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Cultural things to do in London this November

Last updated on May 14th, 2024

Are you looking for a guide to what’s on in London this month? Get your November diaries out and get planning with my guide to some of the best cultural things to do in London this month including art exhibitions, theatre, events, opera, dance and music.

Londoness Loves: Cultural things to do in London this November 2022

Free things to do in London this November

free things to do in London this month

Image: Joe Humphrys

This winter, step out of the cold and into the warmth of Museum of the Home’s Winter Festival with vibrant community celebrations, colourful light installations, seasonal decorations and a magical, evocative restyling of its iconic Rooms Through Time display to represent winter stories. More here.

The Museum of London will mark its closure at London Wall after 45 years with two spectacular free weekend festivals which will include DJ sets, London’s biggest table football competition, immersive theatre, and late-night cinema. For the first time in the museum’s history, it will remain open for 24 hours from Saturday 3 December. This will allow visitors to come in throughout the night for a last chance to see its galleries and collections before it closes on Sunday 4 December at 5pm, preparing for its new home in West Smithfield. 26 & 27 November (family weekend festival) and 3 & 4 December (music weekend festival). More here.

Things to do in London this November

Harbour of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile, Joseph Mallord William Turner, exhibited 1825, but subsequently dated 1826, The Frick Collection, New York

Two ground-breaking pictures by Joseph Mallord William Turner will return to the UK for the first time in over 100 years, as part of a focused new National Gallery exhibition, Turner on Tour. Room 46. 3 November to 19 February 2023.

A field of scarlet poppies will blanket Westminster Abbey’s grounds this November to remember loved ones lost serving in the Armed Forces. Now in its 94th year, the Field of Remembrance has been taking place since November 1928 when The Poppy Factory took a group of disabled veterans, a tray of poppies and a collecting tin to the grounds of St. Margaret’s Church at the Abbey. 10 and 11 November. More details here.

Lfree things to do in London this month

Image: Clive Totman

The Lord Mayor’s Show and its spectacular procession is on Saturday 12 November. The 694th Lord Mayor of London will be Alderman Nicholas Lyons of the Tower Ward. More details here.

This November, a free exhibition Injecting Hope: The race for a COVID-19 vaccine will open at the Science Museum to explore the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will examine the scientific breakthroughs which saw the identification of the virus’ genetic code and development of vaccines at record speed as well as the logistical challenges of their production and distribution; 30 November to 7 January 2024.

For the first time in their long and distinguished careers, lifelong friends Sir Quentin Blake and Linda Kitson are presenting a showcase of their recent work, side by side in a major new exhibition at the Bankside Gallery: Sir Quentin Blake and Linda Kitson. 9 to 17 November. More info here.

free things to do in London this NovemberCinzia says… is the first major retrospective of artist and fashion designer Cinzia Ruggeri, a unique figure of Italian postmodernism who moved freely across artistic disciplines. The exhibition will feature a wide selection of garments from Ruggeri’s her collections, newly restored and presented for the first time since their runway debuts in the 1970s and 1980s. 5 Nov to 13 Feb 2023 at Goldsmiths CCA.

Renowned Remembrance Artist Jacqueline Hurley will be exhibiting her oeuvre of artwork at St Clement Danes Church, Strand during Remembrance Week from the . Beautiful and poignant expressionistic paintings depicting tributes and scenes of Remembrance will be displayed during Remembrance week. 10 to 13 November. Details here.

The artist Sarah Biffin came from humble origins yet rose to fame in the 19th-century as a remarkably talented miniaturist, undertaking commissions for royalty. As a working-class, disabled female artist, her artwork – many proudly signed “without hands” – is a testament to her talent and life-long determination. A new exhibition at Philip Mould & Company will be the first of its kind to present Biffin’s artistic achievements and represent her history. 1 November to 21 December.

Bringing architectural models and ideas alive through movement, sound, scent and film, the free Supermodels exhibition opens to the public at Regent Quarter, King’s Cross London N1. In the eerie setting of a building site awaiting refurbishment, multidisciplinary design and architecture studio Piercy&Company presents a performance of animated models of their buildings and projects – reconnecting our digital and physical worlds through a childlike sense of wonder and delight as their amazing models spring into life. 25 November to 11 December. More details here.

