By Aimee Dewar: Bonfire night can be a tricky one to get right if you’re new to a city – as we often are as students. But, if you’re lucky enough to be studying in or around these locations, you are well catered for. So, here is my pick of the 8 best bonfire nights and what you can expect to see this November around the UK.
Lewes, East Sussex
November 5th, from 5pm – 12am. Free
The Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations is the biggest 5th of November festival in the world and maybe even the oldest, with the first known bonfire night recorded in 1795. Steeped in history, the celebrations are surrounded by a huge sense of tradition. With all the spirit of a street party, this bonfire night features an amazing atmosphere as well as things to see such as torch processions, burning crosses and the casting of a flaming tar barrel into the River Ouse. Fireworks are also used on the bonfires – so expect a loud, unforgettable evening. The celebrations take place in the middle of the historic town with many great pubs to hand, handy if you fancied make a night of it!
Don’t miss The torch-lit processions down to the war memorial
Brunel University, London
November 5th, from 7pm. £4
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary this bonfire night in London, head down to Brunel University. Not only will there be fantastic feats of fire breathing and a wealth of circus performers, there will also be games for adults that you can get involved in. Brave souls can have a go at the surf simulator and you can Gladiator joust your housemates to settle those disputes over the washing up once and for all. The whole evening is winter market themed and there will of course be fireworks, starting at 7pm.
Why go? Relive your childhood with games for adults and face painting
Midsummer Common, Cambridge
November 5th, from 6pm – 10pm. Free
The parks of Cambridge are due to light up this November 5th. On Midsummer Common, must-see fire shows will be taking place at 6:45pm, swiftly followed by a firework display along the river at 7:30pm. Stick around for the lighting of the bonfire and enjoy yourself well into the night on funfair rides or in the variety of pubs you can find on the riverside only a short distance away. £1 donations are welcomed to help keep the event going for many bonfire nights to come.
Unique feature Biggest and best free firework display in East Anglia
The Hoe, Plymouth
November 5th, from 4pm. Bonfire lit at 7:30pm. Free
Held on the waterfront next to its iconic Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse, Plymouth’s bonfire night is fairground themed and looked forward to by locals and students alike. This year, an impressive fire will be set ablaze on the Hoe, complete with a Guy Fawkes made and donated by a local primary school, followed by an 18-minute firework display that illuminates Plymouth Sound. Be sure to break out the woolly hats for that chilly sea breeze and don’t forget your camera as you’re guaranteed a good view.
Unique feature An authentic roaring bonfire
Storthes Hall, Huddersfield
November 5th, from 6pm. Free but booking required
For a as little as £1.20, you can hop on the bus down the road to Storthes Hall for the lighting of the 5th of November bonfire at 6:30pm. There will also be a bar on site selling hot as well as alcoholic drinks for you to enjoy as you get warm around the fire. To add a little more fun to the evening, toffee apples and other classic sweets will be on sale to give the evening a touch of the Halloween spirit, if you didn’t make it out a few nights ago. If you’re a student at Huddersfield, don’t forget to Tweet your pictures from the evening using the hashtag #HUD100. Fireworks will begin at 7:30pm but make sure you’re there early to get a good spot.
Don’t miss Toffee apple and autumn candy stalls
York Maze, Yorkshire
November 5th, 4:30 – 10:30pm. £13.50
Whilst this bonfire night is on the expensive side, it looks to be well worth it and a great night out. The night promises live bands, mulled wine, hog-roast and pumpkin soup as well as a musical firework spectacular that lasts for an awesome 20 minutes. The entertainment doesn’t stop there – for the ‘big kids’ among you there will even be a quad-biking track for a little bit of difference. Be sure to book your tickets on the website in advance and get there just after opening to ensure you don’t miss the fire jugglers! Think festival, too, as wellies are recommended! But don’t be disheartened if you find the tickets sold out; on November 6th a torchlit procession will be taking place at 6pm from Stamford Bridge and ending with a bonfire and fireworks at the Balloon Tree farm shop in Gate Helmsley.
Unique feature Fire shows and choreographed fireworks
Penrhos Beach, Holyhead, Wales
November 5th, from 5:30pm. £3
For many, beach bonfires are the highlight of autumn by the sea and are the best events to celebrate with friends. Adding to the autumnal atmosphere is the hog-roast and other wintertime beach BBQ foods and drinks to keep you warm and well fed as you enjoy the beautiful seaside location. The standout feature of the event will be the lighting of the bonfire at 6:15pm, done almost ceremoniously by flaming arrows shot by the local archery club. It should be a sight well worth seeing. It is recommended that you head down as soon as you can to get a good spot for the fireworks, starting at 7pm.
Don’t miss The archery club’s flaming arrow display
November 8th, from 7pm. £7
Take the chance to walk over hot coals at the Firewalk and Firework Spectacular at Nottingham Castle. By taking part in the firewalk challenge, set to atmospheric drums and surrounded by torch-bearers, not only will you get to experience something unique, you’ll also be helping do your bit for Nottingham’s blind and partially sighted community. The firewalk is preceded by a motivational seminar that talks about overcoming obstacles to achieve our goals. That’s something for the CV! Nottingham Castle then becomes the striking backdrop for the firework display. Look out for the autumn food and drink stalls and stay for the live music that goes on well into the night.
Don’t miss The firewalk challenge – £10, donated to Nottinghamshire charity My Sight
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