There’s a special kind of magic about Bonfire Night, from the flavour of toffee apple to the thrill of watching the fireworks or taking a spin on a fairground ride. This year, with the Covid pandemic, most of UK’s traditional celebrations have been called off, but some fireworks displays are still happening, in new, innovative ways. Some local displays may still also happen and should be listed in your local newspaper.
Bonfire Night may look a little different than usual with masks and social distancing, but it is still possible to find some good cheer and beautiful displays, just in a different form than usual.
Here, we’ve rounded up the bonfire night events still taking place – and the ones sadly no longer happening – around the UK for 2020.
What’s still going ahead?
Drive In Fireworks, Midlands
With the majority of events cancelled across the UK, a new spate of ‘drive through’ fireworks evenings have cropped up. One of the biggest is happening in the Midlands, with separate events in Northampton, Peterborough and Newark. Billed as a ‘socially distanced’ fireworks display, it’ll take place across November 7 and 8. Tickets are £25 per vehicle, with no more than six people per car – once parked up on the site, entrants can sit back and watch the fireworks with their own drinks and snacks (none will be sold on site). Refunds will be offered should the fireworks be unable to go ahead.
Cost: £25 per car
More info: driveinfireworks.uk
A drive-in fireworks display will be hosted for three nights in November. Held at Park Vale Running Track on Walney, the displays will be on November 5, 6 and 7. Promised to be “Covid-friendly”, ticket holders will have a bay each to park in, with a five-metre box in which to stand. Unlike some other drive-through events which encourage visitors to stay in their vehicles, families will be able to view the fireworks from outside their car. The event opens from 5pm and all cars must be parked by 6.45pm.
Cost: £35 per car
More info: facebook.com/laserlightsalive1
Sotterley Hall Estate, Suffolk
Three drive-in fireworks shows across two nights will be available for residents around Suffolk. The displays will be hosted on the expansive grounds of Sotterley Hall Running on November 6 and 7, visitors will be able to pre-order food and drink before arrival via a separate email that will be sent the day before. In order to follow Covid-19 guidelines, timings should be noted; on November 6, for instance, doors open at 5pm and last entry is at 6.30pm, so be sure to check when to arrive. The display will last half an hour, and cars will be directed off the estate shortly afterwards. The 5pm Saturday (November 7) show is now sold out.
Cost: £8 per adult and £5 per child
More info: explosivesolutions.co.uk
Westpoint Exeter, Devon
November 7 will see a drive-in fireworks display come to Devon. Held in Westpoint Exeter, a multi-purpose arena and showground, the fireworks will be arranged by Celebration Pyrotechnics, a local company with 30 years of experience. Gates will open from 4pm and hot food and drink will be available from a range of vendors. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Cost: from £25 a car
More info: westpointexeter.co.uk
Those nervous of purchasing tickets as restrictions in the UK escalate can opt to go for an earlier fireworks display. Wadebridge’s Royal Cornwall Showground will be hosting a drive-in firework display on November 1, to hopefully pre-empt last minute restrictions forcing a cancellation. A winter warmer menu will be available from local food and drink vendors, including firework-themed pizzas. Gates open from 3pm and close at 6pm. The display will start at 6.30pm.
Cost: from £30 per car
More info: fireworkscornwall.com
Harrow Fireworks Display, London
Harrow, which usually does a grand themed fireworks display and Bonfire Night event in Byron Park, are this year hosting The Great Big Home Fireworks Display. People can purchase fireworks from Harrow Fireworks, and light them in their back gardens on November 5. Participants are asked to share pictures and videos of their fireworks on social media.
Cost: at-home fireworks start from £25
More info: harrowfireworks.co.uk
Fireworks Drive In, Errol
Scotland’s first drive-in fireworks display will take place on November 7 from 5pm in Errol, a picturesque village in the countryside of Perth and Kinross – around a 30 minute drive from the cities of Perth and Dundee. Dazzling fireworks will be let off in the Errol Airfield, which opened in 1943 and has three runways arranged in an ‘A’ shape. Three themes are also available for guests to choose from: Kids Movie Magic, The Greatest Showman and Ibiza Classics.
Cost: From £33.60 per car
More info: fireworksdrivein.com
What’s been cancelled?
Lewes, East Sussex
The biggest Bonfire Night celebrations in the UK, this event on November 5 involves seven different bonfire societies putting on five separate parades and displays. Up to 3,000 people usually take part and the celebrations attracting around 80,000 people each year to the small market town. As well as fireworks, 17 burning crosses are carried through the town in memory of the 17 Lewes Martyrs, and ‘Guy Fawkes’ is thrown on the fire, along with other effigies. While the celebrations have unfortunately been cancelled this year, they will be back on 2021.
Ottery St Mary, Devon
The Tar Barrels event is said to date back to the 17th century but isn’t taking place this year. Each town centre pub sponsors one of 17 barrels, which are coated with tar, lit and carried through the town. All the barrel-carriers converge in the central square at midnight, which is where you’ll want to be for the best view. There’s also one of the biggest bonfires in the South West, and a funfair.
More info: tarbarrels.co.uk
Cardiff and Swansea
Unfortunately, all fireworks displays in the Cardiff area have been cancelled due to the country’s ‘firebreak’ lockdown, including Sparks in the Park in Cardiff’s Bute Park, and Swansea’s Biggest Firework Display.
More info: enjoyswanseabay.com
Victoria Park, London
One of London’s few free fireworks displays is usually held at Victoria Park, but this has unfortunately been cancelled.
More info: towerhamletsarts.org.uk
Alton Towers Fireworks
The theme park usually puts on three nights of entertainment on November 8, 9 and 10 to mark the end of the season, but has cancelled this year “following the latest government guidance and continuing uncertainty about future measures”.
More info: altontowers.com
Heaton Park, Manchester
The biggest bonfire event in the city has been cancelled this year, along with every other Bonfire Night event, the Christmas lights switch on and the New Year’s Eve fireworks, due to escalating cases – Manchester has just gone into Tier 3.
More info: manchester.gov.uk
Strathclyde Park, Glasgow
This funfair run by local theme park M&Ds has sadly been cancelled this year “due to concerns over physical distancing”.
More info: whatsonlanarkshire.co.uk
Highbridge and Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset
This stunning display of 100 brightly-lit floats built by carnival clubs was scheduled to be held on Sunday, November 8, 2020, but has now been cancelled. The carts – which can be anything up to 100ft in length and 16ft high, with tens of thousands of lightbulbs – will hopefully be available to view next year.
More info: burnham-on-sea.com
Traditionally, locals build a huge structure that reflects the area’s heritage (this year it will be a circus tent) to set alight on the beach, and put on a firework display. Unfortunately, the Skinningrove Bonfire Committee have ‘made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Skinningrove Bonfire’.
More info: facebook.com/Skinningrove-Bonfire
Fireworks at the Fort, Tyne and Wear
One the largest firework displays in the North is held at Segedunum Fort by the River Tyne on November 5. The vent has been cancelled this year, but should return next year.
Forest Recreation Ground, Nottingham
The largest and most central bonfire celebration in the city has been cancelled this year due to coronavirus, but will be back next year.
More info: visit-nottinghamshire.co.uk