The United Kingdom in November: Travel Tips for First-Timers

The United Kingdom in November: Travel Tips for First-Timers

By Ruby Zhao | Updated Feb. 21, 2024

November is when the United Kingdom heads into winter, and the temperatures reflect this. At the same time, you'll be able to enjoy some of the cosy festive preparations for Christmas throughout the country. Read on to see more about travel and weather, including temperatures, rainfall, humidity, and tips for November.

United Kingdom Weather in November: Overview

Averages:

  • Temperature range: 5–11°C (40–51°F)
  • Rainfall: 11 cm (4 inches)
  • Rainy days: 14
  • Sunshine hours/day: 3
  • Humidity: 81% (wet and humid throughout the country)

November falls in the United Kingdom's winter, with mostly cold weather and lots of rainy days too. During this month, temperatures drop a little further, and you will find approximately 14 rainy days in the month.

There is also less sunshine, averaging around 3 hours per day, and a slightly higher humidity level, at around 81% due to wet winter weather.

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November Climate Comparison (Averages) for the United Kingdom's Top Tourism Areas

City/Area High (ºC) Low (ºC) Rain (cm)
London (main city, museums, galleries, famous buildings) Cool Cold Low
Cardiff (Capital of Wales, culture, architecture) Cool Cold Moderate
Edinburgh (Capital of Scotland, castles, culture) Cool Cold Low
Lake District (Lake and fell scenery, hiking) Cool Cold High
Belfast (N. Ireland capital, Irish scenery and culture) Cool Cold Moderate
City/Area High (ºC) Low (ºC) Rain (cm)
London (main city, museums, galleries, famous buildings) 12 5 7
Cardiff (Capital of Wales, culture, architecture) 12 5 13
Edinburgh (Capital of Scotland, castles, culture) 10 4 7
Lake District (Lake and fell scenery, hiking) 10 4 18
Belfast (N. Ireland capital, Irish scenery and culture) 10 5 10
City/Area High (ºF) Low (ºF) Rain (in)
London (main city, museums, galleries, famous buildings) 54 41 3
Cardiff (Capital of Wales, culture, architecture) 54 41 5
Edinburgh (Capital of Scotland, castles, culture) 50 39 3
Lake District (Lake and fell scenery, hiking) 50 39 7
Belfast (N. Ireland capital, Irish scenery and culture) 49 41 4

The Best Places to Visit in the United Kingdom in November

If you are hoping to visit the United Kingdom in November, you will be able to experience how the United Kingdom prepares for winter and Christmas, and see some fireworks on the annual bonfire night (more about this below).

We recommend visiting London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and the Cotswolds. All of these destinations will give you a good insight into life in the United Kingdom, with a mix between city life and indoor activities, as well as outdoor beauty.

1. See the Christmas Lights Come on in London

London goes all out ahead of Christmas, and this happens approximately 2 months before Christmas each year. In fact, the sparkly lights and decorations generally get turned on in the first few days of November along Oxford Street, some of the first and best lights to come on in the city! This popular shopping street gets turned into a beautiful lit-up Christmas scene, and the nearby shops also stock up to match the festive mood.

You'll be able to shop for London-themed Christmas decorations at the famous Harrods, the beautiful Liberty department store, and check out the festive windows at Hamley's the world-renowned toy store to get your family's Christmas gifts.

Covent Garden also has some great Christmas decorations, and St Pancras International train station is known to be home to a unique Christmas tree that's worth a visit every year (in 2023 it was built entirely out of books).

Why not finish a day in London off with a visit to Elf the musical on the West End? November is a great time of year to see the festive side of London.

2. Enjoy the Guy Fawkes Night Fireworks Display in Cardiff

Every year the United Kingdom celebrates Bonfire Night on 5 November, also known as Guy Fawkes Night or Fireworks Night. The commemorative evening originates from 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives that had been put underneath the House of Lords. There had been a plan to assassinate the Protestant king at the time, James I, and as the plan was stopped, Londoners celebrated with bonfires around the city.

This has become an annual tradition, with fireworks shows being set off throughout the country. Cardiff is one of the best places to see the fireworks displays, usually held at the Gothic Cardiff Castle for over 20,000 people.

If you would like to attend, let us know in advance so that we can secure your tickets for you. The site is also home to entertainment, food trucks, and a huge bonfire as is tradition.

3. Experience a Festive November in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, as Scotland's capital, is a beautiful city that also has lots of seasonal activities on in November ahead of Christmas. Most years the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh will put on a special light display, that is high up on local families' annual Christmas activity lists.

During the day, we recommend visiting Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, as well as Arthur's Seat, a hill with a great view that is worth the climb, especially if you have a day of good weather during your time in Scotland!

After Edinburgh, the entire country of Scotland has lots to explore, particularly if you are interested in hiking, regardless of the colder weather!

4. Sit in Front of an Open Fire in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the United Kingdom, from old houses to gorgeous landscapes and nature. This is why the Cotswolds are perfect to visit during the cooler weather, in order to cozy up in the most British way possible: by sitting in front of the fire inside a pub.

We recommend visiting a pub on a Sunday, when there are usually traditional British Sunday roasts on the menu around lunch time (with crispy oven-roasted potatoes, char-grilled vegetables, as well as a choice of meat, or a vegetarian substitute). Booking ahead is necessary if you've found somewhere popular!

After your meal, take a little wintery walk through a picturesque village or town. We suggest visiting Bibury, Castle Combe, Bourton-on-the-Water, or Broadway.

Low Season: Less Expensive and Less Crowded

Due to the cooler and wetter weather in November, and the fact that December is when there are more school holidays globally, November is a quiet time of the year to visit. This means fewer crowds and less-costly accommodation.

As mentioned earlier in this article, November is when Bonfire Night is celebrated on November 5 every year. This is not a public holiday, so apart from the exciting fireworks displays (usually on the closest Saturday evening), this won't affect your travel.

What to Wear in November

Since November is cold in the United Kingdom, we recommend bringing plenty of warm clothing and a thick winter coat. Bringing additional layers will also help if you are planning on going for a hike or doing some walks during your time in the United Kingdom.

Due to the fact the country experiences varying amounts of rainfall during the month of November, we recommend bringing an umbrella and a waterproof winter jacket if you're going hiking. Supportive, waterproof footwear is also a good idea to keep your toes warm during your adventures.

Monthly Weather in United Kingdom

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