Lonely Planet Writer

Watch London go up in flames at a festival to commemorate the Great Fire of 1666

On 4 September, London will burn – or at least a replica of it will – to mark 350 years since the Great Fire of London.


London’s Burning Festival launched on 30 August, bringing a variety of incredible art installations to the city. The festival commemorates the events of 1666, when fire swept through the city, decimating homes, burning churches and some of the city’s iconic buildings, like St Paul’s Cathedral.

The finale of the festival on 4 September will be “London 1666: Watch it Burn”, which will see a 120-metre long sculpture of London in the 17th century, built along the river Thames, set on fire. The event will also be streamed online.

The dome of St Paul's Cathedral is lit up with a fiery projection during a rehearsal of artist Martin Firrell's 'Fires of London: Fires Ancient' ahead of the London's Burning festival.
The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral is lit up with a fiery projection during a rehearsal of artist Martin Firrell’s ‘Fires of London: Fires Ancient’ ahead of the London’s Burning festival. Image by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Among the art installations will be works by Martin Firrell: ‘Fires Ancient’ will light up the south and east sides of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral with a projection of fire, while “Fires Modern” will be a projection of Firrel’s text at the National Theatre and ‘flames will reveal stories of resurgence and change that have shaped the UK’s capital city and created the open and diverse metropolis that we enjoy today’.

There will also be a ‘Fire Garden’ that will transform ‘the riverside area in front of Tate Modern into a crackling, spitting, after-dark adventure’.

There will also be a series of talks to explore how cities in the past and present have responded to crises, poetry readings, walking tours and much more. For more information on individual events, visit the official website.