New Year celebrations begin early in Norwich

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the Playhouse. From left, Jake Megeary, Dan Evanson, Ni

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the Playhouse. From left, Jake Megeary, Dan Evanson, Nick Bower, Megan Purdy, and Richard Strange. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

As the New Year draws closer, partygoers are already out in force to celebrate the arrival of 2022.

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the Brewdog. From left, Teresa Ager, Sheena Britton, Pe

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the Brewdog. From left, Teresa Ager, Sheena Britton, Peter Ager, and Shaun Britton. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Groups could be seen outside pubs and bars earlier today, with friends gathering to begin the merriment.

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich. Amelia Warnes and George Albani at the St Andrews Brewhou

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich. Amelia Warnes and George Albani at the St Andrews Brewhouse. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

This New Year's Eve is set to be the hottest ever recorded in the UK with Norfolk warmer than Nice.

Norwich, Cromer and Weybourne have all seen temperatures hit 15C today, with Nice in the south of France seeing highs of just 13C.

The warm dry weather could turn to rain in the evening, with light drizzle expected.

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the Playhouse. Front, George Gill-Hammond, left, and Me

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the Playhouse. Front, George Gill-Hammond, left, and Meechamnan Natthapong. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Many of Norwich's New Year celebrations have been cancelled, with organisers fearing rising Covid cases.

Cans 'N' Cocktails boss Andre Smith decided to ditch plans for December 31 as infections spiked.

And Jason and Julia Carter, landlords of the Gibraltar Gardens, assured punters the event is postponed rather than cancelled. 

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the Brewdog. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the Brewdog. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Covid rates are currently at record levels across the country. The Norfolk rate in the seven days up to Christmas Eve was 1,038 per 100,000 people, nearly double the 535 cases per 100,000 people high during the January peak 12 months ago.

Holly enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the Brewdog. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Holly enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the Brewdog. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

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The East of England Ambulance Service has also asked people to only call for an ambulance in an absolute emergency due to the organisation expecting a very busy evening. This will keep lines and crews free for those who need them the most.

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the St Andrews Brewhouse. From left, Zoe Rushmer, Harry

People enjoying New Year's Eve in Norwich at the St Andrews Brewhouse. From left, Zoe Rushmer, Harry Fallows, Charlotte Simmons, Jack Coleman, and Colin James. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The service is encouraging members of the public to call 111 or visit the website and only call 999 if someone is suffering from chest pains, breath problems or is choking.

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