10 Things to do in London November 2023

Christmas is getting closer, and it's starting to show in London—many traditional Christmas-related events, Christmas lights, ice skating and markets all open in November.
Christmas Lights above Carnaby Street
Christmas Lights above Carnaby Street

Christmas lights

Each year, the city of London is transformed into a dazzling spectacle of festive joy, with Christmas lights adorning its significant streets and iconic landmarks.

The dates for switching on Christmas Lights around the city can be seen in the following list. The lights are usually on until early January.

  • Oxford Street Christmas lights — 2 November
  • Carnaby Christmas lights — 2 November
  • Covent Garden Christmas lights — 7 November
  • Seven Dials — 7 November
  • Regent Street — 9 November
  • Marylebone Village Christmas lights — 9 November
  • St James’s Christmas lights — 9 November
  • Belgravia Christmas lights — 15 November
  • Kew Gardens — November 15
  • Leadenhall Market Christmas lights - 16 November
  • Mayfair Christmas lights— November 16
  • Chelsea Christmas lights — 18 November

Bonfire Night London fireworks

Bonfire Night in London commemorates the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when Guy Fawkes and his accomplices attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I. Today, the tradition continues with bonfires, fireworks, and the burning of effigies known as “guys”. It is celebrated annually, offering a chance to enjoy traditional food, drink, and family activities. On 5 November

Direct from Graceland: Elvis

Discover the fascinating life of Elvis Presley at the Direct from Graceland: Elvis exhibition in Arches London Bridge. Get up close to over 400 artefacts from his iconic home in Graceland, including the legendary Gold Lamé Suit and the infamous Ferrari Dino GT4. This exhibition offers a unique glimpse into the personal life of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. There are items never before displayed in the UK. It’s recommended to reserve 90 minutes to enjoy the exhibition in full. Until 25 February

Hogwarts in the Snow

The biggest Harry Potter-related event around Christmas is the Hogwarts in the Snow studio tour. You can explore the enchanting world of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London in a snowy setting. Step onto authentic sets, uncover behind-the-scenes secrets, and witness the magic of spellbinding special effects. Until 25 February

Christmas Markets

Christmas Market at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
Christmas Market at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

As the festive season approaches, London transforms into a winter wonderland with various Christmas markets that sprinkle the city with holiday cheer. The Winter Wonderland 2023 in Hyde Park is a delightful spectacle of lights, sounds, and scents, featuring numerous stalls offering unique gifts, mouth-watering food, and holiday-themed attractions. Not to be outdone, Covent Garden captivates with its giant mistletoe chandeliers and hand-picked designer gifts. The Leicester Square Christmas Market is renowned for its artisan crafts and exquisite gourmet treats, while the Greenwich Christmas Market offers visitors a taste of history with its antiques and vintage crafts. Borough Market’s Christmas Market is a must-visit for food lovers, offering a rich array of artisanal and seasonal produce. Lastly, the Trafalgar Square Christmas Market, set against the backdrop of the magnificent Christmas tree, promises a traditional Christmas shopping experience filled with festive charm.

Here’s a list of the main Christmas markets:

  • Southbank Winter Market – Until 3 January 2024
  • Covent Garden Christmas Market – 7 November -
  • Leicester Square Christmas Market – 8 November – 7 January 2024
  • Borough Market - 8 November – 31 December 2024
  • Trafalgar Square - 10 November – 7 January 2024
  • Christmas by the River at London Bridge – 14 November – 1 January 2024
  • Winter Wonderland - 17 November – 1 January 2024
  • Columbia Road Wednesday Christmas Market – Wednesdays in November

Ice rinks

Ice Skating at Somerset House
Ice Skating at Somerset House

There are numerous ice rinks around London, usually from mid-November to January. The rinks are often located in beautiful surroundings, and skating there is an experience to remember. Here is a list of the most popular ice rinks and the dates when they are open:

  • Ice Rink Canary Wharf – Until 24 Feb 2024
  • Mayfair Skate West End – 4th November – 1 January 2024
  • Somerset House – 15th November – 14 January 2024
  • Hampton Court Palace – 17th November – 7 January 2024
  • Hyde Park – Winter Wonderland – 17th November – 1 January 2024
  • Battersea Power Station – Glide Ice Rink – 10 November – 7 January 2024
  • Greenwich – Queen’s House – 23 November – 7 Jan 2024

The London Jazz Festival

The London Jazz Festival, an annual celebration, brings together musicians from across the globe. It features an eclectic mix of styles and genres, representing the rich tapestry that is the world of jazz. This festival, held in various venues across the city, offers free and ticketed events, ensuring accessibility to all jazz enthusiasts. Driven by a deep commitment to innovation and excellence, the London Jazz Festival continues to be a thriving hotspot of creativity and unparalleled musical performances. 10-19 November 2023

Christmas at Kew

Light Show at Christmas at Kew
Light Show at Christmas at Kew

Christmas at Kew is an annual festive event in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, a UNESCO World Heritage site in London. The event starts in the evening when it’s dark, and over one million twinkling lights illuminate the path around the park. The paths take the visitors through breathtaking installations, including glowing lanterns, light projections, and grand trees adorned with festive decorations. We especially love the mesmerising Palm House light show, where colourful beams dance rhythmically to seasonal tunes, casting images and shapes over the lake. 15 November – 7 January 2024

Lord Mayor’s Show

The Lord Mayor’s Show is a historic civic procession in London, dating back to the early 13th century. It is a vibrant display of pomp and pageantry, symbolising the city’s defiance and celebrating its strength and diversity. The show features the newly-elected Lord Mayor of London, who takes office in a Silent Ceremony and later swears loyalty to the crown. This centuries-old tradition continues to captivate audiences with its colourful and joyous procession. 11 November

Gucci Cosmos

At 180 Studios in London, a curated immersive experience by fashion theorist Maria Luisa Frisa and contemporary artist Es Devlin showcases Gucci’s heritage-infused narrative from 1921 to the present. The Cabinet of Wonders, a 3D digital experience, unveils a constellation of archival pieces. Through nine immersive installations, the exhibition tells the story of Gucci, from the founder’s dream to the latest fashion show by Creative Director Sabato De Sarno. Explore the full exhibition with the Gucci App, featuring an audio guide and extra content. Until 31 December