Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night, is one of the UK’s most delightful quirks. It is celebrated on 5 November every year to commemorate the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes and his fellow gang members attempted to blow up the House of Lords. Fawkes was arrested in the act of guarding the explosives that had been hidden beneath the House of Lords.
As the news of the foiled plot spread, bonfires were lit around London to celebrate the survival of King James I. Before the next 5 November came around, the Observance of 5th November Act had enshrined a yearly public day of thanksgiving for the Gunpowder Plot’s failure in the British calendar. The event continues to be celebrated to this day, more than 400 years later, with a man made of straw – a ‘Guy’ – burned on top of the bonfire.
Modern Bonfire Night celebrations involve not just bonfires but large-scale firework displays, often choreographed to music and delivered with a bountiful helping of food and drink stalls. Major cities delight in putting on impressive displays for the public to attend. Here we round up five of the best.
In London, firework displays are held in parks across the city. One of the most impressive settings is Alexandra Palace, where fireworks light up the London skyline from the stunning venue. An ice-skating rink, street food, craft beers, mulled wine and a funfair, as well as an enormous bonfire, will keep visitors entertained on Saturday 7 November.
In Cardiff, Sparks in the Park in Cooper’s Field on 7 November will be Wales’ largest fireworks display, attracting around 20,000 people to marvel at the pyrotechnics. All proceeds from the event go to charity, so you can not only enjoy the fireworks but also know that you have helped local good causes by doing so.
Up in Edinburgh on Thursday 5 November, the Meadowbank Sports Centre will host a full half-hour display of fireworks set to music, from the award-winning 21cc. Pre-show entertainment begins at 6.30 pm, with the fireworks starting an hour later, at Edinburgh’s biggest fireworks event.
At the other end of the UK, Mayflower Park in Southampton offers a great day out on 7 November. The entertainment begins at 1 pm, with a traditional funfair and a wide range of refreshments available. The live entertainment show begins at 6 pm, with fireworks at 7.45 pm.
Meanwhile in Birmingham the Edgbaston Fireworks at Edgbaston Stadium on 5 November are promising a fireworks extravaganza, with entertainment including face-painting and an on-site funfair. On the same night, the Vale Park in Edgbaston will also offer a display, hosted by the Guild of Students and including fun fair rides and plenty of other entertainment.
Many of these events sell out before the night, so be sure to purchase your ticket in advance in order to be sure you can attend.
For more information on Bonfire Night events in your local area, check out your Collegiate property’s Facebook page.