The New Year began with a 10-minute firework display in central London
Thousands of revellers braved the cold weather to see in the New Year at events across England.
The largest celebrations took place in London, where crowds lined the banks of the Thames for the city's annual fireworks display.
Firework displays also started 2009 in Birmingham and Manchester, the city's first major firework event since the millennium.
Temperatures fell below freezing in several parts of England.
Up to half a million people were thought to have been at the firework display in central London, with the night one of the busiest of the year for the Metropolitan Police.
Scotland Yard said it had made 78 arrests during the festivities in the capital, with about 3,300 officers involved in policing the night.
Supt Brian Pearce said the majority of revellers had been well behaved.
"The nature of New Year's Eve in central London has changed. What used to be a relatively low-key spontaneous night is now a world-class event that attracts thousands and thousands of people.
"The atmosphere of the event meant that in the main the crowds were good humoured and there were no major issues reported to police."
Viewing areas for the firework display near the London Eye started to fill up at about 1800 GMT and were closed by 2300 GMT because they were full.
Many people crowded into Whitehall to watch the firework display
Tubes ran until 0430 GMT in an effort to get revellers home.
Extra police were deployed in popular gathering spots, including Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square, where police were on raised viewing platforms to oversee festivities.
Of the 78 arrests, 39 were for public order offences, 18 for assault, 10 for being drunk and disorderly, and others for carrying offensive weapons, robbery, obstructing police, theft, drug possession and sex offences.
A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: "It has been quieter than expected in terms of incidents.
"Between midnight and 1am we took 292 calls, compared with 377 in the first hour of New Year's Day last year."
The 10-minute fireworks display began after midnight was sounded by the chimes of Big Ben.
Earlier, the crowds were treated to a series of video messages from celebrities including actors Michael Caine and Helen Mirren, comedian Ricky Gervais, cartoon characters Homer and Marge Simpson, and one from the Mayor London, Boris Johnson.
Manchester's firework display was set off from the top of the Arndale Centre.
In Birmingham, the firework celebrations were centred around Centenary Square.
London welcomes 2009 with a spectacular fireworks show over the River Thames.
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