London New Year's Day Parade 2024: A Guide

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London New Year's Day Parade 2024: A Guide
Show your mettle by continuing celebrations at the New Year's Day Parade. Photo: London New Year's Day Parade

The fireworks may have fizzled out, empties strewn everywhere, but the party isn't over yet. When 1 January rolls around, you could be in your bed nursing an almighty hangover OR  you could show your mettle by continuing the celebrations at the New Year's Day Parade which takes place every year in central London. Here are the details for New Year's Day 2024.

What is the London New Year's Day Parade?

Every year on 1 January, while many Londoners sleep through the year's first (and worst) hangover, London's New Year's Day Parade takes place in the centre of town. It began in 1987, and has happened every year since then, except January 2021, when it was cancelled due to Covid. Between half a million to a million people (depending which source you believe) line London's streets to watch.

A group of cheerleaders in navy uniforms carrying red and white pom poms through London's streets
Photo: London New Year's Day Parade

When is the London New Year's Day Parade?

Come on Einstein, you've got this. Luckily for you later birds, the party doesn't kick off until noon on 1 January — time to recover from last night's antics (or go for that early morning jog that you're definitely going to do every day in the new year).

The procession usually continues until about 3.30pm.

London School of Dhol and Bangra taking part in a previous year. Photo: London New Year's Day Parade

Where is the London New Year's Day Parade 2024?

It begins at Piccadilly (right outside The Ritz, which is what you want when you're paying that much for a hotel room and sleeping off a hangover that big), heads east to Piccadilly Circus, skirts around Eros before flowing south down Regent Street St James's. Then it's left down Pall Mall, a quick march past Trafalgar Square, and along Whitehall to the finish point at Westminster. The whole thing takes three hours from the first float setting off to the last one finishing. Bring snacks.

You can view a full map of the route.

*TRIVIA CLAXON*: For the first 22 years of the parade's existence, the route was the reverse of this — it was flipped in 2009. The main reason for the change was to please US TV broadcasters, whose viewers get a better view of key London landmarks.

Bloco Fogo Samba Band wearing red and yellow and banging their drums in Piccadilly Circus
The NYD Parade isn't the place to be on a hangover. Photo: London New Year's Day Parade

Who is involved in the London New Year's Day Parade?

Among the participants in this year's parade are:

  • Singer Chesney Hawkes — performing live on stage;
  • Carnaval Del Pueblo — celebrating Latin American music, dance and culture;
  • London's Chinese Community — with dancing dragons and lions, and Chinese drummers;
  • Moto-Stunts International — pulling off some moves which you should definitely NOT try at home;
  • Megaflatables: Five giant inflatable balloons, each up to 20ft high, bobbing along the route. Last year they included one shaped like a phone box.

Plus representatives from some London boroughs, Aston Martin and Mini owners' clubs, and an absolute wealth of American high school bands who fly in for the occasion each year.

A high school band wearing navy uniforms and hats playing trumpets
Many American high school bands take part in London's New Year's Day Parade. Photo: London New Year's Day Parade

How can I watch the London New Year's Day Parade 2024?

Your best option is to grab a spot somewhere along the route. Stand on the pavements, or perhaps hole up at the window seat of a cafe or restaurant along the way. If you plump for the latter, check opening hours in advance, as it's a bank holiday — and be warned that the crowds get large at some points, and may block out your vantage point.

If you're feeling flush, you can splash out on tickets for a seat in the grandstands. Most have sold out now, though do check back for resales. VIP tickets for the grandstands on Whitehall are still available for £150 a pop.

Participants from the London Borough of Merton. Photo: London New Year's Day Parade

Other New Year's Day Parade info

  • There are a couple of warm-up concerts taking place in the preceding days, allowing the bands to fine tune their performances in time for the big event. A nice idea if you've had enough of Christmas telly and want to get out of the house between Christmas and New Year.
  • If you're a total parade fanatic, you can even buy yourself some merchandise to remember the parade forever, including t-shirts, hats, cufflinks and a cuddly toy Alfie puppy. Who's Alfie? No-one knows, but he's yours for £15.

Find out more on the London New Year's Day Parade website. Not into the banging of drums and tooting of trumpets so early in the year? Check out other things to do in London on New Year's Day.

Last Updated 01 January 2024

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