Bonfire Night in the Lake District

Bonfire Night

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, Gunpowder, treason and plot. November 5th, also known as Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night, is a celebration and commemoration of an event that first took place on the 5th of November in 1605. Guy Fawkes, along with other members of the English Catholics, plotted to remove the protestant King James I, and planted explosives underneath the House of Lords.

The plot foiled when Fawkes was arrested as he guarded the bombs. To celebrate the plot’s failure, those loyal to the King lit bonfires around London. The following year, an act of parliament was passed that required an annual public celebration of the event. The act was eventually repealed in 1859, but by then, it was a firm entry onto the British social calendar.

Modern celebrations involve a fireworks display, representing the gunpowder that was placed under parliament. A bonfire is lit as per the first celebration, and a dummy Guy Fawkes is often placed on top. Although you can buy fireworks to set off at home, most people attend organised displays, as these are much safer and larger events often have extras, such as fairground rides and food stalls.

Where to Celebrate Bonfire Night in the Lake District

In the Lake District and Cumbria, firework celebrations tend to take place in the larger towns, though some pubs and smaller villages organise events that are certainly worth considering if you are looking for a more social evening. Many events are free, but donations are gratefully appreciated as the money raised often goes towards putting the same event on in the following year.

Please note that it is almost impossible to put together a list of all the bonfires taking place each year because these are very rarely published online. We have collected a list below of venues who have put on a bonfire in the past, but may or may not be doing so again this year. You will want to check with the venue or local area to confirm whether or not it is taking place again.

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Coniston Sports and Social Centre Fireworks & Bonfire, Coniston

  • Location: Shepherds Bridge Lane, Coniston, LA21 8AL
  • When: Usually closest Friday
  • More Information:

This is a free event, but donations to help fund the cost of the fireworks are welcome. There are food stalls available and some hotels in the area offer special dining events with views of the display.


Station Inn Fireworks & Bonfire, Oxenholme

  • Location: The Station Inn, Oxenholme, Kendal, LA9 7RF
  • When: Usually closest Friday
  • More Information:

The Station Inn hosts a fireworks display each year for residents and visitors to the village of Oxenholme. Along with the fireworks and bonfire you will find BBQ food available, as well as stands selling glow sticks and sparklers.


Hawcoat Park Sports Club Fireworks & Bonfire, Barrow-In-Furness

  • Location: Hawcoat Lane, Barrow-in-Furness LA14 4HF
  • When: Usually on the 5th of November
  • More Information:

The Hawcoat Sports Park is a huge sports facility in Barrow-In-Furness and is home each year to a large bonfire and fireworks display. It’s one of the most spectacular displays in the area, attracting a few thousand visitors. There are stands selling hot food and drinks, and there is also a bar. Sparklers are not permitted.


Hayes Garden Centre Fireworks & Shopping, Ambleside

With Christmas taking place the following month, Hayes Garden World in Ambleside allows visitors to combine a fireworks display with a bit of Christmas shopping. This ticketed event includes a spectacular fireworks display and the opportunity to purchase goods from the centre’s Christmas shop at a discounted rate. You can purchase a ticket that includes hot food or one that just covers the entrance fee. You must buy your ticket in advance.


Furness Rugby Club Fireworks & Bonfire, Barrow-In-Furness

  • Location: The Strawberry Grounds, Croslands Park Rd, Barrow-in-Furness, LA13 9LA
  • When: Usually on or around the 5th of November

The Furness Rugby Club hosts a Guy Fawkes celebration each November. It’s a large event with a bar and stands selling bonfire food, such as hot dogs and toffee apples.


Cartmel Fell Community Trust Bonfire & Parade, Cartmel Fell

  • Location: Cartmel Fell Parish Hall, Cartmel Fell, LA11 6NH
  • When: Usually on or around the 5th of November

This is a delightful community event in the small village of Cartmel Fell in the southern Lake District, not to be confused with the larger village of Cartmel near Grange-Over-Sands. This event features a lantern parade through the village, followed by the fireworks and bonfire. Hot drinks and food are available, and included in your ticket price if you opt for the higher cost tickets.


Windermere Rugby Club Fireworks & Bonfire, Windermere

  • Location: Dawes Meadow, Longlands Road, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3AS
  • When: Usually on or around the 5th of November
  • More Information:

Windermere Rugby Club host one of the largest displays in the area, spending a few thousand pounds each year on an awe-inspiring display. Hot food, mulled wine and other drinks are available.


