Advice on buying fireworks and firework displays in the UK.
In the UK it is legal for the public to buy and use consumer fireworks at any time of the year. For a full summary of the laws please see my Firework Laws & Regulations page. If you are unsure whether you need consumer fireworks or to employ a professional display team, my DIY or Professional Fireworks? article will assist you.
Buying consumer fireworks - your options
Fireworks will be on sale in the UK either from all year retailers or those selling in a seasonal period such as the run-up to Bonfire Night.
All year retailers tend to be referred to as specialist shops because fireworks is their main (and often only) line of business. Being dedicated to fireworks means they carry an extensive range of pyro and know their products inside and out.
Seasonal sellers such as supermarkets carry a much smaller range and have less product expertise. Both types of seller have their place; for smaller items, selection boxes or sparklers, supermarkets and similar can be useful.
But for everything else and in particular if your display is more than just a selection box, specialist shops are the way to go. Most cities and major towns have at least one specialist fireworks shop and if you’re into pyro then it can be quite an experience being in a shop surrounded by it! One bit of advice though, try to pop in well before November 5th. To say firework shops get busy around Bonfire Night is somewhat of an understatement!
If you don’t have a local shop or simply prefer the convenience of having your fireworks delivered, many specialist firework retailers also offer a mail order service. I have a separate article covering this in depth: Mail order fireworks.
Finding a fireworks supplier
If you’re looking for recommendations for firework retailers, I would at this point like to draw your attention to UKFR Sponsors. These are companies who pay to advertise on UKFR and I have known many of them for over two decades! Their advertising is critical in generating revenue to cover my large hosting and operational costs so that I can offer access to UKFR to you for free. I don’t sell fireworks nor work on commission either, all I ask is that you show my Sponsors some love so in turn they will continue to support UKFR and we’re all happy.
You can find banners and links to UKFR Sponsors in the following places:
Map of UK firework shops
I now have a handy Firework Shops Map online. This shows the locations of specialist, all year firework retailers you can order from or visit at any time of the year. If you know of an all year shop that should be listed on it, follow the instructions on the map page to suggest a new listing.
Getting the best fireworks deals
There are a few ways you can get fireworks a little cheaper or as part of a deal.
Early order discounts
Many retailers offer “early bird” discounts. This is where you pay for your Bonfire Night fireworks early on, for example in the summer, but collect them (or have them delivered) in October. The retailer gets some useful pre-season cashflow and it helps to take some demand off the peak season, hence the incentive to do this by way of a discount.
Out of season sales
Firework retailers sometimes discount leftover stock after Guy Fawkes. The run up to New Year’s Eve is a good time to look for deals as it’s the last bite of the cherry for them until the following November, so slow moving product lines are often discounted.
Some (not all) retailers offer discount for bulk purchases, it’s worth asking even if it’s not publicised.
Most of my Sponsors have told me they really appreciate repeat custom and loyal customers will be looked after well.
Collecting your order
A tip for possibly getting a little extra thrown in is to offer to collect your order rather than have it delivered. Fireworks can only be delivered by a specialist explosives courier or the retailer’s own van and this is expensive to the retailer. So many will be very happy for you to collect instead.
Buying at a demo night
Many larger retailers run public demo nights, with special offers for those who place an order on the night. These are worth attending to see the latest fireworks in action and to grab a discount too.
Some final tips in securing a good deal:
- Be friendly. Sponsors frequently feed back to me that they’re only humans trying to earn a crust, so be nice. Demanding money off never ends well.
- Don’t play off one Sponsor against another. Discounts are discretionary and Sponsors don’t like this kind of behaviour.
- Try and stick with one or two Sponsors. Repeat custom is greatly valued – and rewarded.
Because of my pro-privacy stance, I don’t track which Sponsor banners you click on, or use tracking or affiliate codes (you can verify this yourself by inspecting the page source). So if you use a Sponsor, please let them know that you found out about them here, thank you.
Buying professional and wedding displays
Storage, regulations and legal stuff
Further help and advice
If you’re new to fireworks or to UKFR then I recommend heading over to the Beginners Start Here! guide for a structured walk-through of the extensive articles and guides here.
Once you have purchased your fireworks then the next exciting steps are of course setting up your fireworks then firing them, both covered by separate sections here to help ensure your display goes without a hitch.