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Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

pittsburgh
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Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

Hi! We are planning our first trip to London in mid-to-late November (probably the week before Thanksgiving and week of Thanksgiving) Is this an OK time to visit? Will there be Christmas lights up yet? When would the best time to buy airline tickets? Thanks in advance for any and all advice!!

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UK
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1. Re: Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

"Is this an OK time to visit?"

Well there are certainly better times, if you are looking for longer days (will be dark by about 430-5pm), warmer days, dryer days, or all three :-) Probably air fares will be about as cheap as they get though, given its not a popular time to visit (perhaps because of the above) so you wont get crowds or queues at tourist spots and you might be able to get some good deals at hotels as well.

Xmas lights will be out in London.

As for best time to buy a ticket, I would wait a considerable time, certainly until after the summer, I'd expect there to be significant sales for this period by mid-late Sep judging by previous years.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

You may be surprised at the numbers of your fellow citizens who will make a beeline for London during the last two weeks of November.

As joe said, the weather may or may not behave - expect some grey days, drizzly rain or watery sunshine - with early sunsets. If you're prepared for a city not quite as beautiful as it is in June then you'll not be disappointed. The lights are quite pretty, those along Oxford and Regent Streets should be in place by the third week of November.

There are very likely going to be seat sales in the next few months. Look for late autumn sales to show up around the middle to end of September; once your dates are firm and you've selected the airline with which you'd like to fly, keep an eye on the website and pounce when you see the sales appear.

I'd not leave it too late to book a hotel either, but that's working on past numbers rather than a glimpse into the future. Popular hotels will book up by late September, so again you may need to do a bit of forward planning once your dates are set.

Troy, Michigan, USA
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3. Re: Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

I have visited London in late November - early December for the last 3 years and in my opinion, it is the best time to visit. It's true that the days are shorter, but you get to see more of the city lit up, and the Christmas decorations add to it all.

There are no long lines of tourists, hotels and flights are cheaper, and the weather is really not bad at all. It will be nicer than the weather in Pittsburgh at the same time of year.

As for airline tickets, I find that late August, September is when the cheaper fares come out for November travel.

And there is a bonus at this time of year, something most people never mention. Because the sun is so low in the sky, when it is out and shining, it gives everthing this lovely golden glow that I find just magical.

Richmond, VA
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4. Re: Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

We were in London in mid-November of '06--great trip!

Although it wasn't our first trip to London, we really felt like we discovered the city so much that time.

The Lord Mayor's Show, Remembrance Day, and Christmas lights on lower Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus added to the fun.

Weather was fine, cloudy but dry, some pale sunshine, some drizzly mornings, one full-on rainy day, not too cold (50s). Didn't even notice the early evenings, as another poster said, the lights of the city make up for any lack of sunlight!

I do remember we bought our tickets late. A British Airways email alerted us to specials and we pounced! I'm thinking it was in September.

CGD
Wilmington, Delaware
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5. Re: Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

We went for Thanksgiving week and early December this year and loved it. Weather was not bad at all--cold most days, but certainly bearable and there were Christmas lights, holiday fairs, ice skating at Somerset House, and lots of other great things to do. I understand that most Christmas light displays go up by mid-November.

If you are going that time of year, definitely look into when the ceremonial opening of Parliament will be held (it was 3 December last year). There is a huge ceremonial procession of royalty, guilded carriages, mounted guards, marching bands etc. from Buckingham Palace to the House of Parliament. It was an unexpected highlight of our trip...all the royal pomp and circumstance you could ever imagine. We had NO IDEA it was happening until that morning (our last in London) and the serendipity of discovering such a once in a lifetime event and actually getting to see the Queen as she rode by on our last day in London was the perfect end to a wonderful trip.

Oh, and one other piece of advice...if you are going with kids (maybe not, if you are going for 2 weeks at that time of year) and want to see Santa at Harrods, they sell out of tickets in July or August, so you really do need to book that early!!

Concord, California
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6. Re: Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

I have been to London in February and October,and it was cold,but sunny most days. not as many tourists,and had no trouble getting theater tickets for popular shows. even the shorter days didn't bother me.

Hayti, Missouri
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7. Re: Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

I learned while in London in late October/early November that you never know what the weather is going to do. It was definitely chilly, but from what I was told, that was uncommon for that time of year. It even snowed! And I can say that it seemed that the Londoners were as surprised by that as I was.

The only downside, besides the weather, and again there's no counting for that, is that many attractions close earlier and you have less daylight in any given day. But when I was there, there were practically no lines for any of the attractions and the city didn't seem all that crowded, except when I made the mistake of going to Harrod's on a Saturday!

You will save money by going later in the year, as well, since that's the "off" season. That was the main deciding factor of my last trip - it was a lot cheaper to fly in the fall and the hotel rates were better.

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8. Re: Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

"I have been to London in February and October,and it was cold,but sunny most days."

Go another year and it will be different, go a third time and different still :-)

Southern California
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9. Re: Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

My Husband and I only travel to London during November. We have been 3 times now. I believe it is the best time to travel. There are no long lines, and you can just mingle about without anyone even knowing you are a tourist! We have used go-today 1x and gate 1 travel 2x. There are plenty of christmas lights up and the toy stores are just getting ready for the rush... It is a wonderful time to go! Cheers

10. Re: Traveling to London in mid-to-late November

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