“Remember, remember, the 5th of November…..gunpowder, treason and plot!” with Bonfire Night in Exeter Devon. It’s not long now until we dig out the hats and scarves and brave the cold to watch bonfires and fireworks illuminate the night skies. Despite having rather macabre origins, bonfire night has been entertaining the nation for hundreds of years and gathers pace each year with increasingly choreographed pyrotechnics and sell out crowds! There’s a number of displays taking place all over Exeter & East Devon, so we’ve compiled a list of our Top 5 displays to help you decide which one(s) to attend.
5. Firefighters Fireworks, Middlemoor Police Station (Nov 3rd)
As you can probably imagine, Bonfire Night is one of the busiest days in the firefighter’s calendar and therefore, the firework display is held a couple of days earlier. This spectacular event is organised by the local police and firefighters in a bid to educate people about firework safety and reduce the number of ‘DIY’ displays in the area. All proceeds go towards the Police Benevolent Fund and the Firefighters Charity and all visitors receive a free hog roast on arrival! The night also features a bar, disco, live band and free parking is available at the Sowton Park & Ride, opposite Digby & Sowton train station.
When it comes to location, there’s nowhere more picturesque on bonfire night than Bicton College and Gardens. This breathtaking fireworks display is situated near the lake, so you can witness a magnificent array of colours as psychedelic reflections ripple across the water! The night also features a bonfire with a build your own ‘Guy’ competition as well as a selection of food & drink stalls. Bicton College urges visitors to wear suitable footwear due to uneven terrain within the grounds.
3. River Exe Firework Cruise, Exmouth (Nov 5th)
What’s better than one fireworks display? A dozen displays all visible without having to move an inch! Beat the traffic and avoid the crowds with a River Exe Fireworks Cruise, organised by local ferry operator Stuart Line Cruises. Sail around the estuary in style and experience all the displays taking place in the surrounding areas. This is ideal for families with young children as you are far enough away to ensure safety but close enough to hear all the ‘ooos’ and ‘aaahs’ as the coastline lights up in an awesome array of intense colours. There is a licensed bar with homemade soup, snacks and hot drinks and a covered, heated lower deck in case the weather turns sour. We recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.
2. Tar Barrels, Ottery St Mary (Nov 5th)
The running of the Tar Barrels in Ottery St Mary is a tradition dating back hundreds of years and to this day, no-one knows the exact origins. There are many theories such as fumigating the thatched cottages or as a warning of the approach of the Spanish Armada, but it’s believed they started sometime sometime after the gunpowder plot of 1605. Each year thousands of visitors flock to the small East Devon town to participate in the celebrations as locals run through the packed streets carrying flaming barrels on their shoulders. The evening kicks off with the women’s and boys’ barrels but as the night goes on the barrels get bigger and bigger, all the way up to the Midnight Barrel weighing in at a staggering 30 kilos! The event also features one of the largest bonfires in the Southwest, standing at over 35ft high on the banks of the River Otter and a fun fair packed with white-knuckle rides.
1. Exeter Round Table, Westpoint (Nov 5th)
The Exeter Round Table fireworks display is the largest event in Exeter and arguably one of the best fireworks displays in the Southwest! The Exeter Round Table is part of a much larger international organisation with over 34,000 members across 60 countries and each ‘branch’ supports local charities and good causes. The display itself is provided by local fireworks company ‘Sonic’ and features hundreds of vibrant fireworks choreographed to music. The night also features a variety of food & drink stalls, fairground rides suitable for all the family and many of the proceeds go to the Devon Air Ambulance and other local causes. Be sure to arrive early so you don’t miss out on this spectacular event!
Obviously there are many more firework displays taking place in Mid & East Devon but we hope this list gives you some ideas and perhaps inspires you to try something new. Alternatively if you decide to put on your own home display, you can always rely on CPM Property Maintenance to repair any damages you may encounter from stray fireworks!