November in London is brimming with fun and sparkles. The evenings may be longer and the days a whole lot chillier, but don’t stay at home. November in London is packed with plenty of ace events and things to do. Get snug at the city's cosy seasonal pop-ups, see out the beginning of winter in some of the capital's best pubs and fill your eyes with dazzling firework displays at the city's best Bonfire Night celebrations. November in London is also the month of the London Jazz Festival, The Lord Mayor’s Show, Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland, South Bank Wintertime, Hogwarts in the Snow and Christmas at Kew. November is the month when the Christmas lights start to glow, ice rinks begin appearing and festive markets are popping up. Here's our pick of the best events, cultural happenings and things to do taking place in London this November 2019.
RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar
Our November 2019 highlights
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.
Each year, Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland transforms the 600-year-old gardens with a light display, completely illuminating the Great Conservatory. It’s almost always a sell-out, so book in advance.
Christmas at Kew sees the whole place get seriously lit. Feast your eyes on more than a million sparkling pea-lights, thousands of laser5 beams in the iconic Temperate House and a brand-new waterfall of lights falling from tree canopies flooded with festive colour.
Eccleston Yards is putting its own spin on Christmas lights with an installation of 500 individual orbs suspended in the space for you to get lost in. Design by artist collective Squidsoup, you might recognise the installation from Four Tet’s recent live shows at Ally Pally.
A six-day mix of queer cinema and DIY dance parties. This is a big, beautiful celebration of LGBTQ+ creativity in east London.
Get gliding on London’s ice rinks which are popping up across the capital in the lead up to Christmas. Here’s a round-up of the best.
Chill out in wood cabins in a thicket of 300 snow-covered trees filled with twinkling lights at this Christmas pop-up. You’ll find live music, an Everyman Cinema and a mighty lineup of food there, too.
Eight people are trapped in an endless pitching meeting in the latest from Annie Baker. It’ll make your Monday morning stand-up look even duller than usual.
The modern master of misty, hazy, memory-drenched paintings is back again, but this time there’s a little bit of clarity poking through, and it’s lovely.
This major new exhibition of Antony Gormley sculptures should provide a neat overview of his career to date, showing how his best-known and most-recent works developed out of his earlier practice.
Celebrate and champion women in food. Join online restaurant reservation service Resy and tuck into delicious food cooked by some of London’s most critically acclaimed female chefs including Margot Henderson, Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison.
From the same team that brought you ‘Momentum’ in Barbican’s Curve gallery. Now the group brings three large-scale immersive works of art involving lasers, soundscapes and kinetic sculptures to the cavernous spaces of 180 the Strand.
Lush, immersive video art about anxiety and wellness. This is almost uncomfortably relatable art and a little bit of critical distance from all that everyday bullshit.
Cerberus is the name of the multi-headed dog guarding the door to Hades, so it’s no surprise that this exhibition by Mark Bradford looks at gateways, meeting points and boundaries.
The Grinch would have a real job stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park's huge tribute to festive fun. The annual favourite is back for its thirteenth year with fairground rides, a child-friendly Santa Land and quaint Christmas markets.
The Southbank Centre is celebrating the coldest season with a fistful of fun pop-ups and activities. The annual Winter Market will be back with mulled wine and seasonal treats, plus kid-friendly theatre show and just-for-adults comedy.
Laura Wade’s subversive staging of a Jane Austen novel. It’s a very funny, very clever takedown of period dramas.
See the botanical garden’s iconic buildings and plants all lit up by a mile-long, twinkling trail. This year there’ll be a shower of silvery vines at the Treetop Walkway while down below you'll be able to spy illuminations of mythical fairy creatures.
In 2003, visitors to Tate Modern went mad for Olafur Eliasson's Turbine Hall installation. The artist is now back at the same galley with a big exhibition and an outside artwork. He's even taking over the Terrace Bar, turning it into a vegetarian canteen.
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.
Kurt Cobain, Napoleon, Queen Elizabeth II and many others feature in the artworks of Elizabeth Peyton. The artist now gets a solo show at the National Portrait Gallery, where her simple, disquieting works will also be displayed alongside historic paintings from the gallery’s own collection.
New art from Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey. We know a sum total of zilch about this latest work, but his previous output has been about everything from dance subcultures to semi-invented memories.
Sir Ian’s autobiographical solo show. Go because you want to spend a larky evening with a LIVING LEGEND. This is no retirement party – rather, a celebration of Ian McKellen making it to 80 with his health, memory, acting prowess and joy thoroughly intact.
