Add a Bang to your Flash II: A Survival Guide to Lewes Bonfire Night

! Warning: this post hasn't been updated in over three years and so may contain out of date information.

fire.jpgAs I mentioned in a previous blog post, Lewes is the place to be on the evening of 5th November. Why? Perhaps more importantly, why should Flash on the Beach attendees care? Well the 5th of November in bonfire night, which many parts of Britain celebrate with firework displays, and the biggest, most spectacular celebration of this night arguably occurs just 12 minutes train journey away from Brighton in my home town of Lewes.

You can read more about it here and here and here.

If you choose to come, here are some useful tips:

  1. Make sure you have a map (I’d suggest both this one and this one). Lewes is an old town with narrow twisty streets and you can get completely lost in no time.
  2. Read through my links and make sure you know which fire site you are going to. Be aware that Cliffe is advance ticket only, so plan to visit another (I recommend Waterloo; it’s where I’m going)
  3. Get there early. Processions start around 6pm and the police start closing off streets before then.
  4. Get a good spot. The best point to see processions is on the High Street. Note that the top of Station Street is closed off though, so you may need to head along Landsdown Place and back up School Hill to get to it.
  5. Bring your own drink. The pubs will be rammed. There are plenty of food vendors around though. Responsible consumption of alcohol on the streets is allowed. The hundreds of police that help keep the event great will soon deal with you if you aren’t responsible.
  6. Around 9pm – 9:30pm, the largest parade occurs on the High Street. As the societies start to split, head off to your chosen firesite and prepare for a wait (the start times are incredibly unreliable, so get there early and expect to wait 30 minutes or more, otherwise you might miss it).
  7. As soon as the firework display is over, head straight back to the station. The station gets incredibly busy toward the end of the night, but if you are quick, you can avoid a lot of the queues.
  8. The last advertised train back to Brighton is around midnight. The queues can be more than an hour long. In the past, the trains have just kept running though until the queues are gone though. However, I can offer no assurance that this will happen this year.