November is officially here, and whether you’re on the countdown to Christmas or are in absolute denial that 2019 is just around the corner, there’s plenty to do to keep you distracted. Whether you like fireworks, car shows or world-class photography—London has it all (no surprises there) and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny!
Bonfire Night Weekend | Nov 2nd – 5th
Now, there are plenty of grand displays and local spots to check out, depending on the vibe you want for you Guy Fawkes Night this year. We have all your best options, so be sure to have a look for all things free, family-orientated and laser-based. The festival of fire and light is a combination of bonfire night and Diwali—and it’s free, so this could be a good place to start!
The Regent Street Motor Show
A great chance to see over 125 veteran, vintage, classic and modern cars as well as learn about the electric future of transport too. Every year Regent Street is pedetrianised for this family-friendly day out which includes costumes, performances and plenty of hands-on opportunities.
The Lord Mayor’s Show
This is an ancient tradition filled with British pomp and grandeur, taking place every year since 1215. Created to celebrate the city’s right to elect it’s own mayor by King John, the new Lord Mayor must travel from London City and travel to Westminster. Today, this means a huge 3 mi procession with flotillas, marching bands and performers galore, as well as the mayor in a 250-year-old stage coach.
Hyper Japan Winter
A chance to explore all corners of Japanese culture (especially the cosplay bits), this huge event is a wintery version of the summer staple. There will be showcases and workshops, food stalls and performances including Mutant Monster and Banzai Japan. Cosplay is encouraged, but remember to stick to the usual rules as it’s a family-friendly event.
Christmas markets, skating rinks and winter wonderlands
Get your big coat and head out to sip on mulled wine the top Christmas fairs in London, with markets, plenty of shows and performances and illuminations too.
Oxford Street Christmas Lights
While big names are yet to be announced, the lights will be switched on Tuesday the 6th November this year. Part of their big Christmas shopping night, the switch-on will no doubt feature a big household name and there will be plenty of festive treats and temptations to be had.
South Bank Winter Festival
A whole range of events including a food-based Christmas market and plenty of entertainement, this is a seasonal staple. Enjoy a festive feminist panto from Glittery Clittery, watch the puppet-animals of Circus 1903 and enjoy the live music nights. There’s plenty for after-work drinks and entertainment as well as family-fun, all with a creative seasonal twist.
Ice Skating at Somerset House
Get your skates on and roll up your sleeves—Somerset House is back with a rink, blades and even DJ nights too. There are chances to snaffle cheaper tickets, but be prepared to pay a little more for event nights like Skate Lates. You can also spend your hard-saved coins on some Fortnum & Mason treats like a chocolate fondue, or cheese and wine platters for two.
Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park
An extremely popular winter event, the illuminations at Syon Park are truly magical. Held on the last three weekends of November, the garden is filled with trails and interactive displays celebrating the amazing diversity of the garden’s trees. The popularity means there are specific entry times and tickets sell out fast, so be sure to book soon.
Scandinavian Christmas Market
Start your festive preparations with a touch of the old Scandinavian ‘hygge’ by getting warm and cosy with some tasty treats while you browse the stalls. This Christmas market has a great selection of independent retailers with handmade textiles, calendars and greetings cards and even vintage clothes.
Christmas at Kew
Another increasingly popular garden illumination, the grounds of Kew become a world of festive illuminations and delights. Following a carefully designed trail, visitors can see carefully designed installations, arches and displays.
This year will have a new Moonlit Woods area and a Laser Garden as well as the sculptural fire garden and flotilla of glowing boats glimmering on the lake’s surface. There will be plenty of mulled wines and spiced ciders for the big ones as well as old-fashioned fairground rides for the little ones.
Christmas by the River
One of the most pictureqsue markets in the city, this parade of festive stalls offers views of the bridge and tower while you shop. Warm up with mulled wine and spiced hot chocolate and wander through the handmade gifts and foodie treats.
East London Photography Festival | Until Dec 30th | Various
Deptford Market Yard | Until December 22nd | Deptford
Votes for Women Centenary Exhibition | Until Jan 9th 2019 | Barbican
Poster Women: A Century of Art and Design | Until Jan 2019 | Covent Garden