Big, smoking bonfires, magnificent firework displays and steaming mulled wine are just a few of the things you can expect to enjoy on Guy Fawkes Night in London. But first, let’s take a trip back in time to see how it came about and why it’s still celebrated across the country every year.
In 1605, a man named Guy Fawkes joined forces with a group of radical English Catholics and tried to blow up the House of Lords with gunpowder to assassinate King James I. But an anonymous letter sent to a member of parliament, potentially by a spy, gave them a heads up of Guy Fawkes’ brutal plan, and it was stopped before it could cause any harm. Thanks to this, the King, his family and Protestant ministers were all spared a gruesome murder. You probably aren’t surprised that Guy Fawkes and the rest of his conspirators went on to be executed.
Soon after, the country started celebrating Guy Fawke’s failed assassination attempt by burning giant effigies of him on a blazing bonfire and setting off fireworks made of gunpowder. Today, these festivities still take place, and there are plenty of spots where you can celebrate and get your fireworks fix in the city. Here’s how to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night in London.
(WA= Wheelchair Accessible)
Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival
There’s a reason the Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival is dubbed the “Glastonbury of Fireworks”. This wild extravaganza is back for another year of Bonfire Night celebrations. You can expect DJ sets by national treasures, Fat Tony, and DJ Spoony, street food and craft beers, an indoor German Bier Fest with a live Oompah Band and an Elton John and Rogue Minogue tribute act, and a blazing bonfire to keep warm around. There will also be a mind-blowing lightning magic from Lords of Lightning, a whizz around the ice rink to a disco soundtrack, and a huge fireworks show to remember with London’s epic skyline as the backdrop.
Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival | Alexandra Palace | WA | 3rd – 4th November 2023
Image Courtesy of Battersea Park
Battersea Park Fireworks
Battersea Park Fireworks is South London’s biggest fireworks display and is one of the best places to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night in London. It’s spread over two days, and on Saturday, you can expect a classic Bonfire Night with a magnificent fireworks display and a roaring bonfire, with plenty of warming, Autumnal food and comforting drinks to enjoy. On Sunday, it’s all about the family; there will be an earlier start with another stunning fireworks display, whilst the grown-ups are enjoying a mulled wine – the kids can enjoy plenty of activities.
Battersea Park Fireworks | Battersea Park | WA | 4th – 5th November 2023
Image Courtesy of Battersea Park
Wimbledon Park and Morden Park Fireworks
Wimbledon Park Fireworks is back for two magnificent musical fireworks displays, one at Wimbledon Park on Saturday and one at Morden Park on Sunday. Both venues are hosting two shows each; a family-friendly earlier show that features pop music. When you’re not busy watching the fireworks, head to the on-site funfair before stopping by the street food village to feast on mouthwatering food and drinks.
Wimbledon Park and Morden Park Fireworks | Wimbledon | 4th – 5th November 2023
Fireworks at Richmond Athletic Ground
Another spot where you can celebrate Guy Fawkes Night in London is in the beautiful borough of Richmond. Every year at Athletic Ground, The Richmond Family Fireworks puts on a spectacular family-friendly evening with the multi-award-winning Phoenix Fireworks. Alongside the show, they also host live entertainment, including a DJ, a neon-lit funfair with plenty of rides, various food stalls, hot mulled wine and a buzzing after-party in the Members Bar.
Harrow Fireworks at Byron Park
Another one putting on a firework show to remember is Harrow Fireworks. With this one, you can expect a full day of celebrations featuring a 20-minute musical fireworks display in the evening. There will also be entertainment for the kids pre-show, a choreographed dance show, a full-size fun fair, face painting, glitter tattoos, and a lively bar marquee popping off well into the evening.
Harrow Fireworks | Harrow | 4th November 2023
Dulwich Fireworks at Dulwich Sports Club
Last on our list of places to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night in London is in the borough of Dulwich. Dulwich Fireworks Show is one for the whole family, you can even take the kids along for only £1. It kicks off at 5 pm, and you can expect a dazzling fireworks display, a tasty barbecue and pizza, mulled wine and real ale, and even a kids’ bar to keep the little ones entertained. Make sure you secure your tickets for this one well in advance; it’s known for selling out.
Dulwich Fireworks | Dulwich | WA | 4th November 2023
Image Courtesy of Adam Smith Institute
A Guy Fawkes tour that looks beyond the fireworks
Join Rebel Tours on an adventure through one of the most daring and renowned plots in British History. This kid-friendly walking tour through Westminster will delve into the real story behind the renowned Gunpowder Plot that took place in 1605, offering insights beyond the annual fireworks and bonfires. Uncover the truth alongside your expert guide as you come face-to-face with Guy Fawkes, his co-conspirators, and various other characters. Follow clues to reveal the intricacies of the plot and the events that led up to it, all finished off with a little conspiracy to really get your mind ticking. This one-of-a-kind tour is only taking place for a limited time, so catch it while you can. It’s also worth noting that it takes place early enough that you can catch the fireworks show after.
Gunpowder, Treason and Plot! Walking Tour | Westminster | 3rd November – 5th November 2023