Partygoers warned as temperature plummets

Revellers told to wrap up with forecasters predicting it could hit -5C tonight

New Year's Eve revellers have been warned that they face freezing temperatures when they see in 2009.

Nearly 400,000 people are expected to take to the streets of London ahead of a midnight fireworks display centred on the London Eye. Similar outdoor events in Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh should also prove popular. But weather forecasters believe temperatures could fall to -5C.

The Met Office said an extended period of cold and settled weather lasting for the next fortnight will follow the chilliest start to winter in more than 30 years. The first 13 days of December were the coldest since 1976: temperatures averaged 1.7C – three degrees lower than the long-term trend.

Stephen Holman, senior Met Office forecaster, said: "By midnight on New Year's Eve it will definitely feel very cold. I would advise people to wrap up warm. The temperatures will stay colder than average for the first two weeks of January." The AA asked motorists to bring warm clothing, blankets, food supplies and a torch on long journeys.

Event organisers said they did not expect the freezing conditions to dissuade revellers. Tickets for Hogmanay in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where outdoor events were cancelled two years ago because of high winds and torrential rain, have sold out.

But the popularity of free events is not being matched by demand for setpiece parties. Tickets were still available yesterday for high-profile events including Sir Elton John's concert at the O2 arena in Greenwich, London. Tables were available for the Dorchester Hotel's six-course dinner with live music and dancing (£320 a head).

This year's celebrations in London may be the last with a free New Year's Eve fireworks display. London's Mayor, Boris Johnson, confirmed that he is considering the introduction of ticketing to bring increased "sustainability" to the £1.6m show. "The planning, management and financing of the event remains a challenge, due to the large numbers of people wishing to attend the fireworks and the limited [180,000] capacity of the viewing areas," said Mr Johnson. "Only 40 per cent of the event budget is spent on the actual fireworks and lighting displays. The remainder is spent on crowd management.

"We are considering a number of options, which may include ticketing, all of which will ensure the sustainability of future New Year's Eve celebrations."

A survey for National Savings & Investments found that 76 per cent of people will either celebrate tonight by staying in – or only going out to a free event. The poll of 2,000 adults found just 15 per cent of revellers were prepared to pay as much as it took to enable them to go to the best restaurant, club or bar.

Hoteliers in London and Scotland said an influx of European travellers drawn by the fall of the pound against the euro was helping to boost revenues.

New Year's Eve: Free events


Midnight: After Big Ben, fireworks over London Eye. Screens in Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square relay the event live. Free public transport until 4.30am.


Midnight: Ten minutes of fireworks next to big wheel in Exchange Square.


Midnight: Fireworks display in Centenary Square.


From 7.30pm: Free concert in Civic Centre with ex- X Factor contestant Andy Abraham singing in new year.


Midnight: Fireworks display in Foreshore Park.


Roads: 60 sets of roadworks have been completed or suspended for the festive period. Works remain at 28 locations including A1(M) J58-59; M1 J25-28; M4 J5-7; M5 J11-11a; M6 J5-4; M25 J26-27.

Rail: Reduced services: First Great Western between London and Reading, Oxford, Swindon until New Year's Day; Virgin Trains between London Euston and Birmingham and Manchester until New Year's Day. Suspended services: South West Trains between Clapham Junction and Barnes until 4 January.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Floyd Mayweather will relinquish his five world titles after beating Manny Pacquiao
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living