John O'Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, December 16, 2015
New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world can often by anticlimactic, but that’s rarely the case for revellers who gather in London to watch the city’s annual fireworks display .
Always a big-budget spectacle, the display is deployed beside and from the London Eye and in previous years has drawn crowds of up to 250,000 people. That’s a testament to the event’s quality, but it’s also presented some logistical issues for organisers. For the first time, this year’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are ticketed and only those who have already purchased one of the now-sold-out £10 tickets will be permitted to view the spectacle from the official viewing platforms at Victoria Embankment and in the surrounding area.
For those who have tickets, celebrations typically commence at 10pm on December 31. While the exact schedule for this year’s event hasn’t been confirmed, at that point a DJ usually plays to spectators, right up until Big Ben strikes midnight and a blaze of fireworks explode from the Eye. Lasting around 10 minutes, the display is concluded with a mass rendition of Auld Lang Syne. Everything winds down at 12.45am; Transport for London services are free from 11.45pm on December 31 to 4.30am on January 1 and services will be exceptionally busy. Road closures will be in operation throughout the day and evening and some Tube stations will close so consult the TfL website before commencing your journey.
What can I do if I don’t have a ticket for the official display?
Event organisers are clear that those without tickets will not be admitted to the official viewing areas. Of course, there are other places where the fireworks can be enjoyed from, not least some of the city’s best rooftop bars . Outside the official viewing areas, other bridges – such as Tower Bridge, Southwark Bridge and the Millennium Bridge – and walkways by the river are likely to attract large crowds but the views won’t be as good and the volume of spectators could prove uncomfortable. Availability is limited but a number of London's hotels with river views are hosting special events on the night (those who attend the Corinthia's New Year's Eve dinner will also be allowed to enter the ticketed area for this year's fireworks as the hotel lies within a restricted-access zone) and many have rooms that will overlook the fireworks display.
Did you know:
The London Eye is an appropriate backdrop for New Year’s Eve celebrations. It was developed to commemorate the new millennium, although delays meant it wasn’t opened until March 2000.
Big Ben, the bell within the Clock Tower at the Palace of Westminster, weighs about 13 and a half tons. Learn more about its origins in our feature on the bell's history and most significant moments .
For more on what to do in London and information on the capital’s best restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions, see our complete London city break guide .
This article was written by John O'Ceallaigh from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.