London events in November

Your comprehensive guide to the best events, pop-ups and things to do in London this November
Alexander Baxevanis/Flickr
By Things To Do Editors and Alexandra Sims |
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November in London may mean evenings are longer and the days chillier, but that's no reason to hole up at home. November in London is packed with a whole host of ace events and things to do. Welcome winter at the city's cosy seasonal pop-ups, get snug in some of the capital's best pubs and celebrate Bonfire Night at one of many dazzling firework displays taking place across the city. November in London is also the month of the London Jazz Festival, Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland, South Bank Wintertime, Hogwarts in the Snow, Christmas at Kew and when the city's Christmas lights start to illuminate. Ice rinks are also appearing and markets are popping up so you can crack on with your Christmas shopping. Here's our pick of the best events, cultural happenings and things to do taking place in London this November 2018. 

Why not check out some of London’s best ice rinks:

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our November 2018 highlights

Things to do, Exhibitions

Hogwarts in the Snow

icon-location-pin Abbots Langley
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The Harry Potter studio tours get a festive makeover with Christmas trees, a seasonal feast in the Great Hall, decorations in Gryffindor common room and snow drifts in Diagon Alley. It's pure magic. 

Time Out says
Things to do, Ice skating

Skate at Somerset House

icon-location-pin Temple
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Somerset House's grand 18th-century courtyard is the stunning setting for a beautiful ice rink. There are lots of tempting extras too: the Fortnum's Lodge offers champagne, mulled wine and winter dining; and Skate Lates will feature top-notch DJs and music nights. Better get your skates on. 

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Things to do, Ice skating

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

icon-location-pin Brompton
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The Natural History Museum is home to London’s most enchanting ice rink, thanks to the beautiful backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse's buildings, a row of trees dripping in fairy lights and a majestic Christmas tree in the middle of the ice.

Theatre, Drama

‘Pinter at the Pinter’

icon-location-pin Soho
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For the first time ever, legendary playwright Harold Pinter's short plays will be performed in one season by a star-studded cast including Martin Freeman, Tamsin Greig, David Suchet, Jane Horrocks, and Harold Pinter’s former protégée Danny Dyer. 

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Theatre, Shakespeare

‘King Lear’

icon-location-pin Covent Garden
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Don't miss Ian McKellen as he takes on the title role of Shakespeare’s cracked tragedy of madness and old age for the second time. He's hypnotic as a bullying monarch. 

Time Out says
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Southbank Centre Wintertime Market

icon-location-pin South Bank
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You’ll find plenty more than baubles and gingerbread to tempt you in the wooden chalets that will make up this charming Christmas market. Stock up on festive food and tipples, unique gifts, stocking fillers and treats.

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Frida Kahlo with Olmec figurine 1939. Photograph Nickolas Muray. Nickolas Muray Photo Archives
Things to do, Exhibitions

Frida Kahlo: ‘Making Her Self Up’

icon-location-pin Brompton
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Don't miss the final days of the V&A's major Frida Kahlo  exhibition with over 200 Frida-related items to ogle at. 

Time Out says
Things to do

Bonfire Night firework displays in London

November in London begins with an abundance of Bonfire Night fireworks to warm us all up (Monday November 5 2018). Wrap up snug, head to one of the capital's many firework displays, and enjoy a show of spectacular colours over London's top attractions and beyond. 

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Theatre, Drama

‘Wise Children’

icon-location-pin Southwark
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Catch Emma Rice’s stage adaptation of Angels Carter’s great late novel of the same name. You’d write off the magical realist fiction as unadaptable for the stage, were it not for the fact Rice has already pulled off a superb version of ‘Nights at the Circus’. One to look forward to.

© Nick Turpin
Things to do, Exhibitions

‘London Nights’

icon-location-pin Smithfield
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This show covers more than 100 years of photographers exploring London at nighttime. See how darkness transforms the city and what locals get up to when the sun goes down. 

Time Out says
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Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Andy Keate.
Art, Contemporary art

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: ‘Earwitness Theatre’

icon-location-pin Mile End
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Catch this show of political art about the power of sound. It's powerfully affecting and ear-bleedingly shocking. 

Time Out says
; © Vb 7525; Museum der Kulturen Basel; photo: Derek Li Wan Po; 2013; all rights reserved
Art

‘Oceania’

icon-location-pin Mayfair
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Head to this enormous exhibition of art from, you know, Oceania. It's almost impossible to take in how stunning all these objects are in one visit. 

Time Out says
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Things to do, Walks and tours

Christmas at Kew Gardens

icon-location-pin Kew
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See Kew's incredible gardens in all their dazzling glory as they're lit up with illuminations, twinkling trail lights and lazer beams from Christmas. Don't miss the glorious Palm House Pond lights, which dance along to Christmas classics.

© Getty Quentin Martinez
Museums

‘Life in the Dark’

icon-location-pin Brompton
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Find out what nocturnal creatures get up to in the dark at this exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Follow deep sea fish, moles, moths and crocodiles and discover what exactly their lives in the shadows are like. 

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Things to do, Markets and fairs

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

icon-location-pin Kensington
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The Grinch would have a real job stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park's massive tribute to festive fun. Wander past fairground rides, see the child-friendly Santa Land (including Santa's grotto) or amble through the Christmas markets. You know that Christmas doesn't really begin until you pay a visit. 

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Things to do

Christmas lights in London

November is the month when London gets transformed into the sparkliest, blingiest, most festive place on earth with the switching on of Christmas lights all over town. There's nothing like the sparkle of London Christmas lights to give the city an instant festive makeover. 

