“Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life…,” wrote Samuel Johnson. Mayor Boris Johnson (no relative) is determined that no man or woman tires of London – at least, not during the New Year’s Eve Fireworks, and other festivities to welcome 2015.
The New Year’s Eve fireworks display was first staged on the South Bank in 2003 and it most certainly set the Thames alight. A mere 100,000 folks witnessed the show. Ever since then the fireworks in London have grown bigger and better. So has its popularity. Every year has seen more and more people from Britain and across the world turn up to witness the dazzling pyrotechnic display over the skies of London.
Over 12,500 fireworks shooting off 50,000 projectiles fired from 5,500 cues. There will also be 2,000 lighting cues. To keep the extravaganza one of the best in the world 30 tonnes of equipment on the three fireworks barges will be situated on the river in front of the London Eye.
On New Year’s Eve 2014 about half a million revellers turned up in central London to enjoy the fireworks. However the stupendous popularity of this year end spectacle and the humungous number of spectators has meant that changes had to be made.
This year, in order to manage the numbers and for safety reasons, the best fireworks viewing areas will be cordoned off. Only 100,000 visitors will be allowed in and around the show area. Access to these areas will only be for ticket holders. Priced at £10 each, the ticket money will go towards safety measures for the night.
While it may seem kind of restrictive, there are a couple of advantages to this plan. First of all ticket holders will get the best fireworks viewing seats. The other advantage – and this is a biggie – is you don’t have to get to the Thames embankment at 3pm or 4pm on a cold, damp London afternoon to set up camp somewhere along the Thames just to find a good viewing spot. You save yourself 8 or 9 hours of misery.
The designated and ticketed viewing areas are between Westminster Bridge and Embankment Station. The second is between Embankment and Temple Stations and the third allows ticket-holders access to the rear of the London Eye and on Westminster Bridge. While those are prime locations there are many other non-ticketed locations where you can watch the London night sky light up in a blaze of colour.
You need to keep in mind that Oxford Street, Elephant and Castle, Vauxhall Bridge and Southwark Bridge will be closed. The closures will begin from 2pm with most of the closures in place by 8pm. Public transport services will be free from 11:45pm to 4:30am on New Year’s Day!
The fireworks will kick off when Big Ben strikes midnight. Although the fun does not stop when the last rocket of NYE 2014 blazes across the night sky; the last whizz-banger goes off and you have joined hands to belt out Auld Lang Syne. That is when the partying begins in right real earnest. And there are loads of events, parties and places to work off your own personal fireworks.
When London celebrates she does it in style. New Year’s Eve party ideas and events range from masquerade balls, vintage theme parties and boat parties to classy dinner parties.
Felice Navidad and a Happy New Year!