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Photograph: City Cruises

The best bonfire night events and firework displays in the UK

Light up your November with a trip to one of these dazzling bonfire night events and fireworks spectaculars

Written by
Megan Geall

Before we all get too excited about Christmas and Michael Bublé starts his annual defrost, let’s not forget about bonfire night: an evening of fireworks, sparklers and burning a dummy. It’s a uniquely British celebration – and one which might look a bit alarming if you’re not from the UK – but we love it all the same.

The yearly festivites are held on November 5, marking the anniversary of a failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in the historic Gunpowder plot. It may have happened more than 400 years ago, but we’re still proud of our whizzing, popping, sparkling tradition. Standing out in the cold, enjoying a feast from a food stall, and staring up at the sky for half an hour going ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ is an event in our calendars which we look forward to as soon as autumn leaves start to fall. 

That’s why we’ve rounded up the best bonfire night events around: the biggest processions, the most incredible firework displays and some quieter activities for our furry friends so that everyone can enjoy the evening. Without further ado, here are the best bonfire night events in the UK. 

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Best Bonfire Night Events in the UK

East Sussex

Where better to celebrate bonfire night than the biggest celebration of its kind in the UK? Lewes Bonfire is a properly authentic bonfire event: with around 30 visiting bonfire societies from all over Sussex, marching bands and blazing processions all taking over the narrow streets of Lewes until the early hours. You’ll see all sorts of wild traditions and costumes, as well as fireworks and (of course) huge bonfires. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the seventeen burning crosses, referencing the Seventeen Martyrs burnt at the stake in the town in the mid-16th century. 

Saturday, November 4, from 5pm. Free. Lewes town centre, BN7.


With a funfair, horse racing, food outlets and fireworks, it seems like there’s something for everyone at Newcastle Racecourse this bonfire night. If you’re not a fan of loud bangs and whizzes, or want to stay inside to comfort your four-legegd friend, the gates open just after two so you can enjoy an afternoon of fairground rides suitable for all ages. Then, at around 8.30pm, the main event kicks off with a huge 15-minute firework and laser display, all choreographed to hit songs. 

Friday November 3, 2.15-9.30pm. From £16. Newcastle Racecourse, NE3 5HP. 



If you’re looking to really make a night of it, why not spend your night on a river cruise along the Thames? Celebrate in the very city where the Gunpowder Plot took place, embarking on your journey at Westminster Pier. You’ll be treated to a welcome glass of bubbly and canapés while heading down the river to Battersea. From there, you’ll be in prime position to watch the dazzling Battersea Park fireworks display – no jostling for the best view needed. 

Saturday November 4, 7-9pm. £49 over 13s; £39 2-12 year olds. Westminster Pier, SW1A 2JH.


Light Up Lancaster is pretty much one mega festival of art and light, bringing together work from both international and local artists to the city across the whole weekend. The gathering is part of the larger Light Up The North network of light festivals which take place in the North of England, recognising the magical after-dark art form of light. Head into the streets and follow the light art trail around the city, combined with film, animation, music and illuminations. Talk about Insta-worthy.

Thursday November 2 - Saturday November 4, 5.30pm - 10pm. Free. Dalton Square, LA1 1PL.  


Greater Manchester 

Coming back for its 11th year, Oldham’s bumper bonfire night event is well-practised at bringing all the colour and brightness you could ever need to celebrate the evening in style. The celebrations take place at Oldham Edge Playing Fields and is completely free to attend, allowing everyone to have the chance of soaking up the incredible atmosphere. Get ready for plenty of bangs, pops, and whizzes from the firework display while enjoying the warmth from the massive bonfire. 

Thursday November 2, 5pm. Free. Oldham Edge, Oldham, Lancashire, OL1 2HD.


