Ramsay's soirée heads the New Year's Eve party list

The chef, who is appointed OBE in today's New Year Honours, has invited three glamorous couples for dinner chez Ramsay in south London, according to reports, where they will celebrate his gong.

The diners - David and Victoria Beckham, Jeremy Clarkson and his wife, Frances, and Ross Kemp and his partner Rebekah Wade, - will be looked after by staff from the Scotsman's restaurant empire. But many Britons whose address books boast a more modest collection of names will head for a house party, pub, or something more adventurous.

The biggest party will be in Edinburgh, where about 250,000 people will throng the streets for Europe's biggest New Year's Eve celebrations. The Royal Bank Street Party will have 100,000 people and acts on four stages, including K T Tunstall. At midnight, fireworks from the seven hills around the capital will burst above the castle.

In London, 150,000 people are expected to line the Embankment to watch fireworks and the giant projection of faces of "heroes in London" over the past year. The images include the cricketer Andrew Flintoff, a hero of Ashes Test series, and a First World War veteran. Giant screens will relay the action to crowds in Trafalgar Square

In Newcastle, a cruise along the Tyne in the Love Boat is a popular New Year's Eve pastime, while there will be a party at Cardiff City Hall and fireworks in Bute Park. A motown music extravaganza will enliven the Hove Centre on the south coast, and 100 disc jockeys will take charge of a 10-hour dance marathon at the NEC Arena in Birmingham.

Hundreds are expected at the Bond Ball in Kensington, London, dressed as characters from the 007 films, while smart dress is the minimum requirement for a £50-a-head party at the Café Royal on Regent Street. Exmouth in Devon is preparing for an invasion of revellers attracted by its reputation as the UK's fancy dress capital on New Year's Eve.

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