London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations, organized by the Mayor of London, will be a bit more exclusive this December: The organizers are planning to ticket this year's event in order to reduce the number of people attending.
This year, 100,000 tickets will be available to the public for top views of the display and, as the tourism board claims, a better visitor experience. Visitors and locals will be able to book up to four tickets at £10 each from Friday, September 26 at 12 noon (UK time), by going to london.gov.uk/nye.
Since the fireworks were first staged at the London Eye in 2003, the number of people wanting to see them have grown from an estimated 100,000 in the first year to 400,000 in 2012 and 500,000 in 2013.
The prime viewing areas have a capacity of 100,000 people, which means the majority of people wanting to watch the display do not get the best view, or are unable to access the areas altogether. The huge crowds also mean long delays leaving the area at the end of the event as attendees make their way to Tube, rail and other public transport services.
In a statement, the tourism board said that introducing tickets to popular events, similar to the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations, "is a recognized way of controlling crowd numbers and not a penny of profit will be made from the £10 fee, which will be used to pay for administration costs and ensuring the event is safe."
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said that the tickets would "help manage crowd numbers and create a better experience on the night." Those who can't get tickets will be able to watch the fireworks on TV, he added. "And don't forget, there are hundreds of other New Year's Eve celebrations to enjoy in bars, restaurants and clubs across the capital."
London at New Year's
London has a range of experiences suitable for ringing in the New Year. Many pubs and gastropubs will be staying open past midnight and top comedy clubs and West End theatres will be putting on great performances. Local nightclubs will also have top DJs spinning.
Families can take children to an afternoon matinee or go skating at the many ice rinks around the capital. The next morning, New Year's Day Parade includes marching bands, acrobats, cheerleaders and entertainers.