7 Fantastic Firework Displays And Buzzing Bonfire Nights Near London

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 17 months ago

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7 Fantastic Firework Displays And Buzzing Bonfire Nights Near London
The Leeds Castle Fireworks Spectacular in Kent

Hastings Bonfire Night 2019, East Sussex: 19 October

The Hastings Borough Bonfire Society is the sole survivor of many bonfire societies that used to exist in the St Leonards and Hastings area. This year is celebrates 25 years since it was reformed, and it claims to have the single longest bonfire procession in the world. It's an all-day event, with a 25-gun salute taking place on the harbour arm in daylight, and events and stalls in the town centre.

Photo: Hastings Borough Bonfire Society

The torchlit procession begins after dark, culminating in bonfire and fireworks display on the beach, complete with a sizeable 'celebrity effigy', designed to celebrate something or start a debate (past effigies here).

Fireworks at Legoland Windsor 2019: 19-20, 25-26 October and 1-2 November

Photo: Legoland Windsor

Theme park Legoland Windsor holds six evenings of fireworks, offering families a chance to finish a day at the park with a bang. Things begin at 6pm with musical entertainment, and the fireworks show begins at 7pm. Spectators are provided with special glasses to watch the fireworks, which sees the pyrotechnics transforming into exploding Lego bricks. How very on brand.

Beaulieu Fireworks 2019, New Forest: 26 October

Photo: Beaulieu, National Motor Museum

Willing to travel a bit further to get your fix of whizzbangs? How about out of this world? That's the theme of this year's Beaulieu Fireworks down in the New Forest, marking 50 years since the moon landings.

The National Motor Museum, Bealieu Abbey, Palace House & Gardens, and World of Top Gear all team up to host the event, which includes a traditional funfair, live music before and after the show, and a 25-minute firework display set to music.

Edenbridge Bonfire 2019, Kent: 2 November

Photo: Edenbridge Bonfire

The Kent town of Edenbridge is better-known for its bonfire than its fireworks, consisting of all manner of effigies and guys. A torch lit procession tours through the town, led by bishop of the bonfire, with the Society’s effigies (Guy Fawkes, General Wolfe and Anne Boleyn, with her head tucked underneath her arm).

Two of the past effigies. We'll leave you to identify them. Photos: Edenbridge Bonfire

A carnival and marching band follows, before it's time to light the bonfire, complete with two 10m high effigies — one of Guy Fawkes, and one of whichever 'celebrity' the bonfire society chooses for that year. Before you take any best on Boris Johnson appearing this year, his effigy was chosen in 2018. Other past 'guests' have included Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Sepp Blatter, Katie Hopkins and Wayne Rooney. We reckon 2019 might be Piers Morgan's year, but the victim is only chosen 10 days before the event.

For the grand finale, a 20-minute firework display goes on over the heads of the burning effigies.

Leeds Castle Fireworks Spectacular 2019, Kent: 2-3 November 2019

Photo: Leeds Castle Fireworks Spectacular

For one of the prettiest firework displays around, head to Leeds Castle in Kent where the perfectly-times whizzbangs are set off over the lake, making for some fantastic reflections, and all with the castle building in the background.

The castle marks its 900th anniversary this year, and celebrates with 25,000 starbursts in the sky, and an 'around the world' theme. The event begins at 2pm with a funfair, live music, a maze and food stalls to keep you busy, with the display kicking off at 5.30pm.

Lewes Bonfire Night 2019, East Sussex: 5 November

Bonfire Night in Lewes. Photo: Shutterstock

The best-known Bonfire Night event in the country, and apparently the biggest one in the world, the 5 November celebrations in the otherwise-quiet town of Lewes are a a sight worth seeing at least once.

Lewes and surrounding villages are home to several (friendly-ish) rival Bonfire societies, each hosting a celebration in the run-up to 5 November (seriously, Bonfire Night begins in September in this corner of East Sussex).

On the night of 5 November, they each begin their own procession, the routes joining up to form one huge parade through the town. 17 burning crosses are carried to represent the 17 Lewes Martyrs, and a wreath is laid at the war memorial.

Crowds of around 80,000 turn up on 5 November to watch, so if you're planning to go, prepare for huge crowds, long queues, and no parking/vehicles in the town centre itself — many people walk from nearby villages.

Midsummer Common, Cambridge fireworks 2019: 5 November

Photo: Cambridge Fireworks

Located in the city centre alongside the River Cam, Cambridge's Midsummer Common hosts a huge firework display, with around 25,000 people watching each year. Full details for 2019 have not yet been announced, but past events have included food stalls, a funfair, and entertainment from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

Last Updated 19 September 2019