Looking for Bonfire Night events in London this November? Look no further! Here’s our pick of the best ones happening in the city this autumn.
The History of Bonfire Night
Bonfire Night – otherwise known as Guy Fawkes Night or Fireworks Night – is celebrated in the UK on November 5th every year. You’ll find some of the best Bonfire Night events in London every year.
“Remember remember the 5th of November – gunpowder treason and plot!!” – this is an old rhyme that British kids learn at school so that they can remember the date of the famous Gunpowder Plot.
This is the time of year that the country commemorates an outrageous plot by a man named Guy Fawkes. He tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament way back in 1605. The sly Fawkes stashed away 36 barrels of gunpowder and was planning to turn the building to rubble before he was found out! Four hundred plus years later us Brits are still lighting up the sky to show what Guy might have done if his plot hadn’t been discovered! Guy Fawkes night is actually on the 5th November but different displays run over the entire weekend, starting on Friday 2nd November.
So, if you fancy a weekend in London filled with toffee apples, cider and loads of autumnal atmosphere then the first weekend in November is a great time to come!
Now here’s our tips for making sure you don’t miss out on the best Fireworks displays:
- Plan ahead if you can. Most of the big displays are ticketed and though the prices are not usually too expensive, places are limited. So don’t wait – book and get ready to go!
- Wrap up warm: Don’t let a little bit of chill ruin your night – it’s part of the fun! Remember your coat, hat, scarf and gloves and you’ll be as warm as a toasted marshmallow! And definitely wear some sensible shoes!
- Take cash if you’re planning to buy food and drink as these events are mostly cash only and most of the stalls are not able to accept cards!
- Finally – pray for a dry cloudless night! If the weather is bad then check to ensure your chosen event is on. High winds can cause cancellations or postponements. And fear not – if the worst happens you won’t be bored in this city!
We’ve picked out four events over the weekend leading up to 5th November, and one on Monday itself – bonfire night! If you’re a real pyromaniac you could attend them all. But there’s plenty of other cool stuff happening throughout the city, so why not pick one event and then plan some other fun activities to fill the rest of your weekend? Check out our other London city guides to see what else you could get up to. The displays we’ve picked out are pretty easy to get to from Clink and from central London.
Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd November
Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival
The Alexandra Palace display is an amazing all-round Bonfire Night event. It’s not just a Fireworks Display (the clue is in the name!) it’s a proper festival! Best of all, it’s an easy 15-minute ride from Kings Cross, so it’s super easy to get there from either Clink78 or Clink261. Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time as these events are busy and there are lots of people travelling.
Within the festival site at Alexandra Palace you’ll find a Street Food Village with live music and DJ’s each night – and a funfair! There’s loads going on for a great night out – so get there early and make the most of all the cool stuff going on.
If you’re looking for even more fun, a riotous Beer festival runs alongside the spectacular fireworks display. Ally Pally’s great hall is set to be transformed into a huge German Bier Keller where you’ll find craft beers, street food, specialist bars and foot-stomping live music – including headline acts by Queen and Take That (tribute acts … !!) Tickets for these are separate, but we reckon it’s worth the investment! More info can be found here.
Nearest tube: Wood Green
Mainland station: Alexandra Palace
Display time: Friday 3rd – 9pm. Gates open from 5pm
Display time: Saturday 4th _ 8pm. Gates open from 4pm
Saturday 3rd November
Battersea Park Fireworks Display
If you’re in London for fireworks then we’re guessing that you’re neither afraid of crowds or loud noises – you’ll definitely get both at this event! This year’s Battersea Park Firework Display is set to be even bigger and bolder than ever. The fireworks alone are worth the ticket price. Some amazing pyrotechnics are set to music from people who really know what they are doing. This year they’re going for a Circus theme which is bound to make for a good spectacle! The bonfire will be lit (and poor old ‘Guy’ thrown on top!) at 7.30pm.
If you’re planning to eat at any bonfire night event our advice is go traditional – find a hot dog with some fiery English mustard, a stuffed baked potato or a warm mug of soup. Definitely eat a toffee apple – but mind your teeth! Drink a mulled wine or cider and hold your hands around the cup. Soak up the sounds and smells that will give you a taste of what Guy Fawkes Night is about!
Our top tip: Take the underground to Sloane Square and then wander down towards Chelsea Bridge on your way to Battersea Park. There’s a great view of the Thames at night with all the twinkling lights and also of the iconic Battersea Power Station itself.
Tickets: £10 (you MUST book ahead. There are no tickets at the gate)
Nearest tube: Sloane Square
Gates open: 6pm
Display time: 8pm (get there before as there is no entry after 8pm!!)
Sunday 4th November
Victoria Park Fireworks Display
Set off from Clink and make your way to Victoria Park on the easy 20 minute tube ride from King’s Cross/St Pancras for a fun, free and fantastic bonfire night event in London. This year there is a monster theme – Frankenstein is King for the night! You can dress up if you’re in the mood – your leftover Halloween costume will probably do the trick! The fireworks display starts at 7pm but this free event does attract the crowds so we’d suggest getting down early to grab a good spot, enjoy some food and soak up a bit of the atmosphere. This is a real community event organised by the locals.
As well as the amazing fireworks display, the 2018 celebrations will captivate audiences with dazzling visuals and an atmospheric soundtrack created by leading pyrotechnic and outdoor theatre company, Walk The Plank. Expect something a little different! It’s all over by about 9pm and there is no fun fair or other entertainment at this one, but it’s all free and is a great local community event in this part of London. More info here.
Nearest Tube: Mile End or Bethnal Green
Gates Open: 5.30pm
Display time: 7pm
Monday 5th November
The Southwark Fireworks Display
5th November – the real Guy Fawkes Night – and one of our favourite Bonfire Night events! Southwark Fireworks display is another one that really draws in the crowds (all the good ones do!) Named by Visit London as one of the best displays in the capital, this year promises another outstanding show set to uniquely synchronised music.
There’s plenty else going on too, if you’re in the mood to make a night of it! There’s a funfair, loads of food and drink stalls and you can head to the South Bank for a few drinks afterwards if the mood takes you!
Early booking is advised as tickets usually sell out in advance.
Nearest tube: Canada Water
Gates Open: 5pm
Display time: approx. 7.30 but check website.
There are many other displays on throughout the City and the outlying areas but really if you’re in London to see Fireworks then get to one of the BIGGIES and ooooh and ahhhhh with the crowds! Why come to see a few mini rockets when the London sky is ABLAZE – help old Guy go out with a BANG!
Planning your trip to see London’s skyline light up? Find out more about Clink78 and Clink261, or visit our group accommodation page to find out more about our rates and best deals.