Oh hi November old friend! Things are getting pretty damn festive this month already. Once the firework displays have fizzled out, the countdown to Christmas commences with heaps of pop-up shopping events and parties galore. Get planning for a mighty month with this bumper list of great things happening in London...
COOL THINGS TO DO
Nov 5: Bonfire Night, various locations. As the autumn evenings grow crisp and cool, November arrives with an abundance of beautiful bonfire night fireworks to warm things up. Wrap up snug and head to one of the capital’s many firework displays (either on the night or at the weekend) to enjoy a banging spectacle.
Nov 5–Jan 25: Chris Stein/Negative: Me, Blondie and The Advent of Punk, Somerset House. To mark Blondie’s fortieth anniversary, Somerset House presents this mega show of previously unpublished photographs by Chris Stein, co-founder of the band.
Nov 5–Dec 22: Graphics RCA: Fifty Years, Royal College of Art. Delving into their huge archive of prints and posters, the RCA celebrates fiftieth anniversary of its graphic design course.
Nov 7: Night Tales, Shoreditch. The winter street food party is back for another year of food (Patty & Bun burgers, Voodoo Ray pizza, etc.), booze and good times in a car park near Old Street.
Nov 8: Lord Mayor’s Show and Fireworks When it comes to London traditions, this is one of the biggies, referenced in Pepys’s diaries and in works by Canaletto and Hogarth. The procession involves a whopping 7,000 people and 180 horses, along with dancers, drummers and floats.
Nov 8–9: Discover Dogs, Earls Court. There’s tail-wagging, face-licking and stick-chasing potential aplenty at the annual Discover Dogs show, with more than 200 different breeds of dog – some 3,000 dogs – all eager to be admired this weekend.
Nov 11–Jan 11: Somerset House Ice Rink. The grand eighteenth-century courtyard at Somerset House is a truly stunning location for a skid around on the ice this winter, and no matter how impressive your skating skills are, a trip to this 900-metre-square outdoor rink will look the very picture of festive fun in your Facebook photos.
Nov 13: Carnaby Street Christmas shopping party. The pedestrianised shopping haven in Soho has long been inventive with its Christmas decorations, so this huge event featuring discounts, live music and free events is a fitting celebration for their switch-on.
Nov 14: Heresy Label launch, Copeland Road. Clothing label Heresy launch their latest ‘Forming’ collection at the new Ali Baba Bar in Peckham this month. Delicious drinks and brilliant clothing from an up-and-coming London design duo- can’t get better than that!
Nov 14–16: Hyper Japan Christmas Market, Olympia. Hyper Japan is back this November with a Christmas market celebrating Japanese culture and cuisine at its best. Visitors can browse stalls selling fashion goods, toys, wrapping paper, traditional tableware and crockery, then pick up edible pressies in the food hall.
Nov 16: Poetry Library Open Day and Live Event, Southbank Centre. The Poetry Library often hosts free events, but on Nov 16 it opens its doors for a free all-day celebration of the written word. In particular, the way that certain objects bring poetry to life.
Nov 17–Mar 12: London Gothic, London Metropolitan Archives. Keep the Halloween spirit alive by delving in to the most horrifying nooks and crannies of London’s history in this exhibition of documents and images from the London Met Archives.
Nov 20–Sept 20: The Institute of Sexology, Wellcome Collection. The Euston institution’s newly expanded gallery space will open with a wink and a blush with The Institute of Sexology, an exhibition that brings together the great pioneers of the study of sex.
Nov 20–Jan 4: Westfield London Ice Rink. The atrium of the Shepherd’s Bush shopping mecca will be transformed into a festive place to glide around in again for 2014, with the return of its 160-capacity indoor ice rink.
Nov 20–Jan 4: Hidden House at Westfield, Stratford. Take a ‘magical’ tour through the enchanted woods and into this fairytale house which holds a dark secret. As you try to discover the truth behind Red Riding Hood’s disappearance, the maze you explore will rustle and whisper and you’ll be immersed in the sounds and smells of the forest. All in an east London shopping centre!
Nov 20–23: Taste of London Winter, Tobacco Dock. Taste of London is bringing its array of dishes, chef demos, talks and tasters to Tobacco Dock this November, so food-obsessed Londoners can eat their way into the winter months.
Nov 21–Dec 7: The Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park. These woodlands are becoming even more magical this winter as for a ninth year they’ll be illuminating the gardens to create a colourful trail for visitors to wander along.
