The city lights.
Remember, remember the 5th of November, Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes night). You know the story and the name which marks the anniversary of the end of the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Today in modern-day Central London, from above ground, this date sees the city light up in a less traditional sense.
I remember spending my first evening in the capital close to the anniversary over a decade ago and wondered just where in Central London would you possibly be able to see fireworks? I was proven terribly wrong and was pleased to discover that our capital is flooded with large-scale events to celebrate the foiling of the gunpowder plot. Remarkably, some of these carefully curated dates are within walking distance of Centre Point.
Gone are the days when the anniversary once meant twirling a few sparklers while watching a just above the average display that lasts all of 30 seconds. In London, today fireworks come with live music and independent food traders making for small-scale festivals in themselves. Its an occasion to wrap up snug for and head to one of the capital’s many displays to enjoy a spectacle. From the top of Centre Point across the needle of the compass, there are viewpoints throughout our capital from where this was seen by the many Londoners who braved the cold at dusk.
Just 5 minutes walk from Centre Point was the annual display at Bloomsbury’s Coram Fields. If you don’t already know this spot, it is located at the north end of the unmatched Lambs Conduit Street, adjacent to The Foundling Museum. The annual fireworks event was last Friday (November 2nd). The park itself was open to the public at 3.30pm with the display starting at 5.15pm by Kimbolton Fireworks, the company who provided the fireworks displays for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. The display was totally free for attendees and family friendly.
Making your way a little further north, a well-known viewing spot in Central London from Friday evening until Monday evening was Primrose Hill. This neighbourhood truly is a village in the centre of our capital. Primrose Hill is laced with restaurants and pubs to visit during the autumn and winter months. The city lit up before the eyes of locals. Views of displays in Alexandra Palace and Coram Fields were visible from here, and from miles away. This is a popular location on New Year’s Eve. As a tip for these coming winter weeks; arrive at the village for dinner and drinks and then make your way to the top of the rock to welcome in the new year at midnight.
Neighbouring Primrose Hill, Hampstead Heath gave views of displays in the West End and the heart of London’s East End. A favourite is the annual display at Victoria Park which was on Saturday 3rd. This year, this was carefully themed around monsters, taking inspiration from the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1823). Above ground at Centre Point, views of displays at Alexandra Palace and Battersea Park were visible to residents these past few days. South of the river, there was a display at Blackheath on Saturday evening. I have attended all of the above, though for future reference I am told this is truly worth a visit, especially for families and those living in the Lewisham or Greenwich areas. Imagine observing this view yourself from the comfort of your own living room. Silent from a distance. 2 miles, 3, 4, 8 or 9? The lights shone as the city flared below ground from Centre Point as if no distance at all.