Bonfire Night events and light shows in 2023
Remember, remember the 5th of November; once famous for the failed Gunpowder Plot of Guy Fawkes and his associates, but now a more modern association would be with sparklers, fireworks and hotdogs.
But with Diwali (the Hindu festival of light), extended Blackpool Illuminations and upcoming Dark Skies celebrations also on the autumn agenda, we’re extending our list to include different ways to brighten up the longer nights with these November events in 2023.
Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival
Alexandra Palace, London
Every November, for over 150 years, the skies above Alexandra Palace in north London have come to life with one of the city's most impressive firework displays. This year's Fireworks Festival takes place across two days with a host of supporting attractions, including a German bier festival, an ice skating rink and some of the best street food from kitchens across London.Find out more
Lewes Bonfire Celebrations
Probably the most famous of all bonfire night events in England, the Lewes Bonfire Night has an electric atmosphere (perhaps even borderline pagan), notable for its burning of religious and cultural effigies.
Previous years’ bonfires have included effigies of Luftwaffe bombers and Viking longboats, as well as a number of politicians and popes. There is also the striking image of the 17 burning crosses to represent the burning of martyrs of Lewes back in the 16th Century.
While the Lewes Bonfire Celebrations provide plenty of entertainment for the whole family, the event regularly attracts thousands of visitors and can get extremely busy, so please make sure you book accommodation and check travel arrangements well in advance.Find out more
Low Noise Fireworks at Old Down Country Park
An ideal display for young children and those sensitive to noise, this inclusive event runs over three nights, and compromises nothing on the spectacle. Wrap up warm and treat yourself to hot drinks and snacks before the bonfire is lit at 6pm, with the 12-minute display synchronised to music, starting half an hour later. Please note that the park limits capacity, so buying a ticket online is essential.
When? 3 to 5 November 2023Find out more
Leeds Castle Fireworks Spectacular
This year's display (said to be the biggest pyrotechnic display in South East England) combines fireworks and projected moving images to create an audio-visual treat that will have you singing and dancing the night away. Arrive at 2pm to make the most of the day by exploring the castle’s grounds, including a challenging maze, play areas and even an adventure golf course.
When? 4 and 5 November 2023Find out more
The Tar Barrels of Ottery St Mary
Ottery St Mary, Devon
For something completely different, head to Ottery St Mary in Devon (about 10 miles east of Exeter) for the annual Tar Barrels event. This tradition pre-dates Guy Fawkes Night and sees local pubs and breweries offering up a barrel, which is covered in tar, set alight and carried through the streets by brave locals. It's one of England's most unique spectacles, to say the least.Find out more
Bonfire Night at Chatsworth House
Located in the Peak District National Park, Chatsworth House is famous for its diverse art collection and picturesque landscapes. But on the last weekend of October (a week before the 5th November), this country pile is putting on a special bonfire bash to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. Wrap up warm and enjoy a range of live entertainment, including the blazing bonfire and not one but two dazzling firework displays (the earlier one is for the kids). There’s a also selection of food on offer, from hog roasts to churros, and mulled cider.
You can even splurge on a pre-fireworks meal at Chatsworth’s Cavendish Restaurant, which includes a two-course dinner and champagne cocktail. Fancy!
When? 27 to 28 October 2023Find out more
Kenilworth Castle Fireworks Gala
Kenilworth Castle has a past dotted with royal connections, strategic fortifications and religious links. It's now a top attraction for history buffs,, but every November, it also hosts one of the biggest Bonfire Night celebrations in the Midlands. Tthe Kenilworth Fireworks Spectacular is a key date on the town's calendar and sees visitors surrounding the castle for an amazing aerial display of colour. Plus, all the money raised goes to good local causes -– an added bonus!
When? 4 November 2023
More seasonal spectaculars
FREE Blackpool Illuminations
Move over Vegas! The greatest free light show on earth is about to begin. The Blackpool Illuminations run until 1 January 2024, shimmering with six miles of traditional festoons (oversized fairy lights), fluorescent tableaux[KR1] showing figures from stories and interactive features along the promenade. If you fancy skipping the long walk, why not hop on a heritage double-decker tram for eye-pop views or an illuminated tram shaped like a ship. You have to see it to believe it!
When? 1 September 2023 to 1 January 2024
FREE Diwali in Leicester
Famed for being one of the largest Diwali (festival of light) celebrations outside of mainland India , enjoy everything from dance, fireworks, delicious food and beautiful fashion in Leicester. The celebrations run for a fortnight and kick off on 12 November with a huge light-up ceremony in the city centre and a bumper fireworks display. Be sure to check out the Wheel of Light on Belgrave Road for some truly Insta-worthy snaps. The celebration is city-wide, so make sure you get around to see this festive celebration across Leicester.
When? 29 October to 12 November 2023Dance the nights away at Diwali
Durham, County Durham
As the UK’s biggest biennial light festival returns for 2023, the ancient north-east city of Durham will host the sparkling, free-to-attend, four-day event. Marvel as Durham's iconic buildings and spaces are transformed with exclusive light displays created by world-renowned artists. With themes celebrating diversity, and disability, plusilluminating ancient buildings in new and exciting ways, this is a must-see.
When? 16 to 19 November 2023See the light in Durham
Dark Sky Festivals (Nationwide)
With England’s National Parks remaining some of the darkest places in the country, what better time as the nights draw in to celebrate the star-studded skies at different Dark Sky Festivals across the country? Head to Northumberland, North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales in the north, or the South Downs and Exmoor in the south.
Discover the magic of darkness and the brighter stars you can spot without light pollution; choose an activity such as cycling, walking, running or caving at night, stargazing parties, or if you prefer to take part in a daytime event, learn about star constellations or even make your own rocket.
When? Until March 2024 (locations may vary)Join the dark side