Watching London New Year’s Eve fireworks is undoubtedly the biggest attraction of the New Year’s Eve celebrations in the UK. And if you’ve decided to spend New Year’s Eve in London, you’re probably wondering how to watch this spectacular fireworks display live.
The London New Year’s Eve fireworks take place next to the London Eye, London’s famous Ferris wheel, just after the New Year’s Eve chimes at Big Ben. You can watch the fireworks live from the banks of the Thames, from one of the highest points in the British capital, from a cruise ship on the Thames or even from a restaurant with a view. Here we tell you about all the options available.
See the London New Year’s Eve fireworks for free
Apart from the Westminster riverside area where you have to pay admission, there are a few places from which you can watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London. There are several riverside areas and some bridges a little further away from the London Eye but from which you can watch the fireworks without a ticket. For this we recommend arriving early as those areas or bridges from which it is possible to see the fireworks, but where it is not necessary to pay admission, will fill up quite early.
In addition to these places, we must take into account the restaurants with views and the highest points in London from which you can see the London Eye, these being the preferred options for most Londoners and tourists who want to see the fireworks live.
Here we tell you what they are:
From a restaurant with a view
If you want to dine in a restaurant with a view of the New Year’s Eve fireworks from the London Eye, take a look at our list of recommended restaurants in our article below:
Ping Pong Southbank
- Location: Festival Terrace, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road
- Price: £150 – £280 depending on option.
Las Iguanas Southbank
Price: from £150 per person
Price: £199 per person
Price: from £22 per person.
Price: from £165 per person
The Londoner in Leicester Square
Price: A la carte.
Price: 6-course set menu for £375 per person.
Price: £29 per person (2023 to be confirmed).
Midnight Island – Bar Elba
Price: from £125 per person (2023 to be confirmed).
Most restaurants usually offer a special menu for the occasion, and many offer an all-night party in addition to dinner, while others offer an all-you-can-eat buffet. The most popular restaurants are often fully booked up to several weeks in advance, so it’s important to plan ahead if you want somewhere special.
In terms of price, dining in London on New Year’s Eve can be quite varied, with menus available for under £50 per person, and then the most popular restaurants can be quite pricey.
On board a Thames river cruise
Another way to see the fireworks in the front row is by taking a cruise on the Thames. It’s definitely an unbeatable way to see the fireworks. You can choose to have dinner on the boat before the fireworks, live music, cruises for adults only or cruises suitable for children.
From one of London’s highest points
Some of London’s highest points offer stunning views over the British capital for free, and if you can see the London Eye, you can see the fireworks. Some of them are quite far from the centre, so the fireworks are quite small, but the experience is worth it. We have seen them from Primrose Hill one year, from Parliament Hill another year and from Vauxhall Bridge another year.
Primrose Hill: one of Londoners’ favourite places to watch the fireworks, at the top of Primrose Hill. There are several restaurants nearby, so it is ideal for dining in the area and then going up to Primrose Hill to watch the fireworks. Of course, you need to book at the restaurant you are interested in several weeks in advance! Nearest tube: Chalk Farm / Swiss Cottage.
Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath: Probably the highest and furthest point in London from which you can see the fireworks. We recommend having dinner at one of the many restaurants in Hampstead and then going up to watch the fireworks. We did this on New Year’s Eve 2013, and were surprised at how many people went. The best thing is to see how there are fireworks on the horizon at 360ºC, not only the ones on the London Eye, which you can see a bit far away, but you can see them! Nearest tube: Hampstead
Alexandra Palace: Even further away than Parliament Hill, Alexandra Palace is one of the highest points in London from where you can also see numerous fireworks from different places, with the London Eye fireworks in the background. Nearest tube station: Wood Green.
Cannon Street (next to Bank), between Monument and Tower Hill (Tower of London): you can see the fireworks as it is one of the highest points in this area of London, but it tends to be a favourite area for locals and Londoners so it is advisable to arrive early! Nearest tube station: Monument / Bank
Vauxhall Bridge: Bridge from which you can see the Ferris wheel and the fireworks and is not usually one of the most popular, so usually arriving half an hour or so before you can get a good spot… We went on New Year’s Eve 2014 and we would recommend it as one of the best options! Nearest tube: Vauxhall / Pimlico.
Remember that this year they are not going to set up the giant screen that used to be installed in Trafalgar Square. You will see that there are many options for watching the fireworks, but it will depend on whether you are going with children or with a group of friends or just as a couple to decide which option is best.
