Last updated on November 3rd, 2021 at 09:28 am
We still have Diwali, Bonfire Night and the Lord Mayor’s Show to get through before we officially hit the festive season, but methinks the holiday engines are being revved up a tad earlier this year. I kid you not, I walked past a fully decked up Waterstones this week. But I think we can all be forgiven for flirting with some early tinsel, don’t you? Here’s a roundup of some of the best things to do in London this November 2021 – with a dash of Yule.
Art and Exhibition
The Courtauld Gallery in London will re-open its doors this month following the most significant modernisation project in its history, providing a transformed home for one of the UK’s greatest art collections. In addition, two brand new galleries will provide a beautiful new home for the Courtauld’s programme of temporary exhibitions. Opens 19 November. Book here.
Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution will be the first major exhibition devoted to the international prominence of the legendary Russian goldsmith and the importance of his little-known London branch. With a focus on Fabergé’s Edwardian high society clientele, it will shine a light on his triumphs in Britain as well as the global fascination with the opulence of his creations. 20 November to 8 May 2022. Book here.
Tate Britain’s major exhibition Hogarth and Europe will present his work in a fresh light, seen for the first time alongside works by his continental contemporaries. It will explore the parallels and exchanges that crossed borders and the cosmopolitan character of Hogarth’s art. 3 November to 20 March 2022. Book here.
Over 40 remarkable objects – some dating from over 3,000 years ago – will come to the British Museum from nine museums across Peru. They will go on show alongside around 80 other pieces from the British Museum’s collection in Peru: a journey in time, a special exhibition exploring the thousands of years that humans have lived in the remarkable landscapes of the Andes mountains and beyond. 11 November to 20 February 2022. Book here.
Action-Reaction is the first in an independent series unveiling works from eight carefully chosen artists from around the world. The artists have created a limited-edition collection to be featured in the former home of Isaac Newton – the Westminster Music Library. Expect a show of transformative and experiential works blending design with art through sculpture, paintings, drawings, design and jewellery. 25 November to 7 December. Free entry. 2nd Floor, Westminster Music Library, 35 St Martin’s Street, London WC2H 7HP
Over four decades, Lubaina Himid’s powerful and poetic work has made her an increasingly influential figure in contemporary art – from her pivotal role in the British Black arts movement of the 1980s to winning the Turner Prize in 2017. This autumn Tate Modern will present Himid’s largest solo exhibition to date, incorporating new paintings and significant highlights from across her career. 25 November 2021 to 3 July 2022. Book here.
The Fan Museum re-opens on 10 November after a long Covid slumber. A new exhibition, The Allure of Lace will be showcasing the very best lace fans – Chantilly, English lace, Irish lace, with even a Fabergé thrown in for good measure. More information here.
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is one of the most prestigious photography awards in the world, celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography. This year, the exhibition will take place at the new arts hub, Cromwell Place. 10 November to 2 January 2022. Book here.
Theatre and Stage
Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge is all sold out this year, but you can get tickets from January 2022 onwards. Get your truth, beauty, freedom and love here. On until 29 May 2022.
I am so looking forward to seeing Private Lives at the Richmond Theatre, starring the delicious duo that is Nigel Havers and Patricia Hodge. 9 to 13 November. Book here.
Ralph Fiennes stars in the world premiere stage adaptation of Four Quartets By T S Eliot, four interwoven meditations on the nature of time, faith and the quest for spiritual enlightenment. 18 November to 18 December. Book here.
Opera and Classical Music
Piano virtuoso Sarah Ott is at the Southbank on the 7 November, playing a Chopin’s 24 Preludes. This one is not to miss. Book here.
Having Bartók’s psychological thriller opera Bluebeard’s Castle in the capital once is exciting enough, but lucky us, we have it performed across two venues this month. First up is a showing at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Edward Gardner is conducting and Ildikó Komlósi (mezzo-soprano) and John Relyea (bass) are the soloists. Book here.
Over at Stone Nest, the former Welsh Chapel, is a second serving of Bluebeard. This time, it’s a co-production between Theatre of Sound and Opera Ventures and features a stellar cast, with soprano Susan Bullock, bass-baritone Gerald Finley, baritone Michael Mayes and soprano Gweneth Ann Rand sharing the principal roles of Duke Bluebeard and Judith. 4 to 14 November. Book here.
Staying with Theatre of Sound is Judith’s Castle. Award-winning composer Electra Perivolaris has worked with families living with dementia to create new pieces of music drawn from their stories, experiences and musical memories. Performed by musicians from the London Sinfonietta and Live Music Now. Book here.
Aurora Orchestra’s immersive performance of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony is coming to Printworks (once home to the largest printing press in western Europe) on 11 November. Aurora performs from memory – without the use of printed sheet music – and is thought to be the first orchestra worldwide to perform whole symphonies in this way. Performances at 6 and 9pm. Book here. Please note this is a standing performance.
A sparkling evening of romance, tragedy and high spirits, an international cast of soloists and the London Mozart Players perform a fabulous selection of music from the world’s most popular operas at Cadogan Hall on 3 November.
Christmas events opening this month
One of my favourite Christmas things to do in London is back this year (hooray) and it’s the Christmas Past installation at the Museum of the Home. The Rooms Through Time will be decorated to reflect how people have celebrated Christmas and other Winter events over the past 400 years. Free entry. From 9 November.
Christmas at Kew returns for its ninth sparkling year. This year’s trail features a host of seasonal favourites alongside pioneering new light installations, illuminating Kew Gardens’ UNESCO World Heritage landscape with vibrant bursts of colour and over a million twinkling lights. 17 November to 9 January 2022. Book here.
London’s most scenic ice rink takes centre stage as it makes its return once again to the grounds of Royal Museums Greenwich. At the Queen’s House ice rink, visitors will have the opportunity to skate in the surrounds of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Open from 18 November to 9 January. Book here.
The grounds of the iconic Kenwood House will be transformed into a winter haven, featuring immense Christmas illuminations and installations. Christmas at Kenwood will include an interwoven series of mesmerising installations, including a light avenue, laser garden and a unique ethereal sculpture made by renowned artist Hannelora Johansson. 26 November to 9 January 2022. Book here.
The award-winning Christmas extravaganza at Waddesdon, the Rothschild House & Gardens in Buckinghamshire, is back this winter with a brand-new route that will light up the formal Parterre for the very first time. Visitors can stroll under the stars with family and friends alongside bushes draped in sparkle, explore with the Winter Light Trail, and enjoy a mulled wine or some tasty street food from the Christmas Fair. 13 November – 3 January. Book here.