Ahh… 2012 – the sweet memories. And they said the world would end!
Every December, I remember our first New Year’s Eve as a married couple. We choose a slightly unorthodox honeymoon destination and went to London during winter. And they have proper winters there!
So, here’s what to expect from a New Year trip to London, if you plan for one!
Madame Tussauds, London Eye, London Dungeon and London Sea Life (the aquarium) are a must-visit destinations. In fact if you buy a combo ticket online for all four of them, you get a 40% discount, which is perfect! You can also visit Sherlock Holmes’ House, London Zoo, Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, the Royal Observatory and Greenwich Meridian.
These are all the paid attractions and more information on them you can find on my blog where I discuss them in more detail: . Those that are free and I recommend you are the following: Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery, British Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the parks (Regent’s Park, St. James’ Park Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, etc.). I also advice you to go to the Shard, Canary Wharf, 4th Plinth and Harrods Mall.
Bring warm clothes and wear comfortable shoes. You will have to go to the London Eye and Big Ben (now renamed to Elizabeth Tower) at around 8 pm on New Year’s Eve. This makes at least 4 hours of standing, waiting for the 12 pm fireworks. After the fireworks are over, you will have to wait for some 200,000 people to make their way to some of the nearest stations. Trust me you will not be able to catch the first 20 trains. I remember we were home (at the hotel) at 2 am, even though we were just a few stops away.
I know New Year’s Eve is about drinking and having fun, as well as everything else, but I advice you to abstain from alcohol consumption. We witnessed quite a few drunk and disorderly people, wanting to start a fight and you don’t want to spoil your night by drinking and getting in trouble. If that’s not enough to stop you from drinking on New Year’s Eve, here is another reason. Drinking will make you go to the toilet and you can imagine what happens when you are at the same place with 200,000 other people. The queues for the toilets were huge. Luckily I didn’t have to go, but people around us who did were missing for half an hour. Arm yourself with patience. It is not easy to stay 4 hours on your feet doing pretty much nothing. If you are lucky you might start an interesting conversation with people next to you.
London is a big capital city. It is actually the biggest city in the European Union. It should come as no surprise that it is physically impossible to see everything in a 5-days time, or even in a 7-days time. In order to get the most out of your trip, you should plan very well every single day of your trip.
1. Check the locations of all sights and attractions you want to visit. When I did my research I found that Madame Tussaud’s was very close to Sherlock Holmes’ House and Nando’s. When my husband and I paid a visit to all three of them we had saved a lot of time by travelling just once to Baker Street Station. This will help you save time and go for a walk some place else. In our case we went to Leicester Square where we were offered a good price for a comedy show. This was spontaneous, but we found the time to go! If you wonder what can you do during the evenings, here are a few ideas.
2. Save time waiting on queues by buying most of your tickets online. Most of the destinations allow you to buy your tickets online. If you can afford it, you can even add a fast-track entrance. In addition, online tickets are sometimes a little bit cheaper.
3. Use the Underground. It is the fastest and most reliable way to go out and about in London. Make sure you check the online announcements as sometimes they do works on the underground and certain lines are closed. You should also consider the weather.
What else to expect? Gorgeous fireworks, delicious food, similar to the one we have here, cold and lots of giggles at comedy shows.