10 Sussex Bonfire and Firework Displays

Love it or hate it, it’s that time of year again when the skies light up and we celebrate the failed Gunpowder Plot – an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament (I’m saying nothing). There are dozens of events across Sussex from large to small with amazing processions, fancy dress, sparklers and lots of effigies. We’ve picked 10 of the best across the region, so wrap up warm, prepare your vocal chords for the obligatory “Oooos” and “Ahs” and enjoy.

Horsham Fireworks – 30 October 

You’ve just got time (if you hurry) to get to Horsham’s Firework event, held in Cricketfield Road. The firework display starts at 7.30 pm and there is also a vintage fairground ride, various street food stalls, and a large beer tent and bar area. You do need to buy tickets (although under 5s are free) and plan ahead for parking – there is no parking in the immediate vicinity.

Sussex Bonfires

Firle Bonfire, near Lewes  – 30 October

Another event taking place this weekend is the Firle Fireworks which includes a torchlight procession around the village followed by fireworks at the fire site on the playing fields. There is food, a bar and free parking but again, you’ll need to book.

Sussex bonfire and firework events

Littlehampton Bonfire Night – 30 October 

Littlehampton’s bonfire celebrations start at 10 am with an artisan market and also include a fair. There’s a procession at 7.30 pm and of course, a bonfire, and you are asked to buy a programme for £1 which helps towards costs. As always, parking restrictions and road closures apply!

Sussex bonfire and fireworks

Bonfire Night at Goodwood – 5 and 6 November

For something a little bit special, head down to Goodwood to enjoy the fireworks before tucking into a delicious three-course dinner in The Kennels dining room. There’s live music and face painting for the children, and yes of course you have to buy tickets!

Sussex Firework Display

Lewes Bonfire Night – 5 November

We cannot mention the 5 November celebrations without mentioning Lewes, which hosts the biggest 5th November event in the world.  There are seven bonfire societies in Lewes and on the 5 November there can be up to 30 different processions making their way through the narrow streets. Each procession and society has its own traditions, costumes, bonfires, fireworks and fire displays. In short, Lewes bonfire night is a truly spectacular event with a carnival festival the likes of which you’re not likely to see anywhere else.

But (and it is a big but), we have been asked to remind people that this is an event for residents of Lewes, and people should not attempt to travel to Lewes for the night. There will be no trains, the roads are shut, and there is no accommodation for visitors. It really is a massive event and they have to be mindful of the challenges this presents for a medieval town with narrow streets and old buildings. So it’s not for the likes of most of us, but for those that live in Lewes … wow! Just, wow!

Lewes Bonfire

Photo credit to Carlotta Luke / Visit Lewes

Heyshott Bonfire and Fireworks – Near Midhurst – 6 November 

This renowned bonfire and fireworks display in the village of Heyshott, starts with a torchlit procession to the bonfire and a Punch and Judy show before the main firework display. Entry is free but you are invited to make a cash donation to support the event.

Sussex Bonfire events

Wadhurst Fireworks – 6 November

Organised by the Wadhurst Warriors at Stone Cross Farm, you need to buy tickets for this event. There will be a bar, BBQ and one of the biggest displays in the county!

Cuckfield Park – 6 November

This event is held in the beautiful grounds of Cuckfield Park and includes a huge bonfire followed by a professionally run firework display, choreographed to music. Gates open at 5.30 pm, the bonfire will be lit at 6.45 pm and fireworks begin at 7.30 pm. Booking is required.

Sussex firework displays

Battle Bonfire Night – 6 November

Battle has its own unique firework traditions and traditionally only the body of the guy was burnt and the head kept for the following year. The head you see at this display is believed to have been created around 1795 and is made from pearwood. Each year a new body was made including an excessively tall body in 1897 when the guy was a good 12 foot tall! The tradition of detaching and burning the body stopped around the 1940s and since then the effigy is used as part of the celebrations but doesn’t see the flames of the fire. Of course, there’s also a procession and fireworks. It’s free to attend but you’re asked to make a donation.

Sussex Bonfire Displays

Rye Bonfire -13 November 

Another iconic Sussex bonfire event takes place in Rye, with a procession (from 7.50 pm) through the streets before the main display.  There will be parking restrictions and road closures so plan ahead. Again, you are invited to make a donation to support the event.

Sussex bonfire nights

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