New Year’s Eve is a great time, especially in the city of London where millions of people coming together to celebrate.
There are lots of parties and events taking place to mark the occasion and here is our guide to how to bring in 2017 in the best style.
Enjoy the fireworks
One of the best events to take place as part of the capital’s New Year’s Eve is the fireworks launched from rafts along the River Thames.
For around ten minutes, there are enough fireworks to make an hour-long show launched – all set to a historic backdrop featuring iconic landmarks such as Big Ben.
However, if you want to be close to the display then it can get very crowded. For anyone wanting to watch from the Victoria Embankment, the Southbank or Westminster Bridge will need to have tickets purchased in advance to be allowed into the area.
If you aren’t lucky enough to get tickets there are plenty of free places to enjoy the fireworks, including Cannon Street area, near St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank, Mansion House and Cannon Street Tube stations.
Other options include Tower Bridge, Southwark Bridge and Millennium Bridge and offer great vantage points to see the display.
Of course, the centre of London gets very busy on New Year’s Eve and therefore the London Underground can be very congested with revellers.
If you prefer to stay away from the main fireworks display on the River Thames, then there are plenty of other firework displays taking place across the capital.
Hampstead Heath is a popular New Year’s Eve spot that holds its own fireworks display. You can reach these areas by taking the Underground to Hampstead or a mainline train to Hampstead Heath.
Primrose Hill is known for its view of the London skyline, meaning it attracts lots of people on December 31st.
Party the night away
There are plenty of parties held throughout the city, allowing you to enjoy some good food, fabulous entertainment and drink in the New Year.
Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre
Every year, five floors of the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall are transformed into a party venue for New Year’s Eve.
Past years have seen the venue transformed with pop-up nightclubs, photo studios and even a hair and beauty saloon.
The nearest London Underground station is Waterloo on the Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Hammersmith & City lines.
Located at 20 Fenchurch Street, the Sky Garden is situated within an enlarged glass dome containing landscaped public gardens, social spaces, observation decks and an open-air terrace.
On New Year’s Eve, the venue will give its party guests a choice of two dining venues – the Fenchurch Restaurant and the Darwin Brasserie – and the opportunity to watch the fireworks in comfort from the Sky Pod Bar, accompanied by live music.
The closest tube station to Sky Garden is Monument, which is on the Circle and District Lines.
New Year’s Day Parade
The fireworks display is followed up with a special New Year’s Day parade through the streets of London that is perfect for those enjoying breaks at central London hotels over the holidays.
Being held for the past three decades, the parade involves thousands of performers and is a popular event for spectators.
The parade is set to begin just before midday in Piccadilly and it will then travel 2.2 miles to reach Parliament Street at around 3pm. The procession route takes in a number of London’s most famous streets and areas including Lower Regent Street, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall.
An estimated 10,000 people will take part in the parade and a further 500,000 people are expected to line the streets to watch the procession pass by. It really is not to be missed…assuming you can get up after the previous night’s partying!
Chinese New Year
If you aren’t in London at the end of December, then don’t worry, you may not totally miss out on the New Year fireworks and parties.
There is a thriving Chinese community in the capital and Chinese New Year is marked with a number of great events.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year
London plans Chinese New Year celebrations.
The capital is an ideal place to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year.
January 28th will see the start of the Year of the Rooster based on the lunar and solar calendars. Visitors in central London hotels will be able to join in with a number of celebrations taking place to mark the start of the new 12-month period.
A large procession will begin on January 29th at 10.15am in London’s West End area and head to Trafalgar Square for a day-long event to welcome in the New Year.
The parade will feature colourful floats alongside dancers, musicians and traditional Chinese dragons. It will also include the lion dance, which involves dancers in costumes stopping at local businesses to wish them good fortune in the year ahead.
Along the route there will also be various stalls selling a wealth of Chinese food goodies to ensure spectators do not go hungry.
When the parade arrives in Trafalgar Square it will be welcomed with a stage show featuring more than 100 different performers and special guests.
The mayor of London and the president of Chinatown will be taking part in the Dotting of the Eye ceremony and the Chinese New Year Day will end with a fireworks display just before 6pm.
The West End area of London will also be marking the occasion, with special performances, especially around Chinatown, Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road.