November in London sees Christmas lights beginning to twinkle, cosy scarves and jumpers re-emerging from the wardrobe and the capital’s skies lit by spectacular fireworks displays for Britain’s Bonfire Night.
Bonfires are lit and there are fireworks displays all over London (and the UK) to commemorate the Gunpowder Plot, an attempt to blow up James I and his Parliament on 1605. The plot’s most famous conspirator, Guy Fawkes, (“The Guy”) is burned as an effigy. Although the official anniversary is on the 5th, bonfires and firework displays start up to 2 weeks before and go on for a week after the actual date. More details and history. In central London one of the biggest event is the bonfire and fireworks in Battersea Park. It’s an all ticket event – available here.
The Regent Street Motor Show. Two days earlier, on November 3, the Regent Street Motor Show returns to the capital, for the largest free motor show in the UK. Head down to Regent Street between 10.30am and 4.00pm as hundreds of vehicles, showcasing 125 years of motoring history, go on display in the famous shopping street – free of normal traffic for the day. Be wowed by a huge collection of impressive cars, motorbikes and classic automobiles dating from pre 1905 to the present day and beyond. Find out about the latest low-emission technologies, and enjoy exciting music and dance performances during the show.
The Lord Mayor’s Show. Saturday November 10. The Lord Mayor’s Show has floated, rolled, trotted, marched and occasionally fought its way through 798 years of London history, surviving the black death and the blitz to arrive in the 21st century as one of the world’s best-loved pageants. Over the centuries the Mayor’s journey became one of London’s favourite rituals. It moved from river barges to horseback and then into the magnificent State Coach, and around it grew a splendidly rowdy and joyful mediaeval festival known as the Lord Mayor’s Show.
The London Jazz Festival, November 16 – 25, is the capital’s biggest pan-city music festival, taking place annually in November. Widely acknowledged for delivering world-class artists and emerging stars, the festival continues to take jazz to a massive audience. Presenting 2,500 artists across 60 venues, more than 250 shows take place in London’s best concert halls and arts centres, including the Southbank Centre, Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Centre, Ronnie Scott’s and more.
London Christmas Lights, November 6 – January 6 2019. You know that Christmas really is on its way when Oxford Street is transformed by glittering lights and enchanted shoppers. This year, a competition was launched for new design ideas from designers and architects from all over the world to ensure that the 2018 display is the most spectacular to date. With 40 million visitors expected to come and see the vibrant display, we can’t wait to see how they look.
London’s October Food and Drink Festivals
The summer holidays are over, the kids are back at school, the torrent of London tourists has diminished to a gentle flow and Londoners are preparing to enjoy the beauty of the autumn colours and festivals of food and drink.
For London aficionados, September and October is the time to visit especially if they enjoy cocktails, good food and fine wine.
1-7 October, London Cocktail Week. A £10 London Cocktail Week pass entitles you to £6 festival cocktails in 300 of London’s best bars, first look access to pop-ups and parties and free unlimited entry to The Cocktail Village. More details.
1-31 October, London Restaurant Festival. Now in its tenth year the London Restaurant Festival celebrates London’s extraordinarily diverse range of restaurants. The unique programme of 60 events includes Restaurant-Hopping Tours, Gourmet Odysseys, Chef-Hosted events, Eat Art and Ultimate Gastronomic Weekends. More details.
And if you want to experience some really famous London restaurants you can learn about them here.
Some London Walks
Sight-seeing tour buses are a familiar feature of all large cities and are a good way to quickly view the major landmarks and get orientated. But to really explore a city you need to be on foot.
This post is about London walks, guided or self-guided.
The company offering the largest selection is London Walks. Every day they have a wide variety of morning, afternoon and evening walking tours. No booking or pre-payment is needed, you just turn up and meet the guide just outside the exit of the designated Underground Station (Tube Stop) at the time stated. It’s £10 for an adult (£8 for over 65s) and children under 15 accompanied by a parent go free. Walks last for about 2 hours.
