Both Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge are within the ticketed area, but you can still find great views from the Millennium Bridge between St. Paul’s Cathedral and Bankside or the neighbouring Southwark Bridge. The areas around these bridges and along the river may also provide some good spots too — just make sure you arrive early to get the best view.
At a height of some 78m (256ft), the summit of Primrose Hill offers stunning views across London, so to really benefit from the hill, you need to make it to the top. Make sure you get there early, as the secret of this hill’s view has spread over the years and it has quickly become a popular destination for New Year’s Eve revellers. Take a picnic, blankets and champagne to bring in the new year with, but be sure to wear a comfortable pair of sturdy shoes.
Along The River Thames
If you feel like splashing out — quite literally — you can watch the pyrotechnics whilst enjoying a trip along the River Thames. City Cruises are offering packages with various price ranges and on most, you will be welcomed with a festive tipple. The cruises leave late evening from different piers along the Embankment and last between two and five hours. Alternatively, for a more stationary experience and a ‘posh do’ you can book a table at the Restaurant Ship Hispaniola which is permanently moored on the River Thames, opposite the London Eye. Attire is black tie and cocktail dresses.
R.S. Hispaniola, Victoria Embankment, London WC2 +44 20 77 400 400
If you have a head for heights, the open-air rooftop bar at The Trafalgar Hotel, which is not far from the National Gallery and overlooks the busy Square, has spectacular views of London and the South Bank. Normally closed for the winter, the hotel is graciously opening the bar for this special occasion. After watching the dazzling display, you can continue dancing the rest of the night away at the NYE party in the hotel’s Rockwell Bar, guest DJ from 9PM to 3AM. This event must be booked in advance.
The Trafalgar Hotel, Spring Gardens, London SW1 + 44 20 7870 2972
New boutique bar The Light Lounge is a cosy option where you can still be part of the festive atmosphere and on a night out with friends; sipping cocktails until the early hours of the morning. Situated between Soho and Covent Garden, they are setting up a massive 100-inch screen for guests to watch the fireworks display live. It is advisable to book in advance if you want to secure a seat or booth otherwise it is standing room only. However, at least you will not have to worry about being cold – or getting wet should it rain!
The Light Lounge, 1 Newport Place, London WC2H 7JR +44 20 7734 8329
London Night Bus
If none of these options appeals to you, there is always the night bus. Although many routes will be diverted away from central London and some roads will be closed, you may catch a distant view of the fireworks if you are on the bus at the right time. The night buses will run to a Saturday schedule but Transport for London will also continue some day services throughout the night. If you miss a glimpse of the main event, there is still a chance that you might see sparks in the sky from smaller, local displays. Travel on the buses will be free from 11.45PM until 4.30AM.