Have you been turning your radiator up and finding yourself dreaming about mulled wine and hot chocolates with marshmallows? November brings with it a distinct change in season, prompting us to seek out cosy activities that warm the heart. To lift the spirit throughout the month ahead we’ve got stargazing events, autumn walks, enchanting gardens and ghost tours. Wherever your interests lie, we’ve got you covered.
And with Christmas just around the corner, we’ll help you get a head start for the festive season. Christmas comes early at some of our sites this year with Victorian wreath making, festive gift fairs and even a visit from Father Christmas. As the party season starts to fill our diaries with work parties, school plays and family catch ups, don’t delay in penciling in some of this month’s top historical events. You can also get in early with Stir-Up Sunday on 26 November by preparing your Christmas pudding the historic way.
Did you know?
- November’s name comes from novem, Latin for ‘nine’. This is because in the Roman calendar, November was the ninth month.
- We all know the famous catch cry: ‘Remember, Remember, the fifth of November.’ It’s the day when Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up the English parliament was foiled after he was discovered with gunpowder in the basement of the House of Lords in 1605. While we celebrate his arrest on 5 November with fireworks for Bonfire Night, Fawkes was actually tortured and tried in January on 1606. He was executed on 31 January at Old Palace Yard in Westminster, a view which would have been clear from the Jewel Tower at the time.
- According to the Anglo-Saxons, the month we now know to be November was called Blōtmōnaþ (blót month in modern English). It was also known as a month for slaughter.
Take an autumnal walk in our gardens and woodlands
November brings with it the last tumble of autumn leaves and provides the perfect opportunity for a day out in nature. Admire the bronze, yellow and golden palate of autumn leaves at one of our autumnal gardens before the season shifts into winter. Our pick for Londoners is to wander around Eltham Palace‘s luscious grounds and then pop inside the Art Deco home. This is also where Jessie Ware’s new music video was recently filmed.
If you’re feeling adventurous and looking for something a little more intense, wrap up and enjoy a long walk or short break in history by following one of our travel guides at regions across the country.
Or, if you’d rather snuggle up inside, warm your hands with a cup of tea and indulge in a slice of cake at one of our tea rooms. A good one to check out for those in the west is the new cafe at Stokesay Castle (open on weekends) with its crackling log burner.
Discover more about Darwin’s life and work
Celebrate all things Darwin on the 18 and 19 November as we commemorate the anniversary of his famous publication ‘On the Origin of Species’. Join us for Origin Weekend to hear specialist talks and join exclusive tours around Down House, the home of Charles Darwin.
Learn about the life of one of history’s most revolutionary scientists with a closer look at our collection. Explore his backyard which inspired many of his theories and watch some Darwinian experiments come to life. The little ones will enjoy the crafts too, so bring the family along for a fun and educational day out.
Catch your first glimpse of Father Christmas
Father Christmas will be flying into some of our sites towards the end of the month, marking the unofficial start of the festive season. See him every weekend from 25 of November until Christmas Eve at Wrest Park, Bolsover Castle and Audley End House and Gardens where he’ll be sharing tales of Christmas past. He might even be carrying a treat or two. See Father Christmas for an additional £4, which includes a present for your little one (if they’ve been good!) Make sure to book early to avoid disappointment.
Avoid the last minute Christmas present rush by getting your gifts sorted on time with the Festive Gift Fair and Victorian Father Christmas event at Belsay Castle, Hall and Gardens. For a more leisurely shopping experience, stock up on some goodies as you enjoy live musical performances.
Last chance to book for next month’s Enchanted Events spectacle
With just a few tickets left don’t miss your chance to book ahead for our Enchanted Events series in December before they sell out. See your favourite historic places illuminated in a twinkling display of light like never before. Follow a magical trail through history and enjoy festive treats and Christmas shopping at our heritage-inspired stalls.
Find an event near you and get ready for a magical evening for the whole family.Our Enchanted Events start 15 December.
Events not to be missed this November
Autumn Adventures, Saturday 21 October – 5 November, Beeston Castle and Woodland Park, Cheshire
Beeston is simply stunning in autumn so enjoy a scenic walk through the woodlands while the beauty of the season is in its prime. Perfect for adults and kids, see if you can spot the scarecrows hidden throughout Beeston’s 40 acres then have a go at making your own. The kids will love listening to our storytellers, too.
Ghost Tours, Friday 3 and Saturday 18, Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire
Halloween might be over, but that doesn’t mean all the ghosts have gone away. If the spooky season gave you an appetite for all things goulish, take a ghost tour of Bolsover Castle in November… if you dare. *Over 16s only with tours running at 6pm, 8pm & 10.30pm.
Sky at Night: Stargazing, Friday 10 November, Down House, Kent
Who doesn’t enjoy a sparkling skyline of stars? Join us at Down House, the former home of Charles Darwin, for an evening of science and spectacle. Standing in Darwin’s backyard, experience an introduction to astronomy with talks and tips from the experts. Peer through our telescopes to see the night sky similarly to how Darwin would have enjoyed it in the 19th century.
A Natural Christmas – Decoration Making, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26, Down House, Kent
Impress your guests with a homemade welcome by creating your own wreath to take home. Learn the art of wreath making by using natural foilage found around the garden including winter stems, holly and pine cones. See how Victorian house staff celebrated Christmas and be inspired for your own heritage-style Christmas this year. Suitable for 12 years +.
WWII Christmas, every weekend from Saturday 25 – Sunday 17 December, Dover Castle, Kent
Explore Christmas on the Home Front with a historical immersion into the festive season of the 1940s. You’ll join a family in their living room and enjoy a Vintage Christmas Tea Dance. Don’t forget to explore the tunnels while imagining what life was like during the war.
Somewhere to visit this month
We were very taken with this picture by @rustylens91 whilst exploring Kirby Hall in Northamptonshire. One of England’s greatest Elizabethan and 17th-century houses, it was once owned by the Lord Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Christopher Hatton. The great Hall and state rooms remain intact and have been refitted to the authentic specifications of the period. #englishheritage #kirbyhall #northamptonshire #elizabethan #queenelizabethi #history #culture #architecture #interior #mansion #uk #england #britain #visitbritain #conservation #charity #englishheritagesites
13 November 1312 – King Edward III was born on this day. He spent much of his childhood at Eltham Palace.
4 November 1922 – Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb set new Egyptian-inspired trends around the world from fashion to interior design. See the blue plaque outside his South Kensington home.
24 November 1991 – Rock legend and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury lost his battle with pneumonia on this day, just one day after announcing that he was suffering from AIDS. His family home in Feltham is commemorated with a blue plaque.[ssba]