There’s nowhere quite like London over a New Year. From the New Years Eve fireworks over the London Eye, to the New Years Day parades, there really is something for everyone to enjoy. Here’s our quick guide to the top things to do when it’s time to say goodbye ’13, hello ’14.
Bong… bong… bong…
London’s annual New Years Eve Fireworks are the UK’s biggest annual fireworks display. Now firmly established as part of the capital’s end of year tradition, the display is aptly kicked-off by Big Ben’s famous bongs with pyrotechnics choreographed to a soundtrack especially written for the occasion. With the London Eye as the centrepiece and Westminster and the Southbank as backdrops – it’s sure to be as popular as ever. No doubt thousands of Londoners will head down to enjoy the spectacle.
In one of those rare ‘all-Londoners-together’ occasions you can also expect a huge sense of community as strangers and friends alike overcome the usual London inhibitions for a rendition of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – or ‘For the sake of old times’ to give it a less celtic translation…
The fireworks will also form the centrepiece of the BBC’s New Years broadcast. So if large crowds simply aren’t your thing, or you’d prefer not to brave the elements, then you could stay at home and watch it on the telly.
A more organic gathering (it’s a popular but not officially organised event) has taken place in Trafalgar Square for decades. Revellers descend on the Square’s iconic landmarks for an evening of merry-making, chat and singing. It’s probably the closest experience any of us will ever get to the feeling on Victory in Europe Day.
The View from the Shard
If money is less of an object and you are after a truly unique New Years Eve party – then ‘The View from the Shard’ in conjunction with TimeOut’ is worth a look. Tickets aren’t cheap at £375 – but you will get the most spectacular 360 view of London (and those Fireworks) as 2014 rings in. Live music,canapés and bowl food, champagne and drinks an entertainment are laid on throughout the night.
The London New Years Day Parade
Beginning at Piccadilly at midday on 1st January and finishing in parliament square at 3.15pm, the New Years Day Parade is now in its 28th year. Over the three hours the route takes in Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Parliament Square.
The parade will include a host of international participants – including several U.S. High School marching bands, The Pearly Kings and Queens and Mini Moke club. But for Londoners a highlight is sure to be the inter-borough competition. Each London Borough is asked to enter a themed act, float or other entertainment. For 2014 the theme is ‘The Swinging Sixties’ and 20 boroughs of the 33 Boroughs will be battling it out. Wandsworth are taking a break this year, which leaves just our Self Storage customers and staff in Camden and Southwark with a local entrant to cheer on.
It’s a terrific event for Children and as it starts at midday those that have overdone things will have most of the morning to recover from the night before. If you’ve been good and fancy the whole of New Years Day taking in London, a range of top-notch museums are open on the 1st January, why not try Churchill’s War Rooms, The London Transport Museum, the Museum of London or the National Maritime Museum.