If you are one of these people who thinks New Year's Day is the dreariest day of the year, and good for nothing but nursing your hangover - then come to London and you will soon change your mind! Our New Year's Day Parade is the biggest parade of it's kind in the world, so if you are a tourist in my home city over the New Year period, it's definitely something you must experience.
The London New Year's Day Parade only started twenty two years ago, which mean it wasn't around when I was growing up here in London. But it has become so popular since it's inception, that it's hard to imagine life without it. Hundreds of musicians, dancers, artists, and performers converge on the streets to create a colourful display to shake locals and tourists alike out of their lethargy from the night before. It is loud, it is fun, and it is an experience that any tourist to London must not miss.
If you are on holiday and this will be your one and only London Parade, the best place to watch is from the Grandstand, which is located at Whitehall, near the starting point of the Parade. If you sit here, you can see all the floats and performers as they start off, and if you have young children with you, or are elderly or not so keen on crowds, it is definitely the best place from which to enjoy the Parade, as the streets around can become very crowded and difficult to walk around. You can buy the tickets for the Grandstand online from www.londonparade.com, and although it is too late to have them sent out to you noe, you can usually arrange to pick them up somewhere once you arrive in London. There are also special areas from where the disabled and wheelchair users can watch safely, and these can be acquired from the same site, along with tickets for some of the jazz and classical concernts that take place in the afternoon and evening in conjunction with the Parade.
For those interested in facts and figures, the Parade will start at noon at Whitehall, next to the famous clock Big Ben, and carry on for two miles, before finishing in Berkeley Square. It goes past 10 Downing Street (home of our Prime Minister) and also through Trafalgar Square. More than 10,000 people from over 20 countries will take part, and over half a million spectators will watch. It will also be televised in many parts of the world.
Although obviously a fun event, that gives enjoyment to locals and tourists alike, and raises the profile of the city of London, the Parade is primarily a successful fund-raising event for various charities here in London. The charities will all be local, and include ones for children, the homeless, hospitals and hospices, charities that provide extra facilities for the disabled in our city, help for the aged, and many more.
So come along to the London Parade if you are on holiday this year. Enjoy the fun, but remember those less fortunate than yourselves, and please try and give a little to our charities, for those people to have a better 2008.