London and the UK, in general, is full of traditions. Dating back to millennia, the country has amassed a range of events and seasonal celebrations from across many different cultures, religions and historic events. Whether you’re staying in the city with one of our London hotel packages, or you’re enjoying a stay in another part of the country, there are plenty of traditions for you to explore during your British trip.
One such event, taking place on the 5th of November every year, is Bonfire Night. This tradition is unique to the UK and is the only place in the world that celebrates it. With a long history dating back to the early 17th century, Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night as it’s called in the UK, is one of the most unique and exciting events to take place in the country. Whether you’re on the lookout for a quintessentially British way to celebrate or just a memorable if not an explosive night out while staying at a hotel in Lancaster, England, you can find everything you need to know about Bonfire Night below.
What is Bonfire Night?
Across the country, Bonfire Night is the national recognition of the gunpowder plot, instigated by Catholic terrorists in 1605. This event is celebrated because the attack was thwarted and the plotters brought to (at the time grisly) justice. In general, Bonfire Night sees participants parade in costume donning costumes and fireworks, often sparklers, fireworks and flaming torches are utilised, as well as parade floats inspired by current events and figures from history. The event often culminates around a large bonfire and a climactic fireworks display. Whilst traditions vary from area to area, the basic concepts and rituals are always the same.
History of Bonfire Night
Bonfire Night is also known as Guy Fawkes Night due to the main conspirator in a failed assassination of King James I. This event saw a group of British born Catholics installing a cache of gunpowder underneath the Houses of Parliament, which they planned to ignite whilst the King was in the building. This event planned to kill the king and replace him with a Catholic head of state, thus ensuring the end of Protestant rule over the country. With his history of fighting with the Catholic Spanish, who at the time were the sworn enemies of England, the discovering of Guy Fawkes guarding the cache in the underground basement led to celebrations across the country. The January execution of Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators was preceded days earlier by a decree from the King, which allowed celebration for the thwarted plot as long as it caused no public damage or harm to revellers.
For many years, Guy Fawkes become the focal point for anti-catholic sentiment and celebrations that upheld the English Church spanned into the Victorian era. Whilst Haloween is only five days earlier and is celebrated across the Western World, Guy Fawkes Night is still a staple of British, and London culture to this very day. That’s why so many people flock to the city around this time, eager to secure deals at London hotels with breakfast.
Guy Fawkes Night in London
As the setting for the plot, London has, of course, become a focal point for celebrations across the country. Usually falling on the weekend proceeding or before the 5th of November, you can find many celebrations across the city.
The East London park truly becomes the “peoples park” on Bonfire Night. With firework displays, a large bonfire and countless food stalls and pop up bars, this amazing event in one of London’s most idyllic parks is the perfect community adventure for London guests.
Battersea Park Fireworks
Wandsworth’s answer to fireworks night, Battersea Park’s extravaganza brings in over 50,000 people a year and takes place on the 2nd November. Arguably, this is one of the city’s biggest firework displays and promises bed and breakfast London guests a real wake up call.
Alexander Palace Fireworks
Alexander Palace is home to one of the cities most famous events venues, and the beautiful park has glittering views over the city skyline. What better way is there to enjoy bonfire night than with the atmospheric scenery of this 150-year-old event. With its very own German Bier Festival, a Luna Cinema and even an ice skating rink, there’s plenty more than just fireworks on offer in this amazing North West London park.
Newham Guy Fawkes Night
This free to visit fireworks night brings fairground rides, food stalls and a glorious fireworks display to the Silvertown Quays area of Newham. With a light show and music accompanying the fireworks, this amazing display offers up some of the best free fireworks in the city.
If you’re visiting budget accommodation London for the first time this November, then get down to the Blackheath Fireworks Display as this year may very well be the last ever one! With 100,000 people attending this free event, you can expect a final blow out at 8 pm on the 2nd of November, alongside fairground attractions and dazzling fairground events.
Hackney Fireworks in Clissold Park
Saturday 2nd of November will see the idyllic Hackney-based Clissold Park open its doors to a children’s village, food and drink stalls as well as a dazzling fireworks display. With doors opening at 5 pm, and the event expecting to finish at 9 pm, you have plenty of time to enjoy some of the best fireworks in East London.
Wimbledon Bonfire Night
Though it has a smaller capacity, this South West London firework display is one of the only ones to occur on the 5th of November. With its beautiful Wimbledon Park surroundings, this firework display is in two parts. The first is designed for children at 8 pm, whilst a second, louder display will take place at 10 pm, giving parents more than enough time to tuck the kids in before the festivities continue.
Twinned with the Ravenscourt Park display, this Fulham and Hammersmith event offers everything a West Londoner would want from fireworks night. With choreographed, music accompanied displays and a range of stalls and attractions, this is another great Saturday evening out for all the family.