Tag Archives: London


In spite of having thoroughly enjoyed Christmas and New Year and having lit a fair few fireworks in celebration, it would appear that following on from the lovely Boris Johnson’s decision to bring in ticketing for the London NYE firework display in 2014, some of the arguments continue to rage.

The decision to ticket the event was intended to take the strain off the overstretched emergency services and ancillary crowd control and support and of course the transport infrastructure in London.

The current complaint is that of the 106,428 tickets sold only 29,800 went to residents of our nation’s capital. The naysayers have decided that as the locals pay a huge contribution towards the event in taxes they should receive first refusal on tickets and a much greater percentage of the tickets available than the 28% they received this time around.

This discussion is bound to continue as it is clear that there must be a fair balance between letting the locals have all the tickets, which will impact on visitor figures, or continue to encourage tourism to the City.

The cost of the display in 2015 has been estimated at around £1.8 million and for 11 minutes this appears to be a great deal of money but this covers everything from the tape to cordon off areas to the rigging for the fireworks and compared to Australia who spent more than twice this amount we were considered thrifty.

New Year firework displays have some say become the ultimate status symbol for wealthy cities who use the opportunity to offer something magical to encourage visitors. In a world of displaced children, war and hunger, why begrudge everyone of a little magic.


Over the next few days over a billion Chinese will be making travel plans to return home to celebrate their Spring Festival.

The Spring Festival last for over a month with the first few days being akin to our bank holidays, with many Chinese businesses closing or operating on reduced hours.

As the Moon transcends across the sky on the 8th of February it will welcome a new Chinese year, this year it is the year of the monkey.

If you were born in 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, or 2004 then you are a monkey. Monkey people are well known as being wit, charm and intelligence, but are also practical jokers often mischievous and sometime a little naughty. Thanks to their outgoing and highly confident nature, people like to be around monkey folk as they tend to be the life and soul of the party.

Those born in the year of the monkey should be associated with the colours blue, white & gold, avoiding any shade of red as this may bring them bad luck.
The numbers four and nine will bring prosperity in a monkey year whilst two and seven should be avoided at all costs.

Shape shifting monkeys are believed in Chinese mythology to have been our ancestors for over two thousands of years, the Chinese being aware of our evolutionary status a long time before Darwin’s theory of evolution publication in 1838 proving we did descend from apes.

Many Chinese and Buddhist deities have been recorded in legend as taking monkey form at some time, the most famous being Sun Wukong “The Monkey King” from the novel “Journey to the West”.

One of the best places to be (apart from China obviously) to see the stunning cultural delights of the Chinese New Year celebration will be China Town in London. Between Old Compton Road and Leicester Square, the atmosphere will be colourful and noisy to say the least. Starting of the 4th of February, London’s first Chinese lantern festival descends on Chiswick House and gardens on Burlington Lane W4 London, for five weeks. On display will be more than 50 life-sized lanterns resembling Zebra’s, Kangaroo’s, Flamingo’s, a sixty metre Dragon and even a full size Elephant crafted from bamboo and paper. There will also be a number of other activities; from traditional Chinese street/performance theatre to art and lighting installations.

The “Enchanted Forest” is set to be a big hit as gigantic mushrooms, plants and flowers will amuse all ages, I imagine it to resemble the set of “Alice in wonderland” when Alice meets the Caterpillar.

Tickets are £16 for adults, £10 for children. As always parking can be an issue at large events, but either Turnham Green Tube station or Chiswick station will drop you off close by.

On 14th February there will be a ‘Grand Parade’ which incorporates ten ‘lion’ teams in what is set to be Europe’s biggest lion dance which begins at 10am from Trafalgar Square via the West End and on to Chinatown. At mid-day, the stage performances get under way with traditional dance troupes, acrobats, dragon and flying dances, opera and martial arts performances.

As the day comes to a conclusion, there will be a Grand Finale at 5.20pm as Monkey dancers and acrobats take to the stage to celebrate the year of the Monkey and stunning pyrotechnics will illuminate Nelson’s Column.

All of the finest Chinese restaurants will be booked up shortly so to avoid missing out on the celebrations with the family, book your place now.

It only remains for us to say ‘Xin Nian Kuai Le’ (Mandarin) or ‘San Nin Faai Lok’.

2016 Chinese New Year - Year of the Monkey



Last year, mayor of London, Boris Johnson introduced the ticket only viewing of the New Year’s Eve fireworks in the capital much to the chagrin of people who usually go into the City to see in the New Year in style.

The decision was taken in spite of the fact that they will only be selling 350,000 tickets and the crowds were previously around the 3 million mark! This action cannot possibly generate the same amount of money to the area brought previously by the huge visitor numbers.

Whilst is it easy enough to see the rationale behind reducing the number of people in attendance because of the ‘overstretched emergency and support services’, surely they could come up with a better and more effective way of doing this. Of course we are hardly going to be told just how much of a drop there was in money generated to the area on NYE 2015 in comparison to the previous year as this would prove our point, but having had family go along for the last 2 years (one ticketed and one not) there was no noticeable reduction in the number of people in the City Centre as when all said and done, visitors swarmed there before the fireworks became a feature and visitors will ALWAYS go to central London on NYE long after we are all no more.

Of course, ticketed or not, the fireworks are absolutely spectacular and still bring in TV viewers from across the world as one of NYE ‘must see’ events.

If you do want to go along, bearing in mind the small number of tickets on offer, we recommend that you get yours as soon as possible. The first batch goes on sale Friday 19th June 2015.

If there was any positive to be had from the ticketing situation, it has to be that you no longer have to set up camp on the banks of the Thames mid afternoon just to get a spot but make no mistake, you are not going to be able to nonchalantly stroll up to the viewing areas at ten to midnight and expect to be able to get a good vantage point.

If you need a reminder of last year’s firework spectacular, check out the video.