Transport back in time to the Victorian era and spend the evening exploring the old-fashioned streets at Blists Hill Victorian Town. Steam engines will be in action all throughout the evevning and you can also pop into the old public house for a pint or two (or to warm up). After soaking up the atmosphere of the Victorian streets, there will also be an 18-minute-long firework display starting at 7.45pm which will light up the skies with colour. 

Saturday November 4, 5-9pm. £17.50 adults; £12.50 children. Legges Way, TF7 5UD. 



This epic over-the-water firework event on the Milford Haven waterfront is taking place on the actual evening of bonfire night rather than the Saturay. Gaze over the marina in awe of the bright colours and sounds while feasting on one of the delicious offerings from the street food stalls. This event is free to attend and is west Wales’ biggest free firework display – can’t complain, really. 

Sunday November 5, 5-8pm. Free. Mackerel Quay, SA73 3BN. 


This huge fireworks spectacular raises money for the Guildford Lion’s welfare fund as well as a local mental health charity. Not only does it have a stunning fireworks display as its finale, but the event also incorporates live music, a children’s entertainment area and a range of street food stalls: including Thai, Italian and Greek. Once you’ve finished your feast, you’ll be able to satisfy your sweet tooth too – there will also be an offering of crepes, cookies, donuts, and gooey brownies. De-lish. 

Saturday November 4, 5pm. £12 adults; under 16s free. Stoke Park, GU1 1ER.



One fireworks display not enough for you? Don’t stress. You’ll want to head to Quex Park as they’re hosting two different ones at their annual extravaganza. The fireworks at dusk is aimed at little ones and will take place two hours before the main event, which will light up the night sky with a movie-themed dazzling display. Alongside the pops and whizzes, there will also be live music, fairground rides, food stalls, and, of course, a roaring bonfire. 

Saturday November 4, from 3pm. £14.50 adults; £13.50 children; 50p under 5s. Quex Park, CT7 0HR.  


It’s no lie that bonfire night can be tricky for our furry friends – but the gang at Hawarden Estate have organised a dog-friendly celebration without any fireworks. That doesn’t mean it will be dull, though – far from it. From a huge bonfire, a roaming brass band and illuminations at Hawarden Old Castle, to a lantern walk and food from the fire, this offers the chance to celebrate with all the family (pooches included). 

Saturday November 4, 5-9.30pm. £10 adults; £6 children; free under 2s. Chester Road, CH5 3FB. 



If you’re looking for a more glamorous evening – let’s be real, standing in a field in the cold isn’t exactly heels and a dress vibe – you’ll probably want to check out Gravetye Manor’s bonfire night celebration. The evening involves a drinks reception and sparkling fireworks display over the lake on the estate before heading into the warm to enjoy a three course seasonal meal prepared by the Manor’s executive chef (which sounds slightly more fancy than a burger or jacket potato from a food truck.)

Thursday November 2, 6.30pm. £160 (inclusive of aperitif, 3 courses and wines). Gravetye Manor, RH19 4LJ. 


To ensure your bonfire night goes off with a (literal) bang, head over to the Food Museum for their annual fireworks display and bonfire. With gates opening at 6pm, you’ll be able to join the crowds around the roaring bonfire and enjoy all the fairground rides on offer (if that’s your thing). Food trucks and a snack bar will be on hand to grab a bite before watching the fireworks pop, whizz, and bang overhead. 

Saturday November 4, 6pm-8.30pm. £6 adult; £4 children. The Food Museum, IP14 1DL.   



Sometimes, you just can’t go wrong with tradition. Down Hall Hotel proves just that by offering a cosy evening of hot dogs, toffee apples, and warm crumble and custard alongside their spectacular fireworks display. Bring along your own sparklers to wave around and keep your hands warm by sipping on a complimentary hot drink. And if you fancy a bit more comfort? You can buy a hotel room ticket which involves private viewing areas of the fireworks. 

Sunday November 5, 6pm. £25 adults; £15 child; free under 3s. Matching Road, CM22 7AS. 

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