Bridgwater Carnival 2023: Dates, carts, route and weather - everything you need to know

Bridgwater Carnival is set to return this weekend with thousands of people due to line the streets.

The annual event is taking place on the evening of Saturday 4 November. Its origins can be traced back to The Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

This was when Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament, 418 years ago.

The event, which raises money for charity, is expected to draw crowds from across Somerset, with 75 coaches and minibuses pre-booked to attend the carnival.

Nearly two thousand different people are taking part in preparing the 98 carts competing in the carnival, with around a thousand people taking part in the procession itself.

The route:

The carnival will officially begin at 6pm on Parkway, before turning onto Bath Road and passing the Cross Rifles Roundabout just before 6.30pm.

The procession will then continue along A38 Broadway until it pauses for a 10-minute rest at 7pm.

The carts will then continue along St Mary Street and through Bridgwater town centre before turning onto High Street, shortly before 7.30pm.

The displays will then come to a close on Northgate at 10pm, having completed a one-point-seven-mile route.

33 trade stands will line the carnival route, which will also be marked out with 500 traffic cones, 200 barriers and 100 signs.

The route that will be taken by the carnival procession through Bridgwater in 2023. Credit: Google.

The procession will be followed by squibbing on High Street at around 10.30pm. This annual tradition sees large fireworks - 'squibs' - fired simultaneously.

The carnival has said many people come to Bridgwater from the broader area for the squibbing as 'it is an event that can be seen nowhere else on the planet'.

According to organisers, 2023 will mark 307 years since the first evidence of squibbing taking place in Bridgwater was recorded, back in 1716.

This year, around 200 'squibbers' will take part and will line Bridgwater High Street and all light their squibs at the same time.

The squibs are large fireworks strapped to a cosh, which is a solid block of wood, attached to a large pole. These are then held at arm's length above the squibber's heads', with the firework facing towards the sky.

Bridgwater Carnival regularly attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the town for its illuminated procession Credit: ITV News West Country

The carts:

44 carts will be competing in Bridgwater Carnival this year, and more than 400,000 individual lights and LEDs will be used to light them and the procession.

The carnival clubs competing will then be judged at the end of the event by 66 judges.

This will see 37 cups and trophies awarded on the evening after 2,574 different scores are factored in.

More than 1,950 seats spread across 12 grandstands have now been sold for those coming to watch the procession.

The Renegades Carnival Club took the top prize in 2022 - becoming overall Bridgwater Carnival champions for the first time.


Bridgwater Carnival has raised around £526,772 for the Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival charity and 34 other local charities and community groups since 2000.

This year will see 300 collectors on the streets with 400 collection buckets, while six collection carts will take part in the procession.

Organisers have also said the Carnival is estimated to be worth around £4m to the local economy according to studies, with around half that money generated on the weekend itself while the rest comes through carnival-related activities throughout the year.

The weather:

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for rain for the southwest from 5am until midnight on Saturday.

It says heavy rain may lead to disruption to travel, with some train and bus services delayed and the possibility of some homes being flooded.

The forecast predicts the heaviest rain will take place in the morning with showers meant to clear by 1pm.

Rain is not forecast for when the carnival is due to take place, with the Met Office predicting cloudy skies and highs of ten degrees.