Hawkshead Recreation Ground Bonfire & Fireworks, Hawkshead

  • Location: Hawkshead Recreation Ground, Hawkshead, LA22 0NT
  • When: Usually on or around the 5th of November
  • More Information:

This is a community led event that takes place each year. Whilst admission is free, donations are requested to help cover costs. A BBQ is in operation with hot food and drinks available to buy. Sparklers are not permitted.


Sedbergh Fireworks, Sedbergh

  • Location: People’s Hall Playing Field, Howgill Lane, Sedbergh, Nr Kendal, LA10 5DE
  • When: Usually on or around the 5th of November
  • More Information:

The Sedbergh fireworks display is a small, community-run event that is free to attend. There is no bonfire, but plenty of fireworks and a trade area with hot food, sweets, mulled wine and other drinks available.


Carlisle Fire Show, Carlisle

  • Location: Bitts Park, Dacre Rd, Carlisle, CA3 8UZ
  • When: Usually on or around the 5th of November

So much more than a fireworks display, the Carlisle Fire Show brings over 35,000 visitors to the city centre each year. The event starts at 2pm in the city centre streets close to Bitts Park, with street performers, activities for children, and a mini food fair. At 5.30, a fairground opens at Devonshire Walk car park, adjacent to the park. The show starts with street performances at 6.45, followed by the bonfire and fireworks. There are stalls selling hot food, drinks, glow sticks, etc. Sparklers are not permitted. Dogs are also not permitted in the park during the show.


Maryport Rugby Club Fireworks Display, Maryport

  • Location: Maryport Rugby League Club, Mealpot Road, Maryport, CA15 6NE
  • When: Usually on or around the 5th of November
  • More Information:

With support from Maryport Town Council the Maryport Rugby League Club hosts an annual fireworks display each year in this small coastal town. Along with the fireworks, there is a small fairground, as well as stalls selling hot food, candy floss and refreshments.


Cockermouth Fireworks Display, Cockermouth

The Cockermouth fireworks display is a popular event with a few thousand people in attendance each year. This is a free event and takes place in a park adjacent to the River Derwent. On the other side of the river, there are a number of pubs that offer an option to watch the fireworks in comfort whilst you dine. There are trade stands selling refreshments and glowing toys.


Dalton United Football Club Fireworks Show, Dalton-In-Furness

  • Location: Railway Meadow, Beckside Road, Dalton-In-Furness, LA15 8DP
  • When: Usually on or around the 5th of November

Dalton United Football Club host a fireworks show every year. The event is popular with local residents, and along with the fireworks there is a BBQ, as well as other hot and cold food options, including toffee apples. You can also purchase items, such as glow sticks to join in the fun. There is a licensed bar in operation.


Penrith Lions Bonfire Night, Penrith

  • Location: Newton Rigg College, Penrith, CA11 0AH
  • When: Usually on or around the 5th of November
  • More Information:

The Penrith Lions in association with Newton Rigg College put on a large firework display each November. Along with the display and bonfire, there is a BBQ in operation throughout the duration of the event.


Armathwaite Hall Hotel & Spa Bonfire & Supper, Bassenthwaite

  • Location: Armathwaite Hall, Bassenthwaite, Keswick, CA12 4RE
  • When: Usually on the 5th of November
  • More Information:

For those who prefer the finer things in life, Armathwaite Hall Hotel has a delightful Bonfire Night each November. Along with the bonfire and amazing fireworks display, guests are invited to attend a supper in the hotel. This is a ticketed event and you must book in advance.


Swinside Inn Firework Display, Keswick

  • Location: The Swinside Inn, Newlands Valley, Keswick, CA12 5UE
  • When: Usually on or around the 5th of November

Swinside Inn is located in the beautiful Newlands Valley and is host each year to a dazzling display of thousands of pounds worth of fireworks. The bar and restaurant is open as usual, though tables tend to get booked up early. There is also a marquee where you can purchase hot food, mulled wine and other drinks. There is limited parking at the inn so the owners request that you walk to the event if you are able.


Kendal Castle, Kendal

A combined effort from the town council, local businesses and various community groups sees this spectacular event take place at Kendal Castle each year. The display is free to enter, but visitors are requested to consider donating to cover the costs. There are trade stalls selling hot food and other items.