Nov 21: Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink. Henry VIII’s sixteenth-century pad makes a mighty picturesque backdrop for this 900-metre-square outdoor rink, especially when lit up after dark.
Nov 21–Jan 4: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park. The Grinch would have a real job stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park’s massive tribute to festive fun.
Nov 23: Midcentury Modern, Dulwich College. Vintage furniture dealers come out in force for this excellent mid-century fair, featuring classics of British, American and Scandinavian twentieth-century design from Eames to Ercol.
Nov 26–Jan 3: Christmas at Kew. Kew Garden’s annual seasonal makeover is returning this winter. For 2014, a glittery, mile-long trail, guided by snowflakes, will wind its way through the lovely landscape.
Nov 26: Science Museum Lates: Information Age. This month’s evening event is centred on the new Information Age Gallery, the museum’s biggest gallery and the first permanent one in the UK dedicated to the history of information and communications technology.
Nov 27: Fayre of St James (Jermyn Street lights switch-on). A 500-strong crowd will gather for this traditional evening of carols, musical performances, readings and merriment in Piccadilly organised by the Quintessentially Foundation and The Crown Estate.
Nov 27: Lates at Churchill War Rooms. Explore Winston’s War Rooms in the heart of Westminster at this after-hours event celebrating 140 years since Churchill’s birth.
Nov 27–30: Brick 2014 – Built for LEGO fans, ExCel Centre. Now called Brick 2014: Built for LEGO Fans, this interactive event formerly known as The LEGO Show will feature workshops with professional brick builders and LEGO designers, a brick market place (where you can pick up new and second-hand pieces) and impressive displays from around the world.
Nov 28–30: Glorious Georges Christmas, Kensington Palace. Get festive the Georgian way at Kensington Palace this winter with their Christmas celebrations. The beautiful building will be decked with traditional decorations and family-friendly activities will be on offer.
Nov 29: Independent Label Market and London Brewer’s Market, Spitalfields. Vinyl buffs, rejoice: the Independent Label Market is back with hard-copy releases by over 80 of the UK’s best independent record labels. Oh and there’s some great beer to lubricate your shopping.
EATING AND DRINKING
Opens Oct 31: Greek Larder – Casual Greek restaurant from Theodore Kyriakou (founder of The Real Greek, a chain long-since sold on). Part of a new development in King’s Cross.
Opens Nov 3: Roka Aldwych – The fourth London branch of the now-global Roka chain, famed for its modern Japanese grills and sushi.
Opens Nov 4: Snaps & Rye – A new Danish-style restaurant with attached shop located in Westbourne Park.
Opens Nov 8: Heddon Street Kitchen – The latest Modern European restaurant to launch from Gordon Ramsay Holdings – open for lunch and dinner for now.
Opens Nov 8: Café Pistou – A French restaurant in Exmouth Market, serving classic provençal dishes.
Opens Nov 15: Zaika of Kensington – Relaunched modern Indian restaurant and bar by the Tamarind Collection restaurant group.
Opens mid-November: Jinjuu – Judy Joo, of ‘Iron Chef’ fame, opens her own London restaurant with a menu that features her spin on Korean street food. She has previously worked as a chef at Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant in Chelsea.
Opens mid-November: Dishoom – Bombay-style brasserie dining comes to King’s Cross with this third branch of the popular Dishoom chain.
Opens mid-November: Tulse Hill Hotel – Following refurbishment, this nineteenth-century public house is set to reopen as a hotel, with the restaurant serving Modern European dishes and British classics.
Opens end-November: Bo Drake – Former Roka alumni Jan Lee is opening this casual dining restaurant in Soho, specialising in East Asian barbecues.
Nov 3–21: Bridget Christie – An Ungrateful Woman. Last year’s Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner follows up her gong-bagging show with an equally superb, if not better, offering. ‘An Ungrateful Woman’ is a gutsy, ambitious and beautifully crafted hour of stand-up that expertly tackles a serious issue: female genital mutilation. Ground-breaking stuff.
Nov 9: All Day Edinburgh. One day, 25 Edinburgh Fringe shows. Yep, one ticket gives you access to this Sunday afternoon comedy marathon, with Bridget Christie, John Kearns, Nick Helm, Phill Jupitus, Robin Ince and so many more reviving their 2014 Fringe shows.
Nov 10–15: Joseph Morpurgo – Odessa. Hugely innovative character comedy at the Invisible Dot. Morpurgo strings together a ‘Twin Peaks’-style whodunit using real 1980s news footage from Odessa, Texas.
