You’d be forgiven for thinking that November, stuck between Halloween and Christmas, is a bit of a non-event in London. But there’s much to see and do this month. The Christmas lights get switched on, ice rinks pop up all over the place, and festive markets get underway. Plus there are the usual theatre, museum and gallery options to keep you entertained in even the worst winter weather.
Here are some things we recommend to do in London this November.
Watch the Christmas lights get switched on
The main shopping areas of London get a festive revamp in the run-up to Christmas when the streets are decked with thousands of tiny twinkling lights. The annual switch-on of the Christmas lights draws big crowds with free activities, in-store discounts and a lovely festive feel. Here are the dates and times that the Christmas lights get switched on this year:
Carnaby Street – Thursday 7th November at 6pm
Covent Garden – Tuesday 12th November from 6pm
Marylebone – Wednesday 13th November at 6pm
Regent Street – Thursday 14th November from 5pm
Oxford Street – Thursday 21st November from 6pm
King’s Road – Saturday 23rd November at 5pm
Skate around some of London’s landmarks
November sees the opening of several pop-up ice ranks at famous sights around London. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or more like Bambi on ice, you can glide or slide your way around for an hour or two with a London landmark as your backdrop. Some of our favourites include:
Skate at Somerset House
The ice rink at Somerset House has been popping up every winter for the last 20 years and is a firm favourite with Londoners and visitors. Fortnum & Mason run the onsite Lodge cafe bar so you can expect delicious food and drinks to replenish yourself with post-skate.
If you like your skating with a side order of history, there’s no better place than the Tower of London ice rink. The Tower is lit in the late afternoon and evenings making the setting even more dramatic.
The pop-up ice rink at the Natural History Museum is a popular choice. And for good reason. You can while away a morning at the museum and then hit the ice rink before treating yourself to a hot chocolate at the cafe bar. Get your skates on and book online as it will be busy.
Christmas markets are now as popular in London as they are in Western Europe. From the traditional to the trendy, there’s a market to match your taste and your budget. We’ve listed below some of the ones we’ll be checking out this year:
The winter market at the Southbank Centre
The wooden huts may be German-inspired, but the food on offer is global. This market occupies a riverside location that’s perfect for mooching with a minced pie and mulled wine. It’s open for business from Friday 8th November until early January 2020.
Throughout the year this covered market runs every weekend and brings artisan food producers, craftspeople and designers together to delight hungry shoppers. Canopy Market will operate daily from the end of November with events such as workshops and tastings to tempt you to part with your cash.
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