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How to spend 24 hours in London: November

Issy D’Arcy Clark
01 November 2016

What to do in the capital this month, whether you have seven, 12 or 24 hours to spare

7 hours…
From City Airport, take the DLR to West Ham and then change for Bow Road and The Nunnery at Bow Arts. The exhibition Visions in the Nunnery will be running until 18 December and features contemporary moving images and performance work from artists including Dryden Goodwin and Marina Abramovic. Next, take the District line to Aldgate East and walk to Whitechapel Road. Pop into The Stable, a pizza, pie and cider bar that originated in Dorset. Spice-fiends should try the Hells Bells pizza, with pork and Naga chillies – if it gets too much, cool down with a pint of Ashridge Gold.

You’re right around the corner from the Whitechapel Gallery so head inside to see South African artist William Kentridge’s animated expressionist drawings in the Thick Time exhibition. You’ll just have time to pop into east London institution Absolute Vintage on Hanbury Street to rummage through the rails and pick up some British threads. Swing by winter pop up Last Days of Shoreditch, with cosy wooden alpine lodges, sizzling street food by vendors Mamas Jerk and Rainbo as well as graffiti art and DJs will be spinning the best records all night. 

12 hours...
Those travelling from Gatwick should hop on the Thameslink to London Bridge and then take the Jubilee line to North Greenwich. From here, walk to the Now Gallery on Peninsula Square for an exhibition of British designer Molly Goddard’s work. Oversized tulle dresses will hang on pullies allowing visitors of all sewing abilities to embroider directly on to them. Next, head to the Royal Observatory to look around the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 collection, where you can glimpse the heavenly wonders of space. Or, for something more temporal, check out the exhibition dedicated to Admiral Lord Nelson’s famous lover, Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity, at The National Maritime Museum, which opens this month. To complete the nautical experience, take a Thames Clipper to Embankment Pier and alight to visit Somerset House

If you’re hungry, stop in at Spring for a lunch of grouse with corn purée and roasted figs, with chocolate and Cognac cake to follow. Afterwards, strap on your skates and take to the ice for the freshly frozen Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, which takes over the courtyard until January 2017. Après-skate snacks include hot chocolate and Welsh rarebit, while clubbers can glide to DJ sets from Savage and Ministry of Sound’s finest. To wind down and warm up, head over the road to nearby One Aldwych for the new season of Film & Fizz. At this partnership with Curzon Cinemas, you can enjoy dinner and a movie, accompanied by a glass of Champagne.

24 hours…
If you’re flying into Heathrow, take the Underground to Piccadilly and walk to Maddox Street for the Cortesi Gallery. Its exhibition, Checkmate. Games of International Art from the Sixties to Now, includes wonders from the likes of Giulio Paolini and Tony Cragg. If you’re feeling peckish afterwards, head down Regent Street to Denman Street, where you’ll find the newly opened Kricket Soho. After enjoying success in Pop Brixton, the Kricket family is a welcome addition to central London, bringing its famed Indian small plates, such as crab meen moilee and samphire pakoras. You’re just around the corner from the Harold Pinter Theatre, so head in to see a matinée of Nice Fish. Written by actor Mark Rylance and poet Louis Jenkins, the play has just transferred from a sold-out season in New York and is simply extraordinary. Afterwards, head to the Asian Art in London exhibition taking place all over London. Pop up to the Christmas-tree-lined roof garden of John Lewis where Scottish eaterie Mac & Wild are hosting a winter residency in a cosy cabin until 30 December. Munch on some breaded haggis pops and order the tender, melt-in-the-mouth venison hunted at the family's estate in Scotland – delicious. 

See the work of Chinese sculptor Wang Keping at Aktis Gallery in St James’s. Then pick up the pace with a visit to Sartoria’s Libare Bar on Savile Row, which will be hosting a new Master of Mixology, Simone Caporale, until the end of the month. Choose from  a menu inspired by the street – including a ‘smocked’ bloody Mary, with tequila and whiskey. Next, stroll over to Sketch for a dinner of Arctic char poached in calamansi butter and the third in the series of creative talks, curated by artist Greg Pidcock, who doubles as the resident DJ. Cap your evening off with a trip to The Bar – the latest addition to the Athenaeum Hotel – on Down Street. Order a Claypot negroni then stay in a room overlooking Green Park.