Our pick of North Wales fireworks displays in 2016

fireworks-804838_960_720Bonfire Night is a uniquely British custom that has been celebrated for hundreds of years. Each year, Brits up and down the country mark this significant day in our history by hosting or attending fireworks displays big and small, public and private.

Organised firework displays are much easier and typically more impressive than anything you can hold in your own garden and often include other entertainment such as music, food stalls, a public bonfire, and somewhere to keep dry if the weather turns.

If you do decide to have a garden display though, be safe. Only light one firework at a time, using an appropriate lighter, well away from spectators, and never return to a lit firework. Duds and spent fireworks should never ever be thrown on the bonfire. Make sure you’re prepared: read the full Firework Code here.

There are lots of public North Wales fireworks displays going on over the next couple of weeks, here’s our pick of the best.

North Wales Fireworks: Friday 4 November

Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay is hosting its dazzling annual display on 4 November from 7pm. This is one of the biggest displays in Conwy County. We advise you to plan your journey in advance as there are a number of roadworks surrounding the venue that could potentially cause congestion on the night. Admission is free but donations are welcome, with half the proceeds going towards the Firefighters’ Charity.

Criccieth’s bonfire and fireworks takes place near Dylan’s Restaurant at the end of the town beach. The bonfire will be lit at 6.30pm with fireworks at 8pm. Hot street food is available along with live music and children’s entertainment. Entry is free but donations are encouraged to pay for the fireworks.

North Wales Fireworks: Saturday 5 November

Bonfire Night itself is a Saturday this year, and there are plenty of celebrations due to take place on Guy Fawkes Day proper.

 

Caernarfon’s annual display takes place near the historic castle and starts from 7pm. The viewing area is the Slate Quay and Promenade.

There will be a family-friendly firework display and bonfire party at Bodafon Farm Park and, nearby, Penmaenmawr Sailing Club are hosting their annual display. The evening kicks off at 6pm with hot food and refreshments, with the bonfire lit at 6:30pm and the main event exploding into life at 7pm.

In Beaumaris there is a bonfire from 7pm and fireworks from 7:30pm, with live jazz music beforehand, continuing into the evening. There is a £5 charge for adult spectators, with under-12s admitted for free, but the funds raised are set aside to go towards paying for next year’s display – a great way to support this local community.

In Holyhead there’s a professional display on Penrhos Beach in association with Capital FM and priced at £3 for adults, with children again admitted for free and all proceeds going towards good causes in the area. This display starts a little earlier than the others – entry is from 5:45pm, the bonfire is lit at 6:15pm and the fireworks go up at 7pm, so don’t be late!

North Wales Fireworks: Saturday 12 November

It’s unusual to see firework displays scheduled other than on Bonfire Night (or the nearest weekend to it) but Llanrwst bucks that trend by holding holding the town’s annual Firework Spectacular a week later.

It’s free to watch from Glasdir Car Park, with the pyrotechnics being set off on the opposite river bank from 7pm, guaranteeing spectators are at a safe distance to take in the full spectacle overhead.

Hot drinks and food are available from 6pm and the main display itself is expected to last an impressive 20 minutes, making it well worth a visit if you’re in the area in mid-November.

Caernarfon Castle’s poignant autumn tribute

poppies-in-windowA dramatic and thought-provoking art installation entitled the Weeping Window was unveiled at Caernarfon Castle this month. The work, made up of six thousand handmade ceramic poppies, is part of a nationwide tour marking the centenary of the Great War of 1914-18 and is on display free to members of the public until 20 November.

Assembled in a stunning waterfall pattern gushing from the castle walls, the poppies have already attracted thousands of viewers keen to see this unique installation or pay their respects to the fallen.

The installation is a moving tribute to the many thousands of soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War as part of the 14-18 NOW programme. The aim of the programme is to utilise the poppy sculptures to engage new audiences across the United Kingdom. It is the hope of the curators that discussions about the legacy of the Great War will be the result of seeing the breathtaking but poignant tribute.

Thirteenth century Caernarfon Castle was chosen deliberately to house the poppies on this leg of their UK tour. The CADW-maintained stronghold forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site but it is also home to a museum charting the history of Wales’s longest serving regiment – the Royal Welch Fusiliers. The installation is being managed in association with Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Wales for Peace programme.

History of the installation

Caernarfon Castle’s Weeping Window and a second, entitled Wave, originally formed part of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Blood installation that so moved audiences at the Tower of London in 2014.

Seen by over 5 million people in London, the 900,000 poppies were removed at the end of November 2014 to commence a nationwide tour. Now the sculptures, created by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, are helping to highlight the legacy of the Great War to an even wider audience at selected locations across the UK until the autumn of 2018.

The poppies will end their tour at Imperial War Museums North and London, where they will be gifted to the museums in perpetuity.

Do dragons rumble in the deep?

Caernarfon’s unique display has been in the headlines for more patriotic reasons lately too. Since opening, the exhibition has received many comments about the arrangement of the poppies resembling a dragon’s claw. The similarity has made the installation all the more poignant for locals as the mythical dragon is also the national emblem of Wales.

Artist Paul Cummins said that it was a ‘happy accident’ that archaeological artefacts lying beneath the courtyard lawn had dictated where the poppies could and could not be ‘planted’.

Planning your visit

CADW expect the Weeping Window to attract more than 3,000 visitors a day to the castle during its stay so it’s essential to plan your visit in advance. This will avoid disappointment (especially during peak periods such as autumn half-term and Remembrance Sunday) and guarantee a great photo opportunity.

The installation is at Caernarfon Castle from 12 October to 20 November and can be viewed between 10:00-17:00 every day during the period. The Weeping Window is FREE to view but the castle has limited capacity. To ensure you get in on your preferred day, pre-book your tickets here.