Watch the fireworks live from the banks of the River Thames
In order to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London live you should bear in mind that it is an event that attracts a large number of people from all over the world, and therefore you should be prepared to spend a few hours on your feet and it is important to arrive well in advance (about 3 or 4 hours before).
To see the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London from the banks of the Thames from the front row, you need to buy tickets. Tickets for the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London are usually on sale in October.
To view the fireworks from key areas of the event, on the banks of the Thames overlooking the London Eye, tickets will be required.
This year there are approximately 103,000 tickets available to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London. Each ticket costs £15, and a maximum of 4 tickets can be purchased per person.
On 2 December at 12 noon, the last tickets available will go on sale. These last tickets include those that have been previously purchased and for some reason have been returned.
Areas when buying London New Year’s Eve Tickets
When buying tickets for the fireworks, you will see that there are 5 zones available which are detailed below:
Blue Area: The area between Westminster Bridge and Embankment tube station, on the pavement in front of the London Eye. In my opinion the Blue Area is the best area to see the New Year’s Eve fireworks. This area is accessible from 8pm until 10.30pm, and can be reached from Victoria (Entrance 1) and Green Park (Entrance 2) tube stations.
Red Area: Area located between Embankment and Temple stations, on the pavement in front of the London Eye. This area is accessible from 8pm until 10.30pm, and can be accessed from Holborn (Entrance 4) and Blackfriars (Entrance 5) tube stations.
White Area: On Westminster Bridge. It can only be accessed from the south bank of the river from Waterloo (Entrance 8) and will not be accessible from Westminster tube station. The view of the London Eye from here in my opinion is not the best, but you will have a front row view. This area is accessible from 8pm until 10.30pm.
Green Area: area behind the London Eye. This area is accessible from Southwark Station (Entrance 7). This area will be accessible from 8pm until 10.30pm.
Pink Area: Waterloo Bridge. This area is accessible from Holborn (Gate 3) and Waterloo (Gate 6) stations. From here there are only partial views of London. This area is accessible from 8pm until 10.30pm.
Orange Area: This is the area reserved for disabled people in wheelchairs or with mobility problems. It runs from Albert Embankment to St. Thomas Hospital and will be accessible from Waterloo Station (Entrance 9).
Gates to each zone will open on the night from 8-10.30pm.
For more details and to buy tickets for the London Fireworks visit the official ticketing website:
London Fireworks Tickets – FAQS
Can I bring food?
There will be food and drink stalls in each zone this year. Food and drink are also allowed in, even in previous years they have allowed a small amount of alcohol (small amounts!) but you can’t bring glassware. Most supermarkets sell glasses and even plastic cups at this time of the year.
Are there toilets?
Yes, there will be toilets in every area.
Can I resell my tickets if I don’t want to go at the end?
No, tickets are non-transferable. When buying tickets you must enter your name and each person can buy a maximum of 4 tickets. If you are more than 4 people, two different adults (or more!) must buy tickets, and you must make sure you buy tickets for the same zone as it is not possible to go from one zone to another.
Each ticket will have the name of the purchaser and the person named on the tickets must have photo identification (passport or ID). This is to prevent the resale of tickets at a higher price, so I do not recommend that you buy the tickets from someone else unless you are going to enter with him/her. In theory it is also not possible to change the name on the tickets once you have bought them, although you can contact them to try, but in case you can’t attend you have until 28th November to return the tickets and get your money back. After 28th November, if you are unable to attend, they will not refund your tickets.
Do I have to print the tickets?
You don’t have to print your tickets, as they will be sent by post. It is not possible to enter by showing the purchase confirmation with your mobile phone or printed email, you need to bring your tickets with you. According to the official website, you may not receive your tickets until December, and you should have received them before 24 December.
Can children go to the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London?
The general advice is not to bring children because of the large crowds, but this is really up to you in my opinion… Please note that you have to stand, as there are no chairs. And obviously animals are not allowed (except guide dogs).
The fireworks start at 12 am, after the chimes of Big Ben and last for about 12 minutes. From 9 pm onwards there will be music playing over the loudspeakers and there is usually a good atmosphere. Once the fireworks are over it can take quite a while to get out, and my recommendation is to wait a while or walk a bit to a tube or bus stop that is not one of the closest to the river area, as the queues to get on the tube or to catch a bus can be up to 90 minutes… So, don’t rush and take it easy!
As the old saying goes, “The sound of firecrackers is a celebration of the old year”. On New Year’s Day, be sure to meet your dear pals and lovely lovers to watch the fireworks display and wave a joyful hand to the past year. A grand farewell is the only way to make a more serious start, and the next year is sure to be an even more exciting year.