#letthecultureshine: The Idea of the Brain – with Professor Matthew Cobb


Five Fun Alternative Bonfire Night Activities in November 2019

If you fancy something different to the usual fireworks, check out these weird and wonderful activities

Remember, remember, to go see some fireworks on the first weekend of November. Or not? If you fancy something a bit different this year, never fear: we have come up with some alternative ways to spend Bonfire Night weekend.

If you’re not much of a fireworks fan but do want to get into the spirit of Guy Fawkes Day, why not pay a visit to the place where it all didn’t quite happen: the Houses of Parliament. It’s open to the public on Saturdays throughout the year, and you can opt for a guided tour or wander around at your pace with an audio guide. Tours take in the Commons and Lords Chambers as well as Westminster Hall, and you can also add on an afternoon tea with bonus views across the Thames. Just leave your supply of gunpowder at home, alright?

You can check out another landmark from Fawkes’s time (or, at least, a very convincing copy) on a trip to Shakespeare’s Globe, who are hosting a series of eerie evenings dedicated to the scariest tales of London past and present. It’s not just the Bard himself on the programme: a new story by author Jeanette Winterson will also be part of the line-up. And if Deep Night (30 October – 2 November) really takes your fancy, you can always go back for part two, Dark Night, in early December.

There’s more historical creepiness to be had at the Old Operating Theatre with Phantasmagorical, a Victorian mindreading and magic performance taking place on 2 November. Miss Sylvia Sceptre will draw aside the veil and commune with the spirits in a show that promises to be unlike any other magic performance you’ve seen before. And if you arrive early you can take in another exceptional Victorian treat: a speed surgery demonstration. Definitely a more original way to spend the evening than watching some fireworks.

If Bonfire Night has got you feeling a bit rebellious instead, you could opt for cocktails with a lawless twist at Pirates of the Hidden Spirit, a unique, pirate-themed cocktail experience. The evening involves going on board the Golden Hinde, stealing some government treasure out from under the nose of the governor and, most importantly, drinking cocktails while wearing a tricorn hat. We doubt there’s a more pleasant way of turning to a life of crime. Tickets are available Wednesday to Sunday throughout November.

Finally, if you prefer musical fireworks to the real deal, a visit to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Concert might be more up your alley. The Royal Albert Hall has steadily been working their way through the Potter canon over the past few years, and the screenings accompanied by a symphony orchestra playing the score live on stage have become a firm favourite with families. Tickets are available for Friday 1, Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 November.