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Bonfire Night for Guy Fawkes

Home > London > Festivals | Fireworks | Outdoor
by Angela Lord (subscribe)
Freelance writer specialising in arts, travel and entertainment news, previews and reviews.
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Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot:
I see no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot..."

This rhyme describes the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, which was a memorable failure. The plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament, along with the reigning King James I, was discovered when Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed in the cellar with several barrels of gunpowder.

He was only one of several conspirators involved, but became the fall guy for the foiled plot, and the anniversary of his arrest is still celebrated on 5 November, known as Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night.

It used to be traditional for children to stuff some old clothes with crumpled newspaper, stick the figure in a wheelbarrow and trundle round shouting "Penny for the guy!" This happens less often these days, but the custom of burning a straw guy on top of a bonfire is still going strong.

Bonfire Night has been marked by a spectacular show over the Thames in past years, but this time, there will be no fireworks for the Lord Mayor's show in London in November, since there have already been major displays for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics.

There will be plenty of other major firework displays in and around London, and Bonfire Night celebrations will be held nationwide on 5 November and the weekend of 3-4 November.

Blackheath Fireworks Night is described by Lewisham Council as one of the biggest community events in the borough, attended by an estimated 100,000 people each year. This year's event is on Saturday 3 November. Admission free, donations welcome.

Crystal Palace is holding an evening of fireworks and a fun fair in aid of St Christopher's Hospice on 5 November. Admission prices £5 for adults, £3 for children aged 3-10 years, car parking £5. Further details from

Legoland Windsor's Brick or Treat event, combining Halloween with Bonfire Night, will include fireworks on 27, 28 October and 2, 3, 4 November. See for details of times and admission prices.
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Why? Bonfire Night
When: 3, 4, 5 November
Where: Blackheath, Crystal Palace, Legoland, nationwide
Cost: Free at Blackheath, admission price elsewhere
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