Happy New Year! - UK welcomes 2023 with spectacular fireworks

2023 is ushered in with a fantastic firework display in London.
2023 is ushered in with a fantastic firework display in London.

Partygoers defied wet weather to welcome in 2023 after the Met Office issued yellow warnings for rain in England’s South West and southern Wales

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The UK has ushered in 2023 with revellers across the country celebrating New Year’s Eve.

Partygoers defied wet weather to welcome in 2023 after the Met Office issued yellow warnings for rain in England’s South West and southern Wales, and warnings for ice and snow across the Scottish Highlands.

Big Ben bonged in England’s capital as a crowd of more than 100,000 people gathered along the Thames Embankment in central London to watch 12,000 fireworks streak across the sky.

The sold-out show was designed to send a message of “love and unity”, as it highlighted the Lionesses’ history-making Euro win at Wembley, marked 50 years of London’s Pride with a message from Peter Tatchell from the Gay Liberation Front, and sent a message of support to Ukraine.

Big Ben bonged in London's capital.
Big Ben bonged in London's capital.

The display also paid tribute to the late Queen, featuring a voice recording from her and words from Dame Judi Dench, before honouring the King, together with a message from Charles about the need to preserve our planet’s future.

Drones spelled out a positive message during the show, welcoming in “2023 with love from London” as fireworks exploded behind them.

Complete with music that included Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, Ukrainian Eurovision winner Kalush Orchestra, and hits from Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Cher, Dave, Rihanna and Calvin Harris, the show concluded with the traditional Auld Lang Syne.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was “delighted” that Londoners and visitors could once again join together on the banks of the River Thames to ring in the new year.

Thousands of Metropolitan Police officers were on duty across the capital.

Thousands of Met Police officers worked across the capital.
Thousands of Met Police officers worked across the capital.

Officers have worked with charity Safer Spaces to build a place in Duncannon Street, central London, for women and girls to go should they feel unsafe.

While other parts of England also celebrated with fireworks, the North Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough did not.

An Arctic walrus, believed to be “Thor” – who was spotted on the Hampshire coastline earlier this month, arrived in the harbour earlier in the day.

Scarborough Borough Council cancelled the fireworks display on the advice of British Divers Marine Life Rescue after the organisation expressed concerns that it could cause “distress” to the mammal.