When we think “New Year”, we tend to focus on New Year’s Eve celebrations and traditions like fireworks displays and parties. New Year’s Day also has a lot to offer tourists in London, and the premier London New Year’s Day outing is arguably the London New Year’s Day Parade.
The London New Year’s Day Parade will celebrate its thirtieth consecutive year on January 1st, 2016. Involving almost nine thousand performers who represent twenty nations, this is an American-style parade that includes musicians, cheerleaders, marching bands, West-End Show representatives, clowns, acrobats, floats and London’s Pearly Kings and Queens.
The theme for the 2016 parade is “Thirty Magical Years”, and this event has grown from a small celebration in 1987 to become the world’s largest event of its kind. There are tickets available for pop-up grandstand seats for spectators along the way, or you can go for free and find a spot along the route (go early!).
Among the participants in 2016 will be All the Queen’s Horses, The London Fire Brigade, Beverly Hills High School Marching Band, Caporales San Simon London, China Spring High School Marching Band, City of London Brass Band, the Donkey Breed Society, Heroes for Charity, the Shree Muktajeevan Pipe Band, and many, many more. London Boroughs also enter acts, floats, and other entertainment, vying for a prize share to distribute amongst chosen charity recipients.
The London New Years Day Parade is a free family event, and it’s anticipated that more than half a million spectators will head out into the chilly London day to enjoy the spectacle. 5 minutes jiffy tube ride away from hotels near Soho, the parade route runs from The Ritz Hotel at Green Park, down Piccadilly to Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, and from Whitehall onto Parliament Square. The parade commences at 12 noon and concludes at 15:30.
Too cold, too tired, or too sore a head to go out to the Parade? If you’re more inclined to hibernate in your hotels near Covent Garden or elsewhere across the city, you won’t miss out; as the full parade will be screened live on TV across the UK.
If you do choose to go out and participate actively in the fun, stroll from your hotels near Oxford Street and catch the underground to Green Park, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross or Westminster, and find yourself a great position on the sidelines of the route. Happy New Year!