Every year on 31 December, at Big Ben’s strike of midnight, the London sky is illuminated by technicolour bursts of light. These New Year’s Eve fireworks are world famous, and grace TV screens up and down the nation as celebrants belt Auld Lang Syne and shake linked arms. If you’d like to see these fireworks in person, since 2014, you’ve needed a ticket for the pleasure – and they’re hard to get your paws on. If you missed out, here’s how to watch London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks for free. Wherever you decide to go, make sure to avoid the tube stations inside the ticketed zone (Westminster, Embankment, Waterloo and Charing Cross) and check your tube stations are actually open before you set off – a lot of disruption and many crowds are expected on the night.
Best Free Spots To Watch NYE Fireworks In London
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This is the first open bridge to the northeast of the display’s ticketed areas, so it’s a popular spot to grab a glimpse of the action, boasting some of the best views. Note, however, that because both Millenium Bridge and Tower Bridge will be closed this year, Southwark Bridge is expected to be extremely crowded.
To the south of the display, Lambeth Bridge is the first open bridge outside of the ticketed area, so it’s arguably the best spot to flock to – especially because, even if it’s close to the display, it’s further out of the city centre.
The same is true for Vauxhall Bridge, which is the next bridge straddling the river, linking Vauxhall and Pimlico. Note that any bridge you opt for will be extremely cold, so wrap up warm.
This central London street up to the Monument sits close to the eastern side of the action, and you can get pretty good views here, mainly because fireworks are crucially shot into the sky. Make sure you get there early, as it is typically extremely busy here.
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It’s famous for its Bonfire Night fireworks display, but Alexandra Palace is a great spot to see New Year’s Eve fireworks, too. So venture up the steep approach with a picnic in hand and settle in for a long evening; you’ll probably glimpse some other displays across the city, too.
Get up high for a panoramic view of the city’s fireworks at eye level. Parliament Hill offers a perfect vantage point, as do the high points of Hampstead Heath in general.
This Camden spot is popular year-round for its cityscape views, so it’s another great spot to see the New Year’s Eve fireworks, especially if you’re looking to avoid the city centre.
Watch On TV
If you’d rather stay inside, the action is luckily aired on TV, too. Tune into BBC One or stream on iPlayer.
How To Get Tickets
The second batch of New Year’s Eve fireworks tickets will be released soon, we’re told. They cost £20 per person, and if you’d like to know when they come on sale, you can sign up to be notified here.
Ticket holders are assigned a viewing area: Blue, Red, Pink, Green, White or Orange for guests with accessibility requirements. These areas stretch along Victoria Embankment on the north side of the river, and along Belvedere Road and Albert Embankment to the south. Westminster, Hungerford and Golden Jubilee bridges will all be closed, but lucky ticket holders will be assigned a viewing spot on Waterloo Bridge.
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