light up lancaster
Light Up Lancaster

Bonfire Night in Manchester and the North

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor

As the nights get longer and increasingly colder, there’s no better way to celebrate Bonfire Night in Manchester and the North than by gathering your family and friends together, by a huge bonfire, to watch the night sky explode with colour.

Although, there is a kind of alchemy to a good Bonfire Night. It’s not always just about the firework show itself – let’s be honest, that pretty much comes down to where’s closest. Lining up a cosy meal before as a buffer against the biting wind, and a warm dram to take the edge off the frostbite after – that’s what will make the shivering-in-a-muddy-field bit of the evening seem worth it. Alternatively, head to one of Manchester’s vantage points, and stay warm and dry with the smuggest cocktail you’re ever likely to sip.

Looking for more traditional bonfire night shenanigans? Get wrapped up and head to the Carlton Club as bonfire night celebrations fire up once again for 2021.

For those looking further afield, Light Up Lancaster is a two-day festival of art and light that illuminates the streets, gardens and historical venues of Lancaster; culminating with a grand finale when fireworks soar above Lancaster Castle. And the River of Light Festival graces Liverpool’s famous waterfront just in time for Bonfire Night too. Take a jaunt along the 2km walking trail to see huge sculptures and a dramatic display of illuminated visual art and spectacular light projections.

Alternatively, head to the warm heights of Manchester’s 20 Stories, stay dry, enjoy the panoramic views and toast the city’s busy night sky.

Remember, remember to get your plans in for the 5th November. It’ll be here before you know it.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Light Up Lancaster

    light up lancaster
    Image courtesy Robin Zahler

    Light Up Lancaster at The Storey Creative Industries Centre, Lancaster, 5–6 November 2021, free entry - Find Out More

    This fabulous festival of light and art returns to Lancaster. You’ll find installations, projections, performance and fireworks illuminating the city’s historic buildings, charming streets and hidden squares.

  • 2. River of Light Festival – Liverpool

    River of Light Festival – Liverpool
    River of Light

    River of Light Festival – Liverpool at The Cunard Building, Waterfront, Until 7 November 2021, free entry - Visit now

    A spectacular celebration of illuminated art taking place at night along Liverpool’s famous waterfront.

  • 3. 20 Stories

    20 Stories
    Ian Jones

    20 Stories, No. 1 Spinningfields, 1 Hardman Square, Manchester, M3 3EB - Visit now

    Surely there’s no better place to watch the city’s skies light up with colour than Manchester’s highest bar and restaurant. Keep warm, sip on a hot cocktail and enjoy bursts of fireworks for miles around. While we can’t guarantee views as good elsewhere, take a look at our Roof Terraces In Manchester guide for more… down to earth alternatives.

  • 4. The Carlton Club

    The Carlton Club

    The Carlton Club, Rowan Lodge, 113 Carlton Rd, Manchester, M16 8BE - Visit now

    Following the bonfire hiatus of 2020, The Carlton Club are back with a bang. Entrance opens at 5:00 pm with two firework displays – an earlier (and quieter!) one for families and a more traditional affair following later. Expect good old-fashioned parkin and treacle toffee alongside more contemporary bonfire fare from The Hip Hop Chip Shop and Mankuchen Pizza. Admission is £3.00 for members, £2.00 for under 16s and £5.00 for guests.

  • 5. The Allotment Vegan Restaurant

    Martin Kevill

    The Allotment Vegan Restaurant, Lloyd’s house, 18-22 Lloyd St, Manchester, M2 5WA - Visit now

    The award-winning vegan restaurant serves up a bonfire-themed tasting menu on 4 November. Expect a taste explosion.

  • 6. The Briton’s Protection

    Ben Williams

    The Briton’s Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 5LE - Visit now

    Defrosting in town is an option for those wanting to make a late one of it – and what better to wrap chilled fingers around than a glass of whisky?