Nov 11: John Waters – Carsick: This Filthy World Volume Two Live Comedy Monologue. Expect weapons-grade filth and US kitsch from the doyen of trash cinema. The man behind ‘Pink Flamingoes’, ‘Hairspray’ and ‘Serial Mom’ plays a rare stand-up date in London for one night only.
Nov 11, 18 and 25 and Dec 2: Andrew Maxwell’s London Loves. Mischievous Irish comic Andrew Maxwell has been a London dweller for 20 years, so he’s practically a Londoner. To celebrate, he’s performing this topical love-letter to London, examining both the pros and cons of being a resident of our city.
Nov 17–Dec 6: Sam Simmons – Death of a Sails-Man. Batshit crazy absurdism from this twice-Foster’s Award nominated Aussie star. In his latest show Simmons plays Phil, a muesli salesman lost at sea on a windsurfing board. As the days pass his mind deteriorates and all manner of hallucinations take place.
Nov 18 and Dec 8: An Evening with Noel Fielding. Fans are being encouraged to go to the ‘Mighty Boosh’ member’s solo shows in fancy dress. So expect to see lazy punters covered in shaving foam claiming to be ‘The Moon’. It’s Fielding’s first ever solo tour! Well, we say ‘solo’, he’s bringing along him brother Mike and ‘Luxury Comedy’ co-star Tom Meeten for the trip.
Nov 22 and 24–26: Sara Pascoe vs History. The smart TV regular (and 2014 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee) focuses on big, complex ideas in her latest solo offering. But Pascoe’s a master at explaining them with any sense of superiority, and she’s relentlessly witty.
Nov 27–29: Lou Sanders in Another Great Show Again. Talking vagina puppets, bags of flour and strange stories of ex-boyfriends – Sanders’s new solo show is pretty crazy. It’s ruddy funny, too – her overblown sense of self-importance is deliciously silly.
Nov 30: Aziz Ansari – Live! Anyone who witnessed ‘Parks and Recreation’ star Aziz Ansari’s triumphant Hammersmith Apollo gig last year can vouch that he’s a spectacular stand-up. He’s back at the end of this month for another high-energy, high-pitched Apollo takeover.
Nov 7: Interstellar This is autumn’s biggest blockbuster. Man of the moment Matthew McConaughey heads into space in Christopher ‘Dark Knight’ Nolan’s hotly anticipated space epic.
Nov 14: The Imitation Game Benedict Cumberbatch is back under the skin of another complex, tortured superbrain. After Sherlock Holmes, Julian Assange and Stephen Hawking he plays Alan Turing in ‘The Imitation Game’. Turing was the wartime hero and maths genius who cracked the Nazi Enigma code and was persecuted for being gay in the 1950s.
Nov 14: The Drop With this one, it’s all about the cast. Tom Hardy is a Brooklyn barman who launders money for the mob with his cousin, played by the late great James Gandolfini.
Nov 20: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 Katniss is back! After destroying the Games for ever, that revolution that’s been a brewin’ in the districts for the past two films is about to explode.
Nov 28: Horrible Bosses 2 Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day return as the three vengeful office workers, this time taking on a smart-guy investor whose dirty dealings have ruined their business.
Or check out the top films to see in November.
Nov 3–9: Fringe! Film & Arts Festival The queer arts celebration is back with a whole host of amazing sounding events around east London.
Nov 5–Dec 4: French Film Festival The twenty-second edition of the French Film Festival UK provides an annual showcase of the best of Francophone cinema.
Nov 6–Nov 23: Jewish Film Festival This annual 3-week UK Festival showcases a wide range of feature films, documentaries and shorts, which tell varied stories of Jewish and Israeli culture and life.
Oct 31–Nov 9: Film Africa Established in 2011, Film Africa offers a high quality and wide-ranging film programme, as well as an event series including director Q&As, talks and discussions.
Saturdays in Nov: House of Walker The Barbican is screening five great ’70s British horror flicks on Saturdays during November.
MUSIC AND NIGHTLIFE
Nov 6: The Knife, O2 Brixton Academy. The Dreijer siblings return, bringing their twisted and pulsating electronica to London for another date on their ‘Shaking The Habitual’ tour.
Nov 9: Mister Sunday, Oval Space. Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin turn Sunday nights into a disco blender with their Mister Sunday parties, which they brought to London for the first time earlier this year.
