This Week in London – New Year’s Eve sold out; New Year’s Day Parade; and, National Gallery buys Corot work…

All 100,000 tickets for London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are now booked, the Greater London Authority announced this week. They’ve advised those without a ticket to avoid the area around Embankment and South Bank on the night, saying that the best alternative view of the fireworks will be live on BBC One. Meanwhile, don’t forget the New Year’s Day Parade which will kick off in Piccadilly (near junction with Berkeley Street) from noon on New Year’s Day. The parade – which takes in Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall before finishing at 3.30pm at Parliament Square in Westminster – will feature thousands of performers. Grandstand tickets are available. For more, see

The National Gallery has acquired French artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s work, The Four Times of Day, it was announced this month. The 1858 work, acquired with the aid of the Art Fund, has something of a star-studded pedigree – it was bought by Frederic, Lord Leighton, in 1865, and the four large panels were displayed at his London home until his death. In the same family collection for more than a century after that, they have been on loan to the National Gallery since 1997. They complement 21 other paintings by Corot in the gallery’s collection. The Four Times of Day can be seen in Room 41. Entry is free. For more, see

Exploring London is taking a break over Christmas, so this will be the last This Week in London update until mid-January. But we’ll still be posting some of our other usual updates including our most popular posts for 2014 round-up!

Around London – New Year’s Eve fireworks; New Year’s Day Parade; and remembering the Blitz…

A British pyrotechnic company, Kimbolton Fireworks, will be used for the first time in the creation of the Mayor of London’s fireworks display at the London Eye on New Year’s Eve. And in another first, the firework display will be accompanied by music. The mayor’s office have warned that viewing areas for the fireworks fill up early (and will be closed when full) and have suggested that families with young children may consider attending a fireworks display closer to home. For more information, including a detailed viewing area plan, see

London’s New Year’s Day parade celebrates it’s 25th anniversary when it kicks off at 11.45am on New Year’s Day. The parade route starts outside the Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly and runs down Lower Regent Street and along Pall Mall and Cockspur Street into Trafalgar Square before heading down Whitehall and into Parliament Square where it concludes at 3pm. The parade will involve some 10,000 people representing 20 different countries. More than half a million people are expected to line the route. For more information, see

Firefighters have laid wreaths at the Firefighters’ Memorial outside St Paul’s Cathedral in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of one of the worst nights of the Blitz. More than 160 people were killed on the night of 29th December, 1940, in what became known as the ‘Second Great Fire of London’. While large parts of the city were destroyed in the German attack, St Paul’s was spared a similar fate thanks to the actions of specialist firefighters assigned to the building. The night was immortalised by Daily Mail photographer Herbert Mason in what is now an iconic photograph of the Blitz showing the great dome of St Paul’s wreathed in smoke.