Trafalgar Square & Charing Cross Hotels – New Year's Eve stay
London is a popular destination for New Year’s Eve celebrations, especially amongst the younger crowd. It’s New Year’s Eve fireworks and countdown to the New Year are world famous and London is now firmly established as one of the centres around the world for which the countdown is televised. Crowds estimated at around 700,000 flock to traditional central London areas and to the River Thames where the annual fireworks and lighting display at the British Airways London Eye take place. It was this publicity and scenes of people having a fabulous time that got me interested in seeing what it’s like to be part of this celebration, at least once.
Hotels around Trafalgar Square are very popular at this time as they are smack in the middle of where the action is and allows easy access to the Embankment and the Thames where much of the celebrations take place. When we were there, I chose the Charing Cross Thistle Hotel as it was relatively affordable and being next to Charing Cross tube, it was convenient for us to move around for the time that we were in London. Thinking that it was the winter season, I expected hotel rooms to be easy to obtain, but that was certainly not the case. I had a look last week and most of the hotels around Trafalgar Square are fully booked for New Year’s Eve. So, if you’re thinking of spending New Year’s Eve in London in the future, plan ahead!
Since our stay at the Charing Cross Thistle, the hotel has been bought over by the Guoman Hotel Group and was totally refurbished, and now more expensive. The Charing Cross hotel has an interesting history, starting life as a Victorian railway hotel back in 1865. In front of the hotel stands a 70 feet replica of the Eleanor Cross. It originates from the hamlet of Charing, where King Edward I placed a cross as a memorial to his wife, Eleanor of Castile. Charing Cross is also recognised as the centre of London, that is, distances to London are measured to the location of the original Eleanor Cross.
We found the Charing Cross Thistle Hotel a little old and tired when we were there, but after its multi-million pound refurbishment, it must be pretty comfortable now. Its location is great. A short walk away are restaurants, shops and the theatres of the West End. Then there’s Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, 10 Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street, all within easy walking distance.