Butterfly Effect opens at the Saatchi Gallery, showcasing new works by Lily Mixe, an artist who explores forms in nature and the inter-connectedness of species on planet Earth. More info here.

London’s Christmas lights get the big switch on this month kicking off with Oxford Street on 2 November. Look out for spectacular displays in Covent Garden (8 November), Carnaby Street (8 November), the Angels of Regent Street (9 November), Belgravia (9 November), Marylebone (10 November), Bond Street (17 November), Leadenhall market (17 November) and Chelsea (19 November).

Pick of the Month

Dennis Severs House ChristmasNo one does time travelling and Christmas better than the Dennis Severs House. The historic house in Spitalfields is dressed for the Christmas season with garlands and festoons abounding. Mrs Jervis has installed a swan as the centrepiece of her yuletide table in the eighteenth-century dining room, while in the Victorian parlour a tree groans under the weight of sparkling glass decorations. Pick from a daytime or evening Silent Tour (no talking and no photography allowed) and listen out for the horses trotting down the cobbled street and the doorbell chiming as you settle in for a magical tour of this extraordinary house. 24 November to 8 January. Book here.

London Art and Exhibition this month

The Royal Academy of Arts presents Making Modernism, the first major UK exhibition devoted to women artists working in Germany in the early 20th century. It will include 67 paintings and works on paper primarily by Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin. 12 November to 12 February 2023

Cultural things to do in London this November

Abakan Red 1969, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Tate © Fundacja Marty Magdaleny Abakanowicz Kosmowskiej I Jana Kosmowskiego, Warsaw.

Explore an extraordinary body of work by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz known as Abakans. Made of organic materials such as horsehair, sisal and hemp rope, these complex three-dimensional forms broke new ground for art in the 1960s and 70s. Bringing together 26 of these radical works for the first time in the UK, the exhibition will present a forest of towering sculptures, enabling visitors to explore their ambiguous forms and earthy scents. 17 November to 21 May 2023. Book here.

Things to do in London this month

The Museum of the Moon, Luke Jerram, Old Royal Naval College

Artist Luke Jerram’s awe-inspiring The Museum of the Moon will be displayed in the magnificent Painted Hall.  Visitors to this magical setting can experience the seven metre, to-scale Moon, created using NASA imagery, as it hangs in the Baroque hall.  The installation features a surround sound composition by BAFTA-winning composer Dan Jones for a stunning and profound art-meets-nature experience.  There will be a programme of Lates, music, dining and activities alongside The Museum of the Moon.

London Opera and Classical Music this November

The Belle Époque Festival at St John Smith’s Square celebrates the culture and glamour of turn of the century Paris with songs and orchestral works from composers such as Fauré, Debussy, Hahn and Ravel. With performances from renowned soprano Véronique Gens, pianist William Howard and the Southbank Sinfonia, transport yourself to Paris and revel in this brand new festival.  24 to 27 November.

The Tower of London is the scene for a tangled web of melancholy and mirth in Gilbert & Sullivan’s beloved operetta, The Yeomen of the Guard. The arrival of a travelling troupe of performers sparks forbidden romances, fantastical plots and unrequited love. 3 November to 2 December. Book here.

Join soprano Lucy Crowe and Musical Director of the London Handel Festival for a special recital celebrating some of Handel’s best-loved works. 3 November.

Following their sold-out summer showcase at Opera Holland Park, historical musical ensemble, Figure are back and invite audiences to an evening of reflective words and captivating choral music held at the glorious Union Chapel. As we enter this season of remembrance, Figure invites you to pause and be guided by the sacred music of Gabriel Fauré and Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Eager to expand the scope of historical performance, Reflection and Remembrance will be an evening of stillness, solemnity, and poignancy. 12 November. Book here.

Tamás András (violin) and Andrew Skidmore (cello) join conductor, Simon Over to celebrate Southbank Sinfonia’s 20th Anniversary. Expect a tour of various moods and dance rhythms, from grand Baroque music, wit and liveliness, to passionate melodies and quick march and immerse yourself in Brahms’ sumptuous Double Concerto in A minor. 5 November. Book here.

