The best destinations to visit from the UK this November
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With autumn in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about holiday escapes from the blustery November wind and fog. Travelling during this shoulder season — after summer, but not quite yet the beginning of the winter holidays — is an easy way to score great deals on flights, hotels and to find off-peak award redemptions.
So, whether you prefer to soak up the sun in the Middle East, catch the beginning of Europe’s Christmas market season or to set off for an exotic adventure in Southeast Asia, here are the TK destinations you should consider visiting in November.
Prague, Czech Republic
EasyJet’s new route between London Luton Airport (LTN) and Prague (PRG) starts on Oct. 28, making Luton the fifth London airport to offer a nonstop flight connecting the Czech capital — and just in time for Prague’s famed Christmas markets, which begin to open in late November (most start on Nov. 30, but the market in Peace Square begins Nov. 20). You can also fly here from other U.K. hubs including London City (LCY), Gatwick (LGW), Heathrow (LHR), Stansted (STN), Manchester (MAN), Bristol (BRS) and Liverpool (LPL) on airlines like Wizz Air, Ryanair, Jet2 and British Airways.
While Prague has a chill in the air and the much of the Christmas cheer won’t be in full effect until the end of the month, the beginning of November sees a drop in tourists, meaning accommodations are cheaper and the best tourist attractions, including Prague’s famed castle or Old Town Square, will be a lot less crowded.
Foodies and wine lovers should visit on Nov. 11, or St. Martin’s Day, when locals celebrate the harvest by drinking Czech wine and eating roast goose. You can sample wine at many of the bars and restaurants in the city, but Prague’s botanical garden, home to St. Klára Vineyard, is an especially picturesque place to taste wine, especially surrounded by autumn foliage. After, head down to the Vltava riverbank to join more lively wine-and-cuisine-fueled celebrations.
Travelers looking for a more cultural experience should visit on Nov. 17, the country’s Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day. The city puts on free concerts in honor of the occasion, and museums typically have interesting historical exhibitions (some, like the National Museum, have free entrance on this day, too).
Visiting the Red Sea certainly isn’t new to British travellers, who have been jetting off to enjoy Sharm el-Sheikh’s warm sunshine and famed nightlife for years. But thanks to new routes from Bristol and Manchester to Hurgada (HRG) launching Oct. 30 on EasyJet, you may want to rethink your Egyptian getaway and visit Hurgada instead.
It’s also the perfect time to stay at the beachfront Hilton Hurgada, which recently completed the first portion of its room renovations to make them brighter, more colorful and more comfortable for guests. The second round of renovations won’t start until Dec. 1, meaning if you visit in November, neither your sunbathing nor your sleeping will be disturbed by construction. And if you’re lucky, you’ll score an already-refreshed room. November rates start at just £38, or 5,000 Hilton points per night.
Divers should plan to enjoy all the underwater delights the Red Sea has to offer: hundreds of types of coral, several shipwrecks and thousands of fish species. Approximately 10% of these underwater species exist nowhere else on Earth.
Thanks to Egypt’s sunny, warm winters, the Red Sea rarely falls below 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) in November, so you’ll be warm and comfortable during your diving and snorkeling adventures. If you can’t make it this November, you still have time. Although many of the world’s reefs are suffering from bleaching and rising sea temperatures, the coral and species in the Red Sea seem to be more resilient to climate change.
This desert enclave is a dream for travellers of all stripes — foodies, hikers and anyone wanting a warm, sunshine-filled November holiday with virtually no chance of rain. Though Scottsdale is the more popular choice for a luxury resort escape, Tucson has a quirky, small-town vibe with Native American and Chicano cultural influences. This means you can relax to an outdoor country-music concert in a public square or spend the afternoon exploring the colonial Spanish San Xavier del Bac Mission on the grounds of the San Xavier Indian Reservation in the Tohono O’odham Nation.
If you’d like to go beyond your hotel’s swimming pool, hiking Saguaro National Park or Sabino Canyons’ Seven Falls are ideal itineraries for travelers really wanting to get out into the desert. A walk up Sentinel Peak is best for beginners or intermediate hikers, or if you’ve got the family in tow. And Tucson sunsets over the expansive, cacti-covered desert are truly sensational.
