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London over Thanksgiving weekend? positives/negatives?

My husband & I are debating about going to London over Thanksgiving this year-our first visit. Being that it is off-season, there are some great deals available. I see there are no English holidays to deal with. Would probably take an overnight on Wednesday, stay 4 nights & fly home on Monday. Cold weather is not a problem with us. In your opinion, are there any negatives about this idea?

Are most, if not all sites open at this time of year & on Sundays? Any websites for discounted tickets to major attractions?

Looking at possibly doing a Windsor/Stonehenge/Bath tour on either Friday or Saturday-any recommendations for tour company?

Added to topic after receiving first few responses: We are not interested in shopping, only sightseeing.

Thank you in advance for any info!

Posted by
1225 posts

There's no way I'd fly over for such a short time for a leisure trip and I'd be having serious talks with my boss if it was for a business trip.

Sorry, even if money is no object, you ALWAYS sleep on planes and nothing can go wrong, I wouldn't fly across the pond for 4 days, at least one of them jet lagged.

To not be Debbie Downer, I will tell you that Black Friday has become a minor thing in the UK and thus maybe you'll find some deals.

Posted by
24 posts

We did a long weekend in Paris last Thanksgiving (6 nights). It was amazing! No holiday closures to worry about, but oh the sales! All the stores had Black Week/Black Weekend events and were open extra hours with great deals. The weather was fine, and we did much better than turkey and mashed potatoes for our Thanksgiving feast.

Posted by
2196 posts

I was in London for Thanksgiving Weekend a few months ago. Granted, I was flying from Amsterdam (55 minutes) and not from the USA. They also do Black Friday, so there are sales. It was very crowded despite being at the height of COVID! And yes, it was cold but no different than where we lived. ( a few places even offered a Turkey Dinner for visiting Americans, although we did not partake). Plenty of touring options with Blue-Badge guides are available.

Posted by
21057 posts

Many of the major museums in London are free/donation requested.

London Walks does excellent city walking tours. In the past it has also had a few out-of-town day trips on the calendar. They seem to be run efficiently: you take a train to (or near) your destination, rather than a usually-slower bus. They have a Salisbury/Stonehenge tour, though whether it will be operating in November, I do not know.

Windsor/Stonehenge/Bath seems like not a good idea to me. Bath has a lot of sights, and most people here would probably suggest that it's a bit too far from London to make an ideal day trip. When you add two other stops along the way, it seems to me you'd be paying a lot of money to spend a lot of hours sitting on a bus.

Posted by
461 posts

The main negative is day length... At the end of November sun rise is 7.30am and sunset 5pm. On dull days it will seem to get dark a lot earlier than this. Very few visitors come at this time of year. Weather can be overcast and murky all day.

I certainly wouldn't think of doing the Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath tour at the end of November. With the short day length much of the journey will be in the dark. It is also a long day and much of it is spent sitting in a coach. You won't get that long at any of the places.

Most major attractions are open all year but you will need to check websites to confirm this as some attractions close end of October.

Posted by
9701 posts

3rd vote "NO" on the day tour to Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath. In my opinion it's a poor way to see these 3 awesome sights in the summer when you've got LOTS of daylight and an even worse idea with the decreased daylight of this time of year. There is plenty to see in London that you will not run out of stuff to do with your short time frame.

You can do Windsor as a day trip out of London - very easy to do on your own.

There is also a cool event at Kew Gardens called Christmas at Kew. This botanical garden is lit with festive lights and displays each evening starting Nov 19 for 2022. You'll need to buy tickets ahead of time.

Posted by
6343 posts

November is the month I choose for years to travel to London. Liked seeing the Lord Mayors Parade, the set up of Xmas Lights, and of course the cost savings on airfare and accommodations.

Weather was no bother. Layered clothing. Sometimes early morning drizzle but by noon blue skies and sun.

Look at the Days Out 2 for 1 deal ( if after the Covid lockdown it is still in existence)

Its England. Thanksgiving is a US holiday. Christmas shopping will be in full swing.

It will start to get dark by 4pm.

Posted by
2938 posts

Another vote no on the day tour to Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath.
You have received lots of good advice already, so I will just say, pick ONE of those destinations and go for the day.
There's plenty to do in London, so you really don't need to leave there to find other things to do.
Personally, I would be begging my boss at work to give me the rest of the week off near Thanksgiving.

