Visitors to London can always expect a fantastic array of attractions to entertain them during their visit, but perhaps one of the biggest spectacles on the the calendar is that of the annual New Year’s Day parade that sees hundreds of thousands of performers and spectators taking to the streets of the capital.
In excess of 500,000 people came out to support and take part in the parade on January 1st this year and the event in 2016 is expected to be even bigger, as it will mark the 30th anniversary of this spectacular extravaganza.
This year saw the theme of ‘London on the move’ and the event featured more than 10,000 performers as they made their way from Green Park to Westminster in the heart of the city.
Grandstands were erected along the parade route to ensure spectators had excellent views of this colourful and vibrant event, while the roads were strewn with streamers and enthusiastic guests all up for some fun.
The parade made its way along the 2.2-mile route beginning at the Ritz Hotel, before taking in Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Big Ben.
Every year, the parade witnesses entries from each of the London boroughs, with awards available for the most ambitious and inventive participants to encapsulate that year’s parade theme.
In addition, performers from around the world fly into London to take part, with acrobats, cheerleaders, musicians, dancers, clowns, marching bands and more all making this a truly exciting and enthralling day out for all the family to enjoy, with something for everyone and always a spectacle to behold.
An international panel of judges are on hand every year to rate the performers, floats and entrants into the parade, with the best acts receiving an award and a share of the money raised by the event to share among their chosen charities.
It truly is a worthy cause, with more than £1.5 million raised by participants and spectators at the parade this year.
Not just popular here in the UK, London’s New Year’s Day Parade has now grown to such a size that it maintains global appeal, with both spectators and participants flocking from across the globe to take part.
A worldwide audience is also able to tune in to the annual festivities – global viewing figures of more than three million were recorded in 2015, as the event is broadcast live on TV’s across the globe.
First held on January 1st 1987, the London New Year’s Day Parade was originally named The Lord Mayor of Westminster’s Big Parade and featured just 2,000 performers – mostly marching bands and local community groups.
However, it proved to be a stunning success and a real draw for the crowds, with around 100,000 people turning up on the day to witness what turned out by a landmark day for London as a whole.
Now almost 30 years later, the show has grown immensely and is a draw to visitors from around the world, having taken on its current guise, encapsulating the new year celebrations for the whole of London from 1994.
Set to be an even bigger spectacle in 2016, the exact details of the parade route and the times when the festivities will get underway are yet to be published, but it is sure to be a fantastic show that visitors will not want to miss.