The best destinations to visit from the UK this November
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Whether you are back commuting to the office, still stuck at home, or dealing with the craziness of having your kids back in school, you’ll probably need a break by November. Luckily, it’s an ideal time to travel to national and international destinations, especially since more countries continue to open their borders to travellers.
Just remember that travel is still very much in a state of flux. Countries are regularly issuing new requirements as the delta variant continues to spread. Be sure to check with local and national officials and review the latest recommendations from medical experts to ensure the health and safety of yourself and others.
So, whether you prefer to soak up the sun in the Middle East, catch the beginning of Europe’s Christmas market season or set off for an exotic adventure in Southeast Asia, here are some destinations you should consider visiting in November.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Although temperatures start to dip in Scotland in November, it’s still a great time to see the stunning, castle-filled country’s fall foliage. Cairngorms National Park – the largest national park in the U.K. – is incredible this time of year, with rich hues of gold and red taking over the landscape. November is an ideal time for exploring as there are fewer crowds. It’s also perfect for foraging; visitors can find wild raspberries, cowberries, blaeberries, fungi (it’s the height of the season), and nettles across the picturesque hills.
Even if you’re not into outdoorsy activities, there are plenty of cultural excursions. On the way to the Scottish Highlands, stop at Dundee to check out the Kengo Kuma-designed Victoria & Albert Museum. The current exhibition is Night Fever: Designing Club Culture, exploring the relationship between 1960s design and club culture. (Fans of HBO’s “Succession” will recognize the museum from season two when the Roy family visits to honour patriarch Logan.) And, of course, whisky distilleries are always available for a visit.
Spend a night or two in Edinburgh at The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh (rates from $700 (£506) per night or 274,000 Hilton Honors points per night) before venturing north, where you should consider a stay at The Fife Arms. The 19th-century hunting lodge is located within the national park and has an in-house forager who leads two- and three-hour walks for guests, followed by workshops where guests can use their findings to make everything from condiments and tinctures to cosmetics.
OK, this might seem a little extreme, but the Antarctica cruising season actually starts in November. The remote continent is just entering the summer season, so you’ll be able to see more polar ice and undisturbed terrain from the frigid months before — think pristine snow yet plentiful wildlife activity. Whales, seals, and penguins are out in force, and you’ll even notice eggs — and penguin squabbles over pebbles — in nests by the end of the month.
If you’re dreaming of an Antarctica cruise this season, there are a slew of newly built, ice-class expedition vessels offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences like polar diving and hovercraft rides — such as Atlas Ocean Voyages’ World Navigator.
TPG tip: You can use Hyatt points for Lindblad Expeditions sailings, although you won’t get the maximum value out of your points. A 20-day Antarctica sailing in November on the National Geographic Explorer is currently available from $20,960 (£15,173) per person — or 1,310,000 World of Hyatt points. If you have an enormous stash of Hyatt points (or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which transfer at a 1:1 ratio), you could be able to offset the cost of your Antarctica expedition.
Prague, Czech Republic
There are plenty of flights out of London airport to offer a nonstop flight connecting the Czech capital, just in time for Prague’s famed Christmas markets, which begin to open in late November (most start on 30 November, but the market in Peace Square begins 20 November). 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 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 11 November 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.
Travellers looking for a more cultural experience should visit on 17 November, the country’s Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day. The city puts on free concerts in honour 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 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 Plaza, which has completed room renovations that make them brighter, more colourful and more comfortable for guests. If you’re lucky, you’ll score an already-refreshed room. November rates start at just £80, or 20,000 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 21 degrees Celsius in November, so you’ll be warm and comfortable during your diving and snorkelling 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 travellers 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, 2 November is the day of the All Souls Procession: a parade of elaborate costumes accompanied by music, drumming and a grand fire ceremony honouring the dead.
The St. Regis Venice is 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 a 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 £561, or 170,000 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 21 November, 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 24 November after several months of action. The festival features film, dance, music, art exhibitions and more.
The vineyards in Napa Valley, California
November is the beginning of cabernet season in Napa Valley, with special promotions and events focused around the bold-flavoured red wine. This also comes as the crowds disperse thanks to cooler weather (temperatures hover in the mid-15s). That means lower hotel rates and a better shot at scoring a reservation at one of the coveted Michelin-starred restaurants.
Even if wine isn’t your thing, the valley floor is surrounded by the Mayacamas and the Vaca range, filled with hiking and biking trails. Plus, there are new experiences to test out, like Domaine Carneros’s “Art of Sabrage,” where your private group will learn history, legends, and the technique of using a sword to open Champagne. This ritual dates back to Napoleon.
TPG tip: Many hotels accept points in the region, making it easy to book an inexpensive stay in the area. The Westin Verasa (a Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property) is in the heart of Napa and, in November, has off-peak availability from 50,000 points per night. Another nearby Marriott Bonvoy property is The Lodge at Sonoma Resort, an Autograph Collection property that also has off-peak award nights at the end of the month. If you prefer Hyatt, the Andaz Napa is a Category 6 World of Hyatt property with free nights from 25,000 points, while Alila Napa Valley is a Category 7 resort where a free night will cost 30,000 points.
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 (11 November 11 and 12) and Loi Krathong (13 November). Though 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 25 degrees, ideal for touring the walled city centre, hiking the nearby mountains or interacting — responsibly, of course — with elephants in the region. 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.
The British Virgin Islands
November is a great time to visit The British Virgin Islands, as it is just the beginning of the high season, with fewer visitors than you’d encounter by December. Hotel rates tend to be lower than in the winter months, plus hurricane season is ending, so sunny days are increasingly likely.
It’s also when the annual Anegada Lobster Fest takes place. One of the most anticipated events of the year, the event celebrates the Anegada spiny lobster and runs from 27-28 November this year. The festival is designed as an island-wide scavenger hunt. The locals and visitors are encouraged to explore the island while sampling local restaurants’ best freshly caught lobsters and decadent lobster dishes. Each stop features live music and magnificent views of some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
TPG tip: Marriott Bonvoy members can stay at the Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Throughout November, you can have a five-night stay for 85,000 points or as low as $587 (£425) a night.
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 (savoury pie made of melted cheese and eggs) and khinkali, or hearty meat dumplings, with a glass of Akhasheni or Kvanchkara — both semisweet red wines.
Airlines flying from London to Tbilisi (TBS) include Aegean, Air France, Austrian Airlines, KLM, LOT-Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and Ukraine International Airlines. The takeaway here is that Tbilisi is more accessible to visitors, meaning prices will likely rise and it won’t continue to remain an off-the-beaten path destination.
Additional reporting by Jordi Lippe-McGraw.
Featured photo of the Czech Republic by DaiLiu/Getty Images.
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