In Depth

Bonfire Night: 12 best firework displays around the UK

With food stalls and family areas, Guy Fawkes Night has become one of the most accommodating celebrations in the UK calendar

Dust off your thickest winter coat and grab some sparklers - Bonfire Night is almost here.

Ever since the 17th century, this thrilling - and often slightly mad - festival has become one of the most highly anticipated nights of the year.

“Gone are the days when Bonfire night meant twirling a few sparklers while watching a piddly display that lasts all of 30 seconds,” Time Out says. “Now fireworks come with dodgems, laser shows and banging tunes to boot.”

So whether you're looking for a heavy night with friends or a calm family outing, here are some of the best Guy Fawkes events in the UK:

Lewes, East Sussex, 5 November

For the truly authentic - and completely insane - side of Bonfire Night, look no further than Lewes, East Sussex. This is not a night for young children.

Every year, participants take part in a number of processions to commemorate the memory of the town's 17 protestant martyrs. Health and safety rules go out the window, with plenty of fire, explosions and enormous crowds. Booze flows, highly controversial effigies are burned and you may get hit by a stray rocket if you don’t keep your wits about you.

Alexandra Palace, London, 2 and 3 November

Those in the capital can head up to Alexandra Palace in the north of the city, for a display set against a historic backdrop.

This year, tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the event, and will be treated to a German Bier Festival, laser shows, ice skating and mulled wine. A “family zone” will include a funfair, food and drinks stalls and an appearance from the Horrible Histories team.

Rocket Firework Train, Denbighshire, 3 November

In rural Wales, the Llangollen railway line beside the River Dee plays host to a unique Guy Fawkes experience on board a train.

The evening journey, which includes alcohol and soft drinks, departs from Llangollen through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty before stopping off at Glyndyfrdwy Station for a stunning firework display.

Ottery St Mary, Devon, 5 November

Described by The Culture Trip as “one of the most peculiar Bonfire Night celebrations”, the display in the small Devon town of Ottery St. Mary involves “men, women and children of all ages running through the town carrying blazing barrels of tar on their heads”.

“There’s also a huge bonfire, fairground attractions and a fireworks display for those who would rather not risk setting themselves alight,” the site adds.

Segedunum, Tyne and Wear, 1 November

One of the biggest fireworks displays in the north of England is at Segedunum, a Roman fort at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall in Tyne and Wear.

Here, the reconstructed bath house and the museum, along with the ruins of the wall, are free to visitors before the fireworks.

South Queensferry, West Lothian, 3 November

“Renowned as one of the best fireworks around, the 2018 firework extravaganza at Hopetoun is set to be bigger and better than ever,” GoodToKnow says.

With the gorgeous Hopetoun House in the background, this year’s event will reportedly take on a Greatest Showman-inspired theme.

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, 3 November

One of the largest fireworks displays in the Midlands, the show at Kenilworth Castle is another barnstormer in a beautiful historic loctation.

Not only is this a large display with plenty of sideshows and stalls, but it also raises tens of thousands of pounds for local good causes too, as all the funds from the night go to charity.

Bught Park, Inverness, 5 November

The celebrations at Bught Park, on the banks of the picturesque River Ness, are expected to attract between 10,000 and 15,000 spectators this year, making it the biggest bonfire event in the Highlands.

The event kicks off at 5.30pm on Monday 5 November, with fire twirlers and a pipe and drum band before the giant bonfire is lit at 7.30pm. The 20-minute music and fireworks display is one of the best in northern Scotland, and is sure to be great fun for the whole family.

Skinningrove, Yorkshire, 5 November

Perched on the beautiful North Yorkshire coast, Skinningrove is one of the more picturesque locations at which to warm your hands around a bonfire.

“Each year locals build a huge structure which reflects the area’s heritage (last year it was a pigeon) to set alight on the beach, plus there’s a firework display, and this year the village will be turned into a winter wonderland,” The Daily Telegraph says.

The fireworks here have made quite a name for themselves, attracting upwards of 5,000 guests each year.

Bute Park, Cardiff, 3 November

The snappily named Sparks in the Park returns to Cardiff this year, with not only a family area, but an entire separate show just for kids. The event opens at 4.30pm, with the junior display at 5.45pm and the main display at 7pm.

Taking place in Blackweir Fields, Bute Park, this is the largest fireworks display in Wales, with space for 20,000 people to watch the pyrotechnics.

Harrow, London, 3 November 

Head to Harrow Fireworks Display in Byron Park to celebrate both Guy Fawkes Night and Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

There will be dancers, singers, face-painting, henna and a wide array of food from around the world, including fish and chips, a hog roast and Indian dishes, as well as a 20-minute pyrotechnics show set to both Hindu pop and UK chart music.

Gates are open from 12noon, with free entry until 4pm. The fireworks display is expected to kick off at 7.45pm.

Lambeth, London, 3 November

Visit Brockwell Park on Saturday to catch two separate themed displays of fireworks, crafted by finalists from the 2018 British Firework Championships. 

The event opens at 5pm, with the first Family Films display, set to tracks from movies such as The Greatest ShowmanMoana and Frozen, scheduled for 6.45pm.

The theme for the main display at 8pm is The Time Tunnel, showcasing music from the 1990s to present day. There will also be a funfair and more than 30 food stalls. The event is limited to ticket holders.

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