Britons mark end of painful and fearful 2020 with muted New Year celebrations

Video report by ITV News at Ten presenter Rageh Omaar

Britons have marked the end of a torrid 2020 with muted celebrations to welcome in the New Year - with the majority seemingly staying behind closed doors.

With warnings of the potential of mass gatherings to spread the deadly Covid-19 virus still wider and faster, the majority of people appeared to opt to spend the night in their own homes.

Police were out in force in major cities up and down the country to try to ensure the usual party hot spots remained quiet - save from a few bangs of fireworks and the honking of car horns.

Officers could be seen on patrol in London's Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, while the streets of Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast were relatively quiet.

2020 was year which has included seismic changes to global politics with Brexit and the US election, and of course the greatest changes many of us have experienced in our lifetimes during the pandemic.

Victoria Beckham, Dolly Parton and Kylie Jenner were among the stars bidding farewell to a “challenging” 2020 on New Year’s Eve.

The Spice Girl-turned-designer was one of a host of celebrities who rang in 2021 by sharing messages about how tough the past 12 months had been.

But many also posted messages of hope for the future, writing about the lessons they learned amid Covid-19.

An empty Royal Mile in Edinburgh, usually thronged with people at new year. Credit: PA

More than three-quarters of England's population is being told to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus, as large swathes of the country were put into Tier 4 restrictions overnight.

Around 22 million people in parts of the Midlands, the North East, parts of the North West and South West of England entered the toughest tier at midnight.

Covid has dominated life for millions around the world in 2020. Credit: PA

This means three quarters of England - or 44 million people - are now in Tier 4, or 78% of the population of England.

Who knows what the next 12 months will have in store for us?