There are so many brilliant things to do in London in November, we barely know where to start.
From festive igloos and cosy pop-ups, to daring cabaret and the long-awaited arrival of London’s floating cheese barge, these November happenings are set to give Londoners the ole’ razzle-dazzle. There are some sparkling happenings you simply won’t want to miss, so without further ado, here’s what’s on in London in November 2020. (Featured image: @tothandcotravels)
Who would have thought that, when choosing an igloo to dine in, you’d actually have a choice? And a big choice at that. We’ve rounded up London’s best cosy hemispheres here – bonus points if you can hit ’em all this winter!
Ayllu in Paddington is a Nikkei restaurant, which fuses the food cultures of Peru and Japan in one delectable brunch. Really, it’s a proverbial godsend to the indecisive brunchers amongst you, as it’ll give you the best of both worlds in one excellent meal. Dishes such as ceviche mixto, lomo saltado, and charron roll with kimchi mayo will tickle your taste buds nicely, and happily, we’ve sorted out some tickets for you to go and try it!
It’s been an excruciating wait, but November is finally the moment for London’s sparkling new fromage barge to dock up in Paddington. We’ve been scanning the horizon ever since this amazing boat was first announced, and soon it’ll be bobbing into town to serve the very best of British cheese. Find out more here.
Of course, if you camembert the wait any longer, you could always pop down to cheese conveyor belt restaurant Pick and Cheese, who are running a bottomless cheese dining experience until the end of 2021. (There’s also a new cheesemonger from The Cheese Bar team you can try if both of those can’t satisfy your craving…)
6. Celebrate World Vegan Day at the UK’s first vegan butchers (November 1)
‘Ave a butchers at this then. Rudy’s Vegan Butcher will become the nation’s first vegan butcher when it opens this November, serving the likes of lobstah salad, rack of jack, chilli-non carne, chick’n lover plate, and shredded BBQ pulled porc. The mind boggles at the spelling, but it’s rumoured to be addictive stuff! See more here.
Mulled wine? Gingerbread houses? Name a better combo, I’ll wait. Soho’s Wands & Wizards Exploratorium have turned their attention to Christmas in glorious fashion, with a mulled wine-fuelled gingerbread house building session that we’re extremely keen to try. Find your tickets to this fab festive event here!
8. Catch the city’s first Christmas lights display shining bright (November 2)
December 1 may be a popular choice for the start of Christmas, but there’s a strong line of thinking to suggest it begins with the switching on of the Oxford Street Christmas lights. They’ll be illuminating the West End this month – sans the big splashy switch-on event – and will beam a message of hope to Londoners and tourists alike by displaying the names of the nation’s heroes, as voted for by the public. Find out more here.
The Mind Palace is a hidden speakeasy with some fiendishly tricky drinks on the menu. Their immersive drinking experience, codenamed The Case of the Poisoned Chalice, invites you to pit your wits against Moriarty’s top lieutenant, Sebastian Moran. By solving puzzles and outwitting Moran, you’ll be rewarded with ingredients to craft a most potent brew. Think you’re smart enough? Tickets are here.
Dolly Parton as a guardian angel? A tale of family, betrayal and magic toys? Vanessa Hudgens playing three roles in the Princess Switch sequel? I am here for all of it! Get the lowdown on your next festive obsession here.
11. Be the first to get your hands on pink prosecco (November 2)
Pink prosecco was only licensed by the Italian authorities back in May, and its arrival on our shores is a bright spark in the gloom of 2020. And it’s arriving just in time for Christmas! Get the full scoop here.
Soft candlelight, London’s best musicians, and history’s greatest composers – now that’s a recipe for a wonderful night out! Here are our pick of the best candlelight concerts this month, including a duelling pair of Vivaldi concerts on November 28. Showdown!
🕯 Soundtracks of Ennio Morricone, Hans Zimmer & More @ Grand Junction (November 4 & 25)
🕯 Tchaikovsky & Mendelssohn @ Southwark Cathedral (November 6)
🕯 Schubert & Faure @ Southwark Cathedral (November 7)
🕯 Cello sonatas @ Southwark Cathedral (November 14)
🕯 Moonlight Sonata by Candlelight @ St James’ Piccadilly (November 20)
🕯 Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons @ St James Piccadilly (November 28)
🕯 Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons @ Southwark Cathedral (November 28)
19. Tuck into Costa’s new festive bevs (November 2)
Terry’s Chocolate Orange hot choc? Quality Street Purple One latte? We’ll have all that and more, thank you very much! Find out about the new arrivals here.
