Bonfire Night 2018: the best firework displays in London

Bonfire Night 2018: the best firework displays in London

Remember, remember the 5th 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 ‘guy fawkes night’: November fifth.

Now, the traditional bonfires are accompanied by firework 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, from bonfires near me in south London, up to the north of the capital. They run from free, large-scale community gatherings, to ticketed ‘festival’ extravaganzas. Please let me know if I’ve missed off your favourite London firework display.

Lambeth Fireworks, 3 November

Held in Brockwell Park, at Herne Hill, south London, this fireworks display comes in two halves. The earlier kids’ display, from 6.45pm, features fireworks choreographed to  music from movies such as The Greatest Showman, Trolls, Sing, The Lego Movie, Frozen and Moana. The later fireworks kick off at 8pm, with music from the early 80s through to today 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 and £25 per family (two adults and two children).

Victoria Park Fireworks, TBC

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 space recently celebrated its 170th birthday. Victoria Park Fireworks are an annual fixture, with free admission, but at the time of publishing, this year’s event was yet to be confirmed. You can keep up to date on the Tower Hamlets website.


Sparklers aren’t allowed into many of these public displays. Check for details befrore you set off. Picture from Pixabay.

Wimbledon Park Fireworks, 5 November

There are two firework displays at the west London park this year. A family display kicks off at 6.45pm, then, from 8.30pm the adult action kicks in. 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 £8.56 per adult, £6.42 per child, and free entry to under-fours. An online family ticket costs £26.75.

Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival, 2-3 November

This two-day event has something for everyone. Following a state-of-the-art laser show, the firework display will light up the north London skies on both evenings. There will be a mega-bonfire, plus a new, even bigger family area with a festival tent, ice skating, a fairground, and a circus, featuring Cirque Bijou and the Bullzini Family, with high-wire acrobatics and a live choir.

Plus a bier festival and mulled wine. Phew.

Find out more about Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival here.  Tickets are £12 for adults, £9.50 for children, and £34 for a family of four. Children under ten pay £1, but will need a ticket.

Blackheath Fireworks, 3 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, 3 November

Wandsworth Council’s Battersea Park Fireworks, 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 will run for 22 minutes, overseen by award-winning pyrotechnics Jubilee Fireworks. Fireworks start 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. Standard tickets are £10+ a booking fee. Children under ten are admitted for free, but will need a ticket.

Crystal Palace Fireworks, 5 November

Crystal Palace Fireworks features two shows, one at 7pm, with fewer bangs for those easily spooked younger kids, and another family display at 8.30pm. Choreographed lights accompany the later fireworks.

Find out more about Crystal Palace Fireworks here. Tickets must be bought online in advance. Before the end of October, adult tickets are £8.50, children from 3-11 are £4.50. Tickets bought in November cost £9.50 for adults, £5 for 3-11 year olds. Under 2s are free.

Guy Fawkes Festival and Fireworks at the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey, 3-4 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.

Have we missed any? Let us know by emailing

All pictures are from Pixabay.

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Bonfire Night

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  1. October 14, 2017 / 8:10 am

    I like the sound of Brockwell Park, although one of my favourite things is to stand on the top of Epsom Downs overlooking London and to see all the many displays going on across the City

    • Nell
      October 15, 2017 / 6:14 pm

      We sometimes go to Telegraph Hill, which is similar. Fewer crowds and loads to see!

  2. October 17, 2017 / 9:04 am

    I’ve wanted to go to London in Fall/Winter for such a long time so I guess I’ll try going at the beginning of November next year to catch the fireworks. Such a great tip, thank you! #CityTripping

    • Nell
      October 17, 2017 / 9:07 pm

      They’re really worth travelling for. Such a great atmosphere!

  3. October 17, 2017 / 6:16 pm

    I haven’t been to a proper bonfire night display for ages (we can see our best local one from my daughter bedroom, the benefits of a tall thin house!). How fun would it be to go to Royal Gunpowder Mills though. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping and sharing

    • Nell
      October 17, 2017 / 9:08 pm

      We’re blessed with the London curse of a tall thin house, too! Sadly, ours doesn’t point in quite the right direction for the big displays, bit we can see little local ones.

  4. October 17, 2017 / 8:28 pm

    I can only imagine how gorgeous this would look on a Christmas or New Year’s eve night!

    • Nell
      October 17, 2017 / 9:14 pm

      Yes, it would be lovely then, too.

    • Nell
      October 17, 2017 / 9:14 pm

      Thank you!

  5. October 17, 2017 / 11:16 pm

    Oooh now this would be fun! I don’t imagine that London often has a firework show! Would be interesting to learn more about the 5th of Nov and the traditions! #CityTripping

    • Nell
      October 18, 2017 / 3:44 pm

      We have bonfires and fireworks all over on the 5th November. You should come!

  6. October 18, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    We’ll be in London over this period so we may select one of your suggestions if the weather looks reasonable. Really helpful list, thanks. #citytripping

    • Nell
      October 21, 2017 / 4:23 pm

      Have fun! x

  7. September 25, 2018 / 10:43 am

    I love the sound of fireworks going off to music from the movies! We’re going to a local display this year and have everything crossed that it doesn’t rain!!

    • Nell
      October 4, 2018 / 10:21 am

      Yes, that’s always the danger, isn’t it? Fingers crossed!

  8. September 25, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    Quite a few on this list I haven’t been to. My older two only went to their very first bonfire night last November. They think all English people are bonkers, but didn’t complain at the toffee apples they got, or the fact they were out quite late! 😀 x #citytripping

    • Nell
      October 4, 2018 / 10:25 am

      Well they’re right – we are all a bit bonkers, really!

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