Remember, remember the fifth of November: gunpowder, treason and plot. The British tradition of burning the Guy, and holding fireworks displays, originated in a plot to blow up London’s Houses of Parliament, back in 1605. Guy Fawkes was part of a group of Catholic plotters who wanted to assasinate King James I and install the King’s daughter as a Catholic head of State. The plot failed when Fawkes was found, guarding the gunpowder under the Palace of Westminster. Since then, his effigy has been burned on bonfires on November fifth.
Now, the traditional bonfires are accompanied by fireworks displays, across the UK. And where better to watch one, than in the English capital, home of the Gunpowder Plot?
Luckily, there are plenty to choose from. Here are just a few of our favourites. They run from free, large-scale community gatherings, to ticketed ‘festival’ extravaganzas. Please let me know if I’ve missed off your favourite London fireworks display.
And if you’re looking for a place to stay in London to catch one of these displays, there are a host of options. For instance, Clickstay offers apartments across the city.
Lambeth Fireworks ‘A Night at the Movies’, 4 November
Held in Brockwell Park, at Herne Hill, south London, this fireworks display will be accompanied by movie blockbuster soundtracks. The music is curated by London DJ and music producer Josh Roberts. Fireworks kick off at 8pm, and there will be a funfair, street food and bars open from 5pm. Entrance is strictly by ticket only, and the organisers expect the event to sell out before the night.
Find out more about Lambeth Fireworks here. Early bird tickets are £8.50 per adult, £4 per child; advance tickets are £10 per adult, £5 per child. Premier viewing tickets, which give access to the premier viewing area and include a free drink, are £15 per adult and £10 per child.
Victoria Park Fireworks, 5 November
The Mayor of Tower Hamlets hosts this popular free event, in East London’s Victoria Park. Known as the ‘People’s Park‘, the 86-hectare green spaec recently celebrated its 170th birthday. The firework display, with glittering visuals, starts at 7pm, with food and drink on offer from 5.30. No sparklers or dogs are allowed.
Find out more about Victoria Park Fireworks here. Admission is free.
Wimbledon Park Fireworks, 4 November
There are two fireworks displays at the west London park this year. A Disney-themed display kicks off at 6.45, then, from 8.30 there’s ‘Festival Headliners’. Bonfire Night revellers can enjoy a funfair, drink and refreshments (toffee apples, anyone?).
Find out more about Wimbledon Fireworks here. There’s a discount for booking online in advance, with prices of £8.65 per adult, £6.42 per child, and free entry to under-twos. An online family ticket costs £26.75.
Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival, 3-4 November
This two-day event has something for everyone. Following a state-of-the-art laser show, the fireworks display will light up the north London skies on both evenings. DJ Yoda will curate the bespoke fireworks soundtrack, and on Friday evening, Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B will play live in StrEATlife, the festival’s street food and craft beer village. If that’s not enough, there’s a mega-bonfire on both evenings, a family area with a festival tent, ice skating, a fairground, and a ‘March of the Phoenix’ parade, with fire eaters, motorised animatronics, aerialists and flame jets, fire breathing, flaming cauldrons, giant puppets, roaming performers, drummers and dancers.
Find out more about Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival here. Tickets are £11 for adults, £8.50 for children, and £31 for a family of four. Children under ten are admitted for free, but will need a ticket.
Blackheath Fireworks, 4 November
This large display in the south London borough of Lewisham attracts thousands, and a well-publicised campaign has resulted in it being kept as a free event. Running costs are high, though, so the organisers ask for donations where possible. The display starts at 8pm, with a funfair from midday, and food and drink from 5pm.
Find out more about Blackheath Fireworks here. Admission is free.
Battersea Park Fireworks, 4 November
‘Power’ is the theme for this year’s spectacle. The award-winning fireworks show, set in south-west London’s 83-hectare space on the edge of the river Thames, has a capacity of 50,000 and is expected to sell out. The display is set to music and starts at 8pm, after the gates open at 6pm to let people in for food, drinks, and a bonfire at 7.30pm.
Find out more about Battersea Park Fireworks here. Early bird tickets are £9.50, and standard tickets are £11. Children under ten are admitted for free, but will need a ticket.
Guy Fawkes Festival and Fireworks at the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, 4-5 November
What better place to experience a tradition stemming from a gunpowder plot, than a former gunpowder factory. The Royal Gunpowder Mills, on the banks of the River Lee in north-east London, hosts a weekend of activities. Family fun begins at 2pm on both days, with slime making, lantern making and a short theatre production, which takes the audience into scenes from the plot. Professor Nitrate explains the science of explosions, and families can learn about the Stuarts’ eating habits. Then from 7pm, a firework show begins under the direction of Force FX, who create movie special effects.
Read more about the Guy Fawkes Festival and Fireworks here. Tickets are £10.50 for adults, £9 for concessions and £8.50 for children under 16.
This is a collaborative post. All views are my own. All pictures are from Pixabay.
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If you’re looking for a fun crafy activity for Bonfire Night, we made clay hedgehogs. Check out our post here.