The capital has brought in 2020 with ‘the best fireworks London has ever seen’ as the UK enters one of its most important decades yet.
More than 100,000 have gathered around Victoria Embankment and cheered as they watched the impressive display light up the sky above the River Thames, to the soundtrack of some of the country’s biggest hits.
Big Ben’s chimes loudly rang out 12 times signifying the start of the display, before around 12,000 dramatic fireworks exploded in the air featuring music songs by Stormzy, Wiley and Bastille.
The theme of this year’s display is based on London hosting a number of key games such in the Euro 2020 football tournament and the crowds could be heard proudly chanting ‘it’s coming home’ towards the end of the show.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he hoped the display would show the world that it is still a confident ‘global city’, as the UK prepares to leave the EU in the new year.
He said: ‘Fairly or unfairly, people around the world saw the Brexit referendum vote as the UK somehow turning its back on the rest of the world, including Europe.
‘The fear was, we would become insular, inward-looking, and what I’m keen to show is the opposite…
‘And it’s really important that we show the world who will be watching our fireworks that we are a confident, global, outward-looking European city.’
London’s event sold out and travel on Transport for London (TfL) services will be free between 11.45pm on New Year’s Eve and 4.30am on New Year’s Day.
Meanwhile, Hogmanay celebrations began in Edinburgh, as crowds gathered for the city’s annual street party, with around 100,000 visitors expected to attend the event.
Large fireworks shows will also take place in cities including Manchester, Cardiff, Newcastle, Inverness and Nottingham.
As Brits celebrated across the country, the prime minister focused the next decade’s attention on Brexit and told the public it could look forward to 10 years of ‘prosperity and opportunity’.
Boris Johnson will be watching London’s display from television, as he is bringing in the next decade with girlfriend Carrie Symonds on the private Caribbean island of Mustique.
In his New Year message, the PM said that with the UK set to leave the EU on January 31, the Government could focus on the ‘people’s priorities’.
‘As we say goodbye to 2019 we can also turn the page on the division, rancour and uncertainty which has dominated public life and held us back for far too long,’ he added.
‘We can start a new chapter in the history of our country, in which we come together and move forward united, unleashing the enormous potential of the British people.’
He said although the ‘first item’ on his agenda was to take Brexit out of the EU as soon as possible, he wants to be a ‘prime minister for everyone’, including the millions who backed Remain or did not vote Conservative in the general election.
‘If you are one of them, I want to reassure you that I will be a prime minister for everyone, not just those who voted for me,’ he said.
‘I know that you love this country no less, simply because you voted for another party or wanted to Remain.
‘More than that, I want to work with you, as friends and equals, as we build the future this United Kingdom deserves.
‘So let’s together make the 2020s a decade of prosperity and opportunity.’
He reiterated that the main concern on people’s lists of priorities was more investment in the NHS.
‘The NHS is a wonderful British invention, there for us and our families when we are ill, whatever our background and regardless of ability to pay. So the NHS will always be my top priority.’
Mr Johnson said he was also determined to make the UK ‘the best place on Earth’ for ‘quality education and cutting-edge science’.
‘Our vision is clear: to unite and level up across the whole United Kingdom – spreading opportunity more fairly – with better infrastructure, superb education and high technology,’ he said.