If you’re like me, you may not be fully persuaded by New Year’s Eve: a milestone it may be, but like so many events it can end up being underwhelming due to the insurmountable hype it gets as the ‘biggest night of the year’.
With that said, the night of the 31st December always has the potential to be one of the most joyous and memorable evenings on the calendar with just the right combination of people, vibe, location and event. If you’re still making your mind up for what to do for the big night, here are some suggestions.
Location: The South Bank
Time: 11:45 – midnight
An obvious one to start with, but, as they say, sometimes clichés are clichés for a reason. Some people are down on fireworks, but I love the timelessness of celebrating a milestone by packing a load of colourful explosives into tubes and firing them into the sky, and very few do it better than the New Year’s team in London. On this year’s event, Boris Johnson says:
“Our New Year’s Eve fireworks will cap a triumphant year for London. As we welcomed the world to the magnificent celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the glorious success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, London was at its very best. […] As we go into 2013 with a spectacular fireworks display I hope we can build on that energy and enthusiasm to make ours the best big city in the world.”
A huge gathering of people is guaranteed, all with the express intention of gazing in awe at the fire and sparks over the Thames in celebration of the various amazing achievements our capital has seen take place within its vicinity this annum. Plus, with this event starting late, you can spend most of the evening drinking and celebrating wherever you want.
Here’s a video of last year’s display to get you in the mood.
Cost: Free entry. Rides, attractions and refreshments priced separately.
Location: Hyde Park
Okay, technically not a way to ring in the New Year (it closes at 10pm) but nonetheless a fantastic evening. Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland has something for everyone: fairground games, rollercoasters, an ice rink, a huge ferris wheel, food, drink, a marketplace and an entire palace made of ice.
Being located in Hyde Park means that it’s close to a few different tube stations, each one a short walk away past some of the best and most well-known sights in central London. The atmosphere is feel-good, the rides range from fun to outright terrifying (the Power Tower in particular provides an amazing view of the whole of London before dropping you over a hundred foot at breakneck speed) and there are plenty of things to do there before celebrating at midnight wherever you like.
Cost: Dependent on entry fee and drinks prices
If you’re a clubgoer there are plenty of club nights, parties and raves happening all around London on the 31st. You know what you’ll get: drinks, lights and dancing, and there are few cities in the world who offer a more varied selection of nights out than London. A few choice examples are:
Post Apocalypse – Cargo, Camden
House and techno, featuring Ryan Crosson, Omid 16db and Shane Watcha
Connected NYE – Cable, Bermondsey
House, featuring Marc Kichen
Beat Dimension NYE Warehouse Party – undisclosed location
Featuring Blawan and Mike Dehnert
There are bound to be club nights all over London with a huge range of music, so do some hunting around for the perfect combination of location, DJs and prices.
Boat Along The Thames
Cost: Call for availability
Personally I can think of few things better than taking in London by night from a huge, decked-out party boat with food, alcohol, a DJ and disco. Not only will you get to enjoy all the staples of an NYE party, but you’ll do it whilst drifting past all the sights the capital has to offer, finishing at Big Ben for the countdown and with an amazing view of the fireworks.
Club nights, house parties or pubs are great but they’re not for everyone: a Westminster party boat brings a touch of class to the proceedings, and being served champagne cocktails whilst floating lazily down the Thames seems like a safe bet to me. Visit Westminster Party Boats for more information.
What factor do the previous four ideas all have in common? They’re all fun, yes, but they’ll all involve some not insignificant financial outlay, unless you’re canny enough to trek into Town for the Fireworks without buying food or drink, or if you fancy the sights of Winter Wonderland but none of the excitement of the rides.
With the economy the way it is, more and more people are spacing out their weekend nights out, and the same can be said of New Year’s Eve. Some of my favourite NYE celebrations have been low-key; a small group of people, a great atmosphere and a house. No more, no less. So if you’re spending a lot on Christmas presents, you’re not in employment or you just don’t fancy a big one, talk to friends, arrange a house to go to and ring in the New Year in comfort with good friends, TV and chat.
Mike Gibson @mike_marathon