Our Top Picks for London this November


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A silver reindeer lights up the Covent Garden Piazza square, where children can meet real reindeer on Saturdays throughout the holiday period. Image by Charles Miller.

If you’re lucky enough to be in London this November, there are tons of unique events to enjoy. From the celebratory fun of the Lord Mayor’s Show to the Taste of London Festival and the beginning of the Christmas season, here are the events we’re looking forward to most this month in London.

The Lord Mayor’s Show

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The procession at the Lord Mayor’s Show. Image by Rachel Clarke.

For over 800 the city has celebrated the inauguration of the Lord Mayor with a parade through the cheering streets of London and a dazzling display of fireworks. Following a historic route the first part of the procession travels the first leg by flotilla along the Thames. The fleet of barges pass beneath the Waterloo bridge at 9am, the London Bridge at 9:20am and the Tower Bridge, which opens in salute, and 9:35am. From here the parade will depart at 11am and wind its way through the heart of London to the Royal Courts.

Streets by the Waterloo Bridge are closed to traffic and at 5:15pm fireworks will burst into the skies above the Thames. If you want to enjoy the fireworks in a more intimate setting away from the festive crowds on the river banks you can book a hop-on-hop-off river cruise and watch from the softly lit deck with a drink in hand, or book tickets for the Shard and enjoy an open view of the sky from the lofty viewing platform.

Christmas Lights Turn On

Christmas lights at Convent Gardens

Christmas lights at Convent Gardens. Image by Phil P.

Throughout November London’s most famous streets, squares and parks will light up with fantastic displays of seasonal lights.

This year’s most anticipated display will take place on Regent Street, which will host an installation created by leading architectural lighting designers. Sponsored by Jo Malone London, the theme of Timeless Elegance focuses on the timeless qualities of the holiday while also incorporating the street’s historical heritage of watchmakers and photographers. The result – thousands of LEDs and subtle animations the capture the nostalgic sweetness of Christmas in a unique, elegant and meaningful way. The installation will be turned on on the 15th of November, followed by a star studded-show beginning at 6pm and fireworks.

Regent Street's Christmas installation - Timeless Elegance

Regent Street’s Christmas installation – Timeless Elegance

The flurry of Christmas celebration at Convent Garden’s switch-on event is not to be missed and coincides with the city’s first Mulled Wine Festival which will run for three days; from the 12th to the 15th. Reindeer take a short holiday before their big night and arrive in the decorated Piazza where children can meet and pet them. Mistletoe displays will appear throughout the Market Building, and stalls will be set up offering personal gift shopping services and free gift wrapping, so get some of your Christmas shopping out of the way while you’re waiting for the lights. At 6pm, accompanied by a performance of Christmas carols from London’s Youth Choir, the streets and square will light up in a resplendent display of sparkles.

Santa and his elves also arrive in his reindeer sleigh at the Duke of York Square on the 7th to mark the opening of the Christmas grotto and turn on the lights at 4:30pm. Vendors will sell roasted chestnuts and toffee apples from Victorian carts and children can visit with Santa and his reindeer.

Soho’s streets light up with the Carnaby Christmas Shopping Party, complete with live music, disco balls and fake snow. Most stores, restaurants and bars throughout the 13 streets which will be closed off for the event will be offering a 20% discount on the night. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

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Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Image by Gordon S.

Hyde Park transforms into a Winter Wonderland on November the 20th, bringing festive markets and carnival attractions to this central city park. Two circuses give nightly performances and live music plays amidst log cabin stalls. Entering the Magical Ice Kingdom will lead visitors through a fairy woodland to an ice castle sculpted of crystalline fantasy and the glacial Ice Bar serves striking cocktails and shots in frozen chalices. The entrance price includes a complimentary jacket and pair of gloves to wear inside. Twinkling carousels, ice skating, carnival rides and a Santaland complete this whimsical setting and ensure there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

London Jazz Festival

If the excess of Christmas spirit is getting you down, the annual London Jazz Festival will melt away your winter blues with soul soothing sounds. Venues throughout London will host some of the biggest international names in jazz, as well as some of the most promising new talent. If you have young children there are lots of kid-friendly performances scheduled throughout the festival so take them along and introduce them to the joys of jazz. UK jazz musician Sara Mitra has collaborated has with children’s theatre professional Lottie Allen to present A Magical Musical Story Box –  an interactive concert featuring sounds and instruments from all over the world. Check out the event guide for the full schedule as tickets to many of these concerts will sell out fast.

The Taste of London Festival

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London’s top chefs demonstrate their favorite recipes in the Taste Theatre. Image by Annie Mole.

After a successful premier event last year the Taste of London Winter Festival will return to the city to celebrate a wintry feast. World class chefs will be give workshops and cooking demonstrations of their favorite recipes. Afterwards, you can sample the culinary delights they’ve prepared before you and be inspired in planning your holiday menus. Recipes for the food prepared are posted on the event website to help you recreate these dishes at home. As you wander around the event site, the Bandstand will be hosting some of London’s best new musical talent to serenade you as you browse the select boutiques selling tea, coffee, wine and beer as elegant gift options.

 

 

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