With fewer crowds, mild weather, and a host of annual events happening across the city, November may be one of the best times of the year to plan a trip to London. Since the month falls in the middle of the city's shoulder season for tourism, you'll likely find cheaper flights and lower prices at hotels in London, especially if you're traveling during the first half of November or after Thanksgiving.
Although the weather is colder and tourists aren't flocking to the city in nearly as high of numbers, there are still plenty of events and festivals taking place this month, including the Lord Mayor Show and the London Jazz Festival. Additionally, Christmas lights start clicking on across the country in mid-November and events celebrating the holiday pick up toward the end of the month, so if you're looking to get into the season early, you're sure to find plenty of opportunities in London this year.
London Weather in November
Although temperatures in London start off around 55 F (13 C) at the first of the month, the weather gets increasingly colder over the course of November before settling down at an average high of 48 F (8.8 C) on December 1. Fortunately, the temperature doesn't fluctuate much between daytime and nighttime in London, and temperatures rarely drop below freezing at any point in the month.
Unfortunately, November can be one of the rainiest times of the year in London—and one of the most overcast. With an average of fewer than two hours of sunshine per day and 14 to 17 days of rain expected over the month, November weather can be particularly dreary if you're not used to the climate of England.
However, London rarely sees an outright downpour as you're more likely to run into a light drizzle instead, and the month of November is known for sporadic sunny days with unseasonably warm temperatures of up to 60 F (65 C).
What to Pack
Since the London weather can be unpredictable in November, you'll want to pack layers of clothing offering varying warmth and protection from the elements. Short and long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, cardigans, pullovers, a light jacket, and a pair of comfortable—preferably waterproof—shoes are essential for a comfortable trip. You may also want to invest in a stylish raincoat in addition to bringing an umbrella as it will do a better job of protecting your clothes from the drizzly and misty weather London experiences throughout this month.
November Events in London
Special events and celebrations start early in November with Bonfire Night fireworks displays and effigy burnings all around the city on November 5, but no matter what time of the month you visit, you're sure to find something exciting to do in London. Whether you're taking a moment on Remembrance Sunday to honor British veterans or you're checking out some local talent at the London Jazz Festival, you're sure to enjoy your visit if you plan your vacation in November around these great events:
- Bonfire Night: Although not an official Bank Holiday, this national celebration on November commemorates the arrest of a British "traitor" with bonfires and firework displays.
- London to Brighton Veteran Car Run: Celebrating the history of automobile development in England, this annual tradition started in 1896 and only allows vehicles built before January 1, 1905, to compete in the run. The event takes place on the first Sunday in November (and has done so since 1956).
- Remembrance Sunday: Equivalent to America's Veteran's Day, this national holiday is celebrated on the nearest Sunday to November 11 with special community and city events throughout London.
- Lord Mayor's Show: On the second Saturday of November, a new Lord Mayor of the City of London (not a Mayor of London) is sworn into duty for the year, which is immediately followed by a grand parade through the city streets.
- London Jazz Festival: Over the course of 10 days this month (November 16 to 25, 2018), this city-wide festival will take over London venues for performances by both rising stars and jazz legends alike.
- Christmas Lights in the West End: Both Oxford Street and Regent Street switch on their holiday lights for the season in early November, which is usually marked with a tree-lighting ceremony or event.
November Travel Tips
- Although there are no more official Bank Holidays in London until Christmas Day, there are still plenty of opportunities to take a long weekend trip from the city if you can get time off from work.
- Avoid booking accommodations during America's Thanksgiving as hotels will likely increase prices to accommodate the influx of tourists. Even though England doesn't celebrate the holiday, businesses across the country anticipate American travelers who will take the opportunity to visit.
- London schools are in session throughout the month, so visiting attractions during the weekdays will mean fewer lines and shorter wait times at even the most popular destinations in and around the city.
- Bonfire Night, which is celebrated on November 5 each year, is also known as Guy Fawkes Night, named after the revolutionary who attempted to blow up the House of Parliament in 1605 to protest the British government. An effigy of Fawkes is often burned on a bonfire to celebrate the anniversary of his arrest, which is where the tradition got its new name.
- Like New York City's Broadway, London's West End is known around the world for its theatres and performing arts centers—as well as the shows produced at each year-round. Be sure to stop by one of these great venues for an evening of world-class entertainment.