The Best London Vantage Points For Watching Fireworks On Bonfire Night

By Steph Dye Last edited 14 months ago

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The Best London Vantage Points For Watching Fireworks On Bonfire Night

While there is a lot to be said for London's many firework displays, they may not actually be the best place to watch the night's events. We've made a list of the best vantage points in London, where you can catch a variety of the shows London has to offer, with no entry fees, no crowds and maybe even a pub or two around the corner...

The view from the Orbit at night. Photo: roger.w800

Epsom Downs

Why's it worth going? Getting to this area just over the Surrey border is a bit of a slog, unless you live relatively close or have a car. However, the views over London are phenomenal —  if you visit on a clear day, you can check out landmarks of the city skyline as far away as the Wembley Stadium arch.

What will you see? The great thing about being this far into suburbia is that you will also be able to see a whole host of domestic fireworks alongside the professional displays. This means that anytime between dusk and around 10pm, there should be something to watch. Displays worth keeping an eye out for are the Southwark Park fireworks at 6.30pm, Morden Park show at 6.45pm, Chislehurst fireworks at 7.30pm and the Wimbledon Park fireworks at 8.30pm.

Amenities nearby? There is a very decent pub, The Derby Arms, that serves both food and drink and has those all-important toilets. There are also public loos a little closer to the racecourse and few other pubs dotted about the local area. Apart from that, the offering is pretty sparse.

Nearest station? Either Epsom Downs or Tattenham Corner railway stations. The stations are both about a 15 minute walk from where you'll want to be to see the fireworks, and there aren't many footpaths, so walking about in the roads at night has its risks. Plan where you are going before arriving.

Photo: Daniel Coyle.

The Orbit

Why's it worth going? It's pretty self-explanatory as to why one of the tallest structures in east London might be a good place to check out the best firework displays this bonfire night. The viewing platform is open util 9pm on 5 November, with views stretching out over 20 miles. You'll also get a go on the slide... what more could you want?

What will you see? You'll be able to catch displays from all over London and while tickets are £15, you will be saving on entrance fees to the shows you get to see. The best shows to look out for are the Guy Fawkes Festival at 7pm, The Hackney Firework Pyro-musical at 7pm, Guy Fawkes Night in Newham at 730pm, the Alexandra Palace Fireworks at 8pm.

Amenities nearby? Food and drink can be bought at the Podium Bar and Kitchen, which is onsite, and a licensed bar will also be open throughout the evening, so there should be no problem getting a drink. There are also standard and disabled toilets located in the lower podium, which are accessible throughout the night via the lifts.

Nearest station? The Orbit is about a 10-minute walk from several stations, depending on your method of transport. These include Hackney Wick, Stratford and Pudding Mill Lane.

Primrose Hill

Fireworks Night on Primrose Hill. Photo: yuki

Why's it worth going? Another example of a fairly obvious place to go if you want to check out great views of London. Who hasn't watched the the sun rise or set over the capital from here? Its proximity to Camden also means there are loads of things to go out and do before and after.

What will you see? The view is so vast — showcasing the entire London skyline — but bear in mind the park closes at 7pm, so you'll only have a chance to catch the evening's earlier displays.

Amenities nearby? There are toilets located in both Primrose Hill Park and Regent's Park, though we're not sure how late they open — don't rely on them. There are plenty of places to get something to eat, drink and warm up in Camden or Primrose Hill before heading out on your adventures. Recommendations include food from KERB in Camden to take with you, or grabbing a drink at The Lansdowne.

Nearest station? Chalk Farm and Camden Town tube stations in the east or St John's Wood in the west, depending on which direction you are coming from.

King Henry's Mound

The protected view from King Henry's Mound. Photo: Simon Belcher

Why's it worth going? This little-known view is arguably one of the best in London. In fact, the view was declared so striking, a law was passed in 1710 to say that nothing could be constructed in front that may obscure the vista. On a clear day, you can pick out landmarks as far away as St Paul's Cathedral, even though the mound, which is an area within Richmond Park, is almost 10 miles away from the centre of the city.

What will you see? This is a rare opportunity to look out over the west side of London, as there are not as many places to check out London's unique skyline on this side of the city. And while it would normally be a great place to watch fireworks, the November deer cull means public access to the park shuts at 8pm, meaning you'll only rally get to see the Duke's Park Fireworks which take place at both 6pm and 8pm.

Amenities nearby? Richmond Park is large, so while there are nearby places to get things to eat and drink in the neighbouring areas of Ham, Richmond and Petersham, you may find it easier to BYO. The same can be said for the toilets... as while there are lots located on the peripheries of the park, they might not necessarily all be open 24 hours and they may be difficult to locate in the dark. It is also worth noting that while there is pedestrian access to the park 24 hours a day, certain events or weather conditions may cause the park to close unexpectedly. It's definitely worth checking the website or Twitter before venturing out.

Nearest station? The closest rail station in Richmond, though if you aren't up for a long walk it may be worth getting a bus from there (either a 371 or a 65).

Tate Modern

The view from the Switch House at Tate Modern. Photo: Sam Codrington

Why's it worth going? The Switch House's viewing platform offers views from the heart of the city.

What will you see? Offering 360 degree views, visitors to the viewing platform are given the unique opportunity of being able to see any displays they fancy. Just pick a side and keep those beady eyes peeled.

Amenities nearby? Open until 10pm on a Saturday, this will give you more than enough of an opportunity to check out any firework displays, most of which happen within a couple of hours of sunset. All of the restaurants and toilets within the Tate Modern are open until closing time, so you can eat and drink to your heart's content. Top tip: the kitchen & bar, plus the restaurant all have panoramic views overlooking St Paul's and beyond.

Nearest station? The closest tube and rail stations are London Waterloo, London Bridge and Southwark. It's also easily accessible on foot or by bus from many other central locations.

This article was amended on 3 November because Richmond Park is closed after 8pm in November for a deer cull. Thanks to @pluckyunderdog for tipping us off.

Last Updated 03 November 2016