Brighten the darker nights this autumn with a whole host of events that illuminate the night sky

Autumn marks the season of change, but it’s also a season full of tradition. With so many traditional activities that are suitable for all the family, our pick of some of the best dark night events and experiences in Devon will help you avoid hibernating when the clocks change to help coax you out into the cold.

Firework Displays
What better way to light up the night than with colourful explosions in the sky! Make sure the whole family is wrapped up warm and head out to one of the many firework spectaculars taking place across the county. Most firework displays are usually accompanied by a bonfire too – perfect for warming you back up.

Dates for the diary:
5/11/16 – Exeter Round Table Firework Display, Westpoint Arena
Sidbury Bonfire & Fireworks Display
Exmouth and District Round Table 50th Annual Fireworks Display, Exmouth Rugby Ground
Bicton College Bonfire Night Spectacular, East Budleigh
Tiverton Annual Firework Display, Rugby Club
9/11/16 – Shaldon Beach Bonfire & Fireworks Spectacular, Teignmouth

If the kids are craving some fun outdoors then why not take them to one of the travelling fairs that pop up around the county at this time of the year? Watch the night sky glow as rides of all different shapes, sizes and thrill levels send you skywards, or simply enjoy the stalls and try your luck to see what prizes you can win. Don’t forget to get yourself some candy floss – a night at the carnival wouldn’t be complete without it!

Illuminated Carnivals
Many of Devon’s towns are lit up throughout autumn with the colourful lights and the sound of music as hundreds of illuminated carnival floats and walkers parade through. From those on foot with intricately designed costumes and teams of dance troops keeping energy levels high, to incredible tractor-pulled creations with actors and moving parts, an evening at the carnival will keep the whole family entertained. If you like what you see then why not take a trip to Bridgwater for one of the largest illuminated carnival processions in the world!

Dates for the diary:
8/10/16 – Exmouth Grand Illuminated Carnival
22/10/16 – Honiton & District Carnival
05/11/16 – Bridgwater Carnival

Tar Barrels
If you’re looking for a dose of adrenaline that doubles as a winter warmer then look no further than the annual tradition of the rolling of the barrels in Ottery St. Mary on the 5th November. The origins of the tradition are ambiguous; some believe that it was used as a warning sign that the Spanish Armada was approaching whereas others say it was for warding the streets of the evil. Whatever the roots, this age-old event has been a tradition for hundreds of years. Today, the flaming barrels are carried through the streets by generations of men, women and children who fiercely defend their right to continue this longstanding tradition. With people travelling from across the country for a night of fear and fire, this event is not for the faint-hearted!

Darker evenings mean you don’t need to stay up as late to see the stars! There are a number of dark sky discovery sites that are tucked away around Devon, free from the light pollution of towns to provide amazing viewing points to gaze into the stars. See what constellations you can find on a clear night; the Plough and Cassiopeia are visible looking north, and Pegasus can be spotted looking south. There’s also the chance of seeing other spectacles of the night sky, including planets, space satellites and shooting stars! Find out where and what you can discover at

Gareth Fudge
Adam Court
Mike Beales

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