Tis the season when it’s cool to be hot. In fact, this is the time of year when thoughts turn to burning stuff – Guys, torches, sparklers, great big piles of junk wood or packages of gunpowder that tear through the skies. But where best to watch the sparks fill the sky? Here’s our list of some of top bonfire nights in Scotland. Just, remember, remember, some places don’t hold it on the fifth of November.
The biggest bang for no bucks that you can get in Glasgow on bonfire night – last year six tonnes of fireworks were launched into the air and it just keeps getting bigger. The fireworks show on the Green is completely free, though there’s plenty to spend your money on – from funfair to food and drinks stands. All this against the beautiful backdrop of the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens. Or, if you like your explosions from a distance, take your flask to a prime viewing-spot like the Necropolis, the Cathkin Braes or Ruchill Park.
November 5, starting at 5pm, fireworks at 7.30pm.
2. Portobello beach
It’s not an official, organise event, but more a random, fire-making community improvisation, with fires dotted all the way along the beach. There’s always the danger that some teenager might send a random rocket whizzing past within an inch of your face. But go early enough, before the witching hour when thrill-seeking youngsters go on the rampage, and this feels like bonfire night as its meant to be. Local groups and families set up small bonfires, strangers share marshmallows, and fireworks launch in random, amateur sputters. Plus out there in the distance you can see some of the bigger displays – Musselburgh, down the coast, and Burntisland across the Firth Of Forth.
Portobello beach, November 5, starts whenever the first bonfire is lit, free
3. Aberdeen Fireworks Night
Nothing beats a beach location for a bonfire night. The Granite city certainly knows how to put on a big fireworks extravaganza, drawing in an audience of around 12,000 every year. This time round the whole thing kicks off around 6.30pm with fire jugglers and a charity fire walk, before the main event fills the skies with fireworks, to the accompaniment of music – all of which is hosted by Northsound 1’s Jeff and Lauren in the Morning. Best viewing points are around the Beach Boulevard, Queen’s Links and Esplanade areas.
Aberdeen beach, November 5, 6.30pm, free
4. Hopetoun House Fireworks And Bonfire Night
This year they billed it The Greatest Fireworks Show On Earth, but if you want a ticket you’re going to have to beg, borrow or steal, because it’s been long sold out – and at £15 per ticket. There is plenty of pre- display action, including entertainment and food. The fireworks finale, designed and choreographed by the award winning 21CC, starts hitting the air from 6.30pm.
Hopetoun House, November 3, 4p-8pm, £15
5. Bonfire Night in Inverness
The biggest fireworks party in the Highlands takes place in Bught Park on the banks of the River Ness – and it’s got every kind of whizz and bang you could ever dream of and more. As well as the cacophony of fireworks, from the Fireworx Scotland display team, there are also fire twirlers, a pipe and drum band, music and a state-of-the-art muckle bonfire which is lit at 7.30pm.
Bught Park, Inverness, November 5, 7.30pm, free
6. Samhuinn Fire Festival
Forget Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot, the Beltane Fire Society’s big, mad burn-up is channelling something much older – the spirit of the ancient ceremony of Samhuinn, or Halloween night, when darkness triumphs over light as the season changes. So, if you prefer fire dancers, neo-pagan theatre, and the pulse of drums to sparklers and rockets, this is where it’s at. Though, of course, like everything else is really is just an excuse for a huge conflagration. Previously free, due to expansion, it is now, for the first time, a paid event.
Calton Hill, Edinburgh,, October 31, 7pm-11pm, £6
7. Drumchapel and West Winterfest
Glasgow Green may be the big yin, but Drumchapel’s annual fireworks is nipping at its heels. Again, it’s not all about the fireworks. This is a big family night out with kids rides, food vans, and a live music stage, featuring Jemma Stevenson, The Grand Central Band, Nicholas McDonald and Simply Rod. Plus, chatting you through it all are Heart Breakfast’s Robin and Adele.
Drumchapel Park, November 5, Gates open 4.30pm, fireworks at 7pm, free
8. The Strathaven Firework Display
This has got to be just about the only fireworks display, featuring a miniature steam railway in action even as the bonfire blazes. The steam locomotives will run throughout the evening, from 5pm, illuminated by fairy lights and coloured spotlights. It’s also, courtesy of Strathaven District Round Table, the biggest non council-run display in South Lanarkshire. There’s a charge for entry, of £3, but kids get a free glow necklace, and it’s worth bearing in mind that all profits go back into the community.
Strathaven Park, November 3, 7pm-8.30pm, £3
9. The Ship Inn, Elie
Not only is The Ship Inn one of the best pubs on the Fife coast, but its in a prime spot, located right by the beach and – making it ideal for a bonfire night extravaganza. This is a fireworks event with class and hygge. Beer in one hand, bun in the other you can ooh and ah at the rockets shooting up from the harbour. Bonfire on the beach from about 5.30pm and fireworks at 7pm.
Ship Inn, Elie, November 3, from 5pm
10. Helensburgh Bonfire and fireworks night
The end of the pier has long been the spot for the Helensburgh’s annual fire display, which has been organised by the Local Round Table for the past fifty years, – though some worry that, given a new pierhead swimming pool development, it will be the last. But Helensburgh’s bonfire night is a proper community affair and a survivor. Last year, a garage recovery company came to the rescue after it looked like a park car was going to prevent the bonfire. The night includes rides, hot food and drinks, and other family fun.
Helensburgh pier carpark, November 3, from 6.30pm, funded through donations
11. Haddington Torchlight Procession and Fireworks
There are few events more primal and magical than a good torchlight procession – and this year, Haddington is delivering one, along with everything else that comes with bonfire night. Whatever your taste in fire there’s something for you here – from the procession leaving the Corn Exchange at 6.30pm to the bonfire at 7pm and the big fireworks display at 7.30pm. Plus, for those who don’t want to get too close to the flames, there are kids rides, inflatables and hot food most of the evening.
Haddington Corn Exchange, November 3, 6.30pm, torches £5, entry £2
12. Dundee Fireworks at Lochlee Park and Baxter Park
Dundee delivers twice the fun, with its fireworks at two different park venue. At both sites the formula is the same – a bonfire and display thrown together with the Tay FM Roadshow and plenty of live music. The theme this year is “party”, and a soundtrack of bands that have played in Dundee over the past year. Fireworks go off at 7pm.
Lochlee Park and Baxter Park, November 5, from 6pm, free
13. Dunfermline Fireworks Display
“Dunfermline Rocks” is the theme of this year’s display at Pittencrieff Park – which means those rockets will be going off to the likes of Bon Jovi, Van Halen and Kings of Leon, and the up-and-coming band, Foreignfox with entertain the crowds live. But it’s not just the music, it’s also the setting that makes Dunfermline so special. It’s the backdrop of Dunfermline Abbey and the Forth bridges. Entertainment starts at 6pm and the rockets light up the sky from 7.30pm.
Pittencrieff Park, November 3, 6pm.
Source : HeraldScotland