Remember, remember, the fifth of November; gunpowder, treason, and plot … Bonfire Night is almost upon us. Time to commemorate Guy Fawkes‘ failed plot to blow up King James I in 1605, which means all of London is going to light up with giant fireworks displays. It’d be a shame to miss out on the celebration, but which show deserves your attention this year? The Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival is already sold out, however there are still plenty of options for you and your family. Grab your scarf and gloves, herd the kids out the door, and hotfoot it down to one of these illuminating events.
On 5 November itself, Brockwell Park hosts one of the most popular displays around. Don’t be fooled by the park’s serene setting. You’ll be enjoying the warmth of the crowd and the crunch of autumn leaves beneath your feet, when suddenly the flames of a “pyrotechnic lighthouse bonfire” will catch your eye. High over your heads, daredevils strapped to the middle of Catherine wheels — massive, flaming discs — start whizzing around and throwing off giant geysers of sparks. Between that and the booming, flashing blasts lighting up the sky, you and the family are bound to be on sensory overload. By the time the 20-minute fireworks display ends, you might be in such a good mood that you want to continue the party at one of big old pubs across the way.
Lord Mayor‘s Show
The Lord Mayor’s Show offers another chance to make a day of it, this time on 8 November. Kicking off at 11am, a colourful procession travels through the City to pick up the new Lord Mayor and finishes with an awe-inspiring fireworks display over the Thames. The fireworks are set off from a barge moored between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges, and if you’re not one of the half a million people watching the procession, catch the display from the bankside roads for superior views — and, best of all, no traffic.
Also being detonated on 8 November,the Battersea Park fireworks are some of the most exciting in South London, but be advised: You must buy tickets in advance from the website. The park’s legendary display is choreographed to a slightly bizarre musical medley (last year’s show finished with Meatloaf’s “Bat out of Hell”). You and the kids can play “name that tune” with the music as the shooting sparks light up the sky — and if you get chilly, warm up with some mulled wine or hot chocolate. Buy a glow necklace for your kid, and maybe get one for yourself, too. Glowsticks are for all ages, right?