3 years, 9 months ago
It’s time to dig out your sparkler-proof mittens and stash all pets in the basement. November 5th is looming large and (if there’s any justice in the world) the skies will be filled with brilliance for a good three days at least. Three days? Yes, this year almost every firework display in the UK has gone all caring and sharing in the ‘save the date’ stakes. And nobody’s running the risk of doubling up or depriving fellow pyrotechnic lovers of their slice of the crowds. Bad news is: not all Bonfires are on Bonfire Night. Good news is: more fireworks to get over-excited about and much longer to keep the celebration going. Another trend this year is ‘quieter displays’. Seems a few children aren’t as mad keen on noise as others and kindly organisers have bent like a reed in the Bonfire Night breeze to accommodate their sensitivities. So if you want to be lulled by nothing more shocking than the faint hiss of a dying match, there are events where that’s an option. And for the rest of us, who’d happily have held Guy Fawkes’ torch for him on the promise of an ear-splitting explosion, there are just as many loud and traditional affairs to oooh and aaaah over this year too. So here’s where you want to be for the best of whatever type of fireworks you have in mind – on Bonfire Night and beyond.
Sensitive souls might want to give this one a miss. It’s big, noisy, spectacular and comes with a beer festival, ice rinks, funfairs and a parade of street food trucks. These are the most legendary of all city fireworks lighting up not only Alexandra Palace but the rest of night time London too. Pyrotechnics start from 8pm on November 7th, the views are incredible and this year they have a blazing bonfire too. If you’re going for the beer and grown-up funfair first, the grounds open at 3pm. Either way, you need tickets and you need them now.
Looking for fireworks with a local feel, less noise and in one of London’s pretty riverside parks? This is the one for you. ‘Children’s Fireworks’ start at 6.15pm and promise lots of colour and gentle whooshing as opposed to mighty bangs. If you’re made of sterner stuff, hang around until 8pm for the main event with specially orchestrated music and firework choreography. Funfairs and plenty of food are all in place too. And Bishop’s Park is a past master in the noble art of Bonfire Night, so should be good.
One of the few Bonfire Nights on Bonfire Night itself, the Strathclyde Country Park event is free and has Scotland’s biggest funfair playing in the background. It all kicks off at 5pm when M&Ds Funfair opens their gates, music and DJs go live at 6, the massive bonfire is lit at 7pm and the fireworks themselves start at 8pm. This is one of the largest displays in Scotland this year and might make up for the sad fact that the traditional and much loved Glasgow Green fireworks have been moved to November 4th so they don’t clash with a Celtic game on the 5th – shameless! Strathclyde Country Park is about 20 minutes east of Glasgow.
Beautiful Hopetoun House just outside Edinburgh is once again staging a stunning Bonfire Night firework display on Saturday November 7th. If you’ve never visited Hopetoun, trust us you’ll forgive them for playing fast and loose with dates when you see the setting. They have a huge bonfire as always, brilliant food, live entertainment, lots for children and the fireworks are planned for 6pm. You should probably get tickets in advance for this one and the park opens at 4pm.
The world’s biggest Bonfire Night is held annually – and always on the right date – in the normally sedate town of Lewes in Sussex. A merry band of local Bonfire Societies (seven at the last count) celebrate all over the town, some have fireworks, some just go in for enormous fires and it’s an all-welcome general party atmosphere. Expect costumes, sensational torchlight marches, parades, music, dancing, plenty of ancient customs and much traditional Bonfire Night revelry in very lively local pubs.
Okay, not strictly Bonfire Night fireworks, but definitely one of the best and biggest pyrotechnic finales to any event in London this November. The Lord Mayor’s Show launches at 9am on Saturday 14th with the ceremonial River Pageant along the Thames followed by the traditional Procession from Mansion House to the Royal Courts – over 7000 participants are involved this year along with 20 marching bands, 150 horses and dozens and dozens of vehicles from vintage cars to state coaches. And at 5.15pm a floating launch pad between Blackfriars and Waterloo is the stage for an enormous firework display over the river – it’s designed to be seen from either bank, so just go along and find a spot is the general idea.
Happy Fireworks – whatever night they’re happening this year.