The Burning of the Clocks is based on a procession of lanterns and costumes, made from withies (willow canes) and white tissue paper, led by local bands with a carnival atmosphere. The procession makes its way through Brighton city centre to the seafront where the festivities culminate in a lantern bonfire, accompanied by fireworks. The costumes all include a clockface to represent the passing of time, which each year has a slight change of theme.
Led by local artists, people gather together to make paper and willow lanterns to carry through the city and burn on the beach as a token for the end of the year. The lantern makers then become part of the show as they invest the lanterns with their wishes, hopes, and fears and then pass them into the fire.
Each year sees more elaborate lanterns taking to the parade, with dragons, mythical monsters, aliens and goblins to be seen. The parade also plays host to a number of local samba bands that liven up the atmosphere with music and dancing.
Starting at the Royal Pavilion gardens in Brighton, the parade marches through the busy streets and along the sea front, past the Brighton Pier and down to an area along the beach known as Madeira Drive. Thousands of people assemble here to watch the parade arrive.
The climax of the Burning of the clocks festival is the collection of the amazingly crafted lanterns in to large containers which are wheeled out on to the beach to a large cage adorned with more clock shaped lanterns. After a few pyrotechnics the entire mountain of lanterns is set alight and burns ferociously for but a few minutes.
‘Enjoy making paper lanterns, reflecting on the winters days that have passed and renewing the energy that sunlight brings by marching in England’s Burning of the Clocks Festival.’
Brighton is a seaside resort on the south coast of England which is part of the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, 47 miles (75 km) south of London.
Brighton is located just a half hour drive from London-Gatwick Airport, with a train shuttle or bus shuttle available to take visitors into the city.
The city is also served by a direct rail link from the Eurostar Service at St Pancras, as well as easily accessible from the major ports of Dover, Portsmouth, Southampton and the local port of Newhaven. National Express coaches also regularly service the city.
It is easy to get around the city in the local taxi service or use of local buses. UBER and ridesharing options are available.
Being a popular seaside town, there are hotels, hostels, guesthouse and Airbnb’s available in Brighton.
Nineteen is a slick B&B tucked away in a small Kemp Town side street. It has seven rooms spread over a long Victorian townhouse, with trimmings such as internet-connected HDTVs, late check out and complimentary weekend Bloody Marys with breakfasts.
Kipps Backpacker Hostel budget accommodation that is more ‘guest house’ in feel than hostel. Spacious dorms and private rooms mix with a bar, lounge, games room and terrace. Its games room has Wii consoles, board games, an Xbox and Sky TV.
For the best deals in Brighton head to the map below.
Brighton’s broad shingle beach is backed by amusement arcades and Regency-era buildings. Brighton Pier, in the central waterfront section has rides and food kiosks, and is also known for its nightlife, arts scene, shopping and festivals.
On Saturday’s Upper Gardner Street is home to a market of all sorts of odds and sods and is full of buzzing character. Head there for old records, artisan jewellery and cool vintage finds.
You can hire a bike and either enjoy a cycle along the promenade, or make it a slightly bigger excursion and cycle along to Rottingdean.
The Festival takes place on the 21st December 2019.
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