Somerset House's grand eighteenth-century courtyard is the perfect setting for a 900-square-metre outdoor ice rink. It's a great way to spend the day no matter how impressive your skating skills are.
Travel through time and across the globe with this immersive installation by the massively talented Es Devlin. Measuring 18 metres across, the mirrored sculpture celebrates key historical moments when human perception shifted track.
See huge-scale paintings from the giants of modern German art. The gang will all be here including the likes of Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Pole and Gerhard Richter.
Arguably 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, this is a Christmas classic.
See the UK premiere of US playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury’s metatheatrical race drama.
This show looks at the classic combination of art and drinking by showcasing the cabarets and clubs frequented by artists in Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Ibadan and more.
Well, you have to admire the chutzpah: the creators of long-running immersive London hit ‘The Great Gatsby’ have followed up with an interactive adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s hit memoir. Exact details are opaque at present, but the show will take place in a four-storey building in central London that will house a recreation of various locations from the memoir.
Master satirist William Hogarth’s serial works in London’s coolest house. See Hogarth’s style as it grows more expansive and how his paintings are full of beauty.
There’s savagery and savage humour in this remarkable show of 100 posters and 70 magazines produced between 1966 and 1992 by Cuba’s state-run OSPAAAL, the snappily named ‘Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America’. For such a dry-sounding outfit it's house style was pretty far out. For fans of graphic design this is a must-see.
Rhys Ifans stars in a drama about people trying to make do after the apocalypse. Go check out Rhys Ifans’s chopper.
The art of Paul Gauguin isn't exactly unknown (to say the least), yet there's never been an exhibition exclusively of his portraiture - until now.
Lucian Freud isn't especially known for his self-portraits, but it turns out he did quite a few of them - enough to fill an exhibition, anyhow.
The Harry Potter studio tours get a festive makeover. See the Great Hall dressed for the Yule Ball with dripping icicles and Christmas trees and the Hogwarts castle model covered in a layer of glistening snow. Personalised knitted jumpers optional.
Bridget Riley, Queen of Optical Art, gets a big solo show at the Hayward Gallery this autumn and it’s filled with the British artist's famous perception-altering works from across seven decades of mind-twisting paintings.
Ever wondered what the relationship between David Hockney and a particle accelerator is? Or Constable and molecular biology? Well wonder no more, because this ambitious show at the Science Museum is going to explore the dialogue between science and art over the past few centuries.
Finally, a major retrospective of Blake's idiosyncratic artworks. The man who wrote 'The Tyger' truly was one of a kind and his art is filled with beauty, mystery and fear. See it whilst you can, at Tate Britain on the banks of Blake's 'charter'd Thames'.
In a year filled to the brim with Rembrandt events (it’s the 350th anniversary of the Dutch artist’s death), Dulwich Picture Gallery gets a slice of the pie with an exhibition spotlighting (ahem) how he revolutionised the painting of light. Highlights (sorry) include ’Philemon and Baucis’ - on show in the UK for the first time.
Artist Nam June Paik has long been predicting how technology would soon be influencing our lives. This Tate show brings together works made across five-decades by the artist credited with inventing video art.
Rising star Alice Birch’s mesmerising experimental play about female pain. It’s astonishing writing, uncompromisingly assembled.
Get with the space-age programme at London's Design Museum which is showcasing inventions connected to every stage of the most ambitious version of Relocation, Relocation, Relocation ever staged.
Don’t miss this seriously exciting show, which will be full of art, objects and beautiful things from ancient Greece.
Images of fashion, sex and all sorts. This is fashion photography at its glitziest, sexiest best.
Sharif might not like it, but it’s good news for London music fans: the Museum of London is putting together a free exhibition dedicated to our city’s greatest punk band, The Clash. ‘What about The Sex Pistols?’ you ask. No, it’s The Clash, obviously, and this show looks like could be seriously good.
Expect flying dragons, bawling cherubs, free-floating monkeys and iridescent fabric in this show that depicts beautiful tales in this forgotten history.
Brolly-clutching supernanny Mary Poppins is floating back into the West End, with the return of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's musical after an international tour, and capitalising on the recent success of the film sequel.
A history of one of the world’s big religions. Across eye-popping panels, learn about the Buddha’s journeys and teachings, about life and rebirth, compassion and suffering.
But American artist Kara Walker’s Turbine Hall commission is a bubbling fountain representing a vicious, angry, fearsome attack on the British Empire.