Bonfire Night 2018: fireworks displays and events in Sussex

With Guy Fawkes Night fast approaching, there's a range of bonfire and firework events to attend in Sussex to mark Bonfire Night season in 2018.

From the large-scale fireworks displays to smaller community events, here’s a comprehensive guide to what’s on near you around Bonfire Night this year.

Remember to wrap up warm and stay safe amid the sparklers and rockets.

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Saturday, November 3.

A free non-ticketed event hosted by the Battel Bonfire Boyes. All donations given on the night to official street collectors goes to help local charities and good causes.

There are events running throughout the day, with the procession at 7pm, the bonfire being lit at 9pm and fireworks start at 9.30pm. The event will end at around 10pm.

There will be no parking as this is a small town with limited spaces, and road closures can be found on the society’s website.

Horsham Rugby Club

Saturday, November 3.

Gates open at 5pm with the main display running at 8pm. This gives visitors plenty of time to enjoy the music, food stalls, hog roast and fairground rides. Tickets cost £5 in advance or £7 on the night for a single and £20 advance/£25 on the night for a family of five. Under fives go free. Advance tickets must be bought before October 15.

The display is at Horsham Rugby Club, Hammerpond Road, Horsham, RH13 6PJ.


Saturday, November 3

This year Newick Bonfire Night will include several elements commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the great war.

Newick Bonfire Society will also be organising a torch lit procession and lighting of the beacon on The Green on Sunday, November 11 at 6.30pm


Brighton Racecourse

Sunday November 4, gates open at 6pm and display begins at 7.30pm.

There will be fairground rides for the children before the display, and refreshments will be available.

Admission prices will be £10 for adults and £5 for children under 16.

Family tickets are available for two adults and two children at £25.


Robin Hood Bonfire Night

Sunday, November 4.

Procession starts from 5.40pm from the village hall in Workhouse Lane, bonfire at 6.20pm, fireworks from approximately 6.40pm.

Entry costs £3, under 12s £2, all profits will go to charity.

There will be fairground rides, a licenced bar, and a hog roast.


Monday, November 5.

The first of the many processions starts at 5.10pm and the last ends around midnight.

There will be road closures all evening and night all around the Sussex routes into Lewes, starting from about 2pm, and the main procession routes will be out of bounds for car parking.

No trains will call at Lewes, Falmer, Glynde or Southease from 5pm on November 5 until the first timetabled trains on the morning of November 6.


Monday, November 5.

The evening of the free to attend celebration starts with a fancy dress competition at the King Edward Hall. This is followed by a torch light procession around Lindfield, which heads onto the common for the reading of the Bonfire Prayer and the lighting of the bonfire. The evening finishes with the grand firework display.

Approximate timings and road closure details can be found on their website.


Monday, November 5

Organised by the Worthing Lions Club and is supported by Worthing Borough Council and the Worthing Town Centre Initiative. Fireworks will be fired from the end of the pier, giving those on the promenade the best view. Food market stalls will also be located at viewing points throughout Worthing including Steyne Gardens, Montague Street and South Square.

The fireworks display will begin at 7.30pm on Monday from the pier. The Funfair will operate from 2pm to 9.30pm and the rides on Montague Street will also be open on Sunday, November 4, from 2pm to 6pm.


Saturday, November 10.

Rye Bonfire Night is organised by the Rye Bonfire Society who run the fireworks display.

The fireworks are launched from the far side of where the fishing fleet moor, good vantage points include the salts, Hilders cliff, the cricket pitch and the back of the Queens pub as well as the Monckbretton bridge area.

All streets on the processional route in Rye town centre will be closed to traffic from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

South Heighton

Saturday, November 10.

The procession will form up near the Flying Fish in Denton, moving off at approximately 6.30pm. It will stop outside the Hampden Arms for a short period before reforming and carrying on down the hill to the firesite at South Heighton recreation ground. Fireworks will go off at approximately 8pm. Entrance costs £4 for adults, and accompanied under 18s free (up to three per adult).


Saturday, November 17.

The procession sets off from Station Road, ending at the recreation ground where the enormous bonfire will be followed by fireworks.

Don’t leave until you’ve watched the explosion of this year’s controversial effigy - top secret until Saturday afternoon. Look out for the Robertsbridge Bonfire Society in the procession - they’re the ones dressed as monks.

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laws around fireworks

A History of Bonfire Night

“Remember remember the fifth of November.” But just why do we venture out into the cold to stand around a bonfire and set off fireworks every year?

Of course, it’s all to do with Guy Fawkes who, on November 5, 1605, was arrested while guarding the explosives he and a team of accomplices had placed beneath the House of Lords.

The Gunpowder Plot was intended as a murderous prologue to a Midlands revolt designed to disrupt a ceremony in which King James I’s nine-year-old daughter was to be installed as the Catholic head of state.

But it failed when authorities were tipped off by an anonymous letter.

In its early days, Bonfire Night was an enforced public day of thanksgiving, celebrating the fact that King James I’s life was spared by the plot’s failure.

Gunpowder Treason Day was the main English state commemoration, but it wasn’t originally the cosy celebration with sparklers and hot drinks we’ve come to know today.

With strong anti-Catholic overtones, violence was known to flare up, and sermons warning against the dangers of Catholicism were often preached against a backdrop of burning effigies of the Pope.

Even long after the day’s origins, 19th century towns saw class-warfare erupt; it wasn’t until 1859 – when the Observance of 5th November Act was repealed – that the violence began to subside.

By the 20th century, the event became more recognisable as the Bonfire Night we know today, with the setting off of fireworks a tongue-in-cheek metaphor for Guy Fawkes’ sternly guarded cargo.