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The Regent Street Motor Show via their website

The Best Family Events in London this November

1 November 2017 Eva de Valk

The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting darker, and suddenly it hits you: only a couple more weeks before any and all family outings will be Christmas themed. So you better make the most of this month, which is still (mostly) free of holly and cinnamon sticks. From fireworks to family raves, we’ve rounded up some of the best kid-friendly events around.

It wouldn’t be November without Bonfire Night celebrations, and there are lots to choose from across the capital. The mother of them all has to be the Fireworks Festival at Alexandra Palace, where you can now get your Guy on on both 3 and 4 November, due to popular demand. On the programme are not only your classic fireworks display and bonfire, but also a laser show and a parade with fire eaters, burning floats and acrobats. Bishops Park (3 November) and Ravenscourt Park (4 November) have a special children’s display which takes place before the main show, making them perfect for those who are looking to literally get the most bang for their buck. The Blackheath fireworks (4 November) is one of the few displays in town that’s still free, which means that it can get quite crowded. It comes complete with a fairground and food stalls, so you can make a proper day out of it. And traditionalists shouldn’t worry: although the Saturday night is the popular one, there are plenty of displays on 5 November as well. Victoria Park, Wanstead Flats and Morden Park are a few of your options for the Sunday.   

Image credit: Fireworks Festival at Alexandra Palace via their website
Of course, one of the great things about living in London is that you also get to try out traditions from other cultures. Head over to The Vaults to celebrate the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead with all sorts of family friendly activities on 4 November. There will be workshops, storytelling and performance, as well as a ‘family rave’ courtesy of Big Fish Little Fish. The day ends with a screening of The Book of Life, an animated, Day of the Dead-inspired film. The rest of the three-day festival is a decidely grown up affair, presumably involving a lot more tequila, so make sure you know what you’re booking!

Image credit: The Vaults
And as if the weekend wasn’t busy enough already, 4 November is also the date of the annual Regent Street Motor Show. Motoring enthusiasts of all ages can drool over a wide selection of cars, from 120-year-old classics to the newest electric models. There will also be interactive displays and entertainment throughout the day, including performances by a motorcycle stunt team. And, unlike anything else on Regent Street, it’s completely free!
Another free favourite this month is the Lord Mayor’s Show on 11 November, one of the great traditional pageants that can almost rival the Trooping the Colour for spectacle and style. The newly elected Mayor will arrive in a flotilla, before making their way through the City in a procession that includes members of the many livery companies as well as marching bands and military detachments. Good news if you didn’t quite get your fill of pyrotechnics the week before: the day will end with a fireworks display over the Thames. 

Image credit: The Lord Mayor
From fireworks to something a bit more sedate: the National Army Museum in Chelsea is holding an ‘archives weekend’ on 18 and 19 November. Young visitors and their families are invited to become detectives in this free drop-in workshop, in which they delve into the archives to find out more about Crimean Tom, a cat who survived the Crimean War and then came back to England as a pet.
The week after that, crafty families can head over to the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, who are hosting an Arts and Crafts day on 25 November. Families can participate in a free drop-in workshop and learn more about the techniques used by Arts and Crafts artists. These can then be employed to DIY gifts and knick-knacks from clay, aluminium and copper foil. Perhaps it’s not too early to get started on those Christmas presents after all…

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