Bonfire Night in Oxford

Bonfire Night is a historical British tradition dating back to the 17th century. People come together to enjoy a celebration of history and fireworks on the 5th of November – but where does this tradition come from and where can you see it in the city this year? Of all the Oxfordshire hotels, our hotel is very well located for those wanting to celebrate Bonfire night in Oxford.


The Gunpowder Plot

Bonfire Night is based on the failed gunpowder plot led by Robert Catesby to assassinate King James on the 5th of November 1605 – it is thought to be motivated by religious discrepancies between Catholics and Protestants. A group of conspirators prepared a methodical plan to kill the King with gunpowder hidden in one of the vaults under the Parliament.


As the opening of the Parliament was planned at the beginning of November 1605, a member of the House of Lords received an anonymous letter advising him not to attend the event. This letter led to a vast search of Parliament and police found a member of the plot in the vault – he was in charge of lighting the gunpowder. Arrested right after this, the plot member in question was Guy Fawkes and soon he became Britain’s most well known terrorist.


The Traditions of Bonfire Night

In celebration of the failure of the plot and life of King James, British people celebrated every year what is now called Bonfire Night. Still popular to this day, big dolls in the form of Guy Fawkes are burnt on big bonfires and most places display stunning fireworks for all to see.


Where to see Bonfire Night in Oxford?

On the Saturday 4th of November, South Park will host Oxford 50th Annual Charity Fireworks Display. Organised by Oxford Round Tables, profits from the event will be going towards different local charities.


The excitement will start with a fun fair from 4.30pm, and live music from local acts will start at 5.30pm. The fireworks display will take place at 6.45pm and will be followed by the traditional lighting of the bonfire.



There are a lot of Bonfire Night displays throughout Oxfordshire this year and Oxford’s celebration in particular is one not-to-be missed. Hosted on a special date, the 50th anniversary, the firework display is set to be spectacular.

Planning on spending Bonfire Night in the city and looking for where to stay near Oxford? Book your room directly for the best rates. For more information, call us on 01235 553456 or contact us now.