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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.