New Year’s Eve in London

spending new years eve in london

So, it’s your first time out of the United States and you’re with strangers in London on New Year’s Eve…what’re you gonna do?

First, Don’t Freak Out…

because in less than two weeks these 44 virtual strangers will become family… sharing the experience of a life-changing study abroad program with one another, something that no one else will exactly encounter nor understand except your new family members that traveled with International Business Seminars. Relish in the present and make these two weeks count!

Anyways, you’re in London (not freaking out) and you’re trying to figure out exactly what to do… you’re in luck because you’re in London! One of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and on this special occasion, there is never a lack of things to do.

Second, Think About Transportation

And the details revolving around it within London on New Year’s Eve is always near the top of the list. Don’t let yourself, or others, get caught in a situation where you can’t find transportation or traversing the streets in an attempt to find the hotel.

  • The Tube system is in operation until about 4:30 AM on New Year’s Eve/Day and the system has been providing free Tube services to party-goers until close since 2000. Still bring your travel card with you though, the free services often don’t begin until around 11:45 PM.
  • The city of London begins to shut down many of the roads within Central London to prepare for the celebrations at around 2:00 PM and most should reopen by 6:00 AM so if you’re still out past that magic 4:30 AM mark, you might be stuck and out of luck.
  • Don’t be out too late because we will be leaving the hotel to start our journey to Paris at around 9:00 AM New Year’s Day.

Assume there will be closures and make it a point to check out the closure areas and times online before heading out.

Third, Avoid Becoming Paralyzed By Decisions

First and foremost, New Year’s isn’t complete without seeing the fireworks and if you want to go ahead and join 500,000 of your closest friends… head over the Thames River Bank, more specifically the Westminster Bridge by Big Ben. This will cost you a bit but the money raised goes to benefit UNICEF and it’s only £ 10 and it should be purchased online in advance so be sure to sign up for a ticket release email alert when you enroll in the International Business Seminars Winter One or Winter Two.

  • Just be wary, last year the tickets were limited to the first 100,000 people that purchase them and if you do purchase them you need to arrive with your ID to get let in.
  • This may require you to spend a few hours in the fenced off area beforehand as well as upwards of an hour to leave afterward; bear in mind that there are little to no food or drink stalls. Bring your own food or drink but avoid bringing any glass or sharp objects.
  • You don’t have to pay in order to find a good place to watch the fireworks, there are plenty of places you can go with your friends and enjoy the mesmerizing view. Keep one thing in mind if you’re finding a place by the river if you can see the London Eye you will be able to see the fireworks.
  • One of the better places to go, because its further away from the epicenter of chaos, is Cannon street. It is best to arrive here between 8 and 9 PM in order to get a good spot for the 8-10 minute firework show.
  • Another good option that I’ve used before is going in and around Trafalgar Square to view the fireworks and keep in mind it is a very popular place to go to watch the fireworks. Around the Trafalgar Square and up to Leicester Square is a great place to explore and visit pubs before and after the fireworks.
  • Another popular way to see the fireworks is from a boat. You can buy tickets (in advance) to New Year’s Eve cruises on the Thames, these vary in cost from about £150 per person to upwards of £500 per person but many of these cruises include unlimited food and drink. Be wary, some of these cruises may sell out over 6 months in advance.

Planning a bit for bringing in the New Year in a new, foreign place will bring a lot of value and added enjoyment to you and your new friends. Whatever you do, be safe and have an amazing experience this New Year’s Eve!

If you have any questions about New Year’s Eve in London or just about our Winter study abroad programs in general, feel free to drop me a line at

Tyler B. | Operations Exec @ IBS
Tyler Brenenstuhl

IBS Operations Executive

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