Things to experience in the UK (1)- Bonfire Night, Musicals and Christmas events

One thing about studying aboard is to experience the local culture. The UK is definitely one of the countries with the most important and valuable cultural and historical practices for us to try. These are just my sharing of activities and experiences I had in the UK as an international student which I think I won’t be able to try in Hong Kong- please let me know if it’s not really an “UK thing”! 😛

1. Guy Fawkes Night (AKA bonfire night)

It is an annual commemoration observed on 5 November to celebrate King James I had survived from the Gunpowder Plot. In 1605, Guy Fawks and other members of the Gunpowder Plot, planned to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England’s Parliament and Guy Fawks was arrested while guarding explosives. Different towns and cities will have their own way of celebration which mainly consist of fireworks display and the bonfire. I joined the event in Bramley:

People will usually buy a torch (a can on a stick with fuel in it) and the will light up one and another’s torches:


Then they will march to the bonfire (consist of branches, wood, etc.. Some will put a model in it to represent Guy Fawks so don’t be afraid if you see “a person” in the bonfire!) and throw the torch in it:


The day ended in an amazing firework display:


Have you heard of this? “Remember, remember, the fifth of November”

2. Musical in London

I am not sure if it’s “touristy” or is it really a culture in the UK but I am pretty sure it’s something you have to try if you’re in the UK, esp. when Surrey is just 40 mins away from London! I have been longing to watch “The Lion King” since my first year but since it’s too expensive I didn’t watch it till now (I bought the ticket in advance… 6 months ago to be precise so it was cheaper with good seats). THE SHOW WAS AWESOME! Unfortunately it was not allowed to take picture during the show but here’s a photo of the inside and outside of the theatre:

capture-1 capture

I was really really sick but since I got the ticket I had to go- but see how happy I was!

3. Christmas

I wanted to post this separately because there are so much to talk about but I certainly want to talk about this before Christmas.

a) Christmas Light Switch On (Guildford)

This basically marks the start of the Christmas season, I doubt if it’s just a commercialised event to mark the start of the Christmas ^shopping season, but I still think it’s worth going when you’re in Guildford. On that day, people will all gather in North Street and countdown together, the lights (as shown below) will be switched on and there will be firework display too:


b) Christmas Markets

I think Hong Kong is coming up with this idea of having Christmas Market as well (such as the carnival in Central during winter is very similar to Winter Wonderland in London, in a smaller scale of course). Most cities have their own Christmas Market and most of them are inspired by the German culture. There are drinks (try mulled wine!), food (sausages, crepes, churros…) and some small items like gifts or decorations (Nutcracker!). I was in Bath but I didn’t manage to take good pictures of the market itself because it was so packed… but I did took a picture with my friend in front of the Christmas Tree.


Do mind that some Christmas Market opens really early and closes 2 weeks before Christmas (no idea why) so please research before planning your trip!

c) Traditionally way of celebrating Christmas

I joined a Christmas event organised by Friends’ International (they arrange really good events throughout the year for international students to experiences the British Culture) and we went to a 500 years old house! We made some Christmas decorations, cards, learned about the origin of Christmas, sang Christmas Carols together and had some traditional Christmas food!


In the 500 years old house- excuse my sitting position..


I made this!


Singing Christmas Carols together~


Hope you enjoyed reading this and have a very very nice Christmas!