If you are wanting to do the tour you asked for, here's your company; Evan Evans.
Just answering your original question, as it's what you asked for; NOT saying that you should do it.
That said, it's your trip; do what you want to do.

Posted by
1733 posts

I love London at that time of year. Christmas decorations are up and the shop windows are decorated as well. With only four days, you will have plenty to occupy yourself with in London alone. If you want to do a day trip, I would suggest Windsor or Hampton Court. At night, St. Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square has wonderful concerts and there are always various theater performances.

Posted by
5544 posts

People react differently, but when I return from the States, it takes me a week for my sleep pattern to return to normal and I am zombie like for the first few days, so I wouldn’t find a 3 day trip (excluding arrival day) to be a pleasant experience. As others have said, daylight hours are short, but there are the Christmas lights.

With so little time, I would stay in London. The Bath, Windsor, Stonehenge trip isn’t even worthwhile in the summer when daylight hours are longer, as you spend longer in transit than seeing each place. Things will change by November, but there is no way that I would want to spend the day sat on a coach with 50 unmasked people at present.

Posted by
1778 posts

My first time in London was the week after Thanksgiving and I loved it. You’re in a major city so nothing shuts down. With four days I would save Stonehenge for another trip since you can no longer walk around the rocks and must view it from a far.

Posted by
301 posts

I love London around Thanksgiving. But thats just me.

Would I ever hop across the pond for a 4 night adventure? Yes, I absolutely would and have done trips like this on numerous occasions. It will be hectic. It will be exhausting. And it will be absolutely fabulous if you let it.

What I would NOT do is Windsor/Stonehenge/Bath. London is a glorious town - plenty to see and do without heading out, especially on a first visit. Just plan your sightseeing (lots to see and do in London) in London, and save the excursions for when you have a bit more time.

Posted by
3428 posts

Late Nov/early Dec. is a great time to visit London. If you can add even a few more days, I would try to do so. But even a short trip is good. Windsor is a great half to 3/4 day trip and easy to do by train on your own. Just catch the train to Slough at Paddington Station and change for the Windor train at Slough. Total train ride is about 25 min. Trains run regularly (every 1/2 hour or so) in both directions. Windsor is very walkable. You can tour the castle and grounds, or just view it from outside. We liked to visit Windsor on days when we'd be going to the theatre in the evening. We'd just head back in the afternoon, rest a bit and shower and change before heading out for an early supper and the show. If you are only gong to have the short time, I'd not really plan on any other day trips, but Bath is also doable on your own by train, if you feel you must. I agree that the tour company versions of the Windsor, Bath, Stonehenge trip is not worth the time or money (at any time of year, really).

I know you say you aren't really interested in shopping, but we found we'd often find good Christmas presents at some of the markets. Lots of good craftspeople with wonderful, unique, handmade items.

On one morning (I'd aim for Friday) head to the Tower of London so that you can be in line before opening. After entering, head straight for the Crown Jewels, then do the Yeoman Warder Tour. After that you can just wander around and enjoy views (good view of Tower Bridge, especially if a tall ship comes through while you are watching), and the gift shop is excellent.

If you get to add a few days, I'd visit Kew Gardens. Even in winter they have excellent exhibits, and it certainly isn't crowded. And again- EXCELLENT gift shop (a few times, we went and asked for admittance to just the gift shop - they let you go in for a short time, no charge),

Canterbury and Dover are also doable by train as day trips (even combined) on your own, as are Stratford-upon-Avon, Winchester, and even York or Cardiff (they do require longer train rides, but fun).

Posted by
5147 posts

This trip sounds like a great deal of fun! I think that a day trip to one location would be great. If you have your heart set on that particular tour, go ahead and do it anyway. It is your trip.

You are looking for a quick and reasonably priced trip, so I am going to suggest Premier Inns. I like Premier Inn Waterloo and Premier Inn County Hall for their locations.

I must give you a warning. You will find yourself planning your next trip back before you even leave London for home......

Posted by
7189 posts

Go for it there is no right answer everyone is different. I've done short trips like that and have had a ball.

Posted by
3185 posts

With that short amount of time, it would be an unnecessary waste of time and money to go elsewhere, except Windsor only. As Rick says, assume you will come back(for a longer period of time next time). If you've read other threads on this forum, you will see that most of us think that the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is a waste of time and energy-I think that Windsor is a much better royal site, and apparently the Queen also thinks so.