Nov 12: Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters, Roundhouse. Led Zeppelin may be in the midst of a snazzy, full-catalogue reissue campaign, but don’t get your hopes up for another reunion: Robert Plant’s far too busy with this new band.
Nov 12: La Roux, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. La Roux is back, down one band member (it’s just luminous singer Elly Jackson this time) but up one simply incredible second album, ‘Trouble in Paradise’.
Nov 18–19: Bonnie Prince Billy, St John-at-Hackney Church. Wild-bearded, mad-haired alt country kingpin Will Oldham returns as BPB, performing his dark songs of blinding beauty, brutal honesty, occasional bleakness and frequent, brilliant flashes of dark wit.
Nov 19 and 24: The Jesus and Mary Chain, the Troxy. The founding fathers of fuzz-pop return to the London stage for two dates, going back to their roots for two full performances of their 1985 debut album ‘Psychocandy’.
Nov 20: Chet Faker, The Coronet. Chet Faker brings his electronic soul to Elephant & Castle.
Nov 29: Warpaint, Hammersmith Apollo. The LA quartet return to the UK for some more eerily sweet psychedelia and experimental melodrama. As well as tracks from their spooky-but-sexy debut album ‘The Fool’, they’ll play plenty of songs tonight from their new, self-titled second album.
Nov 13–15: Ja Ja Ja Festival, Queen Mary, University of London. A platoon of artists from Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and the Faroe Islands descend on London for the second Ja Ja Ja festival of Nordic music, arts and food.
Nov 14–23: London Jazz Festival, various venues. Now in its twenty-second year, it’s evolved from the long-standing Camden Jazz Week into an internationally renowned celebration of all things musically deep and delightful, with legends such as Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Ornette Coleman headlining recent festivals.
Nov 15: Sink The Pink and XOYO Present Gloria’s, The Coronet. London, prepare to get fabulous. The capital’s foremost, glitter-drenched party animals Sink The Pink are teaming up with Shoreditch club XOYO to bring back their most delightful and debauched creation, Gloria.
Nov 30: A Night In Paradise, Ministry of Sound. New York stalwarts Danny Krivit and Victor Rosado play the Box, spinning classic PG-style house and disco, and funky French sensation The Reflex will also be busting out his delightfully danceable remix skills.
THEATRE AND DANCE
All month: Made In Dagenham With its refreshing melting pot of creatives – from left-field lyricist Richard ‘Jerry Springer’ Thomas, to the first-time-musical-writer Richard Bean – this film-to-stage adaptation could be the new, hit British musical we have been waiting for this year. And a turn from Hollywood starlet Gemma Arterton as Rita O’Grady, the fictional woman who leads the real life women’s equal pay strike at a Ford factory in 1968, will certainly help its prospects.
Nov 5–15: 2071 Director Katie Mitchell has three productions hitting London in almost as many weeks. But we’re not complaining: Mitchell’s work is always robust, refreshing and exciting. Here she teams up with excellent playwrights Duncan Macmillan and climate scientist Chris Rapley on a piece that explores the pertinent issues of global overcrowding.
Nov 5–Jan 11: La Soiree Everyone loves a bit of high camp over Christmas and you’ll certainly find it at the Southbank Centre this November. The burlesque, circus, vaudeville melee is an absolute blast.
Nov 7–17: Ceremony of Innocence/The Age of Anxiety/Aeternum A triple bill of works by a mixture of choreographers including a new piece by Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett.
Nov 7–29: Far Away As part of her prize for winning the prestigious JMK directing award, Kate Hewitt gets to stage Caryl Churchill’s intriguing 2000 play about four characters in a hostile world dealing with fear and manipulation. Hewitt follows in the footsteps of the likes of Thea Sharrock, Polly Findlay and Natalie Abrahami, so this could be a chance to see the work of a rising star.
Opens Nov 10: Behind the Beautiful Forevers Katherine Boo’s extraordinary non-fiction book about the vast Mumbai slum Annawadi and the lives lived in it, is adapted for the stage by heavyweight talent David Hare. A tale of the stark contrasts of rich and poor, the play is directed by hot-shot, soon-to-be NT boss Rufus Norris and stars the brilliant Meera Syal.
Nov 12–Dec 13: Accolade We loved Blanche McIntyre’s 2011 revival production of Emlyn Williams’s 1950 play – awarding it Time Out’s Off West End production of the year – so we’re happy its returning this November. McIntyre returns to direct the tale of scandal in the life of famous author Will Trenting.
