What's on in London this month


By Melissa Lawford 

Editorial assistant, British Airways’ High Life magazine.

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November 2018

Plan a desert expedition while sampling mealworms, delve into ancient Middle Eastern empires, and hear the intrepid stories of recently returned explorers. Go wild in London this November.

Only have a few hours?

Things to do

Opening this month: The Turner-prize winning artist Wolfgang Tillmans is making his debut as a stage designer at the English National Opera with War Requiem – a choral masterpiece by Benjamin Britten – crafted using the poetry of Wilfred Owen to mark the centenary of the end of WWI. Running from 16 November – 7 December.

Reigning champion Magnus Carlsen (who broke onto the world chess stage at just 13) will be defending his title against US challenger Fabiano Caruana for a €1m bounty in the FIDE World Chess Championship. From 9-28 November at The College in Holborn.

Head to the Adventure Uncovered Film Festival for a celebration of adventure-themed films from 29-30 November, kicking off with a mystery event in a secret London location. Plus, workshops on how to shoot in extreme conditions with limited equipment.

Last chance to visit: Last chance to visit: 250 years after Captain Cook’s first voyage across the Pacific, the Royal Academy’s Oceania exhibition brings together 200 works from across 500 years of the continent’s history, including greenstone and shell ornaments, human remains and colossal canoes. Closes 10 December and free to New Zealand and Pacific Island passport holders.

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Hotdogs and champagne might be unlikely bedfellows, but Bubble Dogs, a bar-cum-diner, has cottoned on to a winner

Where to eat

Hotdogs and champagne might be unlikely bedfellows, but bar-cum-diner Bubble Dogs has cottoned on to a winner. Opt for the José, served with salsa, avocado and pickled jalapenos, the Small Eye with toasted peanuts and Tabasco garlic mayo or the unctuous Mac Daddy with mac and cheese and crispy bacon, accompanied with a glass of refreshing fizz.

Head to RedFarm London, the New York-born cult Chinese joint that’s recently opened in Covent Garden, for a spread of quirky Asian creations served at long communal tables and adorable red and white chequered booths. Order a Shanghai Mule, made with vodka and goji berry ginger syrup, and tuck into inventive dishes such as Pac Man shrimp dumplings, cheeseburger spring rolls, shrimp stuffed crispy chicken and sautéed lobster Thai-style basil fried rice.

La Maison Rémy Martin private members’ club has a new permanent residency at two Michelin-starred restaurant Claude Bosi at Bibendum, whose spectacular bar was conceived by British designer Sir Terence Conran. Apply for membership to take part in cocktail masterclasses, or pop along to sample the seasonal drinks menu.

  • Uncover the story of an Assyrian king.

    History boy

    The exhibits on view may well have travelled to the British Museum in the hold of your last BA flight.

    Explore London’s dining scene
  • La Maison Rémy Martin has a new homeland.

    Something in the water

    Don’t miss the new bar dedicated to Cognac Fine Champagne on the ground floor.

    Delve into London
  • Explore The Dorchester’s outstanding culinary offerings.

    Social capital

    Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were frequent guests of this iconic property in the 60s and 70s.

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Making a day of it?

Things to do

Travel back to 7th-century BC Iraq with a new exhibition at the British Museum that delves into the story of an Assyrian king who, at the time, was the most powerful person on the planet. The BP exhibition I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria is the first major exhibition to explore the empire, which stretched from Cyprus to Iran, through the lens of a single individual. IAG Cargo – the cargo handling division of British Airways and other IAG airlines – is the exhibition’s logistics partner, meaning some of these incredible objects may well have been travelling in the hold of your last BA flight. From 8 November - 24 February 2019.

There are more than 400 different species of trees in west London’s Syon Park, and the former home of the Duke of Sutherland. See them after dark, glowing and bedecked with a rainbow of LED lights in the other-worldly Enchanted Woodland light show, from 9 November.

The Royal Geographical Society’s annual expedition and field research event, Explore weekend, runs from 9-11 November and features talks from more than 90 scientists and explorers recently returned from the likes of Antarctica, the Dhofar Mountains and Siberia.

