Whether you’ll look back on this year with fondness or a sense of good riddance, you should see it out in style. Here are some great ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in London.
Your obvious choice is to watch the official London fireworks close to the London Eye. Tickets have already sold out (though it’s worth asking your concierge), but there are plenty of places where you can watch the skies light up over dinner and a flute or two of Champagne.
The best view of the fireworks will be from The Shard – it is western Europe’s tallest skyscraper after all. The celestial decorations as you enter are a ‘cosmic take on traditional décor’ with a space-age Christmas tree, so prepare to be wowed. Then take the bullet lift to one of the bars and restaurants high up in the tower. Aqua Shard on level 31 is serving a five-course contemporary dinner (think Porthilly oysters with ‘nduja, and lobster with celeriac purée). Tickets are £345 per person (£300 for the vegetarian menu) and include live entertainment, a DJ and dancing until 3am. If you want to keep things cheaper, you could book a space in the triple-height bar and enjoy Champagne and canapés on arrival (£199 per person). aquarestaurantgroup.co.uk
If you prefer to feast on a Northern Chinese menu, Hutong on level 33 is serving head chef Fei Wang’s Wagyu beef stuffed with marinated purple cabbage and roasted Peking duck. And who could resist the beautiful-sounding flower field ice jelly with hawthorn for dessert? It’s pricey (£345 per person; £300 for the vegetarian menu) but the food is out of this world, and you’ll get to see every fizz and spark of the fireworks. hutong.co.uk
Or climb even further to the 52nd floor for Gong, London’s highest hotel bar. For a guaranteed window table, you’ll have to fork out a thousand pounds, but you do get to enjoy a Japanese sharing menu and a bottle of Cristal Louis Roederer Champagne. A snip. If that’s a little out of your reach though, you can grab a standard ticket for £220. www.the-shard.com
The Shard © Shutterstock
For something a lot funkier (and a lot cheaper too), head to the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall for its New Year’s Eve at Spiritland! extravaganza. There are five floors of festivities with music from the 1920s to today, including Bill Brewster and Sarahtonin playing house, funk, disco, Afro and boogie. As well as the themed club nights, you can take part in dance lessons, eat, drink and be merry in one of the arts complex’s many bars and restaurants, and get a prime view of the midnight fireworks. It’s all happening between 6pm and 2am but get there early because the South Bank itself will get very busy. www.southbankcentre.co.uk
If you fancy listening to live music in a lovely atmospheric setting, 28°-50° by Night off Wigmore Street is entertaining its winers and diners on New Year’s Eve with vocalist James Hudson, who’s a rising star on the British jazz and swing scene. He’s set to perform jazz standards from Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and all the greats. 2850bynight.co.uk
28°-50° by Night
Or you could do something completely different and head to the Natural History Museum‘s Jurassic Party. Expect dino-style events, musical bingo and the chance to dance alongside a giant diplodocus at a silent disco. It certainly sounds a lot of fun. www.nhm.ac.uk
For something much more traditional, The Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall will uplift your spirits with its winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes and the kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s enchanting production features Tchaikovsky’s glorious score and is a memorable treat for the family. It closes today, so the show should be extra special (noon and 4pm performances). www.royalalberthall.com
Another great place to see the midnight fireworks is from the top of Primrose Hill or Greenwich Park. Wrap up warm and enjoy London lit up in all its glory. Tower Bridge is another great viewpoint too.
Finally, if you really want to kiss someone under the mistletoe at midnight, you’ll find the real deal growing in Bushy Park, close to Hampton Court Palace. And if you’re not feeling too fragile in the morning, you could enjoy the colour and spectacle of London’s New Year’s Day Parade, which starts at noon by Green Park station and winds through the West End. lnydp.com
However you spend it, we hope you have a very Happy New Year!