Millions celebrate chilly new year

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Fireworks over the Houses of Parliament during the New Year celebrations in London

Hundreds of thousands of revellers have taken to the streets to begin saying goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011.

Masses gathered in London to see in the New Year on front of the London Eye where up to 250,000 people were expected to enjoy the carnival atmosphere.

And festive organisers in Edinburgh prepared for up to 80,000 partygoers to enjoy the Hogmanay street party and festival, which began on Thursday night with a torchlight procession along the Royal Mile.

During the early evening crowds gathered along the banks of the River Thames and spilled into Trafalgar Square and central London. BBC Radio 1 DJ Nihal hosted the event, drawing cheers from the crowds after the music started at 10pm accompanied by lasers and lights from the Eye.

First aiders were already out on the streets by 10pm as the party geared up for the climax at midnight, while security teams had to ask some high-spirited party-goers to get down from traffic lights along Victoria Embankment.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the crowds were larger than last year but so far there were only five arrests for minor offences.

Weather forecasters said as the clock struck midnight – and we moved to “all the ones”, 1/1/11 – the nation’s enjoyment of firework displays might be marred by patches of fog, cloud and mist.

Most of the UK was expected to have a covering of cloud with some drizzle although the evening should remain dry.

After weeks of arctic temperatures and a year of economic belt tightening for most, revellers were keen to welcome in a new year.

The Concert in the Gardens, in Edinburgh, features top bands The Charlatans, Biffy Clyro and Billy Bragg and sold out along with the Keilidh in Resolution Square.

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