Hangover? What hangover?! Put a spring in your step on the first day of the year with the annual London New Year’s Day Parade. While a few may rest in bed, nursing a sore head, the streets of central London fill with colourful floats, dancers, musicians, horses and plenty of spectators.
London’s New Year’s Day Parade tradition began in 1987 with a couple of thousand performers. These days, the parade has ten thousand performers across London’s most iconic landmarks and attracts around half a million spectators. Here’s how to join in the fun.
The parade begins at Piccadilly and winds its way to Piccadilly Circus, along Regent Street and on to St James’s, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. You can watch London’s New Year’s Day parade from any of these main streets. A top viewing spot with plenty of space is our Thistle Trafalgar Square Hotel, so you really can just roll out of bed to see the show. So easy! Our Thistle Piccadilly Hotel is also close to the start of the parade.
All The Queen’s Horses are popular regulars at London’s New Year’s Day parade, bringing Regency costumes and horses back to London’s streets. There are samba bands, marching bands, choirs and DJs bringing the music, and hundreds of Carnaval del Pueblo performers from across Latin America turn out annually, bringing colour and dance to the parade. Keep your eyes peeled for famous superheroes and giant animatronic creature encounters, too – the fun just keeps coming.
This is very much a parade for large groups, with a minimum of 25 people all in costume ready to give a fantastic performance pre-approved by the organisers. Applications open every spring and close in late summer with more details on the criteria for London borough and international performers available on the main parade website.
If you’re visiting the capital for New Year, then stay at one of our comfy, friendly central London Thistle hotels and be close to the parade party vibes. Book a room at our Thistle Trafalgar Square Hotel or Thistle Piccadilly Hotel for a fabulously fun New Year’s day in London.