The latest Covid-19 restrictions have prohibited mixing indoors with anyone outside of your household (or support bubble). Therefore, in order to go out for a meal with those we don’t live with, we now need to dine outdoors. ‘Tis the season to be chilly, but thankfully London is home to dozens of heated terraces, gorgeous gardens, and stunning rooftops that serve incredible food and legendary cocktails. Read about some our favourites here.
A glance out the window reveals incessant rain, sodden leaves, and grey skies. Perhaps a sangria and tapas-filled bottomless brunch will blow those damp autumn vibes away? Tickets can be found here.
No firework displays had threatened to make Bonfire Night a damp squib, but luckily there’s a different kind of seasonal saviour on the horizon. Cosy wooden chalets, warming street food, and hot toddies make the South Bank Christmas market a winner, and you can read all about it here.
Eddy Grant may have inspired us to rock down to Electric Avenue, but if it’s brunch you’re after, I reckon you should rock on down to The Electric Barge. Part canal cruise, part bottomless brunch, you’re invited on a 90 minute canal cruise from Paddington to Camden, during which time you’ll dip into a specially selected picnic box of goodies and quaff bottomless fizz. Tickets are available here.
24. Get cosy in Fulham’s magic Alpine forest (November 5)
Fulham’s riverside pop-up, Winterland, will embrace an alpine theme – masterfully sweeping aside minor problems such as Fulham’s complete and utter lack of mountains – to deliver the ultimate aprés-ski experience. Which, like any self-respecting ski resort, definitely needs a bottomless Alpine brunch complete with flameless fondue pot and one or two hours of prosecco, beer, bloody Marys, mimosas, bellinis, or espresso martinis(!). Get your tickets here.
25. Dip a toe in for a moonlit midnight swim (November 6, 7, 27)
Of all of London’s outdoor swimming pools, Hampton claims to be the hottest – heated to a toasty 28℃ all year round. But aside from the elevated temperatures, Hampton Pool has one unique offering that makes it stand out from the crowd – monthly midnight swims by the light of the full moon. These ‘Moonlight Dips’, which run from 10pm–midnight, are a rare opportunity to splash about beneath the stars in London. Find out more here.
26. Settle in for a naughty night of drag cabaret (November 7)
Drag cabaret – or dragaret, as I really think it should be called – is a rip-roaring night of mirth and mayhem found at Zebrano Bar in Soho. Co-hosts Vanity von Glow and David Lewis will have you in stitches, and the delectable supper club and bottomless bellinis are just the cherry on top. Pick up your tickets here.
27. See 115,000 lights illuminate Covent Garden (November 10)
There’s no official switch-on this year, but by mid-November, Covent Garden will be aglow with Christmas lights. It’s also home to London’s biggest hand-picked Christmas tree, topping out at 60 metres tall and decorated with over 30,000 lights. Definitely worth checking out!
Our love for slurpable soup, chewy noodles, and mouthwatering toppings remains undimmed despite the vagaries of 2020, and autumn is the best time to dive in. You’ll see plenty of noods with our ramen guide!
Brendan Rodrigues might be an actual wizard (we can’t prove that he isn’t, TBH), but whatever mystic powers he possesses, he’ll be using them to dazzle you with his close-up magic show, every Sunday at the Covent Garden Social Club. He’ll also teach you a few tricks of the trade at a two-hour magic masterclass – maybe it’ll put you on the path to becoming the next Houdini? Tickets can be found here.
30. Applaud London’s favourite musicals back to the stage for one week only (November 11-15)
They’re back, but not for long. A musical extravaganza encompassing songs and performers from Dear Evan Hansen, Wicked, Six, Mamma Mia, The Prince of Egypt, & Juliet, Come From Away, Tina, and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, The Show Must Go On is a special concert that promises “the best of the West End on one stage”. Get the lowdown here.
31. Have your senses scrambled at London’s immersive Ryoji Ikeda exhibition (November 12)
Innovative Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda is returning to 180 The Strand this autumn, with a show boasting his most popular works, as well as plenty of new mind-bending additions. It promises to take viewers on a sensory journey through the maze-like studio space, making you question perception, time, and space… Nothing too heavy then. Get the full story here.
A bold claim, but Feya’s brunch dishes are readymade for Instagram, and tasty pretty good to boot. Rose Avo Toast, Wisteria Waffles, and Happiness Pancakes are just a handful of the treats on offer – get your brunch tickets here.
33. Lose yourself in this enchanted rooftop winter forest (November 12)
200 real Christmas trees are being used to bring Pergola Paddington’s breathtaking winter forest to life, with alpine lodges, seasonal cocktails, and log fires dotted amongst the trees. No wonder they’re calling it the ‘Miracle on Kingdom Street’… Full story here.
