Bonfire Night, Fireworks’ Night, Guy Fawkes? Call the 5th of November anything you want but don’t forget it’s a Saturday this year. Good news for families and fans of organised pyrotechnics because there are more displays than ever, they’re longer and it’s easier to remember, remember the date.
Naturally, London is leading the way and why not? It’s the city where all the loud bangs and effigy burning kicked off in the first place. And today’s events might involve gourmet food trucks, funfairs and extravagant choreography but, at heart, they’re still all about 1605’s foiled Gunpowder Plot. So where’s best to wrap up warm, gaze at the skies and ooh and ah with the kids in and around the firework capital of the UK this November?
Not content with just one day, Ally Pally is throwing a festival on the 4 and 5 of November. Come early, stay late is the motto this year and, if the past is anything to go by, thousands of Londoners will be accepting the invitation. This one is strictly tickets-only and has everything from a funfair and ice-rink to street food stalls, laser shows and a fantastic bonfire in the Family Area, so booking early is a plan.
Best for: panoramic views of London and well organised space for families.
Allianz Park is a must for wannabe Captain Americas and miniature Mystiques on 6 November. The theme for this year’s firework display is ‘superheroes’ and there’s VIP seating for all ticket-holders in the stadium’s huge east stand.
Best for: movie music, explosive action, comfy seats and a kid-friendly food village.
If you don’t want to hear, ‘can we go yet?’ a million times before the main event on Bonfire Night, Blackheath is perfect. London’s biggest, free firework display opens the gates at 12 noon and keeps kids happy with a funfair, snacks and entertainment right up until its time to let the rockets loose in the evening.
Best for: all-day family fun and free entry.
Award-winning Jubilee Fireworks are in charge of the night sky over Battersea this year for another mammoth event in one of London’s best loved children’s parks. All tickets are £6.50 until the end of September.
Best for: children’s entertainers and free entry for under 10s.
The only Bonfire Night party with a Hog Roast, how can you resist? On top of the medieval style feasting and dramatic fireworks, there’s also performance by local schools, a children’s fair and early Christmas shopping at the cute, evening market.
Best for: value family tickets, hearty food and community spirit.
London’s most famous fireworks have been lighting up the sky above Crystal Palace for over 150 years. As much of an all round extravaganza of glitter, noise and colour as ever, this is a real family event with ‘quiet fireworks’ before the main display, exciting stalls and a parade of the city’s finest street food.
Best for: an incredible setting, sense of tradition and kindness to young ears.
The annual Harrow Fireworks Festival starts at noon and has a free Family Fun Day until 4pm. If you aren’t too tired out by the mini-fair, stalls, competitions and entertainment, the firework theme this year is Outer Space and the sky lights up at 7.30pm.
Best for: free entertainment all afternoon and a huge shopping marquee.
The enchanting London tradition of combining music and fireworks is alive and well at Morden Park this year. And there’s a non-traditional fairground to add to the excitement. If you can’t make it for Bonfire Night, there are earlier musical pyrotechnics at Wimbledon Park on 3 November 3.
Best for fairytale parkland and beautifully choreographed displays.
Where better to mark Bonfire Night than the home of 17th century explosives? The Royal Gunpowder Mills in Essex are a fascinating day out for kids any time, but on 5 and 6 November they’re really celebrating. Expect weird and wonderful history, pageant, theatre, entertainment and fireworks - rumour has it the ghosts of foiled plotters will be around too.
Best for: a fun, historical perspective on the Gunpowder Plot with a firework finale.
One of the biggest and best free shows in the city this Bonfire Night. Wanstead Flats use their grand space to great effect as always, invite everyone along and charge nothing for the amazing sights and sounds.
Best for: free fireworks, lots of room and an exceptional soundtrack.
Have fun choosing your perfect Bonfire Night and don’t forget there are lots of Early Bird ticket prices and family offers if you book in advance.