If you’re looking to mark Bonfire Night in London, also referred to as Guy Fawkes Night, there’s no other place to spend it than the capital city in which it took place.
To mark the occasion, Londoners love gigantic bonfires, extravagant firework displays and autumnal market stalls so you can grab winter drinks and snacks to your heart’s content.
We’re taking you through everything you need to know, prior to the day, so you can plan ahead and enjoy Bonfire Night in London this 2019.
Why do we celebrate Bonfire Night in the UK?
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.
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!
Where can I see London fireworks?
Here are our top tips for making sure you don’t miss out on the best firework displays in London:
- 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 the Tuesday itself – bonfire night! You can also check out our other London city guides to see what else you could get up to in the big smoke.
Ally Pally’s Fireworks Festival
When? Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd November 2019
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.
Within the festival site at Alexandra Palace you’ll find the StrEATlife Village, a packed street food and craft beer festival within a festival, as well as live music, DJs 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, the German Bier Festival runs alongside the spectacular fireworks display. Ally Pally’s great hall is set to be transformed into a huge German Bierkeller where you’ll find craft beers, street food, specialist bars and foot-stomping live music. Tickets for these are separate, but we reckon it’s worth the investment!
Tickets: from £12.50 – click here to order
Nearest Tube station: Wood Green
Mainland station: Alexandra Palace
Display time: Friday 1st – 9pm. Gates open from 6pm
Display time: Saturday 2nd _ 8pm. Gates open from 4pm
Battersea Park Fireworks Display
When? Saturday 2nd November 2019
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. Gates will open at 6pm, with the Bonfire being lit at 7:30pm and the firework display starting at 8pm. Be aware that there will be no entry to the park after 8pm so make sure you get there early!
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!
This year also sees the introduction of the Battersea Park Fireworks Afterparty, which is being held at Battersea Evolution and is open until 1am.
Tickets: from £10 – you MUST book ahead. Click here to order
Nearest Tube station: Sloane Square
Gates open: 6pm
Display time: 8pm (get there before as there is no entry after 8pm!)
Victoria Park Fireworks Display
When? Sunday 3rd November 2019
For the best free Bonfire Night event in London, set off from Clink and make your way to Victoria Park on the easy 20 minute tube ride from King’s Cross/St Pancras.
The Victoria Park 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, this year’s celebrations will mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing mission with a stunning soundtrack to accompany the pyrotechnics.
It’s normally 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.
Nearest Tube: Mile End or Bethnal Green
Gates Open: 5.30pm
Display time: 7pm
The Southwark Fireworks Display
When? Tuesday 5th November 2019
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.
Tickets: From £8.00 – click here to order
Nearest tube: Canada Water
Gates Open: 5pm
Display time: approx. 7.30pm but check website.
Enjoy Bonfire Night in London
Although there are plenty of firework displays in and around the city, we recommend going to one of the larger shows to really immerse yourself in the celebration.
Join the crowds to witness mini rockets light up the sky, drink pumpkin spiced coffees and toast marshmallows around a fire. Bonfire Night in London is truly a great event to attend in winter – don’t miss out!