Five great places to visit for New Year celebrations

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London

It is difficult to discuss New Year’s Eve plans and not mention the English capital’s annual firework display. Regularly drawing crowds of up to 250,000 and a television crowd of 13 million, there is no doubt that this big-budget spectacular will not disappoint.

Come midnight the sky above London will be ablaze with impressive polytechnics being set off on and around the London Eye. London is easily accessible from Wales via the M4 so why not wrap up warm this New Year and join the crowds that gather along London’s renowned South Bank to celebrate. Stand in awe as the 12,500 fireworks are released into the night sky accompanied by a carefully selected DJ set, creating an electric atmosphere. Once you have joined in with Big Ben’s ‘bongs’ and taken arms with the quarter of a million strangers to the chorus of Auld Lang Syne why not stay and enjoy the rest of the music, which plays until 12:45, giving the crowds chance to die down making travel to your next destination easier.

If you still feel in the festive mood you can continue the celebrations at the London New Year’s Day parade. Beginning at The Ritz in Piccadilly and running through Lower Regent Street and Trafalgar Square before finishing in Parliament Square this monumental parade drew a crowd of 500,00 people last year. With something for everyone from Darth Vadar to Cheerleaders to Brass Bands, representing 6,000 of London Boroughs as well as friends from all over the globe, it really is a celebration worth watching.

Amsterdam

No matter your age or your style of celebration Amsterdam is sure to have something for you. Whether you would like to admire fireworks from a warm restaurant or join in an eccentric street party, the Dutch are certainly a strong contender to ring the New Year in with.

Throngs of people flock to the compact city each year to celebrate. Amsterdam is brimming with restaurants, bars and clubs for every taste and budget. There is many a tradition for you to indulge in whilst enjoying your stay, so delay that diet, and treat yourself to an ‘oliebollen’, a delicious sugar coated doughnut, or ‘appelflappen’, a tasty apple fritter, both sold at stands all over the city in the month leading up to New Year.

If fireworks are your preference then Amsterdam covers that too. A panoramic display takes place each year as simultaneously hundreds of Dutch homes throughout the city set off their own displays. Climb to the nearest roof and admire the hour-long celebration before heading to the local ‘kroeg’ (pub) to bring in the New Year with the ever-welcoming locals.

If it is big crowds and atmosphere that you desire then it is the more historical areas of the city that will enthrall you, such as Rembrandtplein, Nieuwmarkt, Leidseplein and Dam Square. On December 31st Dam Square overflows with beer tents and live shows filling the air with music and merriment, the perfect destination for a fun filled night.

However, if you wish the enjoy the beauty of the City in a quieter area you and your other half can escape to one of Amsterdam’s many bridges such as the Magere Brug and Torensluis and revel in the romance of the night.

Edinburgh

Come New Year Scotland’s capital becomes party central with a whole 3 days worth of celebrations on offer. It all kicks off with St Andrews day on the 30th December with a free event in Grassmarket that brings together music, dance, food and drink for a wonderful family day out.

Once you have enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the market and danced with your loved ones to the many folk bands on offer, it is now time to really party, and the Scotts have given you a wide range of options to cover your party preferences. The annual Street Party sees 80,000 people pay the £20 ticket fee to line the streets of Edinburgh’s City Centre creating an exciting atmosphere as they observe the massive polytechnic displays, which take place every hour from 9pm in the build up to the grand finale at midnight. If crowds aren’t for you then there are 12 big screens set up throughout the Centre, which gives you a good view of the action from a less busy spot. The fireworks are accompanied by 4-hours of party tunes to get you dancing your way into 2014.

There is also a music festival on offer in Princes Street Gardens, located within the main Street Party, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay ‘Concert in the Gardens’ is a hugely popular event with big acts such as Pet Shop Boys headlining the event, the perfect end to pop duo’s tremendously successful world tour. They will be joined by other acts including Scotland’s own Nina Nesbitt and The 10:04’s as well as the exciting new band The 1974’s.

If you would prefer a more relaxed entry into the New Year, then there is also a ‘Candlelit Concert’ on offer with St Giles' Cathedral Choir offering an array of live classical music performed by talented young soloists from all over the world, giving you a cultural start to 2014.

Rio de Janeiro

If you want to admire a spectacular firework display but not have to battle the cold then Rio de Janeiro may be the place for you this New Year. There is no doubt that the Brazilians know how to celebrate and as it is the peak of their summer holidays, there is nothing holding them back. Thousands of tourists year on year travel to the famous Copacabana beach, to admire the massive multi-million dollar firework display.

In Brazil, New Year is seen a celebration of the goddess Yemanja and as a time of renewal, a time to put the past year behind you and look to the future and so symbolically people wear white clothing. Why not get involved this New Year, grab your best whites, and hit the beach to admire the fireworks as they light up the horizon. You can join in with other local traditions such as washing yourself in the ocean and throwing flowers into the surf in the hope that they will drift off into the ocean letting you know your dreams and prayers for the coming year will be answered by the African-Brazilian goddess Umbanda.

This polytechnic show is unique for the fact that the fireworks are set off from barges in the ocean giving revelers on the beach the perfect panoramic view for this 20-minute display. If like the 2 million people who lined the beach last year, it is a big night out that you are looking for then it may be worth splashing the cash to get you to Brazil.

Sydney

The annual New Year firework display over Sydney Bridge is sure to never disappoint. The ever-popular display boasts a crowd of more than one million and yearly brings in a television audience of one billion from all over the world.

Each year the event has a new exciting theme and this year is no different with the spectacular adopting the theme of ‘Shine’ and will be directed by Fortunato Foti who has boasted that New Year’s Eve 2014 display will be the biggest yet. Part of the display is based around Sydney Opera House, in celebration of its 40th Anniversary, and will include 1,000 specially designed fireworks, which will be launched from the sails of the famous building, using new LED technology to really impress the masses of people who will gather along the harbor. Twice as many fireworks are planning to be fired from the Sydney Harbour Bridge than in last year’s display ensuring that this will be an event you should not miss.

This spectacular display is set to bring Sydney to life so if you don’t fancy standing to watch the magnificent lights then why not book a table at the Aria Restaurant. Enjoy the electric display as you indulge in a delicious three-course meal in a cool, atmospheric environment. If you then decide you want to dance your way into 2014 then why not head down to the Opera Bar’s World Famous Beach Party and ensure that it is a trip worth making.

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