Things To Do On Bonfire Night in London 2023

Date post added: 1st September 2023

Why is Bonfire Night celebrated in London?

“Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot!”

There’s nowhere better to celebrate Bonfire Night than London, the place where the gunpowder plot originated.

On the 5th November 1605, Guy Fawkes hid 33 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar at the Palace of Westminster in a bid to blow up King James I and the Houses of Parliament. Discovered red handed, Guy Fawkes was taken to the Tower of London where the names of his co-conspirators were extracted under torture. Over 400 years later, Bonfire Night (aka Guy Fawkes’ Night or Fireworks Night) remains a key event in the British social calendar. Fireworks, bonfires and effigies of Guy Fawkes, we’ve got it all in our guide of the best fireworks events in London on Bonfire Night 2023.

What seasonal foods are served during Bonfire night?

November is cold in England, and your whole body feels it when you’re standing outside oohing and aahing over pretty fireworks. So Bonfire Night foods tend to be warm, autumnal fare. Think sausages (bangers), jacket potatoes cooked on a fire and hot soup. But these days, it’s more eclectic and you’ll find anything from street food to bbq, hot dogs to jerk chicken, all washed down with a warm mulled wine or a tepid beer. And don’t forget the achingly sweet stuff. Toffee apples have long been associated with Bonfire Night. That’s probably because apples are harvested in autumn, and covering them in sickly sugar is a way of preserving them a lot longer. It’s a shame the same can’t be said for your teeth after eating them.

What are the best places to watch the fireworks in London?

1. Ally Pally’s Fireworks Festival

Experience the ‘Glastonbury of Fireworks’ this Bonfire Night at Alexandra Palace Park in North London – one of the highest vantage points in London. Not only will you get a spectacular view across the city, but the Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival has many other delights too. Last year, highlights included the German Bier Festival, funfair, street food and the memorable Ice Disco!

In addition, from 8th – 18th November 2023, Alexandra Palace hosts Treason The Musical – an actual musical drama about the Gunpowder Plot.

2. Battersea Park Fireworks

Branded “London’s biggest fireworks display,” the annual event at Battersea Park, on the south bank of the River Thames, takes place over 2 nights. This 200 acre park boasts both a huge bonfire and a spectacular firework show. The pyrotechnics display is devised by the expert team behind both London and Edinburgh’s New Year’s Eve spectaculars.

On the Saturday night, there are various food stalls and entertainment with the Battersea Bierkeller Afterparty fuelling fun for the over 18s into the night. The Sunday event starts earlier and has a more family-friendly display.

3. Wimbledon Park Fireworks

The annual fireworks extravaganza at Wimbledon Park, and its sister show at Morden Park, are always well organised and incredibly impressive. Last year, the fireworks had a music theme, pop for the kids session and ‘Kings and Queens’ theme for the later event. There are also funfair rides to add to the general excitement and light fest.

4. Dulwich Fireworks

Dulwich Sports Ground will open its doors at 5pm on Saturday 4th November 2023 to kick off its Fireworks Night event. There’s live music from 5.30pm, with the fireworks going off with a bang at 7pm. Adult ticket prices are £11.50, but kids get in for a mere £1.

5. Chiswick Park Fireworks

Over 6,500 people attended the fireworks extravaganza at Chiswick Park in West London in November 2022. The legendary event raised over £10,000 for a local children’s hospice too. The spectacular event wasn’t just about fireworks, there was live music, food stalls and fire performers too as well as face painting for kids. Hosted by Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work, the event tends to book up early as it’s such a winner. [2023 to be confirmed]

6. Beckenham Road Fireworks

A true community event, the 5th Beckenham South Scout Group is behind this Guy Fawkes Night event that’s been running for over 70 years. Taking place at Croydon Road Recreation Ground, the Beckenham Fireworks usually include a quieter early display with the main display of Bonfire Night fireworks kicking off a little later in the evening. [2023 to be confirmed]

7. Barnes Sports Club Fireworks

Sparklers at the ready for Bonfire Night at Barnes Sports Club. It comes complete with traditional bonfire, hot mulled wine, a BBQ, best Guy competition, and of course, the main event of the fireworks themselves. Dates for 2023 still to be released. [2023 to be confirmed]

8. Harrow Fireworks

On Saturday 4th November 2023, Harrow Fireworks at Byron Park will be back. It’s a proper family-friendly event – early evening fireworks with a music theme, along with pre-show entertainment, face painting, glitter tattoos, henna art and a full on funfair. World street food is on offer and, if previous years are to go by, there’ll be a celebration of Diwali too.

9. Richmond Fireworks

Taking place on Bonfire Night itself, Sunday 5th November, the annual Richmond Fireworks event is held at Richmond Athletics Ground. There will be live entertainment, a choreographed fireworks display, funfair rides, as well as an after party for those not too worried about an early start on Monday morning.

10. Southgate Fireworks

Walker Ground hosts the local Bonfire Night entertainment in the North London neighbourhood of Southgate. The crowd will be whipped into a pre-fireworks frenzy with funfair rides and inflatables. Then, fuelled with a mix of jerk chicken, hot dogs, candy floss and toffee apples, they can stand back and enjoy the fireworks.

To note:

Southwark, Victoria Park, Blackheath and Crystal Palace all hosted popular fireworks displays in previous years, but they were cancelled due to council budgetary cuts.

And don’t forget, London will do it all again on New Year’s Eve with even more fireworks displays to see in 2024.

David Tucker

David Tucker

David – the Seigneur of this favoured realm – broods over words, breeds enthusiasms and is “unmanageable.”* He’s a balterer, literary historian, university lecturer, journalist, logophile and lifelong thanatophobe. For good measure, he’s the doyen of London guides.

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