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:
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 8pm. Following this, each society holds a bonfire at sites around the town. The fires will be lit at around 9.30pm 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. These 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 day of the event.
To contact the bonfire societies see the Bonfire Council website: