27 December


Warm mince pies all round on the Alston to Gilderdale line in Cumbria. The traditional mince-pie special train departs at noon - and every hour until 3pm - and train staff will be distributing these sweet traditional treats to hungry travellers. The ride costs pounds 2.50 for adults, pounds 1 for children.

28-30 December


Take a candlelight tour of the White House, 5pm-7pm every night. It's free, but get there early.

28-29 December


Set against the stunning backdrop of the Amalfi coastline, the third International Short Film Festival of Positano features 18 films this year, and on Tuesday at 6pm, special guest Gore Vidal will present a documentary entitled Gore Vidal's Gore Vidal.

29 December-1 January


American Indian war-dancing, singing and masquerade contests are among the events in White Swan, Washington State, for the Toppenish Creek New Year's celebrations.

31 December


Spend New Year's Eve celebrating with the crowds in Plaza del Sol, Madrid. At midnight, the custom is to eat 12 grapes, swallowing one every time the square's famous clock strikes. If you manage to perform the task before midnight, you will have a prosperous New Year.

31 December


Get your best dress on for the Opera Garnier in Paris, one of the city's most glamorous New Year's Eve parties. The evening starts with a performance of the ballet Don Quichotte, choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev, and continues with a champagne dinner and ball. Tickets cost from FFr150 (pounds 16.85) to FFr1,000 for the ballet only, and FFr1,500 for the ballet, dinner and ball. Call for information 2pm-6pm (tel: 00 331 42 66 41 24).

31 December


Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Berliners have brought in the New Year around the famous Brandenburg Gate. This year, celebrations take place on a grand scale, with four stages, food stalls, dancing areas, and a huge ice-bar serving champagne. German bands will perform live music and DJs will be spinning their turntables until late. Arrive early - last year more than 250,000 people turned up.

31 December


Stonehaven, a fishing town near Aberdeen, celebrates New Year's Eve with a Fireball Festival, dating from the 8th century. At the stroke of midnight, the fireballers walk down the high street swinging brightly burning wire cages, until they reach the harbour, where the fireballs are thrown into the sea.

30 December-3 January


Umbria Jazz holds its winter edition in Orvieto, featuring Richard Galliano and the New York Tango Quartet, the Bill Frisell Group, Jimmy Bosch, and the Brad Mehldau Trio. Call for further information (tel: 00 39 075 57 32 432).

1 January


Vienna's New Year's Day concert is broadcast around the globe, but tickets to see the real thing are still available. Call for further information (tel: 00 431 505 8190).