The clocks have changed, it’s starting to feel chilly, but London is still a great place for a family trip, as it always is. Each month I pick my top things to see and do in the capital, from world-class exhibitions, to local festivals, to outdoor activities and everything in between. Here’s my selection for November, including some tips from Mums do travel readers.
Bonfire Night, which is also known as Fireworks Night and Guy Fawkes Night, takes place each year on 5th November, which is the anniversary of the foiling of Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up London’s Houses of Parliament in 1605. On and around this date, there are firework displays all over the city (as well as all over the country) from Blackheath to Brent to Alexandra Palace, and many of them are free of charge. There’s a list of the top 10 London firework displays over at the official Visit London website.
Southbank Centre’s Wintertime Festival
The Southbank Centre’s Wintertime Festival has a busy schedule of entertainment for all the family from Friday 10th November 2017 to Thursday 4th January 2018. Highlights include live shows, a winter market, and ABBA sing-alongs.
Cost: Depends on event.
Christmas in Leicester Square
Christmas in Leicester Square opens on November 10th and offers range of entertainment as well as a Christmas market and Santa’s Grotto. Highlights include Monski Mouse’s Christmas Baby Disco Dancehall (on certain dates) and Winter Windows, an exhibition of stained glass windows designed by local schools.
Cost: Free entry. Grotto from £9.50, Monski Mouse from £8.50.
Lord Mayor’s Show
In 1215 King John allowed Londoners to elect a mayor. Every year since, the Lord Mayor of London travels from the City of London to Westminster to pledge their loyalty to the King or Queen. This has evolved into the Lord Mayor’s Show, a river pageant and parade across London which features marching bands, dancing and fireworks and which attracts around half a million people annually. This year’s show is on Saturday November 11th. (Today the Lord Mayor of London is a ceremonial post, and is separate from the Mayor of London, which is an elected post).
Music For Youth Proms
@ParentsTeensSEL tweeted to recommend the Music For Youth Proms, which take place at the Royal Albert Hall from 13th to 15th November. The event showcases some of the UK’s most talented and innovative young musicians. Each night 1,000 musicians perform in a concert featuring a wide range of music.
Cost: From £8.62.
Each winter a large chunk of Hyde Park becomes Winter Wonderland. From 17th November the popular attraction offers live shows, a huge outdoor ice rink, fairground rides and a Christmas market. There’s no charge to enter Winter Wonderland – you just pay for the activities which you do. It’s a good idea to book ahead for things like ice-skating and the live shows.
Cost: Free to enter, pay according to what you do there.
HYPER JAPAN is a celebration of Japanese culture, cuisine and style, and is returning to London’s Tobacco Dock from 24th to 26th November. There’s a retro gaming area with consoles from the 80s and 90s, craft workshops, live performances, Japanese food, drink and gift stalls and more.
Cost: From £15.
Paddington’s Pop-Up London
Paddington 2 is released at cinemas this month, and there are five Paddington’s Pop-Up London book installations to spot around the city until December 3rd. Each installation has hidden clues, and if you find them all you can enter a competition to win a Paddington adventure. Details of the pop-ups and the competition are on the Visit London website. You can read my blog post about where to find Paddington Bear locations in London here.
Pop-up ice rinks
This month there are ice rinks popping up all over London for the winter. Julie Falconer, who blogs at A Lady in London, recommends ice-skating at the Natural History Museum, and I agree that this is a great place to go. I try to go to a different ice rink each winter, and this year I’m planning to try the one at Somerset House and also that at Greenwich Winter Festival. Wherever you are in London this winter, there’s bound to be an ice rink nearby, but it’s best to book in advance as they can get busy, especially at peak times.
Cost: Depends on venue.
Over to you
Do you have any tips to share for great things to do in London? Do let me know so that I can include your recommendations. Check back each month for the latest round-up, or subscribe to have posts sent automatically to you by email.