Rather more off-the-wall is Bowl of Chalk (Cockney rhyming slang for ‘walk’) run for the last 6 years by Jonnie. Walks are on Saturdays (Central London) and Sundays (East London), they last for about 3 hours and at the end you pay whatever you feel it was worth! Jonnie’s walks have been featured in the national press and on television.
A number of general self-guided London walks can be found at the London walks list of Walk In Britain.
Two organisations focus on walks and gardens/parks. City Garden Walks offer weekly walks such as Gardens of The Inns of Court – a walk through London’s historic legal quarter, exploring the glorious gardens and distinguished buildings, and The City’s Secret Gardens – historic gardens and churchyards nestled amongst old and new City buildings – horticulture and history combined. London Parks and Gardens Trust have a dozen or so self-guided walks with free down-loadable audio or pdf guides.
The Regent’s Canal is a key part of England’s canal network, linking the Grand Union Canal with the Thames. Running from Paddington to Limehouse, it’s some 9 miles long and, as the name suggests, dates from the early 19th century. The first section, from Paddington to Camden, opened 200 years ago, the rest of it opening in 1820.
For a short 2 mile walk along the canal the Little Venice to Camden stretch is ideal.
For a longer, weekend, walk try the 6 miles Regent’s Canal towpath from Camden to Limehouse.
And for a real workout walk or run the entire length of the canal.
After your exertions you might enjoy some quiet time in a hidden gem tucked away beside the Thames. The Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in London and houses around 5,000 different medicinal, herbal, edible and useful plants. It’s well worth a visit.
London’s Hidden Gems
London is not just about the major sites: Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye etc. etc. there are also many hidden gems. If you experience one or two of these your visit to London will feel much more rewarding and satisfying.
Visit London has put together a very good starter list.
Stay with us and SAVE money.
For all bookings made between Monday 25 June and Monday 16 July for arrival dates before Monday 17 September, we’re offering a discount of $100 (£75). To claim your discount quote the discount code DISC100 when you make your booking.
Royal Wedding Special
The wedding of Prince Harry (very British) and Miss Meghan Markle (very American) will create yet another strong bond between our two great countries. Many visitors to London – especially from the States – will want to experience things and places with a royal connection.
Visit London – the Official Visitor Guide has put together some useful ideas.
Top royal London attractions
Sample the lives of the kings and queens of England with a visit to these top royal London attractions.
Where the royals shop: Royal Warrant holders in London
Get a taste of royal London by shopping at the same places as the Queen, with these London Royal Warrant holders. Royal Warrants are a mark of recognition for those who have supplied goods or services for at least five years to the Households of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s London
Explore London like Meghan and Harry with a pick of London spots connected to the royal couple.
More royal London
More royal things to do and see.
Stay in London, save money AND be treated like royalty!
At the Coach House, our London B&B, we still have some availability in June and August, and, if you’re interested, we’ll tell you about our experience at a Buckingham Palace garden party and our several encounters with the royals.
London’s Top Ten Attractions
London with all its history and culture is waiting to be revealed, and many of the top ten attractions are FREE.
You can also save £££ by staying in a vacation rental rather than a hotel. Rather than chance an Airbnb, Coach House Rentals still has some summer availability. We’ve been looking after our guests since 2001, you’ll find us in several London guide books: Frommers, Rick Steves, National Geographic, Marco Polo, and we look after you with our full concierge service.
Here’s the list:
10. Madame Tussauds
Rub shoulders with royalty, film stars and sporting legends.
9. National Maritime Museum at Greenwich
Explore Britain’s naval past, visit the Royal Observatory and stand astride the Prime Meridian.
7.Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
3,000 years of fashion and design.
6. Science museum
Steam trains to Space Rockets.
5. London Eye
More visitors than the Taj Mahal or the Great Pyramids – great views up to 25 miles.
4. Tate Modern
Contemporary art on a spectacular scale.
3. National History Museum
Come face to face with animals from the past and present. Watch out for the dinosaurs!
