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Keep your home safe while you’re out at these top Bonfire Nights

With the clocks going back and the long, dark nights setting in, a little warmth and spectacle probably wouldn't go amiss this November.  And if you're setting your sights a bit higher than the usual back-garden burning, it's worth planning ahead to get an idea of some of the bigger and better displays – especially if you've got little ones with high expectations. 

Here are 10 of the top Bonfire Night events in the UK, as well as 8 tips for keeping your home secure while you're attending the festivities. 

1.       East Sussex – Wednesday 5th November 2014, Lewes.

The small town of Lewes claims that its event is the ‘only proper bonfire night celebration left of its kind in the UK’.  Six separate bonfire societies will each have their own processions, bonfires, and fireworks displays across various areas of the town.  Parking is likely to be severely limited, and you may need to secure tickets in advance.  You should expect crowds as thick as the smoke – so don't bring the kids.

2.       London – Saturday 1st November 2014, Alexandra Palace.

Set against a panoramic view of the UK's biggest city, this year's event includes an ice skating rink, street food, a craft beer village, and both family and adult funfairs – as well as performances from Oasis and Blur tribute bands.  Doors open at 3pm and standard, online tickets are £9.

3.       London – Wednesday 5th November 2014, Southwark Park.

This free, annual display attracts large crowds and starts at 7pm.  Southwark Park's event features a family funfair, hot food stalls, and warm-up fire and light displays before the main attraction.  Gates open at 5pm.

4.       Leeds – Wednesday 5th November 2014, Roundhay Park.

Expect tens of thousands of attendees at the biggest bonfire and fireworks display in Leeds.  Admission is free and the event kicks off at 7.30pm.

5.       Midlands – Friday 7th to Sunday 9th November 2014, Alton Towers.

Staffordshire's legendary theme park promises rides in the dark, fireworks and lasers.  Advance tickets start at £18 when booked online.

6.       North East – Wednesday 5th November 2014, Segedunum Roman Fort.

Near the historic Hadrian's Wall, visitors can enjoy free entry to the museum and café before watching the free fireworks display from 6.30pm.

7.       Scotland – Wednesday 5th November 2014, Glasgow Green.

Admission is free to Glasgow's biggest fireworks display, featuring food and drink stalls and a funfair.  Gates open at 4pm and the fireworks begin at 7.30pm.

8.       Scotland – Wednesday 5th November 2014, Inverness.

The capital of the Highlands throws a massive family-friendly party in Bught Park, complete with fire twirlers, a competition for the best Guy, and one of the biggest bonfires in the UK. The fireworks display itself starts at 7pm.

9.       Wales – Saturday 1st November 2014, Cardiff.

Sparks in the Park kicks off nice and early, with the children’s display beginning at 5.45pm. And the bonfire lights up at 6.15pm. Watch impressive fireworks against the castle backdrop from Cooper’s Field while you tuck into something tasty from the food stalls. Tickets in advance are cheaper, at £15 for the family.

10.   Wales – Wednesday 5th November 2014, Swansea.

This year's display at St Helen's Ground features music in partnership with Heart FM, including performances from Britain's Got Talent finalists Bars and Melody.  Family tickets start at £15 and admission begins at 6pm.

Tips for keeping your home secure

While you’re out enjoying the explosive festivities, it's important to make sure that things are safe and secure back home as well.  Bonfire Night can be a tempting time for opportunistic burglars: empty homes, loud noises and the cover of darkness – especially now the clocks have gone back. So you should take extra care.

Before you set out for a night of fireworks and fun, follow these 8  tips to deter potential criminals:

  • The experts at Lockrite state that 72% of burglars enter via a door. Make sure that all windows, doors, cars, garages and garden sheds are securely locked.  An unsecured home could mean that your home contents insurance is invalid
  • Leave a light or two on, draw the curtains, and leave a radio or television playing to give the impression that your home is occupied
  • The Master Locksmiths Association recommends sensor lighting at the front and back door to deter burglars
  • Secure your garden shed with a strong padlock
  • Change your alarm code – you should do this on a regular basis anyway
  • Don’t leave ladders outside – they make it easy to break in through upper floors
  • If you have a trusted neighbour who won't be out celebrating, politely ask them if they can keep an ear and an eye open while you're away
  • And never leave spare keys concealed near the house or inside near the letterbox. The same goes for car keys and ID documents. Experienced thieves know all the ‘best’ hiding places – and our worst habits