Kiss goodbye to 2013 and see in 2014 in style at one of these larger than life New Year’s Eve parties where fireworks, foot-stomping and feasting are obligatory!
The biggest and boldest New Year’s Eve party is to be found down at the South Bank area of the River Thames in London, where the main highlight is the blaze of seriously impressive fireworks come midnight. More than a quarter of a million revellers will gather to watch the free breathtaking pyrotechnics display from the London Eye. Big Ben hails 2014 with the famous ‘bongs’ at midnight as the biggest fireworks extravaganza in the UK gets underway. Partygoers sing Auld Lang Syne at the top of their voices and a live DJ set carries on until 12.45am.
The capital of Scotland goes mad for Hogmanay with a massive street party, concert in the gardens, torchlit procession and loony dook! There’s plenty of frantic Scottish country dancing fuelled by the odd tot of whisky, as well as awesome fireworks. 80,000 revellers from every corner of the globe will see in 2014 from the heart of Edinburgh at the lively ticketed Street Party event. The annual Concert in the Gardens hosts live music from The Pet Shop Boys, The 1975, Nina Nesbitt and more. The three day festival extravaganza also ceilidh, street theatres, dance, live music, carnivals and of course, eye-wateringly dazzling fireworks.
The Welsh celebrate Calennig with as much vigour as the Scottish do with Hogmanay. This year there’s free live music in Cardiff’s Civic Centre topped off with a spectacular firework finale at midnight. The traditional family funfair is open on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Or celebrate Calennig (first day of the month) with a spot of ice skating beneath the stars in the Winter Wonderland.
This port town in north Devon is famed for its exuberant New Year’s Eve parties, which includes outrageous fancy dress and colourful carnival. Revellers gather at the quayside as a lone piper plays Auld Lang Syne at the stroke of midnight, which is rounded off with a suitably spectacular fireworks display.
Fire festivals are all the rage in Allendale, Northumberland. The annual Tar Barl Festival has been held in the normally laidback village for the last 160 years. ‘Guisers’ dress up in period costume and carry flaming barrels filled with tar and paraffin atop their heads, on a lively procession through the village, to a central bonfire which is then lit with the barrels. Origins of this particular male-only fire festival are unclear.
The annual Stonehaven Fireball festival is held each 31st of December in Stonehaven near Aberdeen in Scotland. Celebrations get underway with a lively parade of marchers, all clad in traditional Scottish kilts. Pipers and drummers oversee proceedings whilst the participants literally whirl giant balls of fire around their heads, suspended from wire ropes. Many towns and villages host similar fire festivals to welcome in the New Year, which are thought to date back to the Neolithic period. Fire symbolises purification and a destroyer of evil.
By Julie Bowman