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14 Jul, 2021
9 minutes

London New Year Fireworks: Everything You Need to Know

Every single Briton and thousands of others across the globe will be familiar with the hush that sweeps over the crowd as Big Ben chimes the 12 strokes of midnight on New Year’s Eve. As anticipation builds in the audience the first sparks of light fizzle up before a bellowing crescendo of brilliant light explodes in the night sky.

The New Year fireworks display is one of the most spectacular celebrations in the UK’s calendar, with thousands flocking to the capital city (before Covid-19) to get a front seat on this incredible performance. Find everything you need to know about the fireworks New Year’s Eve has to offer in London here.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks in London

The London Fireworks event is the largest and most spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks UK display. It lasts for around 10-15 minutes, consisting of around 12,000 fireworks in a professionally designed display. In December 2020 more than 10 million people tuned in to watch the famous London NYE fireworks which were accompanied by a 300-strong drone display.

Fireworks, London, New Year 2020

Live on BBC: London Fireworks

There’s no need to worry if you can’t watch the London New Year’s fireworks in person. Turn on the TV to watch the London fireworks. BBC is usually the primary channel to watch them live. The fantastic display will also be broadcast on the internet so no matter where you are you can enjoy welcoming in the New Year with the rest of the viewers on the sides of the Thames. The London New Year Eve fireworks live broadcast is made each year without fail, on BBC One or BBC iPlayer at the turn of the new year.

BBC Fireworks Live or on Catchup

But what about if you don’t have a TV license, or if you’re watching from overseas? Using a paid VPN can help those in other countries access BBC iPlayer, and the display will also be available to view on BBC’s YouTube channel. This way people in other countries can choose to watch the live New Year Eve fireworks London will launch at the turn of the new year in the UK, or they can watch a playback of the London New Years Eve fireworks at a later date.

Where to View NYE Fireworks: London

When tourists looking for a London fireworks New Year’s Eve viewing spot won’t be hard-pressed to find a good location. You won’t only be limited to the shores of the Thames, especially if you plan in advance. Contrary to popular belief, there are no good Tower Bridge viewing spots, as the bridge is often scheduled to be open at midnight, meaning viewers won’t get the spot in the centre of the river they imagine. Tower Bridge is also quite far down from Westminster and further away from the firework launch area than people assume. London bridge is a much better spot, as this bridge does not open and is situated closer to the London Eye and the launch area.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, and afterwards, when restrictions are fully lifted, crowds may gather on the banks of the Thames to watch the fireworks. Due to where the London Eye is situated, the best position in terms of proximity would be a spot on the Southbank or the Victoria Embankment. It’s a good idea to arrive around 7 or 8 to ensure you have a good spot and you may want to bring a folding chair and some food and drink with you for the wait. Once the area is full police will close it off and it’s likely to be very busy. Here are some other hot spots for viewing the fireworks New Year’s Eve London display:

1. The Shard

As the tallest building in the entire city, The Shard is the first choice vantage point for those who can afford to splash out. Restaurants on the upper floors offer luxury six-course meals and live entertainment following the fireworks New Year London display viewable from the 270-degree viewing platform.

2. Sky Bar

Found at the top of the rotating Millbank Tower, the Sky Bar hosts an iconic 12-hour party to bring in the new year. Guests can watch the firework display from the fabulous 360-degree viewing deck, and enjoy champagne, canapes, and live entertainment.

3. Alexandra Palace

After a brisk climb up Alexandra Palace Hill, you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the city from afar, and enjoy Ally Pally’s own fireworks display on the backdrop of central London and other beautiful scenery.

4. Parliament Hill

For a calmer, less bustling and likely cheaper alternative to wading into the crowds to watch the fireworks in London, view the stunning firework display from afar at Parliament Hill. You’ll be guaranteed to get a wonderful view of the awesome display here as well as other smaller displays going off around the city.

On New Year’s Eve, fireworks will be going off on almost every green space in London. Find out locations for other top London firework displays.

New Year’s Eve London Fireworks Tickets

New Year’s Eve fireworks tickets for the Southbank usually go on sale around September or October. Check Visit London to find out how to book tickets for fireworks in London, and make sure you book yours as early as you can because they will sell out fast! New Year fireworks London tickets are usually around £10 for adult admission.

New Years Eve fireworks: London Schedule

Firework displays in London tend to happen at the end of the year when Fireworks Night, Bonfire Night, and New Year’s Eve are being celebrated. But that’s not to say you can’t find fireworks displays at other times in the calendar. Chinese New Year in February and Diwali In November also celebrate using fireworks. There could even be fireworks at one-of-a-kind events, if there is a sports event or music gig, for example.

If you want to know about New Year Eve fireworks in London tonight visitor guide directories are a good place to find more information about scheduled firework displays. Here you can find information about dates, times, prices, and a London fireworks New Year Eve map:

Create Your Own New Year fireworks London-Style!

If trudging through crowds or freezing your socks off to watch the London fireworks doesn’t tempt you, then creating your own firework display at home isn’t a bad second at all. You won’t have to pay extortionate prices, and there’s not likely going to be a long queue at the bar! Looking for ‘new years eve fireworks near me’ sometimes doesn’t fill us with inspiration so you need to take matters into your own hands! To make sure your firework display lives up to London standards, include these:

Create Your Own New Year fireworks London-Style!

If trudging through crowds or freezing your socks off to watch the London fireworks doesn’t tempt you, then creating your own firework display at home isn’t a bad second at all. You won’t have to pay extortionate prices, and there’s not likely going to be a long queue at the bar! Looking for ‘new years eve fireworks near me’ sometimes doesn’t fill us with inspiration so you need to take matters into your own hands! To make sure your firework display lives up to London standards, include these:

The biggest and boldest fireworks, rockets are a must for a New Year’s Eve firework display. Select individual rockets to curate your display the way you want it, or opt for low-effort compound firework that will do everything for you so you can enjoy watching.

Blake’s 7 Rocket

Offering an exciting contrast with the fizz and bang of a rocket, a fountain firework launches lower to the ground and emits a constant plume of light in different colours and patterns. Fountains are favoured for their elegant shape and movement.

Crazy Cone Fountain

A mine is a spectacular firework that launches multiple shots all at once to produce a huge explosion in the sky at different heights and in some cases in multiple colours. This is a great firework to use as the grand finale of your display similar to the finale of the NYE London fireworks display.

Zeus Shockwave Mine

For other amazing fireworks effects to complete your display, consult our glossary of fireworks. If you’re concerned about creating lots of noise, find out what to expect from low-noise fireworks.

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