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Best free place to watch the New Year’s Eve Fireworks

BY Boon Koh
Published 28 December 2012

While the public areas along side the Thames river bank will be free, its not the most pleasant viewing experience as you’ll be jostling with 250,000 other spectators and god knows how many pickpockets operating that night.

The best views are of course from the bridges – but you’ll have to go early. The Waterloo Bridge, Westminster Bridge, and the Hungerford Bridge are all good choices for a great view of the fireworks at the London Eye. The absolutely best place to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks though would be along the Victoria Embankment though, right across the Thames from the London Eye.

If you want to join the masses, here’s a map of the designated viewing areas:

But if you don’t want to brave the crowds and possibly the howling wind and rain, where can you go in London to get a view of the fireworks, and preferably from an indoor and warm location?

Well, there’s loads of really tall buildings that are open with great views of the fireworks – but they all charge a fee or require you to dine. These include the OXO Tower, Heron Tower, Altitude 360, and Paramount at Centrepoint.

I’ve had a look around, but clearly all the good indoor viewing areas in buildings nearby have all wised up and started charging admission fees. The Royal Festival Hall is charging £100 for the night, and many of the restaurants in the area with views are charging less, but still a considerable amount, for the night. Yo Sushi has an all you can eat sushi buffet for £85, Giraffe is charging £95 for a special new year’s even menu, and Feng Sushi is asking £85 for its multi-course Japanese meal.

One area that you might try is the Blackfriars Station Platform. Now that its been completed and is right in the middle over the Thames, you should be able to watch the fireworks from that elevated level with a clear view. If you’re not ushered away of course.

Another place you could try is Primrose Hill. With a view across the whole of London, you will definitely see the fireworks – although be slightly further away.

On other news about the New Year’s Eve Fireworks for 2012/2013, there will b a DJ for the first time, pumping out tunes from 10pm, and continuing until 12:45am after the fireworks.

You can view last year’s NYE Fireworks in high definition on Youtube here:

  • http://www.facebook.com/tamil.scafe Tamil Scafe

    very informative post, keep it up…

  • Dawn lewis

    Hi, thanks for this information, really helpful. We are planning to travel down from Leeds – where would be the best place to park the car an what time does public transport stop running?
    Many thanks
    D – Leeds

  • http://www.london-insider.co.uk Boon Koh

    The tube and (night) buses run all night on New Year’s Eve! So you don’t have to worry about getting home.

    I would find somewhere to park in zones 2-3 and then just tube it in. Find a residential area, not too far from a tube station, where on-street parking is free.

    Somewhere on the Northern Line, southwards, might be good, like Balham, Clapham Common, or Clapham South. You can then get off at Waterloo station, which is close to the London Eye.

    Alternatively as you’re coming from Leeds, one of the Nothern Line stops north of London would be good too. Don’t know that section of the line though unfortunately to give much advice!

  • Gav

    Ay up. We are also travelling down from Yorkshire for NYE. Lots of ‘mixed’ reviews about using the viewing areas due to the sheer volume of people. Trafalgar Square doesn’t look much further away. What sort of view would you get from there? Also, will all the city centre pubs require a ticket to get in?

  • http://www.london-insider.co.uk Boon Koh

    Not sure if you can see much from Trafalgar square… there’s alot of tall buildings along the way, and I’m sure even the part at the top of the stairs in front of the National Gallery will be full!

    Most pubs should have a ticketing policy… although I suspect if you go further northwards into the Soho and Tottenham Court Road area, it shouldn’t be hard to find a free entry pub. But anything Soho, Trafalgar Square, St James Square, etc I think will be ticketed.

    If you’re just going to be in a pub, there’s no reason to be in the area of the fireworks – it’ll just be so jammed packed. Find a pub in a slightly quieter zone 1 area with a big screen telly to watch it broadcast live in HD quality on BBC :)

  • nicola

    hi, I’ve also travelled for NY fireworks, how busy does primrose hill get for viewing and what time do you suggest is early?