A chaotic 2022 ends as Britons brave the elements to toast 2023

Happy New Year! A chaotic 2022 goes out with a bang as millions of Britons brave the elements to toast hopes of a better 2023

  • Hardy Britons are braving the wind and the rain to celebrate the new year in town centres across the country
  • Revellers have begun to gather on the banks of the Thames, lining up to watch London’s spectacular fireworks
  • Celebrations have also kicked off on Newcastle’s quayside with a laser light show lighting up the river Tyne 
  • People have been partying for hours in high streets around Britain despite warnings of torrential downpours 

Bold Britons walked out through rain and wintry weather to usher in 2023, as they bid adieu to an eventful and emotional year which saw the nation mourn the loss of its longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. 

Revellers gathered on the banks of the Thames in the early evening, hours ahead of the traditional London fireworks which lit up the skies at midnight – with tributes to the late Queen, Ukraine’s resistance against Russian invasion and 50 years of Pride celebrations.

Celebrations in Newcastle Upon Tyne saw the city’s famous Tyne and Millennium bridges lit up in spellbinding colours by BAFTA award-winning artist Seb Lee-Delisle.

Despite warnings of torrential downpours and yellow weather warnings across the south west people have been heading out to parties and celebrations.  

London was truly magical at the turn of midnight as the UK ushered in 2023 – following an eventful and emotionally-charged 2022

Happy New Year! Big Ben stands resplendent against a dazzling fireworks display over the River Thames

The legendary party city of Newcastle Upon Tyne ushered in New Year with a lights extravaganza from the Tyne Bridge

Big Ben bonged in England’s capital as a crowd of more than 100,000 people gathered along the Thames Embankment in central London to watch 12,000 fireworks streak across the sky.

The sold-out show was designed to send a message of ‘love and unity’, as it highlighted the Lionesses’ history-making Euro win at Wembley, marked 50 years of London’s Pride with a message from Peter Tatchell from the Gay Liberation Front, and sent a message of support to Ukraine.

The display also paid tribute to the late Queen, featuring a voice recording from her and words from Dame Judi Dench, before honouring the King, together with a message from Charles about the need to preserve our planet’s future.

Complete with music that included Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, Ukrainian Eurovision winner Kalush Orchestra, and hits from Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Cher, Dave, Rihanna and Calvin Harris, the show concluded with the traditional Auld Lang Syne.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was ‘delighted’ that Londoners and visitors could once again join together on the banks of the River Thames to ring in the new year.

Thousands of Metropolitan Police officers were on duty across the capital.

Fireworks explode over Edinburgh Castle during the street party for Hogmanay New Year celebrations in Edinburgh

A spectacular fireworks display lit up the sky above Edinburgh Castle to celebrate New Year

Revellers on Princes Street, before the Hogmanay New Year celebrations in Edinburgh

Officers have worked with charity Safer Spaces to build a place in Duncannon Street, central London, for women and girls to go should they feel unsafe.

While other parts of England also celebrated with fireworks, the North Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough did not.

An Arctic walrus, believed to be ‘Thor’ – who was spotted on the Hampshire coastline earlier this month, arrived in the harbour earlier in the day.

Scarborough Borough Council cancelled the fireworks display on the advice of British Divers Marine Life Rescue after the organisation expressed concerns that it could cause ‘distress’ to the mammal.

In a village further down the coast in East Yorkshire, re-enactors took part in the Flamborough Fire Festival in a Viking-themed parade.

A couple in Wales’ capital Cardiff celebrate the New Year, while elsewhere in the city crowds partied in its Winter Wonderland

North of the border, people in Edinburgh enjoyed what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the ‘first full Hogmanay celebrations in three years’.

‘Thinking back to Hogmanay last year and indeed the year before that, we’re reminded of just how far we have come from the very darkest days of the pandemic,’ she said in a New Year’s Eve message on Twitter.

People queued in the rain to enter the party in Princes Street.

Fireworks lit up the sky behind the city’s castle.

The 80s duo The Pet Shop Boys sang the city into 2023.

More artists rang in the new year with song as Eurovision star Sam Ryder performed hits on BBC One.

In Cardiff, families partied in the city’s Winter Wonderland, while people in Belfast celebrated at Europa Hotel’s annual Gala Ball.

