It’s a fickle business, bringing in the new year. Some people love it. Others flee it. If you fancy a last-minute escape or just want to plan something epic for next year, we bring you five great things to do around new year from our 11 new and free Winter 2014 guides. Whatever you decide to do, may it be marvellous.

Berlin – Silvesterlauf

Every year on 1January at noon crowds gather in front of the Brandenburg Gate for the annual Silvesterlauf or New Year’s Run. The route is deliberately easy: a relaxed four-kilometre run along Unter den Linden, around the Berliner Dom and back again. It’s anideal way to get some fresh air and start the year with good intentions and you can also see many of the city centre’s key sights. www.berliner-neujahrslauf.de

Moscow – Metropol Hotel New Year’s Eve Ball

A slice of pure Tsarist decadence, the most expensive tickets are a hefty £1,000. But – promising the Russian Philharmonic, opera stars, a jazz band and a gourmet dinner – the basic £270 deal actually looks like a reasonable price for the chance to see in the new year under one of the stained-glass ceilings of the city’s leading pre-revolutionary hotel. www.metropol-moscow.ru

New York – New Year’s Day Swim

This is the only day of the year that non-members can swim with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, founded by Bernarr Macfadden back in 1903. Macfadden believed winter ocean swimming was a boon to ‘stamina, virility and immunity’. The Bears swim every Sunday from November to April, and for a £12 donation to children’s charity Camp Sunshine, everyone is invited to join them. On 1 January 2015 at 1pm. www.polarbearclub.org

Tokyo – Hatsumode

Every shrine in Tokyo comes alive for the New Year, but none in quite the fashion that Meiji Jingu does. Hundreds of thousands of people crowd the grounds of the shrine on the first morning of every year, hurling money, buying lucky wooden arrows, checking their fortunes and indulging in plenty of eating and drinking. The event runs all night, as do Tokyo’s trains and buses. On 31 December and 1 January. www.meijijingu.or.jp

Shanghai – New Year’s Eve

The Chinese New Year may be celebrated in February, but Shanghai goes all out on the eve of 1 January, too. Head to the Bund for fireworks and a 4D laser light show illuminating the historic building facades – best enjoyed from a Bund-front bar terrace above the crowds. Xintiandi hosts a Times Square-style concert with Chinese pop stars by the Taipingqiao Park lakeside. www.tourismchina.org