Fantastic fireworks in London and Edinburgh as 2018 arrives in UK

1 January 2018, 01:59

Tens of thousands of people across the UK have celebrated the beginning of 2018 with fireworks and parties.

In London, more than 100,000 people gathered on the banks of the River Thames for a 12-minute pyrotechnics extravaganza.

More than 10,000 fireworks lit up the sky during the sold-out event, which received cheers from the crowd.

They were accompanied by the music of Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox, Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa and Florence Welch, with the second half of the show commemorating 100 years of women having the right to vote.

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Jubilant crowds were also treated to Big Ben's bongs at midnight, with the famous clock's four-year-long renovations temporarily put on hold for the occasion.

Although there were fewer police at the event than last year, security was still tight, with barriers and armed police patrolling a city which suffered four terrorist attacks in 2017.

Celebrations were marred by rail strikes - with a walkout by South Western Railway staff frustrating the plans of those seeking to travel into the UK's busiest station, Waterloo.

The industrial action covered the period when many people would be trying to get home after the fireworks display.

In Edinburgh, about 75,000 were at Hogmanay celebrations, despite gusts of up to 76mph in parts of Scotland during the afternoon.

Rag'n'Bone Man headlined Concert in the Gardens, with Declan McKenna and Nina Nesbitt as support acts.

The Human League, Sacred Paws, Treacherous Orchestra and Huey Morgan also performed to crowds on three Street Party stages.

Fireworks were launched from Edinburgh Castle at 9pm, 10pm and 11pm - building up to a nine-minute finale at 12am.

Celebrations have been taking place around the world - and New Zealand was first to welcome in 2018, with fireworks focused around Auckland's Sky Tower.

The Australian city of Sydney followed, keeping up its reputation as having one of the world's best pyrotechnics displays centred on Harbour Bridge. Turnout was healthy to say the least, with an estimated 500,000 spectators in attendance.

Colourful shows in Hong Kong, Beijing, Paris and Berlin followed - with Dubai opting to mark the New Year with an extravagant lights show at the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

In New York, enthusiastic crowds braved temperatures of minus 12C (10F) to watch the Times Square crystal ball drop.

It was the coldest New Year's Eve since 1962 - and celebration appeared to be less crowded than other years.