For an unusual experience, Nov. 2 is the day of the All Souls Procession: a parade of elaborate costumes accompanied by music, drumming and a grand fire ceremony honoring the dead.
The new St. Regis Venice is finally open, and it’s an opulent escape for any traveller willing to splurge. Some of the 129 guest rooms and 40 suites feature balconies overlooking the Grand Canal, and the charming outdoor garden is a great place for guests to admire the city’s art and architecture reflected in the water. November rates start at £350, or 70,000 Marriott points per night.
Visiting in November is also a solid plan if you want to avoid the hordes of photo-hungry tourists that swarm the city in the summer months. Although the weather can get chilly and rainy, that’s all the more reason to snuggle up close to your loved one during a romantic gondola tour.
For insight into the local culture, visit on Nov. 21, the Festa della Madonna della Salute, which celebrates the end of the plague in the 17th century. One of the least-touristy festivals the city celebrates, a temporary bridge of boats is built across the Grand Canal, where thousands of people make a pilgrimage to light a candle at the church of Santa Maria della Salute, asking the Virgin Mary to keep them healthy. Stalls are set up around the city selling food, sweets, candles and more for the pilgrims and visitors. It’s also your last chance to see the Biennale Art Fair, which ends on Nov. 24 after several months of action. The festival features film, dance, music, art exhibitions and more.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Have you even really lived until you’ve been to a Thai lantern festival? Don’t worry, you can do so this November in Thailand’s northern city of Chiang Mai. The city celebrates not one but two lantern festivals in November: the Yee Peng Lantern Festival (Nov. 11 and 12) and Loi Krathong (Nov. 13). Though the the area will definitely be crowded and hotel rates likely higher during this busy time, seeing thousands of lanterns set into the sky and floating down the river under a full moon, complete with traditional ceremonies, dance and song, is an unforgettable way to experience Thai culture.
Although November marks the start of Chiang Mai’s cold season, daytime temperatures still reach up to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius), ideal for touring the walled city center, hiking the nearby mountains or interacting — responsibly, of course — with elephants in the region.
Although the city center now has a brand-new Best Western Prime Square that opened in 2019 that’s a short drive away from the walled city (November prices start at £50, or 24,000 points per night), you may prefer getting out into nature. Chiang Mai’s rural surroundings are home to treehouse hotels, a floating lodge on the Mae Ngat Dam, the Hotel Oia Pai (where you kayak to breakfast) and the Sukantara Resort, which sits at the base of a waterfall.
This former stop along the Silk Road is one of the world’s oldest cities, dating back to 4000 B.C. Affordable, rich in history and home to thermal baths, ancient caves, street markets and an array of architectural styles, Tbilisi offers plenty to do and see during a visit — if you can take a break from eating and sipping the wine, that is. Make sure to try khachapuri (savory pie made of melted cheese and eggs) and khinkali, or hearty meat dumplings, with a glass of Akhasheni or Kvanchkara — both semisweet red wines.
Georgian Airways flies twice per week in November (Wednesdays and Saturdays) nonstop from London Gatwick to Tbilisi (TBS). But Ryanair is now inserting itself in the game, too. As of November, the low-cost carrier will begin to operate flights between Milan Bergamo (BGY) and Tbilisi four times per week. Though that isn’t particularly convenient for U.K. flyers, it does mark the beginning of something new, and Ryanair COO David O’Brien told Business Insider, “We look forward to developing new Georgian traffic growth, new routes and jobs in the coming years.” This could likely mean flights from the U.K., Ireland or other European hubs in the future.
The takeaway here is that Tbilisi, as well as the rest of the nation of Georgia, will soon be much more accessible to visitors — meaning prices will likely rise and it won’t remain an off-the-beaten-path destination for much longer. So go now, before the Instragrammers flock here, via Georgian Airways — or by combining your Georgian adventure with a stop in the lovely little town of Bergamo, Italy.
Featured photo of the Czech Republic by DaiLiu/Getty Images.
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