Thousands take to streets for London’s ‘amazing’ New Year’s Day Parade


The parade is ‘back to its brilliant best’ after Covid lockdowns (Picture: PA)

London’s New Year’s Day Parade returned with a bang today, with half a million people expected to turn out to watch more than 8,000 performers.

The capital celebrated the arrival of 2023 with a colourful event dubbed by Toploader, one of the bands making an appearance, as the ‘perfect hangover cure’.

It was the first time the gathering was able to take place in full since the Covid pandemic hit in 2020.

There was a jovial mood as marching bands, cheerleaders, pearly kings and queens, dancers, drummers, cycling clubs and giant balloons lined the streets on Sunday.

The three-and-a-half-hour parade started in Piccadilly and moved to Parliament Square.

There are about 20 nations represented among the acts – including China, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and others from the US, UK and Europe.

An El Salvadorian band who travelled from the rain forest also captured crowds’ attention today.

Around 500,000 people were expected to turn out (Picture: PA)

Performers came from the UK, Europe, the US, China, Peru, Colombia and Brazil (Picture: PA)

People were in good spirits (Picture: PA)

A performer in a Paddington Bear costume waiting at Piccadilly for the start of the parade (Picture: PA)

It was the first time the gathering was able to fully take place since the Covid pandemic hit in 2020 (Picture: Reuters)

Cheerleaders dance around at the parade on Sunday (Picture: PA)

The three-and-a-half-hour parade gradually moved to Parliament Square (Picture: PA)

Just 600 ticket holders were allowed to attend a clipped-back parade in 2022, as worry over Covid plagued Britain.

The parade has ‘raised billions for London and the UK as a whole’ over the years, along with £2 million for London charities, organisers say.

Founder Bob Bone has helped turn it into an annual tradition since the inaugural event in 1987.

Mr Bone said: ‘This year the parade is back to its brilliant best.

‘We are delighted to see that so many performers have travelled from around the world.

‘This is the first mass gathering of the parade since Covid. This is the first time since 2020 we have had a parade.

‘It is amazing. It is what we do. It is what we love and it gives London this incredible opportunity to showcase itself to the world, to give the world a wave and say “come on over”.’

Beauty queens wave to crowds (Picture: PA)

The parade has ‘raised billions for London and the UK as a whole’ (Picture: PA)

A performer wearing a bright pink outfit takes pictures (Picture: Reuters)

A performer in an Avatar costume didn’t blend in in a queue for the toilets in a cafe on Piccadilly (Picture: PA)

The parade ‘is back to its brilliant best’, organisers said (Picture: PA)

There were more than 8,000 performers (Picture: Reuters)

Summing up the ‘hugely cosmopolitan carnival’, Mr Bone added: ‘It’s culture, colour and terrific fun.’

It comes after London welcomed in the New Year with a stunning fireworks display at midnight.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said there was ‘no better place to welcome in the New Year than London’.

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