34. Shake(speare) it off with The Globe’s open-air film screenings (November 13-15)
Cruelly denied another glorious summer season by the pandemic, Shakespeare’s Globe are making up for lost time with a weekend of Bard-inspired film screenings – ranging from a classic Much Ado About Nothing to Gnomeo and Juliet! Read all about it here.
This is the third time The Murdér Express will be departing from Pedley Street Station, but the drama is still as real as ever. Everyone is a suspect, and all the celeriac & truffle soup and buttermilk panna cottas in the world can’t sidestep the fact that you’ve got a crime to solve… Tickets are available here.
36. Rave(n) around the Tower of London ice rink (November 14)
The Tower of London are reopening their incredibly picturesque ice rink, and their stunning backdrop might just take you prisoner. Better still, they’re building their biggest rink ever for these socially-distanced times, ensuring maximum safety without compromising on the fun! Do mind the crown jewels, though. More info available here.
Bar Elba have been rocking Waterloo since reopening in July, but their winter season kicks things up to the next level. Known for their laidback, fun-loving approach, igloos here are known as ‘party pods’, and make for excellent places to hunker down during the winter and feast on burgers, fries, and bottomless drinks. You can reserve your spot here!
Nothing makes the cold months cosy like a cup of hot chocolate! From sophisticated mugs of rich, chocolatey heaven, to goblets of milky goodness with gooey marshmallows and cream, we’ve found the best places to grab a hug in a mug – yes, it can only be hot chocolate. Here’s your guide to London’s dreamiest hot chocolates.
39. Pop down to Chinatown for a magical lantern display (until November 15)
Over fifty giant, magic lanterns are now strung above a 100-metre stretch of Gerrard Street in Chinatown, with the eye-catching designs here to promote sweet new Netflix film Over The Moon. Read all about them here.
40. Hit up London’s insanely Christmassy cocktail bar for festive tipples (November 16)
Charming festive cocktail bar Miracle at Henrietta will return to the capital for a third year of cocktail-fuelled revelry. Aiming to transport you back to Christmases past, an army of throwback Christmas ornaments, colourful lights, and an oversized fireplace complement whimsically-named cocktails at this magnificently OTT spot. Find out more here.
Behind the Art Deco doors of the legendary Phoenix Arts Club lies a night of vivacious Vaudevillian entertainment, where comedy, mystery, and cabaret combine. Unmissable entertainment for your Friday nights – snag some tickets here to pop along.
42. Quaff quality wines in an old Victorian toilet (November 16)
WC Bloomsbury is a Grade II-listed water closet that’s been lovingly turned into London’s newest wine bar, with a winning mix of wine, cocktails, small plates, sumptuous tiling, and candlelight. You can see more here.
Of course, it’s far from the only oenophile heaven in town – check out even more brilliant London wine bars here.
43. Mosey through Kew Gardens’ mesmerising festive light trail (November 18)
Back for an eighth year, Kew are switching things up with a brand new route through the trees and some brand new installations. Yep, that means more lights, more colours, and more Christmas. You’ll find one million lights twinkling in the branches and boughs – and that’s just the start!
Bottomless brunches are all well and good, but they taste even better if you’ve made them yourselves. This brunch cooking class is here to help even the most kitchen-averse types create brunch dishes, and there’s the promise of bottomless cocktails as a reward for your cheffing. Tickets can be found here.
45. Hop aboard a steam train covered in Christmas lights (November 20)
A new addition for 2020, Epping Ongar Light Fantastic will see the Epping Ongar Railway heritage trains bedecked in a plentiful array of Christmas lights, turning the classic engines into brightly-coloured blurs speeding through the night. Seriously, if the North Pole had a steam line, I reckon it would look a lot like this. See more here.
46. Step through a magical wardrobe into London’s cosy Christmas cinema (from November 20)
Cinema in the Snow is a welcome treat this time of year, as the frozen enchantment of Lapland fills Pop-Up Screens’ Peckham home. This year, you can head to the snow-covered wonderland for the likes of The Greatest Showman, Elf, Frozen 2, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Love Actually, and many more. Get your tickets here.
47. Twirl around a UNESCO World Heritage site on this beautiful ice rink (November 20)
With an expanded rink this, skaters now have even more space to glide, twirl, and stumble around the Queen’s House ice rink. Yes, it’s handy for social distancing, but an arguably better upside is the chance to get unobstructed views of the ‘House of Delight’ which James I had built for his wife, Queen Anne of Denmark. Find out more here.
Cheap, it ain’t. But with The Savoy’s private riverside suites now bookable for dining experiences, you can treat that special someone to a meal they won’t forget in a hurry. Get the full scoop here.