Proud Scots wore waterproof ponchos with the national flag as they celebrated Hogmanay in Edinburgh

People gather on the Embankment opposite the London Eye in central London to celebrate New Year

Revellers lined the streets of Edinburgh to watch the display despite the rainy weather

The area between the Millennium and Tyne bridges in Newcastle has been lit up to celebrate the New Year. People 

Celebrations have begun on the banks of the Thames, where fireworks will be let off at midnight. People have braved the harsh weather conditions to be there in person

Two revellers head out to celebrate the new year in Liverpool, despite the wet weather conditions

Poor weather will be seen across the country this evening, but will not put a dampener on parties for many.

In Edinburgh, proud Scots lined the streets – many of them wearing waterproof ponchos with the national flag – as they enjoyed the Hogmanay celebrations.

A spectacular fireworks display lit up the sky above Edinburgh Castle as thousands of people cheered. 

A yellow warning for rain has been issued across much of England’s south west and southern Wales until 9pm on Saturday. 

Disruption is also expected across the Scottish Highlands where there were warnings for ice until 11am and snow until 3pm.

Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Helen Caughey said it would be an ‘unsettled’ New Year weekend for much of the UK.

‘New Year’s Eve for most will be the wetter of the two days, with a number of fronts bringing rain and wind across much of the country,’ Ms Caughey said.

People admire the light show from a bridge in Newcastle. The display was designed by BAFTA winning artist Seb Lee-Delisle

Umbrellas could be seen along the banks of the Tyne in Newcastle as people gathered on the quay in the poor weather to see the laser show

‘The unsettled weather will stay with us into the evening. Much of Scotland will see a largely dry day, with just the odd shower, before a more persistent band of rain and hill snow arrives.

‘This will be followed by a more mixed New Year’s Day, with Scotland seeing the bulk of the unsettled conditions, with spells of rain, turning to snow over higher ground, continuing to push north.

‘While it will be mild across the south, it will remain colder in the north with an ice risk in places here early on Sunday.

‘Elsewhere, a drier day is expected, although with some showers, mainly across western areas, ahead of conditions becoming more widely settled into Monday.’

But for revellers who last long enough at the party, conditions should ease later this evening.  

Wet weather in London didn’t stop revellers crowding the banks of the Thames from the early evening

The London Eye was lit up ahead of the traditional midnight fireworks on the Thames to usher in the new year

Chief Medical Officer Sir Frank Atherton warned people not too indulge too much at parties this evening to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on the NHS

People have been warned not to drink too much at the festivities this evening, to avoid putting further pressure on the NHS. 

Traditionally celebrations can last long into the night as people stay up to watch the fireworks and to celebrate the new year.  

Chief Medical Officer Sir Frank Atherton told BBC One’s Breakfast programme: ‘I agree people generally behave very sensibly. 

‘Sadly, when alcohol gets thrown into the mix, and it gets thrown in a big way in new year, that can sometimes go out of the window, and so we are asking people to behave sensibly, don’t put themselves at risk, don’t put others at risk, look after each other when you’re out and about, don’t drink too much and don’t get into trouble.’

Spectators at the laser light show in Newcastle on the banks of the Tyne

Yellow weather warnings had been in place in Scotland and the south west of England throughout New Year’s Eve but the weather 

It comes as health leaders warned this winter is likely to be the worst on record for A&E waiting times as hospitals struggle to cope with rocketing demand driven by flu and Strep A. 

Asked what activities people should avoid to reduce the risk of injury, Sir Frank added: ‘Now is not the time to be going out and starting to do a huge long run. We want people to get fit and active in the new year, of course we do, but do it sensibly, think about pacing yourself, about not taking on too much all at once.

‘Keeping yourself warm at home is really important as well, looking after your health, I know that’s very difficult with the cost-of-living crisis. 

People head out for a night out in Liverpool ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations across the country

Two women brave the elements in Liverpool to go out on December 31, 2022. Many people will stay home this year as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and lasting pandemic habits, it has been reported

A woman dressed up for a night out holds a small bag over her head to protect herself from the elements 

The rain hasn’t put people off bringing in the new year with a bang and bars and clubs have been selling tickets for special events

‘Watch out for your loved ones, make sure that people are kept safe, particularly the elderly at this time of year, that they are well hydrated at home, because people can get dehydrated very quickly, and we know that elderly people who get dehydrated then run into problems with frailty, they have falls, they need to be brought to hospital. 

‘So we can look after each other and look after ourselves and keep the NHS capacity for those who really need it.’

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) believes this month will be the worst December for hospital bed occupancy and A&E waiting times while the Society for Acute Medicine has said services are being ‘pressurised like never before’. 

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