New Year 2014 will be welcomed across the land, whether it’s by singing Auld Lang Syne in the street with the neighbours or dancing ’til dawn in a nightclub. Many communities offer a focal point for the general celebrations, often in the form of music and fireworks. We take a look at how they bring in the year in the English and Scottish capitals.
All across the UK, revellers look to Big Ben, the bell of the biggest four-faced clock in the world, on the clocktower at Westminster Palace, to signal the dawn of the new year. It used to be traditional for Londoners to pile into Trafalgar Square for the changing of the year – a little bit impractical if you think about the numbers involved.
Nowadays, the biggest and best free New Year’s Eve celebration in London happens around the London Eye, on the South Bank of the Thames. More than 250,000 revellers are expected to watch a dazzling ten-minute firework display which will commence as Big Ben hails 2014 with its famous ‘bongs’ at midnight. This year, new sponsors Vodafone will work with food scientists Bompas and Parr to add a multi-sensory dimension, with fruit smells and other special effects augmenting the pyrotechnics, and have even created an app so people watching live on BBC1, can share the experience.
Revellers assembled near the river then sing Auld Lang Syne at the top of their voices and there’s a live DJ until 12.45am. It still gets pretty crammed so consider watching from another London vantage point or see here for practical advice if you’re thinking of heading down.
The London New Year’s day parade, a multi-cultural celebration which now dwarfs the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in New York, proceeds from Piccadilly to Parliament Square between midday and 3.15pm. It will feature more than 8500 performers including marching bands, cheerleaders, clowns and acrobats. Check this route map to choose where to stand.
EdinburghPic: Laurence Arnold
Everyone knows Scotland is the place to be at Hogmanay, and Edinburgh steps up with celebrations including outdoor concerts, torchlit procession and, of course, fireworks.
A free torchlight procession led by the Vikings from the famous Shetland Up Helly Aa’ fire festival with massed pipes and drums leaves the George IV Bridge at 7pm on Monday 30, proceeding to Calton Hill for a fireworks and Son et Lumiere finale.
On New Year’s Eve, 80,000 revellers are expected to see in 2014 at a city centre street party featuring two stages of live music headlined by Django Django, plus a non-stop party stage. Tickets at £20 were still available to over 16s at time of writing. A candlelit cathedral concert, a Pet Shop Boys gig in the castle gardens and a traditional New Year ceilidh are already sold out.
Hourly fireworks from the castle itself start at 9pm culminating in the city’s big ‘midnight moment’.
On New Year’s Day afternoon, you can join a free, magical journey through the Old Town featuring music, art and theatre, or watch the annual ‘Loony Dook’ swim in the Forth (brrrr!).
However you chose to celebrate, we wish you a Happy New Year.