Fever have taken their enlightening range of talks to cinemas and venues across London, offering expert insights into a variety of thought-provoking subjects. Here’s what’s on offer throughout November!
💊 November 4 – The Neuroscience of Addiction
❤️ November 10 – The Neuroscience of Love
✨ November 19 – The Science of Psychedelics
🪓 November 23 – The Psychology of Serial Killers
🌌 November 25 – Quantum Physics for Beginners
Don’t forget, you can see and book even more fabulous Fever Talks here!
54. Wander through colourful glasshouses at this twinkling light trail (November 21)
Down in Surrey, RHS Wisley will bring their lavish Glow trail back to town later in November, showing off an enviable collection of illuminations. Sparkling cherry trees and a gorgeous Wisteria Walk are just two must-see spots. Read all about it here.
You’ll find plenty of restaurants in London and also plenty of shows. But why go to both when you can combine them in one venue? We’re talking, of course, about Covent Garden’s CIRCUS restaurant and bar: an innovative combination of delicious Asian-inspired food and glittering cabaret, and you can grab some tickets here!
56. Settle into a cocktail-filled Christmas cinema in East London (November 26)
Launching later this month, hit winter pop-up Skylight will expand from their useful rooftop home and take over space at ground level, to create a Christmas village stuffed with all sorts of seasonal treats. Their epic ice rink is now found amongst fairy lights and sparkling trees in the shadow of Tobacco Dock’s tall ships, whilst igloos, immersive dining experiences, and an intriguing ‘Christmas Cocktail Cinema’ up the enjoyment factor. Get the full scoop here.
57. Gaze at London’s tallest LED Christmas tree (November 26)
Returning to Wembley Park after a successful run last year, Winterfest will make use of artworks that combine lights, sound and touch to create an incredible, multi-sensory experience. With a new theme of ‘United in Light’, the display aims to inspire unity and hope – a worthy message in 2020. Best of all, it’s entirely free to visit. Read all about it here.
If you’re so over Big Nights Out, or just fancy a break, this is the perfect alternative – especially if you wish to wave goodbye to adulthood for a little while. A giant fun house, arcade games, and giant Jenga are just some of the delights available. Grab your tickets here.
The nights are dark, the days… are pretty dark too, TBH. Happily, Secret London’s own coffee aficionado Georgie has her eyes on the greatest coffee shops in the 32 boroughs, and she’s sharing her wisdom with the world. Get the full story here.
Here are our top picks for November, but check out our guide to the biggest art exhibitions in London for more inspiration.
ART EXHIBITIONS OPENING IN OCTOBER
🎨 Zanele Muholi, Tate Modern (Nov 5): Muholi’s work explores prejudice, intolerance, and violence
😱 Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul, Royal Academy (Nov 15): a fascinating duo paired together by Oslo’s Munch Museum
🖼 Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly In League With The Night, Tate Britain (Nov 18): a portrait pro who paints imagined characters
👜 Bags: Inside Out, V&A (Nov 21): one can never have too many bags, darling
ART EXHIBITIONS CLOSING IN OCTOBER
🦈 Hyundai Commission: Kara Walker, Tate Modern (until Nov 8): November sees the departure of her giant shark-infested fountain
👓 Andy Warhol, Tate Modern (until Nov 15): unforgettable Pop Art from the legendary New York artist
66-79. Keep exploring this mighty city
We’ve been uncovering a whole lot of places to visit this month, and we’ve found some brilliant spots. Here are some highlights!
🎳 Rowans: cult bowling alley and arcade that’s stuffed with cheap thrills
🐶 Hyde Park Pet Cemetery: home to more than 300 dearly departed pets
🤤 Whipped: droolworthy house of cheesecake in Covent Garden
🎌 Pantechnicon: new Japanese-Scandinavian arcade of food, art, and fashion
🍕 Napoli Gang: delivery-only Italian restaurant from the team behind Gloria
🎄 Selfridges Christmas Shop: now with a greener, sustainable focus for 2020
💜 Mo Diner: swanky new diner from the restauranteur behind Mayfair’s sketch
🧇 Duck & Waffle: sky-high brunch spot now serves bottomless brunches all week long
💌 Postal Museum: the marvellous London museum with its own underground train ride
🎅 34 Mayfair: eatery decked out with 14,000 Christmas decorations
🍂 Dalloway Terrace: Bloomsbury’s charming terrace has undergone a gorgeous autumn makeover
🇨🇺 Bar Bolivar: Havana-inspired cocktail bar with some serious old world glamour
More things to do inspiration…
Also published on Medium.