I've been eyeing the late November tour in London. I know it will be dark and possibly rainy and likely cool or cold. But I'm guessing the city won't feel as crowded and most things will be open. Anyone with experience in London this time of year?
London always feels crowded - because approximately 8 million people live there. Tourist attractions may be somewhat less crowded in November than in July, but the biggies are never "empty." Remember that many are popular with locals and with tourists from other parts of the UK, so it's not just those flying in from other continents trying to see Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, the National Gallery, etc.
As long as you've got clothes for the weather, and are prepared to spend time indoors when being outdoors isn't fun, and don't mind the lack of light, you'll be fine. You certainly won't run out of things to do.
I did London for 10 days right before Thanksgiving week a few years ago and loved it! Yes, the days are shorter for daytime sightseeing but Christmas lights and decorations will be up. So delightful. Just bring warm clothing, dress in layers and don’t forget rain gear. So much to do at night with theatre and musical events, I say go, and enjoy the festive season.
I think I've covered about all the months since London is our favorite city. Yes, it will get dark earlier than in the summer and will be cool - and yes, it will probably rain! Having said that, however, it is very easy to enjoy everything London has to offer at that time of year. The crowds will be less - but London will still be busy.!! As for clothing, nothing special is required. Since I tend to feel the cold, I always pack long underwear (the Uniqlo Heattech line). Jeans/cords and a nicer pair of dress pants, a few long sleeved t shirts, and a nice blouse, a couple of merino wool sweaters. For my outerwear, I pack a rainproof jacket (that comes down mid thigh) a packable down jacket that fits underneath) and two pairs of boots - one pair that is waterproof. A couple of wool scarves and gloves complete the ensemble. If it gets REALLY chilly, I've been known to pick up a knitted cap! The shopping is plentiful so if I need anything, it's always easy to find. On the plus side - English food is more appealing when it's cold - cottage pie, shepherds pie, fish and chips and a good Sunday roast all taste better when there is a chill! So, in short - it's a great time to visit London!!!
Of my last 4 trips to London, one was in late October, 2 were late November/early December, and one was late December. I love London that time of year! Sure, it can be wet but I lucked out and only experienced a meaningful amount of rain on one of those trips. It can be chilly but I never felt it was oppressively cold or anything - your choice of "cool" was definitely more accurate for my trips than "cold". In fact I found it just perfect for tons and tons of walking around the city, with a nice jacket - not so cold as to hurt your ears or fingers, but pleasantly chilly enough to keep me from ever feeling too hot on those long walks.
A key can be to just start your days early - you'll have a limited number of daylight hours. In my case I made it a point to do my sightseeing early, but still had plenty of options for things to do after sunset (afternoons at museums, evening theatre shows, dinners, even nighttime specific things like the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower and what have you).
Anytime of year is a great time of year to visit London!
It’s most always when I go.
True about shorter days but Christmas lights are up and though still crowded not the massive Summer hordes.
Simply dress in layers and make certain your coat is water proof. Cool temps. Some grey days, a few showers and often blue skies and sunshine with a crisp chill.
Be sure to visit the free Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Food and drink, people watching, shopping, amusement rides, and at night gorgeous neon lights.
I have “visited” London 5 days a week for years in November. It will be dark around 4pm, but the city doesn’t close down then! Visit museums later in the day and do the outside stuff earlier on.
It doesn’t rain as much in London as people think. Most of Greece is much wetter at this time of year. Living in the south east, I get far less rain than my mum who lives in the hills near Manchester. Bring a waterproof, good shoes and a warm layer, as even if it’s a mild day, it will be cold at nighttime.
Late November means that the Christmas decorations will be up - Carnaby Street and Burlington Arcade are usually some of the better examples.
Nearly 9 million people live in London and many more commute in each day plus tourists, so it’s never quiet. There are no school holidays in late November.
We spent Thanksgiving in London in 2016. I agree that it is a wonderful time to be in London. We had bright blue skies and crisp air. It does get darker earlier, but it worked well for our evening theatre performances and Christmas light gazing.
Pretty much my favorite time to go! As others have said, dress warmly in layers. Love the lights, love the theater, love the less crowded venues. Sure, they are still busy, but not anything like the summer squeeze.
Also, I find a nice hot cuppa, or bangers and mash so much better when I'm not melting from the heat.
Thank you very much for your helpful replies!
Although I live in California now, I'm from England and I go most years over Thanksgiving to visit family in and around London. I go then because I work in education and it works out well with my work schedule and the fares are cheaper. To be brutally honest, it's not a nice time of the year for weather. It's dark around 4:00 pm and not light until 8:00 am. It's bone chillingly damp and cold and yes, lots of rain. I've even had a little snow then. It won't possibly rain...it will and it will be cold! Yes it's quite as far as tourists are concerned. Things are open, although reduced hours. If you don't mind rainy, damp, cold conditions the fares are cheap at least. Wrap up and take an umbrella! Aside from the lousy weather, you'll love London, lots of inside things to do at least!