2012 began with the UK pulling out all the stops to encourage the world to visit London this summer.
A huge fireworks display on the banks of the River Thames was beamed into millions of homes around the world.
New year party-goers said the spectacle was perhaps a taster of what this summer’s Olympics will bring.
Revellers cheered as many of the fireworks formed the shape and colours of the Olympic rings.
A quarter of a million visitors counted down to the moment when the famous Big Ben chimes rang out.
Unseasonably warm weather meant temperatures were higher in London than in Madrid or Morocco.
Elsewhere, one million people are estimated to have visited the two kilometre long ‘party mile’ in the German capital Berlin over the last two days.
The celebrations culminated in a fireworks spectacular in front of the Brandenburg Gate at the stroke of midnight.
Similarly, for thousands of Russians, the chime of the iconic Kremlin clock tower bells signalled the beginning of 2012 in Moscow’s Red Square.