Head to Tessa Packard fine jewellers for Journey Through Landscape – an exhibition of more than 100 works by the emerging artist Phoebe Dickinson, which will be hung salon-style along with the resident taxidermy, in the shop. From 12 November to 14 December.

Where to eat

The Coal Rooms in Peckham Rye station’s former ticket office is launching a winter feasting menu, served banquet-style for sharing with many a hungry friend. On the menu are “Gluttony tacos” with London burrata, kosho and burnt jalapenos, smoked lamb shoulder with ox shin and apple ketchup plus a side of “Peckham Fatboy” potatoes, a deliciously decadent side of hash browns with raclette, onions and beef dripping mayonnaise.

The Wright Brothers restaurant in Soho has recently reopened following an extensive nautical refurbishment, featuring an octopus mural and a moveable basement cage for group bookings. Highlights include scallops served in their shells with truffle oil and prosciutto, vast seafood platters and a fantastic chocolate and raspberry fondant. Plus, excellent service and a mouthwatering catch of the day (don’t miss the whole dover sole with brown butter and samphire).

Dorsett City Hotel’s Jin Bo Law Skybar – whose name translates as pineapple in Cantonese – is designed to reflect the bar’s namesake, featuring a gold-plated geometric pattern across the bar, bright yellow bar stools, plus a dazzling view of the City. The Asian-inspired drinks menu exalts exotic ingredients like kaffir leaf and rice milk – go for the Peas of Mind cocktail, which contains Jinro Soju with yellow Chartreuse, egg white, yuzu and salted pea cordial.

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On a stopover?

Things to do

More than 1,100 objects are on display in four new galleries dedicated to exploration at the National Maritime Museum, and of which David Attenborough has given his coveted seal of approval. Uncover details about the discovery of the ‘New World’ and its impact on indigenous communities, see relics from the infamous 18th century HMS Bounty, and discover how intrepid explorers like Scott and Shackleton coped with extreme polar conditions on their expeditions.

The line-up at the 2018 Dulwich Literary Festival in the leafy suburbs of southeast London features big names like comedian Jo Brand, author John Suchet and novelist Melissa Harrison. Stop by for a week of street markets, talks and interviews, running from 7-11th November across local venues, including Dulwich College, West Norwood Old Library and Dulwich Books.

Between Hyde Park Corner and Green Park Tube stations is the unused Down Street station, which was briefly in operation between 1907 and 1932 before being converted into a bomb-proof headquarters for the Railway Executive Committee in WWII. Take a tour of the bunker with London Transport Museum’s programme, Hidden London, from 17 November to 16 December, and explore the secret warren of tunnels where Winston Churchill once took refuge.

Christmas at Kew this year features 300 illuminated floating origami boats, a Great Pagoda adorned with 80 golden dragons, a laser garden, and a series of “firework trees”, illuminated by explosions of colourful light. Head to west London’s verdant Kew Gardens to see the spectacle, which runs from 22 November – 5 January.

  • Enjoy the views from the terrace of Asian-inspired rooftop bar, Jin Bo Law.

    Eastern promise

    Order a deliciously fruity Pickled Tink cocktail, made with Taijun Shochu, kummel, pickled ginger, homemade wine berry syrup, peach liqueur and ginger ale.£138 pp

    Book a London city break

Where to eat

Sample the Moroccan afternoon tea at restaurant Maison Assouline on Piccadilly, featuring Briwat, almond Ghriba and fresh mint tea.

Book into renowned chef James Cochran’s restaurant 1251 on Islington’s Upper Street for a wonderful array of sharing plates including raw Orkney scallops, line caught Cornish mackerel and organic Kent breed pork with blood pudding and smoked eel. Top it all off with a salted caramel ice cream sandwich with white chocolate, strawberries and peanuts.

Tequila and Mezcal Fest  is back from 5-7th October in the Bargehouse at the OXO Tower Wharf. Sample more than 50 different agave spirits and street food from Taqueria, Pevotito and Café Pacifico, then admire the Aztec folkloric dancers and some Mexican short films from Raindance. 

Where to stay

Rest your head at the ultra-luxe Dorchester Hotel, and ensure you book in for a dim sum lunch at China Tang – the restaurant launched by the late David Tang, who personally selected the restaurant’s contemporary Chinese art collection.

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