London firework displays and festivals for Bonfire Night 2019
Most Londoners would probably claim to be civilised citizens, but our tradition of celebrating Bonfire Night (5 Nov) reveals a slightly bloodthirsty side to the city. Here’s how to remember, remember the man who nearly destroyed the Houses of Parliament.
In 1605, the renegade Guy Fawkes led an attempt to simultaneously kill King James I and raze London’s parliament buildings to the ground, using a rather large pile of gunpowder. He didn’t succeed and – as the saying goes – history gets written by the victors: ever since that dramatic night on 5 November, Fawkes’ gunpowder treason is remembered by burning life-sized effigies of him on bonfires across London. See? Bloodthirsty.
London’s largest Guy Fawkes events happen during the weekends surrounding 5 November, which this year falls on a Tuesday. One of the closest to central London is in Battersea Park (2 Nov) in the south west, a green space that has plenty of room for a firework extravaganza, which is the other key ingredient of any successful Guy Fawkes event. Book tickets online, which include access to an afterparty. www.enablelc.org/fireworks
Alexandra Palace in north London hosts its spectacular celebration across two nights (1-2 Nov). This picturesque park on a hill has enough room to build a huge fire and light a gargantuan number of fireworks, while also offering a musical laser show and a fairground. Buy tickets in advance online. www.alexandrapalace.com
One of London’s biggest free fireworks events is at Blackheath (2 Nov), a large open space close to the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site in south-east London. At the time of writing it was under threat due to funding issues, so check online before you travel. www.lewisham.gov.uk/fireworks
You can commemorate Guy Fawkes’ foiled plot on Bonfire Night itself at Wimbledon Park (5 Nov). This ticketed firework display is right next to the legendary tennis ground, so you could tour Wimbledon and its museum beforehand. www.merton.gov.uk | www.wimbledon.com
Read our feature, Bonfire Night Around Britain, to discover events that take place beyond London