London's Free New Year's Eve Spectacularby Burlington Bertie
If you have not already booked your table to party into 2013 in what is London's biggest, (and most expensive), clubbing night of the year, then join me and many thousands of celebrating onlookers on the north side of the Thames for a free view of the most spectacular New Year's fireworks display in the world.
While you can watch it in more comfort on BBC 1 TV, it pales in comparison to the real thing. Best viewing points for this annual official pyrotechnic display, sponsored by London's ebullient Mayor Boris Johnson, are the Victoria Embankment, Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge, immortalised by William Wordsworth in his 1802 sonnet. South Bank in the neighbourhood of the London Eye and the barges moored nearby, (from which the display is launched) is blocked off for the event and you need to be in position on the north bank early if you want a free riverside viewing spot. The revelry on the Embankment and in nearby Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square will keep you warm, whatever the weather!
To quote Mayor Boris, "Our New Year's Eve fireworks will cap a triumphant year for London. As we welcomed the world to the magnificent celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the glorious success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, London was at its very best." 'Our Boris' does not do anything in halves, so we can expect this New Year's Eve display to be the best ever; a fitting finale to London's Royal Jubilee and Olympic year.
If neither club celebrations, nor riverside revelry entice you, spend a free evening at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland, which remains open until 10pm. There is no admission charge though you will pay for some of the winter Wonderland attractions such as a ride on the giant Wheel, entry into the Magical Ice Kingdom, ice skating sessions or the circus. Spend an evening in rustic revelry around a huge fire pit, with live music, farmhouse foods and mulled wine or cider to keep you warm, before making your way over to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. There you can skate into the New Year with a complimentary midnight glass of champagne and nibbles with your skating session ticket at the Museum's Festive Season Ice Rink.
If you wake up with a clear head on New Year's Day, join Mayor Boris and the Lord Mayor of Westminster on the annual London Parade. This charitable event, (also televised live by BBC), is now one of the World's great street spectaculars with up to 10,000 performers, floats and bands from across continents watched by hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the route from Green Park to Parliament Square, via Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, and Whitehall. This is the first of London's great 2013 Parades which include Chinese New Year Parade in February, London Pride Parade in July and the Lord Mayor's Show on 9 November.
London Transport, New Year's Eve
Natural History Ice Rink
The London Parade 2013
Chinese New Year Parade
Lord Mayor's Show 2013
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