New Year's Eve in London

When I was 8 or 9, I asked my dad to take us to London to see the fireworks on New Year's Eve. He, very understandably, point blank refused on account of the crowds. However, I still wanted to go and every year, I said to myself "Next year I'll go". Well, this year was finally that year. It was quite the adventure!

Rich and I went with my brother Jamie, and we had a nice evening in London first, visiting Harrods and Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park (but more on that tomorrow). At 9:30, we headed to Green Park tube station and walked down towards Embankment.

We got into the viewing area next to Westminster Abbey easily enough, but I suddenly came over really hungry and we went on the hunt for food. Luckily, there was one of those horrible, tacky souvenir shops open and we managed to buy a tin of overpriced London biscuits!

We could see big screens at Trafalgar Square, and it wasn't overcrowded, so decided to sit there. There was only one building between us and the Thames, so we figured we'd see the fireworks shooting up into the sky.

There was music playing over the speakers and lots of people dancing so there was a bit of a party atmosphere going on.

It started drizzling, but we had an umbrella so that wasn't a problem.

As midnight drew closer, it became a lot more busy but it still wasn't crammed: We had plenty of personal space.

We watched the screen as we counted down the seconds to midnight and then heard the boom-boom of fireworks. We turned around to watch them and... well, it turns out they don't shoot up that high. We could hardly see them at all. Oops! 

At 12:10, we thought we'd start walking back to Waterloo Bridge. Now the real fun began (and, yes, that's sarcasm!). This is the route we were planning. It takes 25 minutes:

There was a slight snag: Waterloo Bridge was closed, so we had to go back to Embankment tube station and take the line one stop. The crowd control was amazing and I was so impressed! We were talking about getting in touch with the organisers to praise them on their excellent management. We got to Waterloo at 1:10am, with 20 minutes to spare until our train. Perfect!

We got to the escalator leading to the trains, but it was blocked off and we were diverted a different way. We ended up leaving Waterloo. Makes sense, we thought. They're going to send us out and round to the main entrance to allow for the crowds. We were right, but we didn't bet on them sending us via Southwark! The queue to get into Waterloo was literally half a mile long! Worse than that, it was hardly moving and the crowd was packed in shoulder-to-shoulder. It took us two hours to get from Waterloo tube station to Waterloo train station: That one escalator would have got us there in under a minute. This made our total journey from Trafalgar Square to Waterloo Station three hours instead of the usual 25 minutes!

We finally managed to get on a train at 4am. I was savvy enough to position us at the back corner of the crowd watching the departure boards, and we didn't take our eyes off them for a second. As soon as the platform number came up, we legged it to the platform, as did everyone else! It was a good job too as we all got a seat on the most packed train I have ever been on! 

At least it had a nice little message for us! After a 15 minute queue for a taxi at the train station, we finally got home at 5:20am! 

I'm very glad we went as a "once in your life" thing, but I am never going again! Not unless I have a hotel room booked around the corner! My advice if you want to go to London for New Year's Eve next year? Don't! 


  1. Oh gosh! I think Matt and I will go in a couple of years but at least we can take this into consideration, glad you got home ok in the end xx

  2. I loved this post, I'd never go though, I've never heard someone say 'I had a really good new year in london' its always to crowded, to pushy, to loud ect. ect. I much preffer curling up on the sofa and watching it on the TV!

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  3. The fireworks must have been amazing - I hope you had a fab time and all the best for 2014! Xx

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  4. Looks like you guys had a great time, minus that crazy time trying to get back on the train. 3 hours that's so crazy!!

  5. Amazing that you went and saw it all, but crazy that you had such a rough time after!!

  6. We were thinking of going this year but didnt, so glad now!

  7. Reading this post made me anxious, just the thought of being there and rushing for a train with all those people, oh god!! Maybe the hotel idea would have been best. Atleast you can still say you experienced it! xxx

  8. I did this with some friends when I was about 16 and I'v never bothered doing it again. One thing that has changed in 10 years though is the fireworks - they are waaay better now! Happy New year :)

  9. I always say I would not go to London on NYE! too stressful! Glad you had fun though :)

  10. That's why I avoid London for NYW. Did it last year and it took 4 hours to get home. and I live in North London so it shouldn't have taken that long. Stick to a restaurant in the suburbs next time, it's fun but without having to travel so far

  11. Oh wow I'm definitely glad we didn't go in the end! We were trying to leave Central at about 10pm and couldn't believe the sheer number of people! We ended up taking a huge detour and walking for ages to a station that wasn't quite as busy.
    It certainly looks less stressful to just watch it on TV, it must have been a great experience though :-)

    Victoria x


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