New Year’s Eve in London is always an extraordinary experience. Our capital on the Thames celebrates the night of all nights with a magnificent pomp and style… As well as a whole load of exciting offers. Read on to find out what awaits you at New Year’s in London!
London, one of the coolest cities in the world, gains a totally special, magic gleam come wintertime. The display windows are magnificently decorated and the streets in the city centre shine with the most wonderful lights. London is filled to the brim with great places and impressive sights, so a city break is always worth it. And the offers multiply for New Year’s Eve, the night of all nights. I’ve listed the best tips and tricks for you below! This way you’re guaranteed to make you New Year’s into an unforgettable experience.
New Year’s Eve: Fireworks in London – tips for the best view
What a feeling! The countdown on the display screen near the London Eye slowly counts down the last seconds of the old year, while thousands of people stand on the riverside promenade, hardly able to contain their excitement. They all count down loudly, ”three, two, one…”! And the fireworks explode! The ‘Cheers!’ and ‘Happy New Year!’ fill the air and people can hardly believe their eyes when the vast, gloriously multi-coloured light spectacle fills the skies over London, reflected in the calm waters of the Thames.
The fireworks in London are breathtaking, magical even, and definitely the best way to sound the bell for the New Year. The spectacle unfolds around the Waterloo Millennium Pier and can be seen from all around the city. But traditionally the best seats can naturally be found at the London Eye. Most fireworks are lit up from there, with a couple of additional ignitions from on rafts, floating on the Thames. The last strokes of the Big Ben are transmitted along the river via a loudspeaker which makes for a very special atmosphere and exciting goosebumps while the New Year fireworks already shoot into the air.
You’ll have the best view of the fireworks from the other bank of the river, from Victoria Embankment all the way to Westminster. The view is also pretty good on and around the bridges, like the Westminster Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and Hungerford Bridge (which is closed from 8pm, so no entries are allowed past that time). As you can expect from a city with millions of inhabitants, space is quite limited here and the rumour has it the place is filled to the brim by 9pm, so be quick!
Check out this BBC footage of the 2013/14 New Year celebrations – simply stunning!
Great offers right on the Themes
You’ll have the best view without pushing and rushing if you book a seat on one of the boats in advance. They cruise along the Thames and offer a truly fantastic view of the London Eye and the fireworks, complete with heating and catering. City Cruise Thames are one of the providers who offer this service. They offer a completely special New Year’s event with the usual four offers, from a sophisticated gala dinner with a four-course menu, dress-code and pianists (from £289 per person), all the way to a four-hour disco cruise called Riverparty (from £119). Have a look at their website for more information about the offers, cruise and departure times.
Did you know? You can use the public transport in London completely for free on New Year’s Eve! This great service is valid between 11.45pm and 4.30am.
If you like to celebrate in a fine and glamorous style, spend your last and first night of the year on the R.S. Hispaniola. The ship lies at anchor permanently at the Victoria Embankment, not too far away from Embankment Underground station. You’ll find yourselves at the front row opposite the London Eye when the fireworks start.
For about £399 per person the ship offers a 5-course menu and two glasses of champagne with live music and dance spread over two levels. Yes, it costs a pretty penny but who else can brag of spending such a memorable New Year’s Eve? ;)
New Year’s parties – the best clubs around the Big Ben
London loves to party! This city, which rediscovers itself all the time and constantly follows new trends, knows how to kick off the perfect evening! Naturally that’s the case on the most special evening of the year too. The biggest party takes place from 11pm at the Trafalgar Square and it’s open to the public. There you can party hard and welcome the new year, although there are no fireworks here.
Furthermore, the following applies in general: there is hardly any bar, pub or club which doesn’t open its doors to throw a great party welcoming the New Year with the guests and a few drops of champagne! The New Year’s Eve Lick party at the Moonlighting Nightclub in Soho is also very popular. People know how to let their hair down in the shop on Greek Street too: following the tradition of the good old disco-days, all of the biggest dance hits that are bound to get you on your feet are played here. The tunes vary from RnB, Soul, Hip Hop, Funk, Reggae, House and Old School. The tickets costs £30 in advance.
A real spectacle of a special kind is bound to unfold like it does every year at the New Year’s Eve Extravaganza 2015 at Bush Hall in White Mischief. In Bush Hall on the Uxbridge Road, near Shepherd’s Bush Market station west of the city centre, the name Extravaganza is totally justified as the event with a colourful mix of electric music, burlesque and cabaret takes place there, complete with acrobatic performances. Tickets for the event, located in a hall designed in the 1900 style, cost between £35 and £97 in advance and are usually sold out really quickly. They include a party until 4am and an optional dinner.
Skating in London – a truly special experience
London offers a truly extraordinary experience with its numerous opportunities to skate under the blue skies all around the city. You can test your skills on the ice with beautiful backgrounds generally until the 4th January 2016. The ice rinks offer a truly magical feeling. Especially in the evening when it’s getting dark and everything all around is festively decorated and illuminated. Hyde Park definitely houses one of the best ice rinks in all of London. In winter the park transforms into a popular, magical Winter Wonderland and attracts visitors to its gates with a fairytale atmosphere. You can spend some great time with the whole family here – besides the skating rink there is also a large ice palace and ice sculptures to marvel at. It’s a real trip into a winter fairytale!
A further breathtaking and great location offers a skating rink right next to the Tower of London. At the ‘Ice at the Tower’ you can ski in front this impressive monument steeped in history with its oldest building being almost 1000 years old! There’s also the opportunity to ‘Eye Skate’ at the foot of the famous London Eye directly on the Thames, where the New Year fireworks take place. The price is about £11. These are just three opportunities to make London your own, personal winter paradise with ice skating. Jump at the chance before or even after the New Year’s Eve celebrations – you won’t regret it!
January 1st – the party continues
If you think that after the most special night of the year London will sink into a sluggish hangover… You’re wrong – very wrong! Very popular and actually an institution for a long time now is the London New Year’s Day Parade (colloquially named the LNYDP). The colourful and merry parade starts at Piccadilly at 12pm and continues via Piccadilly Circus through the streets of London. Taking part are numerous clubs and associations from the city, such as the neighbourhood organisations from Camden, Greenwich, Southwark and many, many others as well as clubs from high schools. 10,000 participants from 20 different countries show off their fabulous formations and performances accompanied by marching bands and can all be voted for in the Let’s Help London Challenge. The financial part of the prize goes to selected charities from the winning area.
Deciding not to spend the 1st January in bed or not to travel back home is definitely worth it. Virtually every museum and gallery are opened on this day, even if the opening hours differ slightly from the usual schedule. You can pay a relaxed visit to the Museum of London, the famous National Gallery or even the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Baker Street.
Torn between the love for tradition and striving for innovation
London emanates an enchanting atmosphere especially in winter. The city is so fantastically decorated and festively illuminated that it makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a fairytale! You’ll get a sore throat from all the gasps and sighs of amazements. Just the magnificently fitted out display window at Harrods is a good enough reason to make the trip to London. But a trip to the capital is worth it all year round!
The city can prove an impressive history since its founding by the Romans in 47 AD. And for this reason it has a seemingly endless abundance of cultural treasures, historic architecture and historic art treasures. The oldest buildings of London, like the Tower of London with its oldest building approaching its 1,000th birthday, stand beside the innovative achievements of modern architecture and make the skyline of London one of the most unique in the world. We love our royals and our traditions and we’re not easy to compromise. And this love can be felt everywhere around the city. At the same time London is one of the most forward-looking cities in the world.
This interlude is exactly what makes the city of London so special and magnificent!