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Best Bonfire Nights in the UK

Wednesday 25 October 2023

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Remember, Remember; the Fifth of November. Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night and Fireworks Night due to the typical events, is celebrated widely across the UK. Once a historic day, it now represents an opportunity for friends, families, and communities to gather together and enjoy seeing fireworks lighting up the sky. 

If you love dazzling fireworks displays or the scorching heat of a bonfire, there's something special about this British tradition. With so many Bonfire Night celebrations to choose from, here are CrossCountry's picks for the best Bonfire Nights in the UK.

The History of Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night is celebrated nationally in the UK, commemorating the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot. In November 1605, Guy Fawkes and his cronies plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in an act of rebellion towards the Protestant King, planting thirty-six barrels of gunpowder into the cellar below. King James I was set to open a meeting of Parliament, so the plot was an attempted regicide!

When Guy Fawkes was lighting the fuse in the cellar, he was arrested and tried for treason along with the other conspirators. Following their trial, King James I ordered a celebration every year on November 5th with the lighting of bonfires. 

The Hoe Fireworks, Plymouth

After hosting the British Firework Championships earlier this year, it should come as no surprise that the Hoe in Plymouth will be the site of one of the UK's best fireworks displays! Every year, Plymouth's bonfire night by the sea draws thousands of locals and tourists alike. The stunning location by the lighthouse and water’s edge makes this a special occasion and a lovely way to spend the fifth of November with your loved ones. There are plenty of rides, food & drink stalls, and fireworks to enjoy - with no ticket cost!

Trains to The Hoe:

The closest station to the Hoe is Plymouth station. From there, you can either jump on a bus or take a leisurely stroll down towards the seafront.

Coombe Abbey, Coventry

If you're looking for something a bit more than your standard fireworks display, then Coombe Abbey in Coventry may be perfect for you. Their Gunpowder Gala Banquet takes Guy Fawkes Night to the next level, with a four-course feast, a theatrical display, and excellent fireworks, all followed by a party! Coombe Abbey is actually wrapped up in the history of Guy Fawkes Night, as on the night on the plot some of the conspirators planned to kidnap Princess Elizabeth from the Abbey, so this really is a great location for history buffs to enjoy the fireworks.

Trains to Coombe Abbey:

The easiest way to travel to Coombe Abbey by train is with CrossCountry to Coventry station, from which you can get on board connecting bus services.

Chatsworth House Fireworks, Chesterfield 

Nothing completes an Autumn night more than the glow of a blazing bonfire and some warming food. Chatsworth House is running fireworks displays across the last weekend in October so you can get your Bonfire Night fix a little early. This year, their event is Halloween themed, so you can expect all the excitement of both Autumn festivals in one go! With amazing food and drink to enjoy too, it is little details like this have put Chatsworth House on the map for being one of the best bonfire nights in the UK.

Trains to Chatsworth House:

The closest major train stop to Chatsworth is Chesterfield station. From Chesterfield, you can hop on board a connecting bus

Alton Towers Fireworks

Alton Towers is fast becoming known as one of the biggest and best fireworks displays in the UK. Take the thrills of rollercoasters and family attractions and partner that with a mind-blowing display of fireworks, and you've got a thrill seeker’s dream day out. Because the park is open late for the fireworks, you can go on some of the world's best rides in the night's darkness to crank the adrenaline up a notch.

Trains to Alton Towers:
There are plenty of options for trains to Alton Towers as the theme park is close to Stoke-on-Trent, Nottingham, and Derby. There are connecting services directly to the park from CrossCountry stations.

Tar Barrels, Ottery St. Mary

If you're looking for something a little different this Bonfire night, Ottery St. Mary in Devon could be your answer. The tradition is so old that its exact origins and roots are unknown, but it is one of the UK's most unique experiences on Bonfire Night. Local brewers offer up a barrel, which is covered in tar, set alight and carried through the streets by brave locals. It is a spectacle, so you need to see it yourself. The packed streets create a fantastic atmosphere, and you can still expect a great bonfire.

Trains to Ottery St. Mary:

Exeter St. Davids station is the closest CrossCountry station to Ottery St. Mary. From Exeter city centre, you can jump on a direct bus all the way to the village.

Himley Hall & Park Bonfire, Wolverhampton

With a giant funfair, a cracking night market, and talented street performers, Himley Hall really have pushed the boat out with their Guy Fawkes event to make it a Bonfire Night to remember. As well as all these great features, Himley has made sure to concentrate on the main event too, with a huge bonfire and a 30-minute fireworks display paired with a heart-stopping soundtrack - this year dedicated to the history of Hollywood. If you want to make the most of the event, premium viewing tickets are available, but you'll have to get there quickly.

Trains to Himley:

The closest central station to Himley is Wolverhampton station, which you can reach directly from all around the CrossCountry network. Once you've arrived at the station, you'll need to grab one of the buses.

If you’re planning an epic Bonfire Night, don’t forget to book an Advance ticket via our website or the CrossCountry app. If you need more information, you can contact us here.


Written by Julia

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