A different New Year’s Resolution: To do something different at NYE

IT MAY SEEM like ages away as the year has only just begun, but we are all guilty of saying every turn of the year “I wish I had done something more exciting or extravagant”. Going away to somewhere other than your hometown may seem like breaking a tradition however, it opens your eyes to a new experience. It also may give you an itch to never sit at home for NYE ever again. If you fall into this category – then this article should give you some ideas for potential future plans.

London, New Year’s Eve 2014 (Will) 

As I stood in the pub courtyard preparing to welcome in another year, I decided that I wanted to spend my next New Year’s Eve doing something different.  Now don’t get me wrong, it can be fun to spend the evening in my West Country hometown, getting merry on multiple pints of cider and enjoying the music choices of a DJ who takes up residence on my local’s toilet roof, but in 2014 I fancied a change.  When I was younger, I had always enjoyed watching the fireworks on telly and dreamed of going to London to see them for myself.  So, this year, my Canadian girlfriend and I set off for the capital to enjoy the festivities.

We soon found out that the first thing to do when planning a trip to the New Year fireworks is to buy tickets for the event.  This year was the first that visitors were charged to enter the area, with dangerous overcrowding at previous displays being cited as the reason for this.  The charge, which we paid in advance online, was an acceptable £10 each, which allowed us onto the riverbank between Westminster and Charing Cross, where we were able to enjoy great views of the show from a ‘relatively’ uncrowded spot.  If you like to see the New Year in with a drink, it is worth noting that there aren’t many places selling alcohol in the enclosure.  Some hunting eventually led us to the one pub around, with its long queues and pricey pints.  That said if you can find a shop somewhere, you can bring your own cans in; if only we’d been better prepared!

If London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks look amazing on the BBC, then they are something else in real life.  The sheer number of bursts of different colours was almost overwhelming and while it went on for several minutes, it was almost over all too soon.  The atmospheric display, which was set to music, was certainly the best I’ve ever seen and I would love to go back again; perhaps next year?

Staying in the capital can be expensive at the best of times and New Year is no exception to the rule.  As students, this meant we had to hunt high and low to find somewhere within our budget, eventually settling on the Travelodge in Stratford.  While this wasn’t the most luxurious or centrally located hotel, it did the job, serving as a comfortable base with easy access to all the sights by Tube.  The Westfield shopping centre was close by, with a huge range of stores and restaurants to visit, proving handy when we didn’t fancy heading back into Central London.  What’s more, the Olympic Park was also on the doorstep, which is now open to the public, providing an interesting place to walk and reminisce about the 2012 Games.

London NYE

Will Salmon

Manchester, New Year’s Day 2013 (Sarah)

On NYE 2013 I counted down to midnight with a group of friends before returning home to play Monopoly with my sister. This sounds incredibly boring but it was actually a lot less stressful than what followed the next day. A few of us had tickets to the Warehouse Project closing party for NYD in Manchester. A few days beforehand my friend couldn’t find her ticket, we hadn’t booked a train and to top it off we got there and had NO IDEA to get to where we were staying. A friend who wasn’t coming had kindly lent us her university flat and the friend who had her key was travelling by car. We also had no idea how to get to her road because there are multiple streets with the same name. The two of us who came by train got there too late to find anywhere to eat. After an hour trawling around attempting to find food and another two hours dragging our suitcases around glued to Google Maps, we finally reached our bed for the night. In hindsight, should have just got a taxi to avoid exploring the side streets of Manchester. Warehouse Project was not my scene at all. My claustrophobia set in from the hordes of ‘high on not just life’ teens sticking to me. The only alcohol in the venue was expensive and after a stressful night of loosing friends I left early. Further hassle awaited me at my friend’s halls as the receptionist wouldn’t let me in due to not recognising me; eventually I got hold of my friend and faced the 8am wake up call. Arriva trains greeted me with yet another arduous journey back to Aberystwyth, alone I might add as my friends had not surfaced. No messages, nothing. Turns out they’d gone back to another friend’s hotel. The next day I got back to Aber to find out exams were postponed for a week due to bad weather… Thank god.

Bottom line: If you like that sort of music you would love it. Make sure you know where you are going in advance and be prepared for ridiculous taxi/bar/accommodation prices. Most importantly have a back up plan in case you get separated from your friends or incase you hate the original plan.

Edinburgh, Hogmanay 2012 (Sarah) 

Like Will’s trip to London, you have to pay about £10 to get into the street party. You can take drinks in so long as they aren’t in glass bottles and they check your bags on entry for safety reasons. The street was packed by the time we got there but more in a festive way rather than a claustrophobic rave. They have live bands on throughout the night, and from memory you have to pay more to get into the Prince’s street gardens, but you can hear the music anyway. Most people spend the best part of the day on the street and soak in the crisp winter air. We got there pretty late but The atmosphere was electric. My friends assure me there were fireworks, however, I don’t remember seeing any. We got separated in Edinburgh as well, but not as badly as Manchester, and knowing Edinburgh a lot better it is a safer city all round. Luckily, we knew students in Edinburgh so stayed with them in student accommodation rather than pay extortionate prices. We, typically, left it far too late to book transport so spent 3 hours on a bus there instead of an hour on the train.

Bottom line: It was fantastic experiencing a different city for New Year and I would recommend Edinburgh as it is such a lively city. Book accommodation in advance as well as transport, prices skyrocket closer to New Year. Wear comfy shoes because walking around Edinburgh in heels isn’t something I would want to live through, much like Aber there are many hills and your feet will hate you.

hogmonay

Plans for New Year 2015

Will

Deciding to do something different for New Year’s Eve in 2014 was definitely a good call.  London put on a brilliant show which we will remember for many years to come.  The only question now is where to go next time; will it be a case of continuing to be adventurous, or a return to my local Devonian boozer?

Sarah

I think talks of Dublin are in the mix. I spent this most recent NYE in Stoke-on-Trent with friends of my boyfriend, and that was lovely, I needed a quieter New Year. I feel Dublin is just another I have to tick off.