Benjamin Britten’s shattering chamber opera, The Rape of Lucretia, explores some of the darkest drives in the human psyche and what happens when power and war give them free rein. In this contemporary new staging at the Linbury Theatre, Auroa Orchestra collaborates with the Royal Opera House as Oliver Mears directs, while Corinna Niemeyer conducts a cast drawn from the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme and the Jette Parker Artists Programme. Book here.

Every Monday lunchtime, Wigmore Hall and BBC Radio 3 present an hour-long concert broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and streamed on the Wigmore Hall website, reaching over half a million listeners a week and attracting some of the biggest names in classical music. Concerts include Cinquecento (7 November), Calidore String Quartet (14 November), The King’s Singers (21 November), Andrei Ioniţă cello & Naoko Sonoda piano (28 November).  More here.

Opera fans are in for a treat when internationally acclaimed British soprano Lucy Crowe shares her secrets during an Opera Prelude Masterclass. 22 November at the Garrison Chapel. Book here.

London’s four-day celebration of all things early music returns with international artists, a Nitin Sawhney world premiere, an exhibition of instruments, demonstrations and workshops. The 49th London International Festival of Early Music (LIFEM) will welcome audiences and visitors to Blackheath venues in London from 9 – 12 November. More here.

Classical guitarist Michael Poll will be performing works from his album ‘7-String Bach’ in St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Hailed as ‘Masterful’ by Gramophone Magazine, Michael
Poll’s 7-String Bach has been streamed over 1 million times since its release on Orchid Classics in 2018. Book here.

Cultural things to do in LondonJake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s operatic adaptation of the genre-defining Frank Capra film of the same name, It’s a Wonderful Life will transport you to the idyllic little town of Bedford Falls, where it’s a white Christmas – though not everything is merry and bright. With Frederick Ballentine and Danielle de Niese.25 November to 9 December. Book here.

London Theatre and Stage this month

cultural events this month in London A year of protest that divided America. As two men fight to become the next President, all eyes are on the battle between two others: the cunningly conservative William F Buckley Jr., and the iconoclastic liberal Gore Vidal. Zachary Quinto makes his London stage debut playing left-wing icon Gore Vidal, with David Harewood reprising his role as the right-wing figurehead William F. Buckley in Best of Enemies. 14 November to 18 February 2023. Book here.

what's on in London this monthIn the court of Queen Elizabeth I, the young nobleman Orlando begins his search for identity as he embarks on one of the greatest adventures in all of literature.  Golden Globe winner Emma Corrin leads an ensemble company in Neil Bartlett’s new adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s visionary masterpiece, directed by Tony and Olivier winner Michael Grandage. 26 November to 25 February 2023. ​​Book here.

London Dance this November

Carlos Acosta’s Birmingham Royal Ballet returns to the Sadler’s Wells stage with a triple bill of works chosen specially by Carlos: a rare chance to see a major piece from the master of modern ballet Jiří Kylián; a first opportunity to enjoy the superbly symphonic work of Uwe Scholz; and Morgann Runacre-Temple, a rising star recently lauded for her new production of Coppélia. 2 to 5 November.

London Events this November

The UK’s original festive light trail returns to dazzle Kew Gardens in London, bringing magical new installations for the tenth anniversary this Christmas. New installations include suspended illuminations and optical illusions, featuring over a million twinkling lights along a 2.7km trail. Highlights include the iconic Palm House projections, Starry Night featuring thousands of twinkling lights, and ‘Illusion Hole’ by UxU Studio.  Be quick as it’s selling fast! Book here. 16 November 2022 –8 January 2023

Ally Pally’s Fireworks Festival returns this 5 November, taking on a full festival feel with outdoor live music, DJs and street food. Buy tickets here.

Out of Towners

Waddesdon Manor Christmas

Image: Chris Lacey

This November, Christmas at Waddesdon — the much-loved festive extravaganza in Buckinghamshire — returns for its 20th year with magical lights and the gardens aglow. For the first time since 2019, the magnificent château is throwing open the doors again and welcoming visitors inside the house to enjoy a new route through the splendidly decorated interiors and beautiful displays. 12 November to 2 January. Book here.

A London arts and culture blog featuring articles about art, theatre, opera, dance, music and design.

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