Bonfire Night 2016: The Best Guy Fawkes Celebrations In The UK

September 29, 2016

Cast your eyes to the skies at one of the UK's most dazzling fireworks displays which are held across the country every November 5th.

Looking for a little sparkle (r) in your life? November the 5th is Bonfire Night in the UK which means one thing - fireworks. Marking the day when Guy Fawkes failed to blow up parliament (expect to see his effigy on top of many bonfires), this centuries-old tradition is celebrated across the country. Wrap up warm, grab a mulled wine and settle back at one of these spectacular shows. 

Cardiff Castle, Wales

Cardiff Castle Fireworks

Wales might be famous for its legends of flame-breathing dragons but the fiery November scenes in its capital have a decidedly more man-made feel. Set against the backdrop of the city's 11th century medieval castle, the event (known as 'Sparks in the Park') is held in Bute Park and attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. For around 30 minutes, the skies fill with around 20,000 fireworks that dazzle the spectators below. Alongside the main event there's also a funfair, food stalls and that all important bar area for a beer or cup of hot mulled wine. The firework show will also be accompanied by music presented by Heart FM hosts, Jagger and Woody. Limited tickets are available on the door but it's best to pre-book if you want to secure entry. Make the most out of the celebrations and stay the night at the top-rated and nearby Radisson Blu Cardiff.

Fireworks at 7 p.m. on November 5th 2016

Alexandra Palace, England

Alexandria Palace Fireworks

Held over two days in London's Alexandra Palace, this annual fireworks festival puts others to shame with its pyrotechnic prowess and abundance of added entertainment. In addition to the main event, the display also has its very own German beer festival, complete with Bavarian fancy dress, a traditional Oompah band and Club de Fromage DJ set. Back outdoors, the fireworks themselves are wonderfully elaborate; the display is one of the capital's largest and most attended. Forget your average Catherine wheel or a half-hearted sparkler, Alexandra Palace's offering has its own laser show, Day of the Dead parade and ice skating rink. It's advisable to book tickets in advance and reserve a London hotel room well before the event if you're planning to attend - the Holiday Inn Camden Lock is less than four miles from the Palace and nice and affordable.

Fireworks at 9 p.m. on Friday 4th November and 8 p.m. on Saturday 5th November 2016

Lord Mayor's Show, England

London Fireworks Night

Okay we're cheating a bit with this one but still, if you've missed the action on Bonfire Night itself, then London's annual Lord Mayor's Show a week after Fireworks Night is a good alternative. After a day of parades and processions, the Thames is lit up by a wonderful fireworks display. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament glow as rockets explode all around in what is considered to be one of the city's best pyrotechnic displays. Even more impressive is that the show is staged from boats on the river - sounds like a logistical nightmare to us, although the organisers pull it off with spectacular success. Get there early if you want a good view; the best place is the riverside between Waterloo and Blackfriars. Why not turn your city trip into a city break with a London hotel stay? H10 Hotel London Waterloo is close to the action and reasonably priced. 

Fireworks at 5.15 p.m. on November 12th 2016

Glasgow Green, Scotland

Bonfire Night at Glasgow Green, Scotland

It's safe to say, Glaswegians like to party and nowhere is this more the case than on Bonfire Night. Glasgow has several displays but the biggest, brightest and boldest is held on Glasgow Green. Drawing in around 50,000 spectators, the event features not only the obligatory rockets, wheelers and bangers but also a huge traditional bonfire which is used to burn Guy Fawkes. The majestic backdrop of the city provides wonderful photo ops too; as such, it's hardly surprising that this is Scotland's biggest display. Even better is the fact that this event is free (and tickets aren't needed) so you can save your pennies for a tried and tested Scottish tradition afterwards - going to the pub. Make sure you've booked somewhere to lay your weary head afterwards. Our choice is the super hip citizenM hotel. 

Event begins at 6.30 p.m. on November 5th 2016

Lewes, England

Lewes Castle Fireworks

Dubbed the biggest Bonfire Night celebration in the world, there's no way we could leave Lewes in Sussex off the list. Marking the traditional Guy Fawkes night that's celebrated up and down the country, this particular event is also dedicated to the memory of 17 Protestant martyrs who were burned at the stake here in the 16th century. Seven separate bonfire societies put on five different parades and fireworks displays as the small town swells in numbers as thousands from the surrounding countryside arrive to mark the occasion. 17 huge burning crosses are carried through the streets, colonial soldiers carry banners and flags and huge flaming tar barrels roll through the town centre. Throngs of locals and visitors march alongside the spectacles and, unsurprisingly, the party goes on into the small hours. As you'll probably be going until dawn, we recommend booking into the quaint Blacksmiths Arms to crash out in. 

Procession begins at 7.30 p.m. on November 5th 2016

Cambridge's Midsummer Common, England

Bonfire night in Cambridge

Beautiful Cambridge isn't just full of ancient colleges and iconic architecture, it's also home to one of the area's best loved fireworks shows. Held on Midsummer Common, this free event has been running for over 20 years and features a dazzling firework display and carnival-esque funfair. You'll also get a chance to see the traditional lighting of the bonfire and the burning of Guy Fawkes. Previous years have seen 25,000 spectators flock to enjoy the entertainment - this year is set to be even bigger and better. If you're keen to catch all the action then don't miss the 7.30 p.m. start for the fireworks (get there early if you want to get a good view). Splash out on a stay at the award-winning Varsity Hotel and Spa.

Fireworks at 7.30 p.m. on November 5th 2016

 

How will you be spending Bonfire Night? Tweet us @travioor or post a comment on Travioor's Facebook page

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Siobhan Brewood-Wyatt
After a Masters in Comparative Literature, Siobhan worked for several big-name travel companies before joining travioor. She has been hooked on travel since her teens and her biggest adventure is booking flights from Rome to Rio after a few too many beers. Follow her on Twitter @SiobhanBW