Lewes Bonfire night is not a Lewes District Council event
This year bonfire night celebrations take place in Lewes town on 4th November as the 5th falls on a Sunday. Lewes Bonfire Council acts as a forum for the Bonfire Societies.
As the event falls on a Saturday so we expect even more visitors to the town than usual. Please pay particular attention to our advice below about safety and transport and think carefully before deciding whether to attend.
Lewes District Council's involvement in bonfire night
We work with partners including Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire and Rescue, East Sussex County Council and British Transport Police to ensure the safety of those attending the event. Our waste and recycling team work through the night to ensure the town is clean and tidy for the following day.
The event is not suitable for children
We want to ensure the safety of those attending the event and it is important to be aware the event is not suited to children. We strongly advise people with young families to attend an organised firework display close to where they live.
Getting in and out of Lewes will be very difficult
With its narrow streets and limited access into and out of town, Lewes is not set up to handle large crowds. Visitors to Lewes should be aware of the practical difficulties they will experience in getting transport to and from the event.
We strongly advise wearing ear protectors and eye defenders
We are advising people to take responsibility for their own safety. We work with the Bonfire Societies and other agencies to reduce accidents at Lewes Bonfire. In previous years there has been a problem with 'rookies' causing serious eye injuries. We are keen to promote the use of eye protectors (and ear defenders). We strongly discourage the throwing or dropping of fireworks either in the crowds or in the processions.
Processions and bonfire sites
It is not a firework display as people expect. While there are fireworks later in the evening at designated bonfire society sites, the main focus of the event are the processions which are historical. The event is a Lewes tradition going back many years and allows the residents of the town to celebrate the ancient tradition of bonfire. The event is historically important for the people of Lewes and a key part of community culture.
The six bonfire societies in Lewes hold processions through the streets of Lewes. The main procession route is from Western Road, through the Bottleneck along the High Street, past the War Memorial and down School Hill to Boots corner. The bonfire societies are:
- Lewes Borough
- Commercial Square
- South St
Each bonfire society sells its own programme giving details of its procession route.
Procession and bonfire timings
The Grand Processions through town begin at from 20:00. Following this, each society holds a bonfire at sites around the town. The fires will be lit at around 21:30 and are followed by a firework display.
The main procession route becomes crowded early in the evening. When the town centre is full, the access barriers will be closed. Anyone coming into the town after that time can stay outside the main procession route or can go straight to one of the bonfire sites if they have a ticket.
Most bonfire sites are now ticketed
For ticketed fire sites, tickets must be purchased in advance from the bonfire societies directly or from the Lewes Tourist Information Centre. Please be aware that bonfire sites have a limited capacity and may sell out of tickets ahead of the 4 November.
To contact the bonfire societies see the Bonfire Council website:
Road closures will affect large parts of Lewes town on the day. Diversions will be in place for traffic to travel outside of the town. Residents are advised to get vehicles home before 5pm to avoid any road closures in place. We advise visitors not to bring vehicles into the town, but instead use public transport.
On-street parking will be suspended on certain streets in the town. Vehicles must be removed from these routes or risk being towed away if they are not. If you have a parking permit and need assistance on alternative parking locations for the evening, please contact The Parking Shop.
Lewes Parking Shop
Monday to Friday: 8am to 5pm / Saturday: 9am to 1pm
Phone: 0345 680 1129
Lewes Parking Shop
The routes marked on the map below are used for processions and associated safety arrangements and subject to closures and parking changes:
Green Route - On-street parking suspended from 12 noon, vehicles risk being towed from 3pm. This road will be closed from 5pm to 2am.
Purple Routes - On-street parking suspended from 12 noon. Roads closed from 5pm until 2am.
Orange Routes - On-street parking permitted in authorised bays. Roads closed from 5pm until 2am.
Blue Routes - On-street parking suspended from 12 noon. Roads closed from 5pm until 2am.
Black Route - On-street parking suspended from 12 noon. Westbound traffic only between 5pm and 7pm (there will be no access to Lewes from the A27 during this time). Road closed from 5pm until 2am.
Normal parking controls for on-street and car parks will resume at 8am on 5 November.
Interactive map of road closures and parking suspensions on 5 November 2016
Click on each route for more information.
Please check with Rail Enquiries for details of your specific journey.
There will be diversions to services on 4 November. Please check with the bus operating companies for specific changes and disruption.
For the latest information, please search #lewesbonfire on Twitter (no account needed).
Our reception at Southover House, Lewes will be closed on Saturday 5 November.