Bonfire Night is not only one of the most explosive dates in London’s social calendar, it’s also a tradition that actually belongs to the city. Did you know that once the Gunpowder Plot was foiled on November 5 1605, it was Londoners who were first urged to light pyres in celebration?
The modern Bonfire Night is a pretty multi-dimensional thing, having moved beyond fireworks into a territory somewhere between a street-food market and the muddiest club night you’ve ever seen.
The humble bonfire seems to be the one thing you’re never guaranteed to find. Blame budget cuts and risk assessments. But whether it’s a mischievous love of effigy-burning, or just a primitive need to watch a big ball of flames, plenty of us still want them. Here are five to warm your cockles this year.
Ally Pally's annual spectacular has been expanded to a two-day event due to popular demand, with bonfires and fireworks on both November 4 and 5. The effigies are interestingly ‘high concept’, revolving around themes such as bullying. Adult tickets from £11; pre-booking advised.
The display in SW11 on November 5 will be popular and with no tickets on the gate, you must pre-book. It’s £8 before the end of the month and a tenner once you’re into November, while children’s tickets are free. Before the fireworks start, there’s a full half-hour of pure bonfire.
You can trust the scouts to know their way around a pile of firewood. An event which has evolved year-on-year since 2008, the Wild Wolf Explorers’ fireworks display in Bounds Green makes a big deal of marshmallow toasting and expects upwards of 1,500 guests this November 5. £5 on the night.
The fifty-ninth year of the Wallington & Carshalton Round Table fireworks should crackle as usual. This volunteer-run charity event is one of the biggest in south London and promises to make November 5 memorable with a bonfire and live bands. Just £5 in advance, £7.50 on the day itself.
Merton Council has two events this year. Each offers two fireworks displays, the first being a sort of family-friendly matinee performance. It’s Wimbledon Park on November 3 and Morden Park two nights later. There's bonfires at both, with tickets from £8 for adults and family deals available.