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5 November brings the anniversary of the doomed Gunpowder Plot, which in 1605 attempted to blow up the House of Lords. Naturally, this is celebrated with exceptional displays of fireworks and bonfires at which effigies of the plot’s most infamous member, Guy Fawkes, are often burned. This year’s anniversary falls on a Saturday allowing for even more fun. And while London does it’s fair share or celebrating, that’s not to say it’s home to the best.
More than just a fireworks display, at Alexandra Park you’ll find what is arguably London’s favourite 5 November celebration. Complete with ice skating, a German Bier festival and all the attractions of a funfair, it’s no wonder that the doors open hours before the display even starts. They also celebrate on the 4 November – double trouble.
The display at Battersea rivals that at Alexandra Palace, the two being the most packed-out parties in London. A buzzy soundtrack plays alongside the fireworks display, with plenty of food and drink stalls to sustain you throughout. Entry is only permitted between 6 and 8PM, so don’t be late.
At Segedunum Roman Fort on Hadrian’s Wall a spectacular fireworks display is put on over the River Tyne, let off from the docks at the fort. Entry to the museum – which tells the history of this furthest reach of the Roman Empire – is free and includes the show which starts at 6.30PM.
On Bonfire Night, the castle is closed to anyone who isn’t there for the spectacle. The castle itself is rich in history and has been a Norman stronghold, a Tudor palace, Jacobean country house, Georgian mansion, and a retreat for the most influential personalities of the 20th century. Once again, this is more than just a fireworks show with a fair and falconry displays.
This is one of the best bonfire parties outside of London, with not one but six societies setting up processions and fires decked out in various colourful costumes. But this much fuss means revellers flock in droves, so plan in advance and be prepared to get up close and personal with both people and fire.
Although it’s the largest display in East Anglia, Cambridge’s fireworks show is still free to the 25,000 or so guests who turn up. Funfair stands and sweet-treat stalls (think toffee apples and candy floss) fill the area and the bonfire is lit just after the fireworks display.
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