2. National Gallery
Over 2,000 of the world’s finest paintings
1. Top attraction at the number one spot is
The British Museum
Over 2 million years of human history
And if you’re looking for a truly English experience, a chance to meet and get to know some locals and are happy with 3/4 star comfort –The Coach House is the place to stay. It’s pretty booked up in July but still has some availability in June and August. View the short video.
A vacation rental in London? There’s just too much choice!
The problem. Airbnb list over 50,000 London rentals, HomeAway claim over 9,000. How can you possibly filter them and choose the right one for you? Even if you do there’s the nagging doubt that you might not get what seems to be on offer.
The solution. Use a small, specialist company like Coach House Rentals. With just some 50 hand-picked central London properties, a list of satisfied guests as long as your arm (just view our testimonials) and the services of our reservation team to help you choose what’s right for you – we take the hassle and frustration out of choosing and booking.
And it doesn’t end there. We’ll arrange a car to collect you at the airport, we’ll be at your rental when you arrive to greet you, hand over the keys, explain how everything works and answer any questions. And while you’re here we provide a 24/7 help line to call if you have any problems. You don’t get that with Airbnb or HomeAway!
With the current exchange rate of $/£1.38, London is still excellent value compared to past years. So realise that dream – go to our web site and choose your London rental today.
PPS. And here is our new, very affordable, property in Rome.
“A real English experience”
If you are looking for an authentic English experience, a chance to meet and get to know some locals and are happy with 3/4 star comfort – read on.
Planning a trip to London this year? Before you book your accommodation check out The Coach House.
What makes it special?
You have your own little cottage with your own private entrance, all to yourself (no other guests) set in a charming garden.
You are served a delicious breakfast every day in “the big house” by your hosts – saving money by just needing a light snack for lunch.
You have real “contact with the natives”. Your hosts, Harley and Meena while serving you breakfast, are there to chat, answer any questions about London, UK – or anything else and give you an insight into their lives. They also like to hear about you!
It is excellent value for money – for 5 people it works out at £42 / US$53 per person per night.
The Coach House is mentioned in several London guide books and has great Trip Advisor reviews. It already has several bookings for spring and summer 2018, there’s only one Coach House, so check availability and book now if you want to stay.
Warning. Don’t book if you are looking for 5 star hotel-style accommodation, The Coach House is not for you.
But if you’re looking for a truly English experience, a chance to meet and get to know some locals and are happy with 3/4 star comfort –The Coach House is the place to stay. View our short video.
PS. We also have some 45 London vacation rentals, houses and apartments for 2 to 10 people.
An affordable family holiday to London.
Impossible? Not if you stay in one of our rentals. Read on ……
1. At GBP/USD 1.32 London is very good value compared to Paris or the rest of Europe.
2. If you stay in a vacation rental, rather than in a hotel, it works out much cheaper especially for 3 or more people travelling together.
A vacation rental is also better because:
• preparing some of your own meals or getting take-aways is much more cost effective than always eating in restaurants,
• with a vacation rental you get more space
• there’s no need to dress up or “put on a face” to go out of your room.
And, as an added bonus, you have an authentic London experience, living in like a local.
Here are some of our best value properties.
Property THD. Spacious modern open-plan house in picturesque old London – sleeps 8 (3 doubles, 1 twin, 4 bathrooms) £330 (USD435) / night, or £41 (USD54) per person per night.
Property WML. Large family house in trendy Pimlico – sleeps 8 (2 doubles, 2 twins, 3 bathrooms) £265 (USD350) / night, that’s £33 (USD44) per person per night.
Property VAU. Modern Pimlico apartment boasting views across the London skyline, with aircon – sleeps 5 (1 double, 1 single, 1 double sofa-bed, 2 bathrooms) £195 (USD257) / night, £39 (USD51) per person per night.
Property BSH. Classic “English style” flat close to the river in Fulham – sleeps 4 (2 doubles, 1 bathroom) £135 (USD178) / night or £34 (USD45) per person per night.
Property ETW. Great value, modern 7/8th floor flat with private balcony and view of Battersea Park – sleeps 4 (2 doubles, 1 bathroom) £125 (USD165) / night, £31 (USD41) per person per night.
