The weather at this time of year might make you want to do nothing more than curl up in bed with a cup of tea and a good movie but with so much to do in London in November and December there’s never been a better time to drag yourself out from under that duvet, throw on your winter woolies, and start exploring.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are our favourite things to do in London in November, so whether it’s markets, street food, or exhibitions you’re interested in, there’s sure to be something for everyone.
London in Winter
Embracing Christmas before December’s even on your radar is easy in London, not least because there seems to be a new Christmas market (or even just somewhere to warm your hands on a steaming cup of mulled wine) popping up all over the place.
Southbank Centre’s Christmas market is already in full swing by the riverbank and, even though it’s open throughout the day until 4th January, we reckon it’s best visited at night to get the full effect. Spend an hour or two wandering around the market’s wooden chalets where you’ll find a range of gifts available, then find yourself a seat near the Christmas trees and try and decide what to eat (you’ll be spoilt for choice) before taking a wander along the river where you’ll get a brilliant view of the London Eye.
While you’re near the Southbank Centre you could also check out the World Press Photographer of the Year 2014. This exhibition showcases 143 award-winning photographs (out of a massive 98,671 submissions) and depict news, sports, and portraits by photographers from around the world. It’s a powerful exhibition and one not to be missed if you’re in London this November.
Continuing with the photography theme, The Natural History Museum is currently hosting the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, highlighting the beauty of our planet and celebrating the very best of nature photography. The exhibition’s going to be at the museum until next year but we can’t think of a better way to get out of the cold than by spending some time browsing these gorgeous photos.
London’s museums are famous for the ‘lates’ than run after normal opening times have finished and, on 26th November The Science Museum (handily, right next to The Natural History Museum if you’re looking to at spending some time in South Kensington) is opening its doors after hours to celebrate the opening of their brand new gallery called Information Age. The gallery’s focus is how our lives have been changed by communication technologies over the past 200 years and, as with many of London’s museums admission is free but some events within the gallery may require a ticket. Information and opening times can be found here.
Another museum late you might want to check out is at The London Transport Museum on Friday 28th November and celebrates the iconic red London buses we all know and love. And let’s be honest, us Londoners love them even more when the tubes have finished for the night and the only way to get home is to hope on a night bus! This museum late, aptly called Paint The Town Red, will have bespoke cocktails on offer, Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne on the decks, and the opportunity to create your own card holder or magnet.
Now, we couldn’t mention winter in London and not talk about Winter Wonderland, the best place in London to visit if you want to really embrace Christmas. This annual event which takes place in Hyde Park hosts a range of winter market stalls (there’s your Christmas shopping sorted!), festive fairground rides, and even Magical Ice Kingdom, the largest of its kind in the UK. You can also go ice-skating, see London from above on the giant observation wheel, and finish the evening off at the ice bar where, unsurprisingly, everything’s made out of ice. We’re not going to lie; Winter Wonderland does get very busy, but it’s a brilliant experience and we can’t think of a better way to get into the festive spirit while you’re in London.
Interested in just going ice-skating? Why not visit London’s favourite outdoor ice rink at Somerset House and have a memorable winter experience in the heart of the capital. Visit during the day and you’ll be able to enjoy Somerset House’s neoclassical courtyard and, at night, the rink is home to some awesome international clubs and festivals. For tickets and more information visit the Somerset House website here.
Hungry after all that exploring? Head on over to Shoreditch in East London to experience Urban Food Fest’s Christmas themed street food market, every Saturday night from 5pm until 20th December. Street food is huge news in London and this market in particular plays host to 15 different stalls and trucks each Saturday.