© Yayoi Kusama
Art

Yayoi Kusama

icon-location-pin Hoxton
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The Queen of the polka dots is back in London. This time, expect all the things that have made Kusama's artwork so beloved to fans: pumkins, flowers and endless dots. The REALLY BIG DEAL, however, is a brand new infinity mirror room involving paper lanterns. Gasp. 

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Museums

‘I Object: Ian Hislop's Search for Dissent’

icon-location-pin Bloomsbury
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Discover the ways objects have been used to mock, cajole and undermine systems of power throughout history at this exhibition curated by Ian Hislop. From ancient Mesopotamia to modern Brexitotamia, get ready for a bucket load of dissent and satire. 

Things to do, Ice skating

Ice skating rinks in London

November in London means the beginning of all things festive and, naturally, the opening of major ice rinks around town. So whether you dance on ice like Christopher Dean or scramble around like Bambi, the capital's outdoor ice rinks are some of the most magical locations you can visit this season. Here's a round-up of all the best London ice skating rinks to twirl around on this year.

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© Anish Kapoor/DACS 2018
Art

‘Space Shifters’

icon-location-pin South Bank
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The Hayward Gallery close their 50th anniversary year with a major exhibition of sculptures large and small that will make you go ‘wooooaaaaaaahhhh’ as they distort the hell out of the gallery space. 

Rachel Maclean 'Feed Me' (2015) © the artist. Image courtesy of Science Gallery
Museums

Hooked

icon-location-pin London Bridge
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London's brand new Science Gallery opens its doors with a show looking at addiction and getting better. It's casting the net far and wide, looking at everything we're 'hooked' on from hard drugs to iPhones.

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Michele Morgan photographed by Ernest Bachrach, crica 1939. Image courtesy of the Terence Pepper Collection.
Museums

‘Night and Day: 1930s Fashion and Photographs’

icon-location-pin London Bridge
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Foxtrot your way down to this show to be reminded just how lovely the era between the roaring ‘20s and wartime austerity was. For fashion, obviously. Less so for politics, eh? 

Shopping, Markets and fairs

Christmas markets and fairs

Looking for gift inspiration? Look no further than London's Christmas markets and fairs, which start to pop up all over town from mid-November. Among a raft of special festive events you'll find foodie gifts, hand-crafted pressies and usually a bit of glühwein to help you get into that merry spirit.

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© Elmgreen & Dragset. Image courtesy of Whitechapel Gallery
Art

Elmgreen & Dragset: ‘This Is How We Bite Our Tongue’

icon-location-pin Whitechapel
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Catch this large-scale installation and figurative sculptures from iconic arty duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. Witty, surreal and enjoyably unsettling, E&D artworks are always worth seeing up close and personal. Go. 

Theatre, Shakespeare

‘Antony and Cleopatra’

icon-location-pin South Bank
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See Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo in Shakespeare's tragedy. Okonedo is magnificent in an all-round gripping show. 

Time Out says
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Jusepe de Ribera, 'St Sebastian Tended by the Holy Women'. Copyright Bilboko Arte Ederren Museoa-Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao. Photo: The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.
Art

‘Ribera: Art of Violence’

icon-location-pin Dulwich Village
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Who knows how to shock? Spanish Baroque painters, that’s who. Dulwich Picture Gallery is challenging Londoners to look beyond the violence and cruelty of Jusepe de Ribera's work to examine his artistic and religious engagement. 

Cnut Gospels Royal MS © British Library Board
Museums

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms

icon-location-pin Euston
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Discover the history, art, literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England at the British Library in an exhibition that makes the most of the Brit Lib's own collection of historic manuscripts.

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© The Trustees of the British Museum
Museums

‘I am Ashurbanipal’

icon-location-pin Bloomsbury
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King Ashurbanipal's (r. 668–c. 631 BC) rule of the Assyrian Empire made him one of the most powerful men ever known. But history hasn't quite granted him the recognition he deserves. Now you can find out all about the dude at this reconstruction of Ashurbanipal's world. 

Winterfell, Westeroscraft - © Minecraft
Museums

‘Videogames: Design/ Play/ Disrupt’

icon-location-pin Brompton
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Videogames are no longer the preserve of geeky teenage boys locked away in bedrooms filled with unwashed clothes and empty Pringles cans. They're seriously clever business. And this major exhibition at the V&A will show you exactly how, through new games and immersive installations.

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Things to do, Exhibitions

‘Time Out 50: 50 Years, 50 Covers’

icon-location-pin Ladbroke Grove
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You won’t believe it, but Time Out is 50 this year. To celebrate our big birthday, we’ve teamed up with the Museum of Brands for an exhibition of our best ever magazine covers. See the original print issues on display, including that very first magazine in 1968, through to covers from the radical ’70s and glitzy ’80s and ’90s and up to the present day. 

© Des Hughes
Museums

‘Good Grief, Charlie Brown!’

icon-location-pin Temple
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The fantastic comic strip talents of Charles M Schulz are celebrated in this exhibition showing not just the cartoonist's own creations, but those of many artists inspired by his kooky drawings. Who wouldn't want to spend the day with Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty?

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Museums

‘Living with Buildings’

icon-location-pin Bloomsbury
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Take a look at our complicated relationship with the urban environment and the structures we've variously called 'home'. From Victorian slum dwellings to Brutalist concrete high-rises see how different buildings shape daily life.

Things to do, Walks and tours

The Enchanted Woodland

icon-location-pin Brentford End
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Syon Park's Enchanted Woodland annually sees the 600-year-old gardens transformed by a light display, with its Great Conservatory completely illuminated in the centre of the historic arboretum. It's almost always a sell-out, so book in advance. 

Find out what's happening in December
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