High Temperature
|Average Low Temperature
|Days of Rain
|Hours of Daylight
What to pack for the UK in November
Navigating November’s weather in the UK requires smart packing.
For your everyday wear, think about warm sweaters and long-sleeved shirts. These versatile pieces work well for layering.
Equally important is a sturdy waterproof coat or jacket. Rain is not frequent in November, so wear outerwear that keeps you dry while also retaining warmth.
A compact umbrella can also be a valuable addition to your bag for those unexpected downpours.
Footwear should be both comfortable and weather-appropriate.
A good pair of waterproof shoes or boots can help you navigate damp city streets or muddy countryside paths with ease. To keep your feet cosy, consider packing some warm socks.
As for accessories, a hat, scarf, and gloves can add an extra layer of warmth on chillier days. And don’t forget a backpack or a sturdy tote for carrying essentials when you’re out exploring.
In addition to clothes, some practical items to consider include a universal power adaptor for your electronics and a portable battery pack to keep your devices charged on the go.
The UK has numerous high-street shops like Boots, Sainsbury’s Local, and Tesco Express where you can purchase most toiletries and other items if needed. So, if you do forget something, it’s relatively easy to pick it up once you’re there!
Things to consider when visiting the UK in November
One notable change as you head into November in the UK is the significant reduction in daylight hours. The sun starts setting earlier in the afternoon, around 4 PM, which can limit your outdoor activities. So do plan your day ahead and start it earlier!
While snow is still a rarity in November, there can be morning frost, particularly on vehicles and roads.
If you’re planning to rent a car, it’s worth asking your rental company for a de-icer and scraper.
You’ll need to factor in some extra time in the mornings to ensure your windscreen is clear before setting off.
Similarly, pedestrians and cyclists should watch out for frosty or slippery pavements.
Keep in mind that the UK’s rush hour traffic doesn’t take a break in November.
It can even be more severe on rainy days when accidents and road closures are more common.
Factor this into your travel times, especially if you’re planning to drive in or around cities during peak times.
When it comes to costs, while some things may be cheaper at the beginning of the month, you may notice prices for accommodation and certain activities start to rise as Christmas approaches. To avoid this, consider booking these things in advance.
Lastly, while November is less busy for tourism, it’s the beginning of the festive season with many Christmas markets and events kicking off towards the end of the month.
If there’s a specific event you’d like to attend, it’s a good idea to book tickets in advance, as they may sell out quickly.
Some attractions, like English Heritage and National Trust properties, can shut in the winter months.
For example, my partner and I wanted to see the site of the Battle of Hastings a few years ago in November and we couldn’t because it was shut!
Plan where you’re going carefully and check opening times to ensure that they’ll be accessible.
FAQs about the UK in November
Is November a good time to visit the UK?
November is an excellent time to visit the UK if you prefer avoiding the busy summer crowds.
Many attractions remain open, with fewer queues, and the festive season begins at the end of the month. Furthermore, accommodations and flights are generally cheaper than peak tourist season. However, the weather’s not always great!
Is November warm in the UK?
Compared to summer, the UK experiences significantly cooler temperatures in November, with averages ranging from 4°C to 11°C (39°F to 52°F).
However, compared to the colder winter months of December, January, and February, November is warmer – but I definitely wouldn’t say it’s pleasant weather.
If you’re looking for winter sun in November, head somewhere like Malaga (I’ve not been in November, but check out my guide for December or January or general winter guide) or the Canaries (I’ve got guides on Lanzarote, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote in December); all fantastic winter sun destinations!
How cold is the UK in November?
November in the UK sees average high temperatures ranging from 8°C to 11°C (46°F to 52°F), and average lows from 2°C to 4°C (36°F to 39°F).
So do pack warm clothing including jackets, scarves, and gloves for this time of year.
Is November a rainy month in the UK?
While the UK sees rainfall year-round, November is one of the wetter months. The average number of rainy days can vary from 15 in London to 20 in Manchester. It’s a good idea to carry an umbrella or waterproof clothing.
What is the warmest November day in the UK?
The warmest November day ever recorded in the UK was on 1st November 2015, when temperatures reached 22.4°C (72.3°F) in Trawsgoed, Ceredigion, Wales. However, such high temperatures in November are a rare occurrence!
Are you ready to visit the UK in November?
Don’t let the cold weather in the UK in November put you off!
This month is far out of summer peak season, but with festive events and lots of fun activities, you can still have an excellent trip to Britain in November.
Hopefully, this article has shown you just some of the things that you can do here!