From firework displays to the arrival of the first festive events of the season, November is a wonderful month for the capital’s social butterflies. Whether you’re looking to wine and dine at London’s newest restaurants, get your Christmas shopping started early, or reacquaint yourself with some of the city’s best cultural institutions, there’s no excuse for an empty diary. Here’s our guide to the best things to do in London in November 2023.
The restaurants: The Wolseley City, Pearly Queen and Jamie Oliver Catherine St
The Wolseley City will open on 8 November in the heart of London’s historic Square Mile, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the restaurant group’s flagship, found in Piccadilly. The restaurant, located a stone’s throw from Monument Square, will be much larger than its Piccadilly sister, housing two sweeping bar spaces and two private dining rooms. Overseen by head chef, Edward Ross, the menus at The Wolseley City will retain the original’s signature all-day offering, ranging from treacle-cured bacon chops with a double-fried egg to plateau de fruits de mer. Don’t forget to try the expertly curated wine, cocktail and champagne list too.
Having made a name for himself over in Hackney with his delectable seafood menus at Cornerstone, acclaimed chef Tom Brown will extend his offering to Shoreditch with a new oyster bar and restaurant, Pearly Queen, where indulgence and fun will be the catch of the day. Taking his cue from Pearly Queen’s East End location, Brown was inspired by the area’s lively history, heritage and traditions of fish cookery to create plates of UK-sourced oysters, shellfish platters with seaweed aioli and burnt tomato ketchup, cockle bhajis, prawn scotch eggs and terrine of octopus. The coastal cocktail menu, curated by Max Venning, will be served across the two-floor, 60-cover restaurant, while those looking for a couple of pints and a handful of oysters can dock themselves upstairs at the East End boozer.
28 November will see celebrity chef Jamie Oliver open the doors to his newest restaurant on Covent Garden’s Catherine Street, adjacent to the Theatre Royal and promising a warm welcome with well-sourced food at its heart. Diners will enter the eatery via a courtyard garden featuring a soaring ceiling, relaxed seating and exposed brick walls covered in vines, wisteria and trees. Helming the kitchen will be head chef Chris Shaill, who previously worked alongside Oliver for eight years at Barbecoa, along with pastry chef Emma Jackson, who joins from Soho Farmhouse and Petersham Nurseries. The menu aims to champion independent suppliers with thoughtful dishes of devilled eggs with sustainable Exmoor caviar, Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese croquettes, and a vegan smoked tofu tarama with heritage radishes before larger plates of slow-braised meats, British game and, of course, homemade pasta.
The Wolseley City opens on 8 November at 68 King William Street EC4N 7HR, visit thewolseleycity.com; Pearly Queen opens on 11 November at 44 Commercial Street, E1 6LT, visit thepearlyqueen.com; Jamie Oliver Catherine St opens on 28 November at 6 Catherine Street, WC2B 5JY, visit jamieolivercatherinest.com
The supper clubs: A love letter to Oaxaca and Jack Stein x Hoppers
On 2 November, Decimo’s Michelin-starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias will welcome Ixta Belfrage, author of Mezcla: Recipes to Excite and co-author of Ottolenghi’s Flavour, for an evening celebrating the cuisine of Mexico’s Oaxaca. Kicking off with a Mezcal Amarás cocktail of Guyaba and naranja agria mezcalita, guests will toast to the start of a collaborative, family-style four-course menu featuring plates of crab tamale steamed in banana leaf and prawn chile relleno with habanero salsa roja, before sharing dishes of red mullet and yellow tomato agua chile with charred cascabel and grilled chicken with Oaxacan mole and corn tacos, and finishing off with a dessert of masa ice cream taco with caramelised tortilla, coffee and cacao cajeta.
Elsewhere in London, TV chef Jack Stein, famous for leading his father’s Rick Stein Restaurants empire, is teaming up with Hoppers’ Karan Gokani to bring two unique dining experiences to the capital – marrying spectacular seafood and produce from the south coast of Britain with the bold and aromatic flavours of Sri Lanka and South India. Hosted on 2 November at Rick Stein Barnes and 19 November at Hoppers Soho, embark on a flavoursome adventure with whole crab curry, hot butter langoustines, and buttermilk oysters alongside a selection of classic sides such as lunu miris, dhal curry, and Cornish green mallung. A percentage from each ticket sold will be donated to Feeding The Future: Hoppers’ charity initiative working with Hemas Outreach Foundation to provide early childhood care to disadvantaged communities in Sri Lanka.
A love letter to Oaxaca takes place on 2 November at Decimo, 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG, visit opentable.com; Jack Stein x Hoppers will take place on 2 November in Barnes and 19 November in Soho, visit hopperslondon.com
The bars: Bars of Britain at The Soho Hotel
From 31 October to 3 November, the Refuel Bar at The Soho Hotel will be hosting Bars of Britain: a series of takeovers championing brilliant bars from across the country. Running over four nights, The Soho Hotel will welcome bars from Michelin-starred chefs Simon Rogan and Paul Ainsworth along with award-winning speakeasies from Cardiff and Edinburgh to create unique cocktails. For example, Edinburgh’s Bramble will be serving its signature serve mixing Portobello Road 171 Gin, lemon, and blackberry among others, while CiCi’s Bar from the Cornish town of Padstow has created an innovative menu including the Who Dares Wins featuring Paul Ainsworth x Salcombe Daring Gin, buttermilk half and half, yuzu, lemon, apple and soda.