Nov 18–Dec 13: Stink Foot Boisterous fringe theatre the Yard’s newest production is a modern adaptation of Sophocles’s ‘Philoctetes’ adapted and directed by Jeff James. The Yard have been creating some challenging, anarchic offerings on London’s theatre scene of late, and this one, staged in a pool of treacle, sounds as wacky as the best of them.
Nov 18–25: Rambert Dance Company The latest triple bill from one of Britain’s oldest and best-loved dance companies features a host of exciting pieces.
Nov 21–Dec 5: The Gospel According to the Other Mary The world staged premiere of John Adams’s ‘The Gospel According to the Other Mary’, directed by visionary Peter Sellars. Commissioned by the luminous conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic, the piece has been performed in concert previously, but ENO host the first staged production.
Nov 22–Jan 4: Mother Goose All-hail lovers of panto! The queen of the dames Clive Rowe returns to his old stomping ground, and to Susie McKenna’s 2008 Christmas production, to star in Hackney Empire’s usually raucous Christmas offering. Sharon D Clarke joins Rowe onstage for the ‘Oh-no-he-didn’ts!’
Nov 25–Jan 22: Don Quixote Brilliant Cuban dancer and choreographer Carlos Acosta staged his ‘Don Quixote’ in 2013 and revives it now as part of the Royal Ballet’s autumn season.
All month: Emily Carr: From the Forest to the Sea, Dulwich Picture Gallery. Over 100 works including her intense paintings of forest vistas and morning skies, sketchbook drawings, watercolours along with native artifacts.
Opens Nov 8: Crossing The Field: WWI, Football & The Christmas Truce, PM Gallery & House. During the First World War a remarkable event took place over Christmas. In the midst of conflict, British and German soldiers laid down their arms and embraced the spirit of the festive season by sharing food and songs as well as playing football in no man’s land. Here, eight artists respond to these unusual events.
Opens Nov 13: Allen Jones RA, Royal Academy of Arts Burlington Gardens. Last year may have seen our interest in pop art reach fever pitch, but there’s still more on the horizon with this retrospective show of pop-indebted work from the ’60s onwards by this British painter.
Until Feb 2015: Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery. The prestigious photographic portrait award returns with a showcase of the most talented and exciting photographers working across the globe.
Opens Nov 19: Conflict, Time, Photography, Tate Modern. As we look back over 100 years since the end of the First World War, the Tate examines the often uneasy relationship between photography and conflict.
Opens Nov 27: Guy Bourdin: Image Maker, Somerset House. Guy Bourdin: Image Maker is the UK’s largest ever exhibition of his work, charting his 40-year career from protégé of Man Ray to photography revolutionary.
Opens Nov 27: Caragh Thuring, Chisenhale Gallery. Thuring’s latest paintings consider how our appetite for visual stimulus affects our attention span and the amount of time we will spend looking at static imagery.
Check out the Art Calendar for more great shows.
Nov 8–9: Harrods Festival of Christmas To mark the unveiling of Harrods’ Christmas windows, the Knightsbridge landmark will be hosting a weekend of festive celebrations both in-store and on Hans Crescent.
Nov 11–Dec 21: Beyond Retro Christmas Jumper Pop-Up Beyond Retro have teamed up with Save the Children to celebrate Christmas Jumper Day, with a pop-up packed with festive knits.
Nov 11–Jan 11: Fashioning Winter To coincide with the arrival of the skating rink, nine displays, each curated by a fashion expert, will pop up around the building, telling the story of winter trends from the past century.
Nov 26–Dec 10: Mama Brown’s Pop-Up Experience London’s largest ever pop-up shop is back and better than ever, as Chelsea’s old postal sorting warehouse is transformed into an eclectic Christmas shopping destination. Curated by Suzi ‘Mama’ Brown, the retail extravaganza manages to encompass art, design, culture and cuisine.
Also opening this month:
Shinola This Detroit all-American goods company make very cool bikes, leather accessories, and stationery. Opening on Newburgh Street at the end of the month.
Barber and Parlour A new three-storey affair on Redchurch Street. Soho House have created a new men’s grooming salon on the ground floor with a café, and expanded the cheeky parlour upstairs to include a Josh Wood salon.
E Tautz A flagship store launches on Duke Street this month and will see a range of exclusive suits NOT from the catwalk, starting at £795, an introduction to E Tautz denim, and a ‘Made to Measure’ line with over 3,000 tailoring fabrics and 800 to fold cotton shirtings.
Hungry for more? Here’s even more stuff happening in November. Phew!