These are quality properties, not cramped hotel rooms that you’d be paying at least twice as much for.
What’s more, unlike Airbnb, we look after you with a full concierge service as well. We’ve been in business and looking after our London guests since 2001, read the reviews on the property pages.
And don’t forget our B&B, The Coach House, your own little cottage with your own private entrance, all to yourself (no other guests) set in a charming garden, just 20 minutes by tube (every 3 mins) from the centre of London and a delicious breakfast in “the big house” served by your hosts. Sleeps 5 (1 family room, 1 twin, 2 bathrooms + your own kitchen) £125 (USD165) /night for 2, £210 (USD275) /night for 5.
We only have a limited number of these great London rentals, when they’re gone, they’re gone so you need to move fast if you don’t want to miss out.
How to afford a Christmas / New Year’s Eve trip to London.
Stop Press. Owing to cancellation of a long-standing booking, The Coach House has just become available over Christmas / New Year. This is ideal, self-catering (it has its own kitchen), low cost, accommodation: sleeps 5, 2 bed, 2 bath £200 (US$250) per night. Ideal for a family.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve is a great time to be in London for adults and children alike. There’s so much happening: candle-lit carol services, the Christmas lights, the shows, the pantomimes, ice skating, festive meals, wonderful shop window displays, the sales, the list goes on…….
With the British pound at a low against the US$ (£1=US$1.30), NOW is the time to get the most bangs for your bucks.
You can save even more and make the trip really affordable by staying in a vacation rental rather than a hotel. Not only can you save $$$ by not having to have every meal out, with a vacation rental you get much more space, there’s no need to dress up or “put on a face” to go out of your room, and as an added bonus you get to experience the city like a local.
We still have some availability over the festive period but it’s going fast. Here’s a selection of what’s still available today, but it might not be tomorrow…..
Ref: BRE: sleeps 2, £115 (US$145) / night. Sleek and contemporary Fulham apartment.
Ref: ETW: sleeps 4, 2 bed, 1 bath, £125 (US$155) / night. Great value, modern 7/8th floor flat with private balcony and view of Battersea Park.
Ref: CPM: sleeps 3, 2 bed, 1 bath, £140 / (US$175) / night. Comfortable apartment in quiet attractive private mews.
Ref: CVN: sleeps 4, 2 bed, 1 bath, £165 / (US$205) / night. Ground floor flat in grand London house, moments from Hyde Park. (Available from 28 Dec).
Ref: RTV2: sleeps 5, 2 bed, 1 bath, £170 / (US$215) / night. Modern apartment in Parson’s Green, Fulham. Ideal for a family.
Ref: HAR: sleeps 4, 2 bed, 2 bath, £205 (US$255) / night. Convenient apartment in the heart of South Kensington.
Ref: TKR: sleeps 2, 2 bed, 1 bath, £225 / (US$280) / night. Comfortable, modern apartment in excellent Chelsea location. (Available from 29 Dec).
Ref: CLI: sleeps 4, 2 bed, 2 bath, £275 (US$345) / night. Traditional London pied-à-terre in excellent Sloane Square location.
Ref: THD: sleeps 8, 4 bed, 4 bath, £330 / (US$415) / night. Spacious modern open-plan house in picturesque old London.
These are really nice properties, not crummy hotel rooms that you’d be paying at least twice as much for! What’s more, unlike Airbnb, we look after you with a full concierge service as well. We’ve been in business and looking after our London guests since 2001, read the reviews on the property pages.
We only have a small number of these great London rentals, when they’re gone, they’re gone so you need to move fast if you don’t want to miss out.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
There’s still time to get tickets for the famous London New Year’s Eve firework display. This spectacular event takes place on the River Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament. It’s one of the most spectacular celebrations of its kind in the world. Set against the capital’s unique skyline, if you are in London over New Year it really is something not to miss. To get the best view you need a ticket and there are still a few left. No tickets will be available on the night. Click here to get tickets.