Bars of Britain runs from 31 October to 3 November at 4 Richmond Mews, W1D 3DH, visit firmdalehotels.com
The hotel: Broadwick Soho
As characterful as its historic location, Broadwick Soho is the newest independent luxury hotel in London’s West End, opening on 15 November. Channelling the grit, glamour and wild energy of this storied neighbourhood, this contemporary 57-room retreat has been designed by world-renowned interior designer Martin Brudnizki to feature a range of inspirations, from Jazz Age opulence to Italian holidays, in what promises to be a feast for the senses.
As with every hotel in the capital, Broadwick Soho boasts an eclectic range of restaurants and bars. Dear Jackie, the hotel’s flagship lower-ground restaurant, serves classic Italian gastronomy with a modern twist, while the resident-only lounge, The Nook, offers a relaxing escape with a fireplace and vinyl player for guests to enjoy. Broadwick Soho’s rooftop dining bar and terrace, Flute, is the hotel’s crown jewel, offering incredible views over London while sitting just above is an eighth-floor private dining room: a truly unique space with floor-to-ceiling windows set to entertain the most glamorous dinners and parties.
Broadwick Soho opens on 15 November at 20 Broadwick Street, W1F 8HT, visit broadwicksoho.com
The theatre: Nutcracker at the Southbank Centre and EFG Jazz Festival
Running until 6 January, Underbelly, Francesca Moody Productions and the Southbank Centre present the world premiere of their production of the Nutcracker. Directed and choreographed by Olivier Award winner Drew McOnie, this new version of the festive classic is playful and mischievous, diving into a glittering wonderland with a jazz-infused twist. Tchaikovsky’s world-famous score is reimagined by multi-award-winning jazz artist Cassie Kinoshi for a swinging onstage jazz band, with dancers moving in and among the cabaret-style seating bringing the storytelling and wild-spirited adventure of the Nutcracker to life.
From 10-19 November, EFG London Jazz Festival will take over Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall to celebrate the journey of the iconic Jazz Voice, featuring the best moments from the festival's 15-year history. Expect performances from cutting-edge artists pushing jazz into new forms, including American jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant who will perform at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, while other highlights include Avishai Cohen Trio sharing the stage with Emma Rawicz at Cadogan Hall, Angelique Kidjo’s unique performance with Chineke! Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, and Cape Verdean singer Mayra Andrade.
Nutcracker at the Southbank Centre runs from 28 October 2023 to 6 January 2024 at Tuff Nutt Jazz Club, Level 1, Royal Festival Hall, SE1 8XX, visit southbankcentre.co.uk; EFG Jazz Festival runs from 10-19 November, visit efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk
The events: Bonfire Night at Joia and End of BST at Aire Ancient Baths
For a front-row seat to Battersea’s firework display on 4 November, head to Joia Rooftop: the open-air bar and terrace perched on the 16th floor of Art’otel, overlooking the Power Station and Battersea Park. Bonfire Night spectators can kick off the festivities with a warming round of cocktails, including a hot sangria and hazelnut hot chocolate with tequila and sherry, while a DJ soundtracks the occasion from 7.30pm, with fireworks kicking off at 8.10pm in the park below.
To coincide with the clocks changing, Covent Garden-based sanctuary and spa, Aire Ancient Baths, is inviting both Londoners and out-of-towners to take a moment to unwind. In the heart of this transitioning season, the wellness destination – which offers thermal baths, relaxing massages and luxurious rituals in an 18th-century townhouse where the author of Peter Pan once lived – has dedicated a number of packages to nurturing the delicate equilibrium of body and mind. Pick from the Ancient Experience, featuring a tour through thermal baths at different temperatures including the Caldarium (40°C), the Frigidarium (14°C), the 1000-jet Balneum, and the salt exfoliation area, before relaxing completely with a 45-minute massage. Another highlight is the Love Yourself experience, created to melt the stress and pressures away with a full-body massage infusing rich sandalwood oil and warm amethyst crystals, both releasing tension and promoting tranquillity. Sounds like a perfect evening to us…
The shopping experience: Luca Falioni on King’s Road
Ready to start your Christmas shopping? Luca Faloni will be opening the doors to its new London 4,500-sqft flagship store on Chelsea’s King's Road on 8 November, following its success in Piccadilly and Marylebone. The Italian menswear brand will stock its full AW23 collection in store, which also features a chic aperitivo bar and lounge – the perfect place to decompress mid-shopping spree.
Luca Faloni opens on 8 November at 44 King's Road, SW3 4UD, visit lucafaloni.com
The workshops: Lampshade Making Workshop with Alice Palmer
Lampshade designer and creator Alice Palmer will be teaching her very first workshop at Soho’s Ham Yard Hotel on 10 November. From 10am-3pm, the English designer will introduce her range of fabrics, talk through her creative process and teach basic machine sewing skills, before guiding guests in making their own scrunchie lampshade to take home. Tickets, priced at £225pp, also include morning coffee, tea, cake and lunch in the Ham Yard Restaurant and guests are welcome to bring their own sewing machine.
The Lampshade Making Workshop is on 10 November at 1 Ham Yard, W1D 7DT, visit firmdalehotels.com