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Celebrating New Year’s in London

Published 23 December 2012

New Year’s Eve means different things to different people – you might use it to mark a fresh start, you might see it as a time to reflect on the year that’s been, and you might see it as nothing more (or less) than a chance to drink a lot of champagne and dance with your friends.

Whatever you’re into, you’ll find that London’s absolutely brimming with NYE fun – we’ve got some ideas below for a packed 24 hours to ring in 2013. After you’ve finished making your plans, make your New Year’s Resolution: to treat yourself with a reservation at one of the Grange’s luxury central London hotels.

1. Fireworks
Bring in the year with a bang! At the first strike of midnight, fireworks crackle, fizz and boom across the London skyline. The biggest and the best display is the Mayor’s, of course: last year, Big Ben was crowned with glittering lights in time with its twelve tolls and the Millennium Wheel was turned into a Catherine Wheel for the night. The truly dazzling display is accompanied with a remix of the year’s music and sounds.

Appropriately, it’s held over the Thames River: central to London and its history, find a spot along its banks early on (around three hours before the show starts) for the best view.

2. Sales
London will be even more busy than usual over the holiday period, so prepare to get strategic when it comes to shopping. If you’re heading to the bigger areas make sure you have time scheduled in to travel: public transport is the easiest way to get around so familiarise yourself with the timetable and any delays before you step foot out of the door.

One of London’s newest shopping centres is Westfield, near Stratford and the Olympic Stadium. A nice mix of high-end brands and high street staples, it’s also got a huge food court and great transport links. Of course, if you’re planning on staying central you could always make sure your base is close to the shopping hot spots – Grange’s Covent Garden Hotel is close to the famously quirky Covent Garden shopping centre and other hubs of fashionable shops too.

3. New Year’s Day Parade
What do bikers, birds of prey, big brass bands and Henry VIII have in common? They all put in an appearance in London’s incredible New Year’s Day Parade in 2012. After the year of sport and celebration the capital has seen this year, it’s guaranteed they’ll top the wacky (and slightly wet) extravaganza of twelve months ago.

Hopefully the sun will shine on the host of musicians and dancers which come from near and far to appear and celebrate in sync with London’s wacky locals, Pearly Kings and young performers.  Bring a flag to wave!

Article image used under creative commons licence from Paul Williams.